(Pocket-lint) - Use Skype, but don't want to look like a call centre staff member? Polycom thinks it has the answer with its Communicator C100, a speakerphone system that can be used with any VoIP package and your computer.

Plugging into your PC via a USB socket, the unit sits anywhere on your desk and allows you to speak freely without any wires attached to your head.

Design wise and the Polycom Communicator C100 is small and compact with the stand hiding the USB cable.

We like the fact it's powered by USB so no need to use yet another power socket under your desk or root around trying to find one in a boardroom if you are working from the laptop.

Centred around the three audio speakers on the unit is a central console that allows you to launch your VoIP package of choice (we used Skype for our testing) as well as controlling answering and hanging up and volume control.

There is also a big mute button if you want to talk to others in the room, but not let the person on the other end of the line hear you.

Failing that if you do want a private conversation then the C100 sports a plug into the built-in stereo headphone port.

Once connected to the PC - it works with a Mac, but the hang up and launch application buttons aren't supported - it's merely a case of telling your VoIP package that you are using it and away you go - in Skype this is found in the preferences pane under Audio.

The speaker, which is based on the same technology the company uses in its triangular SoundStation conference phones, promises crystal clear conversations and in practice, it certainly lives up to its billing.

On all the calls we made the results were very impressive with good sound provided at both ends.

In fact, Polycom says that because of the two microphones within the unit, the Communicator 100 can support group conversations with up to four participants making this ideal for meeting room situations.


If you are planning on making plenty of conference calls and want to do it via Skype - hey why wouldn't you it's free - then this speaker phone option offering good results without having to have something on your head or in your hand.

Probably not for the home environment like the Philips Skype handsets for use in the living room, but as a speaker phone it's top notch.

Writing by Stuart Miles.