Jabra SPEAK2 55 portable speakerphone review

by Angus Jones

Working from anywhere means you will most likely do video calls. Those video calls, of course, require video; however, communication is done by voice. Many people will use a headset to improve their audio, but there is another way to enhance your audio experience. This review looks at the Jabra SPEAK2 55 professional portable speakerphone.

What is a Jabra SPEAK2 55 professional portable speakerphone?

The Jabra SPEAK2 55 is an accessory for your PC or smartphone that enables high-quality audio conversations. It is a large hockey puck-looking device with an internal speaker and 4 inbuilt microphones. It allows you to have a hands-free/headset-free conversation, whether at a boardroom table or the bonnet of your car. It is ideal if several people are at your end so everyone can join the conversation.

WHY should you consider a Speakerphone?

A speakerphone facilitates a natural conversation as if all parties were in the same room. A speakerphone enhances the sound substantially compared to a PC or smartphone speakers and microphone. This sound enhancement is achieved by a larger speaker and numerous microphones to ensure everyone in the room is heard.

The SPEAK2 55 has an internal battery that will last up to 12 hours without being plugged in. It can be connected to your smartphone or PC by Bluetooth or alternatively plugged into a USB C or USB A socket, which also facilitates charging.

Traditionally when using speakerphones, they operated in a simplex type mode meaning no one could talk over another. Although this sounds attractive, it also means that it is difficult to get heard; indeed, you will not be unless no one else is speaking. The Jabra supports full duplex, which means you can talk while others speak. You will be heard, exactly like what happens in a normal conversation.

Now everyone is heard; there are some noises, like background noise from a building site or kids playing in the background, that you do not want to hear. The Jabra uses beam-forming microphone technology and active noise-cancelling technology to ensure listeners on the other end are not disturbed.

What is in the Box?

In the box, you will only find two items. The SPEAK2 itself and a felt carry pouch allowing you to protect the Jabra as you travel with it.

The Jabra has a diameter of 12cm and is just over 3cm thick. It weighs 280 grams and is IP64 rated, meaning it is resistant to water and dust.

Jabra SPEAK2 55 speakerphone

The USB cable winds around the base for storage and has a USB- C plug and a USB_A adapter attached. Buttons on the unit allow you to Power on/off, answer a call, end or reject a call, increase and decrease volume, mute a conversation, pair via Bluetooth, Battery status and Microsoft Teams control. A LED ring of light helps you understand the status, such as mute battery and volume levels depending on which button is pressed.

Priced from $269, Jabra is so confident in the product that it comes with a 100-day free return policy. The included warranty is 2 years.

Using the SPEAK2 55 speakerphone

We have been trialling the SPEAK2 55 for around a month, mainly for doing Microsoft teams calls. We found it to fully integrate with the Teams PC consul, so features like mute synchronise and you can answer a team’s call from the Jabra. The speaker quality is far superior to that of a late-model Dell PC. The audio quality received by others has filtered out the background noise of working from home. Although not tested extensively, the 55 also works with Zoom and Google meet.

A feature we like is voice level normalisation which means that the Jabra automatically adjust each person’s voice to a similar level. Thus, if you have three people in a room at different distances from the microphones and speak at different loudness, the people at the other end of the connection will hear everyone’s voice at the same volume.

Running a small business means you probably cannot afford to provide all staff members with a SPEAK2. As the Jabra supports connecting up to 8 different Bluetooth devices, multiple people could share a unit without setting up a new Bluetooth connection each time.

We know the SPEAK2 allows you to connect to your mobile phone or PC for voice or video calls. Still, another advantage is it is also a Bluetooth speaker that can play back music or your favourite podcast. You could also use it as a hands-free car kit.

One feature I would like to see included in a future software upgrade is when permanently connected to your PC via the USB cable. It automatically shuts down when the PC shuts down.

Our Take Jabra SPEAK2 55 review

Whether you work from anywhere or simply just the kitchen table at home, the Jabra SPEAK2 55 converts your conference call setup to the same quality found in boardroom speakerphones.

Small businesses can use this device to share between staff to make conferencing with groups of people simpler and of better-quality audio. I picture a bunch of tradies standing around the bonnet of a Ute taking clear instructions via the Jabra from an engineer so the job is done right.

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