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Review: ClearOne Chat 160 USB Conference Phone

In my travels there have been times when I’ve engaged in some very long phone calls. It may be that I’m speaking to my wife while killing time in some far off hotel, or perhaps consulting with an associate on a tech support matter. In such circumstances I’ve come to believe that a USB attached speakerphone and a soft phone can be a very convenient combination.

USB attached audio devices are handy when you have a computer readily available. Being USB attached they save you the trouble of finding a way to provide network connectivity for a traditional IP conference phone.

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New Gear: ClearOne Chat 160

At lasts years visit to Astricon it became clear that  it would be good to “tool up” for having conference calls at remote locations. As I described previously, the ClearOne Chat 50 USB speakerphone that I had brought along was not really adequate to the task of a conference call with a number of people scattered around a hotel room.

I can’t fault the device as it, like most USB attached speakerphones, are intended as personal audio devices, to be used by an individual at a desk. It’s microphone pickup pattern describes a 120 degree arc across the front of the device. That means that fully two thirds of the room are off-mic and won’t be heard very well.

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Review: Plantronics Savi Go Bluetooth Headset

LeatherBox-200 copyThere’s a little leather-covered box that sits at the back of my desk. It’s the recipient of small items of technology that for some reason I can’t really use but also can’t stand to just throw away. It held until recently an impressive selection of Bluetooth cordless headsets.

Seriously, I bet I’ve purchased eight of those little beasts over the years, ever hopeful that each would be the one that was actually usable…possibly even a pleasure to use…but I was always disappointed. This cycle has gone on for long enough that I’d pretty much written off Bluetooth devices as a pointless waste of time.

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