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Q. I enjoy reading your column and appreciate the opportunity to receive your suggestions on conference calling via Skype.

I often have to do long global conference calls from home into the night. Both headsets and regular telephone handsets are just too uncomfortable to use for any length of time.

I prefer using Skype and would like to know if you have any
suggestions for conference call devices that I can use with Skype, which will make these calls a little more comfortable while leaving my hands free.

Aston Bridgman

A. Well, it happens that I have recently come across just such a device: the Polycom Communicator (www.polycom.com/communicator) which could be ideal for your requirements.

As you suggest, using a handset or even a headset for lengthy Skype calls can be both uncomfortable and inconvenient. The Polycom Communicator, which costs $129, is an attractive hands-free portable device that is small enough to move easily from room to room or take on a business trip. (It also comes with a carrying case.)

The Communicator has an integrated USB (universal serial bus) cable that plugs into a standard USB port on a PC, so there are no extra cables to carry.

It has two built-in stereo microphones and comes with a fold-out stand that makes it easy to use on a desktop and angles the device towards the user.

Inside, the device features hardware that supports up to 22kHz audio, producing what Polycom says is the best possible voice quality over Skype.

Certainly, I have been impressed during my recent brief test. It also does well eliminating echoes and feedback using Polycom’s proprietary technology.

The front of the device features a set of easy access control buttons that enable users to launch Skype, pick up and hang up calls, and control volume and mute.

Now that Skype is being adopted by a broader range of users – including a growing number of business users – there are sure to be more conferencing devices similar to the Polycom coming on the market.

Paul Taylor (paul.taylor@ft.com) tackles your high-tech problems and queries at www.ft.com/gadgetguru

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.
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