Skype and iChat are great programs that keep the lines of communication open between you and the important people in your life: family, friends, business clients, etc. One of the downsides of using either of these programs is that you are forced to engage your computers’ crappy internal mic. Or you find yourself trying to MacGuyver up a headset configuration out of a bobby pin, some Kleenex, and a penny. Thankfully VoIP peripheral manufacturers IPEVO recently released some products that will make your chatting experience much more pleasant.
The IPEVO TR-10 (Mac OS X 10.5 up) and TR-10 are for Macs and PCs and respectively although the TR-1o is Mac and PC compatible (Microsoft Windows XP and Vista (32-bit), Mac OS X 10.4 up)
They are a mic, speaker and handset rolled into one nifty little device. Plug the device into an available USB port and you have your very own personal conference call phone ready to go. The speaker and mic are loud enough for a group of 4-5 people to huddle up and conduct business. The sound quality is heads and shoulders over your computer’s mic. If you need to have a private conversation, simply flip the swtich and hold it like you would a regular phone.
While those features are great in themselves, it’s the control center located on the top of the devices that make this gadget shine. Using the control center, users can control the speaker volume you or mute the mic, good for those times you need to confer privately with your colleagues or screaming at the top of your lungs because of some inane request made by your boss (it’s okay, we won’t tell). Both devices also offer the ability to record your conversations. After the recording is done, the file is saved onto your comp’s hard drive for easy retrieval at a later date. The TR-10i Mac version allows users to create podcasts using GarageBand. It should be noted that to take advantage of the full functionality of either device you must run the Control Center application otherwise your comp will read it as another external microphone. Macs and PCs respectively although the TR-10 is said to be Mac and PC compatible.
Another selling point is the possibility of indirect saving dues to your increased use of Skype and iChat. The idea is since iChat and Skype calls are free, you can save money by making either application your primary source of reaching out and touching someone. If that were to happen, then your phone bill disappears, leaving only the montly cost of your internet provider, but with our raging addiction to tiny, app-heavy cell phones, the likelihood of this feasibly happening is slim to none. But for the $79.99 pricetag, this is a pretty good USB device to have if you’re constantly making business calls or conducting interviews.