Following on from my recent post about the Voyager Legend UC, today I’m turning my attention to something that sits on the desk rather than on your ear. The latest addition to Plantronics’ Calisto range is the 620, and it’s got a rather attractive selling point.

My home office (a grand title for the room that often features drying laundry) is equipped with a Jabra SPEAK 410 speakerphone, which connects to my laptop or Surface RT to take Lync calls. After two years this continues to serve me well and is a wonderfully simple piece of high-quality kit. But there’s a problem… sometimes people ring my mobile phone, and I hate speaking on my mobile phone (I mean that I hate having a conversation holding it to my ear). At one point I did have a Jabra PRO 9470 which solved that problem, but when I left IBM I did the decent thing and handed it back. Ironically I gave it to Jon Crouch, who has since joined Microsoft. Funny, eh?

Enter the Plantronics Calisto 620 – it’s a speakerphone, but instead of using a USB cable to connect to the laptop or Surface it uses Bluetooth. Underneath the unit itself you’ll find a small recess holding a Bluetooth adapter thingy (that’s the technical term) which pops into a USB port and provides wireless connectivity to the Calisto 620. There is a USB cable in the box, but this is used for charging (there’s an assortment of plug adapters too). Now, the magic word here is ‘Bluetooth’ and this means that the Calisto 620 can be connected to the laptop / Surface AND a mobile phone (in my case, the awesome Nokia Lumia 920 with its two-day battery capacity). So if someone does call the mobile, I can pick up the call on the speakerphone. It’s also possible to stream music from a mobile device to the Calisto 620 (I can’t see myself doing that but may be a useful feature for some users).

Plantronics Calisto 620The Calisto 620 features Lync integration – Lync recognises the 620 and allows you to select it as the active device, and when in use it sets your Lync status to ‘on a call’ (even if the call comes in on the mobile phone). As you’d expect with a Plantronics device, the sound is crystal-clear and it supports all that complicated stuff like full duplex audio, bi-directional microphones (which reduce ambient noise) and echo cancellation. The Calisto 620 features a battery meter, and that meter has barely budged during the couple of hours of conference calls I’ve been on today.

Click on the image to see a larger version.

In the interests of fairness, I should note that Jabra have updated their range in the two years since I first got a Jabra SPEAK 410 – the 510 also features Bluetooth so I guess the same set-up could be achieved.

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