Smart phones make lousy conference phones. Sure, you can put your phone in speaker mode and place it in the middle of the conference table. But those in the room have a tough time hearing the phone and those on the phone have an equally tough time hearing all of you.

blunote1Here to save the day for legal road warriors is the Spracht BluNote + Chat, a compact, lightweight, rechargeable Bluetooth speaker that works with any Bluetooth-equipped smart phone, tablet or computer. While it can be used to play music, it is specifically designed to function as a wireless speaker for mobile phones, whether for conference calls or use in your office.

Once you pair your phone’s Bluetooth with the BluNote, its speaker-phone functions kick in. When a call comes in, the caller ID number scrolls across the BluNote’s front LCD panel. Touch the phone icon on the top to answer the call. Touch it again to end the call. If you are playing music through the BluNote, touching the phone icon mutes the music until the call is over.

This is a tiny device that does its job surprising well. It weighs just 9.5 ounces and measures just 9 x 3.25 x 1.375 inches. Its two speakers put out up to five watts of sound. I found the quality to be rich and clear for voice calls. It also has two high-quality microphones that pick up voices well and deliver them clearly.

blunote2For playing music, the BluNote will not replace your current speakers. Spracht describes the BluNote as a dual-use device, for both professional conferencing and music playback. The sound quality is acceptable but not exceptional. The manufacturer suggests that iPhone users install an app, Bongiovi DPS, which enhances the clarity of digital music. (“DPS” is for Digital Power Station.) I tried it and it clearly enhances the quality of music playback through the BluNote.

That said, the BluNote is perfect for taking along on business trips, where it can do double duty as a conference phone and for playing music in your hotel room. Its small size and cordless operation also make it handy for music playback at home, where you can move it from room to room.

The compact BluNote fits easily in your briefcase or luggage. A rechargeable Lithium Ion battery is rated for 12 hours of use. I have played music through it all day without needing to recharge it. A 3.5 mm audio-in jack allows you to connect non-Bluetooth devices.

The BluNote + Chat retails for $99. Currently, the price is half that at

Photo of Bob Ambrogi Bob Ambrogi

Bob is a lawyer, veteran legal journalist, and award-winning blogger and podcaster. In 2011, he was named to the inaugural Fastcase 50, honoring “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders.” Earlier in his career, he was editor-in-chief of several legal publications, including The National Law Journal, and editorial director of ALM’s Litigation Services Division.