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Olympia OL6010 review: Olympia OL6010

Olympia OL6010

Michael Fitzgerald
Michael Fitzgerald writes about innovation and other big ideas in business for publications like the New York Times, The Economist, Fast Company, Inc. and CIO. He’s worked as a writer or editor at Red Herring, ZDNet, TechTV and Computerworld, and has received numerous awards as a writer and editor. Most recently, his piece on the hacker collective the l0pht won the 2008 award for best trade piece from the American Society of Journalists and Authors. He was also a 2007 Templeton-Cambridge Journalism Fellow in Science and Religion.
Michael Fitzgerald
2 min read
Olympia's OL6010 wireless conference phone is pricier ($899.95 list) than competing 2.4GHz wireless models, but your money is well spent because of the phone's wealth of features and decent sound quality. In fact, despite its cordless connection, this system tested better than the Polycom SoundStation Premier, which isn't even wireless.
The Olympia OL6010's overall look is sleek, with two-toned coloring and a smart design. The base station is battery powered, so it can move with the phone, which creates extra flexibility for offices with far-flung conference rooms. (Its 2.4GHz range is a somewhat limited 100 feet.) The interface of the speaker pod could be better, though we appreciate the two-line monochrome screen, which displays phone-book info, remaining talk time and battery life, mute, signal strength, and more. The cluttered keypad has more features than most people need. Some of these are useful, such as the ability to conference people in by pushing a phone-book button, but occasionally we found ourselves punching the wrong key. Also, we aren't impressed with the tactile feel of the buttons. Aside from its cordless design, the OL6010 has only standard features, including an onboard phone book and a call timer. The rated battery life is typical for regular cordless phones: six hours.
In our tests, we found that calls came through clear and strong, and the phone handled duplexing decently. However, sound quality received on the opposite end was not as impressive: "You sound like you're in a tunnel," was one complaint we got, though typically people said the sound was at least passable. The microphone also picked up ambient noises and kicked them back (on the plus side, this can keep conference fidgeters in line).