I work from home, often collaborating with colleagues from all around the country. Next to my computer and my chair I would have to say that the best office equipment investment I’ve made is in a dual phone/polycom conferencing phone. The official name of this product is the “Polycom SoundPoint Pro 2-Line Conferencing Speakerphone with Integrated Headset Amplifier”. Unlike most speaker phones features that come with ordinary phones, the Polycom phone’s speaker phone is full duplex, meaning that two people on a call can both talk at the same time and hear what each other is saying. Ordinary speaker phones only let one side talk at a time, making the natural free form of conversation difficult.
Polycom is best known for its triangular-shaped SoundStation office conference phones, with multiple directional mics, echo cancellation, noise supression, and high quality sound. When I set up my home office a few years ago I wanted the same quality of speaker and conference phone at home as I had at work. SoundStations run around $400 so I was delighted to find the Polycom SoundPoint at Fry’s for a lot less. At the time of this writing, Amazon.com has a 2-line Polycom listed for $169 A lot, you may think, for a home office phone. But I use my phone almost as often as my computer and my computer cost a lot more. It has held up well too. I bought it four years ago and it still works great.
Regarding features. In addition to the same great quality speaker phone as you would find in a regular Polycom, the SoundPoint supports two incoming lines, caller ID, speed dialing, mute, 360-degree microphone, and an LCD display. Unlike a lot of multi-featured phones, this phone is easy to understand and use, as if the Polycom company actually researched their phone user interface.