Early in 2010 Polycom introduced an addition to their legendary Soundstation line of conference phones, the Soundstation IP5000. (pictured right) I was lucky enough to get one for review and found it very attractive for the small office and home office user.
While I was on the exhibit floor at ITExpo last month I saw what looked like a Soundstation IP5000 at the Netx booth. However, looking a little closer I found it wasn’t a Soundstation IP5000 at all…it was a new model called the Soundstation Duo.
Returning from ITExpo a quick examination of both the Polycom and Netx web sites revealed nothing about this model, so it must be truly a new offering. Earlier today Polycom officially launched the new device, issuing some details in the form of a press release.
Like the other Soundstation IP models it supports operation on network via SIP, but also includes an analog line interface. Even further, it includes an analog 2.5mmm jack supporting use with a cell phone or computer. That means that it can be used in conjunction with soft phones like Skype or Google Chat, neither of which support SIP directly.
The microphone performance of the Soundstation Duo reportedly reaches out 10 feet around the device, hence the claim that it’s appropriate for meeting rooms up to 400 square feet. Like the larger Soundstation models, the ability to add two wired extension microphones extends its reach considerably.
While I was not part of the longer beta program, Polycom has recently loaned me a beta unit for evaluation. An initial experiment using the Soundstation Duo attached to a laptop reveals that, true to their claim, the device supports HDVoice providing audio bandwidth up to 7 KHz.
When operated using IP connectivity it supports G.722 encoded audio like the smaller Soundstation IP5000 model. Of course, the PSTN standards G.711 & G.729 are also supported.
The inclusion of multiple interfaces makes the Soundstation Duo an incredibly flexible device. The diversity of interfaces make it ideal for portable use, which is where I’ve been using the ClearOne Chat 160. Since the Soundstation Duo can be used in a freestanding fashion it could easily become my preferred solution. It addresses a broad variety of use cases, without necessarily requiring the use of a computer.
There are pretty good odds that this sample unit will end up at Astricon 2011 later this month in support of a live VUC call from that event. I will certainly have something more to say about the Soundstation Duo once I’ve actually used it for a few weeks.