Chromis Review: Polycom Communicator C100

The Polycom Communicator is a device that is a little larger and twice as thick as an Apple iPhone. It has a speaker and two microphones as well as a USB cable to connect to your computer. It also has a standard audio jack on the side of the unit where you can plug in earphones. The Communicator is basically a quality speakerphone for your computer. It is not a telephone itself but it works with other telephones such as CounterPath eyeBeam or Skype. The speakerphone audio quality during my test of the C100 was exceptional. The speaker sounded loud and clear and the microphone did a good job of picking up my voice while minimizing background noise. I used it with eyeBeam on a 15″ Apple MacBook Pro running OS X 10.5 connected to a Digium Switchvox PBX.

To use the Communicator, plug in the USB cable and go to Options, General, Devices in eyeBeam and set your Speaker and Microphone device to the C100 (under the Headset settings and/or the Speakerphone settings). Make a call as you normally would and you’re using the Polycom Communicator. It is that easy!

Polycom Communicator C100

The Communicator has five buttons on the front. The top and bottom buttons adjust the volume of the Communicator’s speaker and the center button mutes the Communicator’s microphone. Physical buttons like this are helpful when you use a softphone while doing other things on your computer. The left and right buttons are intended for answering and hanging up calls and launching your softphone application. These two buttons did not work with eyeBeam on my Mac but I did not make an extensive attempt to verify if they could be used successfully. The volume and mute buttons worked perfectly and the have a reassuringly soft feel under the finger that I like. The C100 comes with a carrying case and the USB cable folds up neatly inside the back of the C100; the unit is easily portable for your laptop bag. The C100 is powered by the USB connection to your laptop so power cords and batteries are not required.

Shown above is the Polycom Communicator C100S. The S on the end of the product name indicates that it is designed for Skype. The primary difference is the button on the left is labeled with a blue S for Skype. The C100 and C100S seem to work exactly the same and are otherwise interchangeable.

The Polycom Communicator is a fun device and is recommended if you are a softphone user looking for improved audio and to use your softphone as a speakerphone.