The best small speakerphone you can carry everyday?

Mobile Ergonomics Reviews

We just got a Genius portable Bluetooth speaker to review. If you are on the phone a lot, holding a phone to your ear is not the most ergonomic position. I am on the phone a ton and notice some discomfort after holding the phone for too long. While I have tried a whole bunch of Bluetooth headsets, I haven’t found a perfect one yet that is crystal clear for the people I am talking too. One friend refuses to talk to me when I have my headset.

To solve this, I have been using my phone’s speakerphone for some time. It works great as a way to chat without holding my hands up to my ear. My phone’s built-in speaker sucks. Yours probably does as well. So I wanted a small, portable Bluetooth speaker that had a built-in mic to turn my phone into a great speakerphone. The Genius speaker is exactly what I needed.

First off, the package was easy to open. There is such a thing as wrap rage and tens of thousands of people get hospitalized annually from trying to open up packing. This one popped open after removing a clear sticker.

With Bluetooth speakers, I look first for instructions to figure out how to get the unit in pairing mode and how to pair it up. The included instructions are printed in a tiny font size. I couldn’t read them so I went online and found the link to the digital versions of the manual. The instructions are in 24 languages! Turns out, though, that I didn’t need a manual.

I plugged the speaker in with the included 12-inch micro USB cord and moved the switch on the back from Off to On. A woman with a Chinese accented announced “Power On, Pairing.” I then went to my phone to find the speaker. The speaker shows up as “SP-906BT” and paired on my Moto Z in a second or two.

Look for SP-906BT when pairing this speaker

I then phoned a friend and must say I got a wow reaction from myself. His voice was crystal clear and he heard me clearly as well. Using this as a speakerphone is a 100 times better than my built-in phone speaker and microphone. I also tested call and mic quality with a JBL speaker that I have and the quality of this Genius speaker was just as good. If this is all that you do with this speaker, the price is well worth it. On the back of the speaker, there is a button to answer and hang up calls. Pretty simple interface for using it as a speakerphone.

Buttons on the bottom side of the speaker

If you are using the speaker flat on your desk, you don’t have easy access to the answer and hang up button. See the picture below. All of the buttons are on the other side. I think that’s ok as you access the phone features from your phone. There is a built-in carabiner hook so you can hang the speaker and have easy access to this button.

Built-in carabiner hook is sturdy

I then tried to play some music. The company notes as a feature: “Hyper Bass, Even Stronger. The built-in amplifier enables SP-906BT to deliver a high-decibel sound which penetrates your heart.” The speaker is loud, not heart-penetrating, and will do for music in a pinch.  Of course with a device this small you are not going to get impressive sound. The quality was slightly less than the similar sized JBL speaker that I used to test relative call quality. The JBL had better highs but both had similar volume. The speaker sound is a lot better than my built-in MacBook Pro speakers.

I tested the music control buttons and they work fine. You have a play/pause button and two combo buttons. The combo buttons work to increase and decrease volume, and if you long press the button the action changes to forward and reverse music selection. Am sure that dual purpose button is in the manual and it seemed intuitive enough to me, but I don’t think everyone will get that you can perform two different actions with the same button based on how long you keep the button pressed down.

The relative size of the speaker to some everyday objects

More details:

  • 3-watt power output
  • Comes in Black, Blue, Green, Orange, and Red
  • Dimensions: 83 x 91.5 x 46.75 mm (3.27 x 3.60 x 1.84 inches)
  • Weighs 185 grams (smaller and lighter than a baseball)
  • 10-hour battery (according to the manufacturer, but only 5 hours listed on the product page)
  • 780 mAh battery needs 3.5 hours to charge
  • Built-in steel aluminum carabiner hook
  • Bluetooth 4.1 with 10-meter wireless operating distance
  • Built-in high definition microphone with a high pitch amplifier
  • Made to RoHS standards which restricts 10 substances like lead and mercury
  • One year warranty

If you need a speakerphone for your calls, this $20 speaker is a fantastic deal! I would highly recommend adding one to your bag of ergonomic devices.

More info and latest pricing on the Genius SP-906BT Outdoor Portable Bluetooth Speaker.

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Kealoha

Hi, I'm Kealoha, an American engi-nerd. I've designed dozens of software systems for Fortune 1000 companies worldwide and institutions like MIT’s Digital Media Lab. I started to get carpal tunnel syndrome early in my career and a total
switch to ergo products has completely eliminated any pain or discomfort despite decades of crazy hours behind screens. I hope you too weave in a bit of ergo into your lives.

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