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Dual DECT and cordless Skype phone works

Review Receive Skype phone calls even in the bath!
Sun Jun 19 2005, 13:33

Product: Du@lphone 9211 IP
Manufacturer: Olympia
Supplier: RTX
Price: Circa 135 Euros (£90)

IN TERMS OF dual purpose handsets for the home, the most cost-saving approach must surely be a combined cordless and VoIP handset. Given the popularity of Skype and the use of the DECT standard for digital cordless in Europe, then the Du@lphone is the obvious solution.

Most Skype users have joined up so that they can make free voice calls to friends and family abroad who possess a broadband connexion. Normally you're tied to your desktop PC or laptop, waiting for a call to come in.

With the Du@lphone you can easily wander around the house and take the call wherever is convenient. Even in the bath if you want to. Plus the quality of the voice calls is very high. Indeed, it's difficult to tell the difference between a Skype call and a regular telephone connexion with this handset.

The INQ hasn't had the chance to try out the Fusion dual mode handset from BT yet, but we've been reliably informed that voice call quality over a Bluetooth connexion isn't as good as DECT.

About the only drawback with this approach is that you have to connect the base station to your PC via USB and the PC has to be powered up the whole time. Otherwise Skype calls won't work, although you can make regular calls. The unit can be plugged into any regular (PSTN) landline, however. You don't need to be connected to BT, for example.

The loan product was supplied to the INQ by RTX of Denmark for whom Olympia makes this particular model. RTX has undertaken the task of providing suitable telephone line adaptors and mains power adaptors for most European countries. The instructions have also been translated into 12 different languages.

That covers most of Europe plus parts of Africa and Asia - even Australia. So about the only markets where it won't work are the Americas where 1900 MHz is used for cellular phones.

In terms of installation, your PC needs to be located close to a telephone socket but that's common practice these days, anyway. The instructions do warn, however, that you have to use the version of Skype which is supplied with the Du@lphone software. That means you're reliant on RTX for updates when Skype issues a major update to its software.

alt='dualphone'About the only feature which this handset doesn't have is an ability to download telephone numbers from the PC to the handset. You normally have to type them in manually. However, since the handset supports CLI (Calling Line Identity), you can quickly assign a name to the stored numbers for received phone calls.

The biggest advantage to the Du@phone is that it is relatively easy to work out how much calls will cost. Either you're using it as a local telephone or the usual Skype Out calling costs apply. Unless there is a monthly data limit to your broadband connexion, Skype to Skype calls are free.

The INQ reckons that every broadband connected home should acquire one of these. µ


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