AnkerWork SR500 speaker | Meet again
When I received the AnkerWork SR500 speakerphone pictured above, it seemed like a useful all-purpose desk accessory to make business phone use and video conferencing more productive. It turned out to be just a simple device only useful in corporate and SMB conference rooms.
Disconnecting for the purpose of this device eluded me at first. It’s been a while since my work has revolved around conference rooms, and I’m now connecting to video presentations and connected phone interviews.
Alas, the SR500 is overkill for my well-stocked multi-line remote office. But my weak speakerphones and external speakers leave a lot to be desired. So the business phone tools hype that surrounds the SR500 seemed like a perfect fit. But not for me.
This speaker can be a winner for business conference rooms as a video conference speakerphone amplifier and voice enhancement tool. The SR500 could be your new go-to device for making video conferencing sessions more audibly enjoyable in small to extra-large meeting rooms.
No phones accepted: you’ll need a backup plan for conferencing via landlines rather than computers – and if you’re planning on connecting a smartphone or other Bluetooth-enabled device, think again. The SR500 does not currently support them either.
A case of overbreadth of nomenclature
AnkerWork’s product photographs and marketing presentations strongly “suggest” that a product called a “speaker” would have something more relevant to do with telecommunications. The two line ports under the SR500 added to my misconception.
Unfortunately, the response was disappointing when I contacted Anker’s tech support desk to find out how to connect this device to a phone line. This device is designed for computers and does not support landline phones.
So while the SR500 has LED-lit icons to press to connect (green) and disconnect (red) a phone, those two buttons only unmute and unmute the non-phone speakerphone.
Audio amplification functions
AnkerWork designed the SR500 to improve voice transmission in noisy environments, whether in small or very large rooms. For large conference tables, users can daisy-chain up to five speakers to give everyone seated at the table a clear chance to be heard without shouting or straining to hear what others are saying.
AnkerWork’s quick start guide video shows how to set up and connect multiple SR500 speakers:
This conference amplifier picks up voices from 16 feet away, ensuring that up to 45 people grouped around a series of conference tables can be heard equally well without having to turn up the voice or volume , according to AnkerWork.
Enhanced VoiceRadar 2.0 technology incorporates comprehensive audio processing with deep learning to isolate voices from background noise. It can differentiate voices in over 30,000 different room designs and sizes. Only the main spoken voice is filtered to the speakers.
The AnkerWork app makes it easy to keep track of software updates. With manufacturer software, the SR500 is fully compatible with all major online conferencing services including Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts, FaceTime, WebEx and GoTo Meeting.
The all-metal black and gray enclosure is compact, though slightly larger than most desktop speakers. It measures 8″ x 4.5″ x 1.5″. This space is necessary to hold the device’s eight-microphone array around the oblong-shaped case.
The 1.75″ speaker isn’t light either. Hidden in the top half of the speaker housing, it emits sound directed up and to the sides, sending voices into the room.
I tested the SR500 during a work week of conference calls for press briefings and voice calls only, mostly using Zoom, Skype and Meet. The quality sounded better than a face-to-face conversation.
The speaker uses an artificial intelligence algorithmic model based on 280 hours of voice signals in dozens of simulation tests and field training. This algorithm dynamically recognizes a wide range of language accents and sound sources.
The SR500 supports low (80Hz) to high (20KHz) audio frequencies with less than 3% voice distortion. The result is vibrant sound quality in all directions.
Missed User Opportunity
Compared to the smaller speakers I’ve used, the sound quality of the SR500 is superior. The only downside, and it’s a serious weakness, is the lack of Bluetooth support for pairing the speaker to other devices.
The sound response is so good that I would use this device to replace a current speaker that connects to my smartphone. But with no way to connect the two devices, either wireless or wired, I can’t use my Google Voice phone number through the SR500.
It’s even more daunting because the AnkerWork speaker connects to computers via the included Power over Ethernet (PoE) cables. I can stream audio from video conferencing applications through the speaker, but the connection does not work with Google’s Internet Voice telephony platform.
The AnkerWork SR500 speaker sports an impressive build quality. Plus, its anti-theft protection features, including device locking systems, make it a great solution for organizations with a heavy load of small and large group video communications.
However, the list of unsupported connections limits the usefulness of the SR500 speakerphone to enterprise-sized organizations. While this is a capable tool, at $349.99 for a single unit, it becomes expensive to chain multiple voice extenders together – and the inability to be a PC-only tool makes it a questionable purchase. for a wider user base.
The AnkerWork SR500 speaker is available on Amazon and the AnkerWork online store.
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