A year ago I got my Jabra Puck (Jabra Speak 410) and immediately fell in love with it. The fact that I could use the same device as a speakerphone for Lync or Skype calls and meetings as I use in a hotel room to watch movies (or in a small conference room to add sound to my presentations) was great, and being able to simply pack it into my carry-on bag made life easy.
Now here’s the thing… as devices get smaller they are coming with fewer USB ports than they used to (in some cases only one), As I work with a number of devices this would be a problem with some, but not with others. When I want to travel light I want to take my Surface Pro (or Surface RT) and as little else as possible. While I have a USB hub it is just one more device that I have to throw in my bag… and I am trying to avoid as many new ‘one more’ devices as possible.
Enter the Jabra Speak 510.
I was speaking with one of the Jabra reps at a recent event and I told them that i was not always carrying the puck with me for just this reason, and he told me about the newest member of the family. The Speak 510 is everything that its older cousin was… but gives you the option of:
- Plugging in;
- Plugging in with a wireless dongle; or
- Completely wireless over Bluetooth.
I was eager to try it out so when it arrived I rushed down to the shipping department to check out my new toy. It looks the same, feels the same, and even comes with the same case… but even before trying it out you can notice some discrete differences… there are more ‘buttons’ .on the face – a Bluetooth button of course (for pairing), and a Power button (unlike the 410 which is always plugged in, this device does rely on a battery). There is also a Battery button which lights up when it is charging, and will show you how strong your charge is when it is not. Very nice.
I’m getting to that. I seldom have high hopes for sound over any wireless device, but this little puck device packs a big sound – wired or wireless. It performs admirably in all modes tested – speakerphone (large area and confined area) as well as for music, movies, and overall sound.
As I mentioned I tend to work from several different devices. While the Speak 510 does not seem to connect to multiple devices simultaneously, it has no problem remembering multiple devices – I can connect to it from my Surface, Surface Pro, X1 Carbon, and even my Nokia Lumia 920 as easily as I can select it from the appropriate device. That really makes a difference when you do want to use it from any device.
But what if I am NOT a PC?
It is easy to forget in my largely Microsoft-centric world that there are still some of you who use other devices. The Puck 510 is fully compatible with any device that supports Bluetooth (and just about any device with a USB port). This means that MacBooks and even iPads are fair game… just plug in or pair and you are ready to go!
As I have said before I have been working on reducing the size of what I carry – both to the office and onto airplanes. While the 510 will not actually help to reduce my load (I am replacing my 410 with the 510 – same size & weight) it will enable me to do slightly more with what I have… Until now I have not been doing conference calls or ‘sound presentations’ from my Surface devices, and this will allow me to change that. While it does not provide high definition sound with base and such, I am not a ‘sound junkie’ so it is just fine for watching movies in hotels. It also means that when i rent a car I do not have to worry about whether or not that car has Bluetooth hands-free capabilities, because I can simply pair my 510 and place it on the dashboard.
While you do have to plug the 510 in to charge it, you are looking at a pretty respectable battery life – Fifteen hours of talk time, which means that most people will only have to recharge once a week – if that often.
This device lives up to its name – I have not run into a Jabra device that I did not like. I also appreciate their support – I needed it for a different device recently, and they proved once again that they care about their customers. Overall I give this a strong recommend for any professional who needs a simple, easy to pair speakerphone that may or may not need wireless, and may want to turn their laptop into a hotel sound system. Just remember though that it can be loud enough to disturb your neighbors!