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Overview of Portable USB Speakerphones

Phoenix Audio Duet PCS

duetexec_big1The Duet PCS speakerphone from Phoenix Audio was one of the first devices of its kind aimed squarely at the higher end of the marketplace for portable/desktop devices. It’s intended to be at home on an executives desktop or a small boardroom table. In fact,the Executive model accommodates extension units as might be appropriate for a larger office or boardroom.

While it’s portable, and USB powered, it’s also built very well. It just doesn’t feel light or plasticky.  The perforated grill covering the speaker is metal and the trandsucers are good quality. However, it’s not the sort of gadget that I’d want to routinely carry in my laptop bag. At 3.75″ x 1.25″ x 4.5″  and weighing over 8 ounces it’s just a little too large and too heavy to be a constant travelling companion.

The three buttons on the top of the device are for mic mute and volume up/down. There’s also a headset jack allowing the use of the device with an analog headset for the occasional, more private call.

From an acoustic performance point of view it’s very good. At the point when I owned one my only wideband capable soft phone was Skype. As I recall it sounded very good indeed. I expect that it would be easily be up to handling G.722 based wideband telephony. The published specifications certainly support that possibility.

In fact, the Duet made such a good impression that I eventually gave it to my boss. At the time my boss was based in the UK and used Skype to stay in touch with US staff. The Duet was intended to improve out overall experience by making it easier to understand each other. As I recall he used it for a while, but eventually settled on a good headset as being his personal preference.

The Duet PCS speakerphone is still available, in fact Phoenix Audio has expanded their product range considerably to include larger board room conference devices. A quick search of Amazon reveals the Duet selling for $121. That puts it at the upper end of all the USB speakerphones that I’ve tried, but it was a really high-quality device.

Next: Polycom C100S Communicator

This Post Has One Comment
  1. My wife is a road warrior who totes a Sony Vaio. Given the fact that the Vaio was built for audio/visual, I quested whether these devices would significantly increase the quality of the audio. Because she winds up with many ad hoc conference calls in foreign countries, I decided to buy her one of these units. Call me surprised!

    While there was some improvement in the output, the input was hugely better. She can actually set up her laptop on a conference room table and hold a business conference call VOIP without any problems. It was money well spent, but I’m still trying to figure out how to get her company to reimubrse it.

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