Polycom Communicator C100S

The C100S offers a loud, good quality speaker and two mics sensitive enough to capture audio from a 6 to 7 feet radius.


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Polycom Communicator C100S

Polycom is mostly known for business teleconferencing and video conferencing products. The Communicator C100S is a desktop speakerphone that connects to your PC via USB and interacts with Skype, providing a speaker and mic for you to communicate. The C100S is Skype Certified.

Polycom Communicator C100S

At first, it looks like a gizmo that could offer a fair bunch of features, but that's not quite true. The C100S offers a loud, good quality speaker and two mics sensitive enough to capture audio from a 6 to 7 feet radius, but that's all it does. If you want to get picky, it also offers you buttons to make and end a call, to adjust volume and a button to start Skype, along with a jack on the side into which you can plug in a pair of headphones. It doesn't offer any way to “replace” having to use Skype on the PC, which is something I would expect from a hardware device that costs Rs 7,740. It could have had a keypad and an LCD screen that also shows the recently made/received/missed calls, turning it into a Skype phone, but the C100S provides nothing. Effectively, the Polycom C100S is just a fancy looking USB speaker and a microphone. And it doesn't even look THAT good.

That's not the end of the disappointments. The USB cable of the C110 is very short (a little over two and half a foot), so if your PC has no USB slots on the front, you'll need an extension cable. But the way it is, it's actually meant to be used by laptop users in a conference room. That's where the 7-foot radius sensitivity of the mics comes in useful.

Even though the device is simple in nature, you still need to install a driver for it to work. It comes with a CD, which throws up a window with two buttons for the Polycom software and Skype, but here's the fun part: neither the software nor Skype are included in the CD. The disc only provides LINKS to download the two from the web. Why give a CD at all? On the other hand, if you did give a CD, why can't you include both the items? Even if they get outdated, they'll still work, won't they?

When you connect the device, it takes over as your primary audio input/output device without asking you. In probable cases like on laptops in conference rooms, this works as you don't have to manually switch the audio of your application(s), but if you plan to keep it connected, you'll have to manually change the settings from the Control Panel. As mentioned before, the quality of the speaker is excellent for voice and the mic really works well, picking up voice from a distance. The “wideband” C100S can receive frequencies upto 22KHz, which is more than what's usually required for decent quality voice (16KHz), but it's sort of meaningless at this point because Skype itself doesn't go beyond 16KHz.

In the end, the Polycom Communicator C100S is far overpriced at Rs 7,740.

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