Invoxia AudiOffice hands-on (video)

It's not what it looks like. We know, we know: it would seem that Engadget traveled all the way to Mobile World Congress only to get hands-on with a desktop phone, but fortunately for our pride, this device is quite the opposite. Though that earpiece would suggest otherwise, Invoxia's AudiOffice is actually just a speaker dock for your iPhone or iPad, meant to boost the audio quality when you're making VoIP or even regular cell phone calls. (You can also connect a non-iOS device using the built-in Bluetooth radio.) In particular, the company hopes the dock will appeal to small businesses forgoing land lines, though we could also see someone plugging a laptop into the USB port or adding a Bluetooth keyboard -- essentially, making the iPad the centerpiece of a more stationary setup. But is all that worth $299? Check out our hands-on photos and brief demo video and you be the judge.

Let's start with aesthetics. The AudiOffice looks awfully similar to the NVX 610 desktop VoIP phone we saw last fall, which is to say it comes in one color (white) with a quirky, colored piece of rubber cradling the receiver. All told, it's a clean, striking and aggressively minimal design. Some people are going to stop reading right here, if they even got past the lead image.

There's not much to the dock in terms of openings and sockets, but you will find one USB 2.0 port 'round back, which you can use to make this your PC speaker -- a convenient setup if you happen to make more VoIP calls from your desktop than your mobile. Otherwise, though, we imagine you'd spend your three hundred dollars on speakers that weren't so iDevice-centric and didn't eat up so much space. Heck, you might not even spend three hundred dollars at all.

On the front, you'll notice a self-explanatory volume dial, which doubles as a button: push it to turn on the speakerphone. If your phone's connected to the dock, you can also answer calls by pressing that button, which will automatically put your friends on speaker. (In a purely aesthetic flourish, that button glows blue when the phone is ringing.) Want to keep the call discreet? You can also answer by picking up the receiver (duh) or lifting your iPhone out of its cradle (double duh).

Sadly, there was only so much we could do to test the audio quality on the middle of the show floor, but suffice to say we were able to hear a caller on speakerphone, even above the din of the convention hall.

All in all, this seems to be one pretty, smartly designed and decidedly pricey speaker dock. Want to learn a little more? We're re-posting the company's own promo video, which gives a fuller overview than our demo of the calling aspect.