What we’ve got on the review bench today is another quality audio product from a company known to make such great devices, this time in the form of a Conference Call aimed speakerphone: the Jabra Speak 410. This device is able to act as a speakerphone by connecting to your PC via USB, sound coming from the 3.5mm headset jack or its own speaker, with sound-in covered by one omni-directional microphone allowing what Jabra notes (and we agree) is a 1-to-2 meter range. This speaker works with Windows machines and Apple computers of all kinds with both plug-and-play capabilities as well as included drivers on a mini-CD in the box – if need be.
This device is pretty darn slick. You pop it out of the box and you’ve got a carrying case that zips up around it right away. There’s a USB cord that’ll allow you to get a couple of feed away from the device you’re plugging into, and just a couple of taps on your computer and you’re ready to go. I had the Jabra Speak 410 up and running in under 5 minutes, starting at the moment I tried to open the box – and it had tape on it!
You’ll find that the device is extremely intuitive to use with touch-sensitive buttons in each location around the speaker. There’s volume up, volume down, microphone on, microphone off, Answer/on, End/off, and a headphone jack. You can keep the device plugged in and use the hangup button to turn it off at night, or you can simply unplug it. There’s no battery capacity here because you’ve got to have it plugged in for it to act as a speaker / microphone anyway, and everything works with the one build-in USB cord right out of the box.
As you’ll see in the Q and A section on the Speak 410 on Jabra’s website, this device will receive software updates throughout its lifespan. This should be indicator enough that Jabra isn’t messing around with its products like so many other companies do.
Not many other companies offer a speakerphone that would benefit from software updates, of course, but right when you first plug this one in to your PC, you can use the disk that comes in the box to install a program called Jabra PC Suite. From there, you’ll be upgrading to newer and more excellent versions of the device’s firmware through the future. This won’t work on a Mac (not yet, anyway), and if you have no idea what any of this means, you shouldn’t need to do it anyway as it almost certainly wont be vital to your device’s future. No worries!
In the end, this device is a boost for your computer’s microphone and speaker system. If you’ve already got these enhancements over the basic build on your PC, then you might never need a device such as this. On the other hand, the microphone quality is surprisingly clear and the speaker can get quite loud, the quality quite surprising for the size of the device, bass thumping and all.
The only down side on this device is the price – at right around $100 USD, this might be a hold-back for some consumers who just want it as an everyday device. For those of you looking to bump up the capabilities of your computer with which you conference call with colleagues every day – we certainly recommend the Jabra Speak 410.
Chris Burns is currently head editor for SlashGear and executive editor for Android Community. Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, he's responsible for editorial decisions made for the USA-based day-team of SG and AC and he uses an iPad 3 as a VCR. Follow him @ t_chrisburns and inside Google+ at http://chrisburns.co/+ for tech, gadget, and design news galore.