Bluetooth speakers are one of the most versatile gadgets out there. These wireless speakers are portable and also bundles a slew of features. For instance, some of the Bluetooth speakers are waterproof, while others deliver loud audio to be used at parties. The best part is that some of these Bluetooth speakers have built-in microphones so that you can carry on your phone conversations without disconnecting your phone.
Until a few years ago, wireless Bluetooth speakers with microphones were a common thing. However, now things have changed, and a few of the makers have stopped adding this nifty feature. If you look around, the new launches like the JBL Flip 5 or the UE Wonderboom do not have a built-in microphone.
Luckily, there are still a few Bluetooth speakers that come with built-in mics. These mics pick up your voice well so that you can carry on your phone calls at times. But before that,
The Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 wireless speaker proves to be the perfect pick if you want many nifty features in a small package. It's a small hockey puck-shaped device, which makes it ultra-portable. At the same time, the aluminum chassis brings home a premium look. More importantly, the Beosound A1 sounds great, and you get your hands on nuanced audio with a rich and deep bass.
The Beosound A1 also has other tricks up its sleeves. For instance, it has a waterproof rating of IP67, has a decent battery life of around 18 hours, and supports Qualcomm's aptX Adaptive Bluetooth codec. However, the feature that separates it from its peers is its support for Amazon Alexa.
Thanks to the Alexa integration, you get an array of 3 mics. These ensure that the speaker can hear your commands even when it's playings songs or podcasts. Plus, the three-microphone array transmits clear conversations through the mic. The mic's noise isolation is on point and ensures that it carries minimal noise across. Some users have also used it for online Zoom meetings and calls and have had good experiences so far.
The Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 speaker offers decent battery life and USB-C charging. The folks at Tech Advisor found the battery dropping to about 90% after 6 hours of use after being connected to a Windows PC.
If you want a speaker that belts out quality audio and also lets you take up audio and video calls with ease, then this one is a worthy pick. However, note that the control buttons, situated around the lower edge, can be a little difficult to see and touch.
If carrying on phone conversations and online meetings are your foremost priority, you can look at the Jabra Speak 710. This is a premium speakerphone with an omnidirectional mic that can seamlessly pick up sound and, at the same time, cancels out the background noise for clear voice transmission.
Like the one above, the Speak 710 is small, which makes it portable. In addition, the speaker has a small stand at the back that allows you to angle it towards yourself during calls and video meetings. At the same time, it delivers a clear voice, thanks to the built-in HD Voice feature. This Bluetooth speaker comes with a dedicated dongle should you want to connect it to your computer.
It also delivers immersive audio for music. However, though it features a premium look, it doesn't look as trendy as its mainstream Bluetooth speakers, such as the Sony SRS-XB12 or the new JBL Go 3.
That said, you get a fairly good battery life of 8 hours. So if you want a business-grade Bluetooth speaker with a microphone and do not want to compromise on the quality, it's the perfect pick.
The Sony SRS-XB23 Bluetooth speaker has many nifty features such as Bluetooth 5.0 and Sony's proprietary Bluetooth codec—LDAC. That said, this one is a conventional Bluetooth speaker, which means you can listen to your favorite songs in all their glory. And staying true to its tagline, it delivers bass-heavy audio.
One of the first things that will catch your eye is its new design. The SRS-XB23 has two passive radiators at the top and bottom. Plus, the IP67 waterproof rating means you needn't worry about water and dust damage.
But, this speaker is for entertainment purposes only. You may take the occasional call or meeting with this. However, it's not meant for serious office use. The lack of dedicated voice-enhancing tech means you won't get the same clarity as the Jabra Speak 710. Nevertheless, it gets the work done, and that's about it.
The battery life is decent. On a full charge (and listening at moderate volume) will get you around 12 hours of playback.
The eMeet Luna is a speakerphone designed for the home office for those looking for a dedicated speaker for calls and meetings. Like the Jabra speaker, the eMeet Luna has 3 mic array and can pick up voice and sound from all around. This one does a good job of picking up voice from a little distance as well.
This is made possible by the built-in tech, which cancels out noises and hums of fans and printers. At the same time, it projects a clear and noise-free sound.
When it comes to connection, it has a versatile setup. Apart from the Bluetooth connection, it lets you connect via a USB-C dongle and AUX connection. Plus, you can also daisy chain other eMeet speakers if the need arises.
However, when listening to songs or watching videos, you might not get the same quality. This is partly due to the tech that highlights voice during calls and suppresses the songs' bass and highs. So yeah, you might be looking at bass-less music. That said, if you want to have a break and want to listen to your favorite tracks, it's possible.
Lastly, the buttons are at the top, which makes all the controls easily accessible.
The Tribit Stormbox Micro is the most affordable speaker on this list. It does a good job in delivering punchy and bass-heavy audio irrespective of its price and size. Furthermore, this one is a small pocket-sized speaker, thereby making it super easy to carry. It weighs just about 9.9 ounces.
As noted earlier, it delivers punchy audio. But as it is with certain speakers, the audio distorts a little when the volume is cranked up. But if you were to compare it with other similarly-sized speakers such as the JBL's Go lineup, the Stormbox Micro delivers better audio.
The microphone is not the best in the market, especially when you compare it to the ones above. However, for the price, it gets the job done.
Though it has USB-C charging, you will have to compromise on the battery life. On a single charge, it lasts about 8 hours on moderate volume.
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Get Your Voice Heard
Today, speakers with mics are a rarity compared to a few years ago. Nevertheless, a couple of them still let you use them for your calls and conferences effortlessly.
If you plan to use the mic functionality frequently, it would be best to get dedicated speakers for office use, such as the Jabra Speak or the eMeet Luna. They offer good noise cancellation and transmits a clear voice.
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