The Good Extra microphones; nice keypad feel; sleek design; remote control.
The Bad Sound quality could be better.
The Bottom Line The Polycom SoundStation Premier provides decent sound for a small to medium-size conference room.
Polycom SoundStation Premier
Polycom is a dominant player in the speakerphone market, thanks in part to its familiar SoundStation Premier model. This office staple proved itself with decent sound and basic features, but we'd like to see some updated technology for $800.
The Polycom SoundStation Premier's design isn't fancy--you've probably seen its triple-arm outline in many conference rooms--and if you want to move it from one room to another, you'll have to pull all the wires and microphones and take them with you. But the pod's footprint is small, and the keypad is simple and responsive to the touch. Polycom also includes a remote control for managing phone functions, although we found the buttons on this device awkward to press.
Features are not SoundStation Premier's strong point; it doesn't let you store phone numbers on the pod, though the remote holds six of them, and there's no speed dial. However, the unit is full duplex, which is essential for any decent speakerphone. It also comes with two external microphones, which are useful for improving reception quality on the other end of the line.
In our tests, the SoundStation Premier performed decently. Incoming calls came through clearly and were loud enough, but receiving callers complained that we sounded like we were talking while standing inside a tunnel, and we experienced some cutouts. That said, this is a decent addition to any conference room.