Polycom Communicator C100S USB Speaker Phone for Skype – Review


The Polycom Communicator C100S is a speaker phone that allows you connect to your PC/laptop (using the USB port) and make hands-free VOIP calls over the Internet via Skype (among others). This phone is optimized for Skype and you can expect to get good voice quality with it. It even has direct Skype launch buttons, volume up/down buttons and call pickup/terminate buttons. The Polycom Communicator C100S is a small/portable device that does not require any batteries (it can be powered through the USB cable).

Polycom is the leader in manufacturing enterprise audio/video conference systems and you can be sure that they have brought some of that technology to this device. The Polycom Communicator C100S is a full-duplex speaker phone that provides wide-band voice quality (22 Khz) that is enterprise grade. It also supports echo cancellation, which is crucial with VOIP systems as one can expect some echo when voice is transmitted over the Internet. There is a headset port which allows you to make private calls using a headset and it can even route your computer audio to external speakers, when connected.

Applications: Its specified seven feet voice pick up range is a good option for audio conferencing among small groups on either side. People can use this to make hands free VOIP calls (especially with Skype) over the Internet. Please note that you cannot directly plug in an analog phone line with this (unlike the triangle polycom soundstation2 phones) and you cannot plug this phone to the network port (it is not a stand alone device, it needs a PC to work).

Important features of the Polycom Communicator C100S USB Speaker phone:

  • Hands free USB speaker phone
  • 3.5mm Stereo headphone support
  • Two cardioid microphones
  • Buttons for: Launching skype, making/receiving calls, volume up/down, mute
  • Full duplex, Polycom echo-cancellation technology
  • Polycom HD Voice Technology
  • Audio pass-through
  • Range: Up to 7 feet
  • Skype Certified
  • Dimensions/Weight: 5.25″ x 3.24″ x 0.85″ / 5.4 Ounces
  • Warranty: 1 Year

You can get more technical information about the Polycom Communicator C100S from the Polycom Web-page.

Advantages:

  • Integrated and optimized for using with Skype; Skype certified speaker phone
  • Polycom HD Voice; Wide-band (22 Khz); Polycom echo-cancellation technologies gives enterprise grade voice quality
  • No need to connect it to AC power/change batteries. It gets powered through the USB cable connected to the PC
  • Its small size and light weight makes it extremely portable. You can take it with you while traveling
  • Desktop speakers can be plugged in for audio pass-through
  • The seven feet pick up range enables a few people to sit around and participate in small audio conferences

Limitations:

  • Quality of VOIP communications (over the Internet) depends on external factors like latency, packet drops and the quality of hardware at the other end
  • The provided USB cable is small and you might want to order an USB extender cable
  • Try not to wind/unwind the USB cord attached to this unit anymore than what is necessary, as it is difficult to put it back in its original position

Tips:

  • Try to use the provided stand (which gives it a 40 degree inclination) for best acoustic performance
  • In the Skype ‘Options’ menu, set the ‘Audio settings’ to ‘Polycom Communicator’ for best user experience
  • Download the latest Polycom software drivers/software from the site, if the included CD contains an earlier version

Alternatives: Polycom SoundStation2 series audio conference phones, if you want to plug in an analog phone line directly (or) Polycom SoundStation IP series audio conference phones, if you want to connect it directly to the network port and use it as a stand alone IP audio conference device.

Where to buy: If you live in the United States (US), you can buy the Polycom Communicator C100S speaker phone online, from Amazon.

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