Untangle Your Desktop

If you're getting tangled up in the cords on your desk, this VoIP phone/keyboard/mouse combo will cut through (some of) the clutter.
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This story appears in the February 2007 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »
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I don't know about your desk, but mine resembles the receiving counter at an electronics waste dump. It's piled high with CPUs, monitors, phones, mice and some gear I no longer recognize--all bound together by power cords and connector cables. So I tried Logitech's EasyCall Desktop keyboard/mouse/speakerphone system. It didn't clean up my mess, but it did make a dent.

The wireless keyboard and laser mouse combo communicate with your PC via the VoIP-enabled speakerphone, which is about the size of an eyeglass case. Desk messes vary, but I traded four cables and four PC ports for just one USB port and cable between the PC and speakerphone. And since the keyboard and mouse are powered by two penlight batteries, there's no A/C adapter cable, either.

Basically, the $130 EasyCall takes the discrete voice and audio components that may be sprouting up on your desk because of VoIP and distributes their features, functions and buttons across a single system whose components are of higher quality than standard PC issue.

The mouse is the same palm-snuggling laser mouse for which Logitech is famous--highly programmable with a scroll wheel and extra buttons that are easily configured for numerous functions beyond their default zooming and paging.

The keyboard is equally robust, with a palm rest and the standard layout of well-spaced keys with good travel. In addition to the usual programmable function keys, there's a handful of call-handling buttons borrowed from phones and VoIP menus. You just tap the right keyboard button to launch your favorite VoIP, IM or e-mail application; start or finish calls; or adjust call volume.

For added convenience, the most-often-used buttons are duplicated on a small speakerphone that delivers big sound--full-duplex sound with background noise and echo-canceling technology. Talkers on both sides of a VoIP conversation can talk and hear simultaneously. A bundled stereo headset plugs into the speakerphone for extra privacy.

Like most VoIP hardware, EasyCall only supports certain VoIP services--in this case, Yahoo! Messenger and AOL's AIM.

But at least when I move my mouse now, it doesn't drag a big pile of electronics toward me.

Edition: July 2017

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