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Polycom SoundStation Premier review: Polycom SoundStation Premier

Polycom SoundStation Premier

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
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.