In the last 12 months the pace at which Skype compatible phones have been coming out has steadily increased. We’ve tested the Du@lphone, a cordless handset that is designed to work with both Skype and standard telephone lines. The handset looks like a regular home telephone, but a closer look reveals a “PC Key” button that switches the handset into “Skype mode” and shows the current Skype contacts that are online. Press the button again to place a call. If you are using SkypeOut, just enter a number and press the “PC Key” button. Can it get easier than that? There are not a lot of cordless Skype phones, so does this one get the job done?
The installation procedure consists of connecting the phone to a USB port and installing the Cordless Dualphone Suite software. This application will be the interface to configure settings like country and prefix. I didn’t bother changing them as the default ones were working just fine for the U.S.
The sound quality was good on both standard calls and Skype calls but I wish that the volume was a bit louder. In a noisy environment (TV…) it is a bit more difficult to hear.
The phone is constantly synchronized with Skype. When a contact becomes available, the phone will emit an alert and display the contact name for a few seconds, just long enough for the user to check out who just logged in. After a few days of use, it didn’t really annoy me, but if you have a lot of contacts, you can turn it off.
This phone is not as stylish as other Skype handsets and I think that the design could have been much cooler. Discussing with my friends, I found out that there are mainly two types of people when it comes to home telephone. The first group wants to have a cute, smaller phone that looks like a cellphone. The second one would go for the bulkier (but stylish) phone. I think that this is the (only?) weak point of the Dualphone.
No Outlook connectivity?
It would have been so great if the phone could download contact list from Outlook. That’s a software issue, so we hope that this feature will be available at some point.
We like this phone for its dual purpose because unlike other Skype phones, this one can actually replace your standard phone, instead of adding another device on your desk. It could have looked better, but it gets the job done. It is possible to add up to four additional handsets. Once installed, it definitely removes the “PC Aspect” of Skype, which can help other people in the house use VOIP and by doing so, lower your bill
RTX DUALphone Features (from the manufacturer):
• Internet calling/landline hybrid phone
• Skype certified
• Skype buddy list and status displayed on handset
• Superior wideband audio
• DECT 6.0 cordless technology (WiFi-friendly)
• Rechargeable and replaceable battery
• Backlit LCD display
• Standard headset connecter
• Multiple handset capacity
• Upgradeable firmware
• Range: Indoor 150 feet/Outdoor 1000 feet
• Distinctive ring indicates landline or Skype calls
$139 at DualPhone.net
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