Product Review: UbiDuo Face to Face Communicator


The UbiDuo is an ideal communication device for people with hearing impairment.  It’s portable, runs on batteries, and allows for uncomplicated conversation between two to four people.  Let’s take a closer look at how this piece of assistive technology operates.

Ubi-Duo home screen
Ubi-Duo home screen

When you first turn on the UbiDuo, you will see a home screen like the one pictured above.  From the options given, you can navigate to where you’d like to begin.  For example, the date on the screen is incorrect, so if you wished to set it to today’s date, you would use your arrow keys to highlight the Settings box and go from there.

There are a couple of different ways to start a conversation with another Ubi-Duo device.  Notice the little seat belt buckle icon in the upper right hand corner.  This is the Auto-Link indicator.  When the seat belt appears to be buckled, this means that the Auto-Link feature is set to On, meaning that the device will automatically seek out another nearby Ubi-Duo and connect to it.  If the icon appears unbuckled, the Auto-Link is Off.  Because our UbiDuo Auto-Link is On, we can go ahead and start a conversation by clicking on the Split screen icon.

If the Auto-Link happens to be Off, you can either click the Auto-Link icon or first check to see if another UbiDuo is within range of your device by clicking the In Range button.

Ubi-Duo Split screen
Ubi-Duo Split screen

The above image shows what a conversation looks like in Split screen.  Your messages will be displayed on the top while the other person’s messages will show up on the bottom portion of the screen.  The numbers at the beginning of each message indicate your device’s specific ID number, and can be customized to display your name in the Settings section.

While we’re on the subject, let’s check out the Settings section!

Settings screen
Settings screen

As you can see, there are many options for customizing your UbiDuo.  You can change the font size, the contrast, adjust the brightness, or turn off the backlight.  You can also set the screen so that the text is white on a black background, like in the following image:

White text on a black background
White text on a black background

You can easily adjust your settings by navigating through the menus with your arrow keys, but there are also function keys assigned to each task, which are provided to you in the user manual.

To learn more about this piece of assistive technology, visit the manufacturer’s website sComm.  Interested in testing it yourself?  Stop by the INDATA Loan Library and we will set you up!


  1. The Nintendo DS has a feature that is similar to what this machine does, allowing you to connect and have a conversation with other people in the room. It would be interesting to see a comparison in machine capabilities and pricing.

  2. The Nintendo DS is much cheaper than the UbiDuo. It’s also smaller, making it portable and user-friendly. The downside to using a Nintendo DS as a communicator is that you must use the on-screen keyboard, while the UbiDuo provides a standard QWERTY keyboard for easier use.

    We have a few Nintendo DS units in our loan library. Sounds like we might do a post on it’s communication system so we can really make a good comparison. Thanks for the thought, Amanda!

  3. My phone does this it’s called texting. My computer has a version of the same thing too it’s called email. There is another cheaper face to face device that you also have heard of this fancy method is called paper and pencil. Who would use this? It’s just locally limited text/email/paper.

    1. Matt, while pen and paper work well for many, not all can write as fast as they type. The key point here is finding a communication method that the individual is comfortable with, whether that is pen and paper or an electronic device.

  4. I want to do a report on the ubiduo for a tech class I am taking, but I can’t seem to find enough information for paper. Do you have any more information that you could email me?

    Thank you

  5. Is the price really two thousand dollars for a set of these? Doesn’t VTech make something like this for $30, but with a better screen?

    Would not $2,000 buy 3 iPads + keyboards and software?
    Or NINE netbooks?
    Both those options offer worlds of additional options beyond Ubiduo or – pen and paper.

    What am I missing in understanding this?

    1. John,

      It’s all about offering a variety of options for people with disabilities. You wouldn’t want to walk into a cell phone carrier store only to find two cell phones to chose from. Therefore, even though this option may be the most expensive, it is a technology that is there for people who are Deaf or hard of hearing to chose from. You are correct – an iPad can offer much more functionality than the UbiDuo (not to mention much lighter and easier to carry). We find that many businesses are purchasing the UbiDuo for their offices/storefronts, then training employees on how to use it so that they can communicate with someone who has a hearing impairment. It’s my opinion that business purchase the UbiDuo instead of an iPad or related technology because it is less likely to walk off with an employee/customer, and it’s sole purpose is for communication. What do you think?


  6. Our public library purchsed the UbiDuo so that we can be sure that we can provide a convenient communication tool for customers with profound hearing disabilities. We are trying to provide equal access to our services. We do not want to rely on customers to bring in a cell phone or a tablet. We do not want to embarass anyone by having to share a device. We want to be proactive and provide an even level of service. This portable communicator allows independent use of the Library in a dignified manner.

  7. Thank you. This was more helpful than the manual. I just needed the instructions on how to carry on a conversation with another person in the same office. These instructions were very easy to follow.

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