Seven months ago, people neither cared about social distancing nor needed a mask before leaving their homes. Working from home was a luxury and the concept of remote learning wasn’t even heard of. But now working in a T-shirt and pajamas from home is a part of work culture, even if it is forced upon us, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.
As working from home has become mainstream — at least for the time being — there has been an increase in demand for specialised accessories that can increase productivity at the workplace. It could be a pricey 4K web camera or Dell’s new Mobile Adapter Speakerphone, a USB-C hub that doubles as a speakerphone for conference calls.
I spent a week with the Dell Mobile Adapter Speakerphone, and here’s what it was like.
Dell Mobile Adapter Speakerphone: Design
Dell’s new Mobile Adapter Speakerphone is a compact device that looks more like a hockey puck. It’s designed immediately reminds me of the Amazon Echo Dot, the popular Alexa-enabled smart speaker that many of you might already own. The speakerphone measures 4.7-inches in diameter and 1.25-inches in height and weighs in at 226 grams. So you know how compact the mobile adapter speakerphone is. It looks simple and elegant and takes no extra space on the table. The device also comes with a carrying case, so when you are done with conference calls for the day, keep it back safely in the case.
Dell Mobile Adapter Speakerphone: USB-C hub
The Mobile Adapter Speakerphone is essentially a USB-C hub that can be used as a multi-purpose adapter as well as a speakerphone for attending conference calls. The device is compact and has an HDMI 2.0 for up to 4K@60Hz video, two USB Type-A for up to 10Gbps data transfers, and a single USB Type-C for power that delivers 90W of power which lets you charge a wide variety of PCs via a USB-C power adapter. The wraparound USB-C cable stores underneath the speakerphone; it’s a neat idea as the wrap-around USB-C cable reduces tangle. I have nothing bad to say about the new Dell Mobile Adapter Speakerphone, though I wish the company had considered adding an SD card slot and an ethernet port.
Dell Mobile Adapter Speakerphone: Set-up
Setting up the Dell Mobile Adapter Speakerphone is an easy task. You don’t need to download any driver or use Bluetooth to use the device with your laptop. All you need is to take the wrap-around USB-C cable out, plug it into your laptop’s USB-C port, and voilà – the setup is ready.
Dell Mobile Adapter Speakerphone: Sound quality
The idea of a high-quality speakerphone that can be used with a laptop for attending conference calls makes a lot of sense. Look, the issue is that the speakers built into most laptops produce a tinny sound. I have reviewed premium laptops in recent days that lacked good-quality in-built speakers. You can, obviously, attend Zoom calls on laptops but then don’t expect much from speakers. On top of that, your laptop’s built-in microphone probably isn’t great. They are fine for occasional use, but when your job requires you to constantly get in touch with your team on conference calls, you need to rely on decent audio quality with minimum background noise. Dell clearly knows this, and which is why an accessory like the Mobile Adapter Speakerphone makes so much sense in today’s time.
The speakerphone sounds good, especially for closed spaces like study rooms or bedrooms. It gets plenty loud enough to fill a medium-size room with sound. It also has excellent dual-microphones with in-built echo cancelling and noise reduction, and even promises 360 degrees sound. On the top of the device, you will find buttons for call answer/end/reject, volume adjustment, and muting.
Dell Mobile Adapter Speakerphone: Should you buy one?
At Rs 18,598, Dell’s latest Mobile Adapter Speakerphone is by no means a must-have accessory for your work-from-home setup but can add huge value if you are someone who spends their maximum time attending conference calls on Zoom or Microsoft Teams. The existence of such solutions shows that there are consumers out there who want to create a professional-level work environment at home.