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Introduction

At a Glance
Product Polycom Communicator (C100S)
Summary Easy to use high fidelity Skype speakerphone
Pros • Easy to set up and use
• Excellent voice quality
Cons • Call initiation can be confusing
• Attached USB cable not user-replaceable

At the recent VON show, I dropped by Polycom's booth to check out its "HD Voice" wideband audio technology demo. I used many a POTS Polycom speakerphone in my former corporate life and always have been impressed with the products. They are uniquely styled, solidly built and a big improvement over the old Western Electric "squawk boxes". So when I spied the Communicator, I asked for a short demo and then for a review unit, which Polycom quickly sent.

Polycom Communicator

The Communicator is a high-fidelity full-duplex Skype speakerphone that is worthy of the Polycom logo that it bears. The heavy plastic casing looks and feels more like metal, probably due to the judicious use of real metal grilles for the speaker and stereo microphones. Its size and weight will remind you of a PDA that needs a few weeks on the South Beach diet, but it's definitely built for on-the-go as well as stay-at-home/office use.

The Communicator's portability is enhanced by the nice quality zippered case that comes with it, as well as its integrated USB cable and elegantly-designed storage method (Figure 1).

Communicator rear view showing USB cable storage

Figure 1: Communicator rear view showing USB cable storage

All you need to do is flip open the back cover, which doubles as a stand to elevate the device into proper working position, unwind the thin one meter USB cable and plug in. You then run the Driver / Software Install CD, which doesn't actually contain any software, but just a nice GUI that directs you to the proper places on the Polycom and Skype websites to download up-to-date versions of the installer(s) you need.

Communicator physical info

Figure 2: Communicator physical info

Note that you even get a 3.5 mm stereo headphone jack in case you prefer that way of listening.

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