The ClearOne Chat 50 is a unique product. It is a full-duplex USB speakerphone that can be used with your computer for Voice over Internet Protocol (i.e., Skype, Vonage), for audio or audio/video conferencing, online chat with instant messenger programs or online gaming. It is full-duplex: both parties can be speaking at the same time. Half-duplex is far more common, where only one person at a time can speak.
Installation is simple, although be sure to check for driver and firmware updates. The firmware update crashed my Windows XP system, though without serious damage.
As a microphone, the audio quality is top-notch. As a conference mike, it is very sensitive. I was able to comfortably listen to a recording made while I was about eight feet away and speaking in a normal voice. In that same normal voice, I was also audible out to about fifteen feet. Echo cancellation is excellent.
As a speaker, the Chat 50 is suprisingly capable. Sound is crisp, somewhat flat, but perfectly usable for voice, movies and streaming music.
Accessory cables allow you to use the Chat 50 with cell phones, some jack equipped phone systems, MP3 players and videoconferencing equipment. All in all, a very capable full-duplex speakerphone. The one drawback is that it has no battery power capability. It must be used with USB power or a somewhat bulky, but not huge, AC power adapter.
Overall, a pricey but very worthwhile full-duplex speakerphone for anyone who uses VoIP a lot, webcams or voice chats.