RTX DUALPhone 3088
- Doesn't require a PC, user interface and ease of setup, automatically downloads Skype contacts, 200-entry telephone book, decent in-call quality for both landline and Skype calls, can switch between a Skype and landline call, excellent user manual
- Only works with Skype, microphone needs to be louder, no handset locator on charging cradle, keypad not backlit
For Skype users, this is one of the best handsets available. The DUALphone has an excellent interface, decent call quality and best of all, it is very easy to use thanks to a detailed user guide.
Price$ 299.00 (AUD)
The RTX DUALphone 3088 is a cordless phone for both Skype and ordinary telephone calls. The DUALphone doesn't require a PC to operate, instead just using a broadband Internet connection through a router or modem, and a regular telephone line.
The DUALphone consists of three main parts; a phone, a charging cradle and a base station. The base station has two inputs on its rear, one connecting a standard RJ-45 Ethernet cable to your modem or router, and the other a standard RJ-11 telephone line jack. Both the base station and the charging cradle use an AC power adapter. The design of the DUALphone is separated to allow users to put the base station near their PC and the phone and cradle where they would normally have a standard cordless telephone. The DUALphone has an indoor range of up to 50 meters and an outdoor range of up to 300 meters and we found these figures very close to the mark.
Setup is as simple as connecting all the appropriate cords and plugging both the base station and the charging cradle into AC power. The DUALphone comes pre-charged, but RTX recommends a first time charge of up to six hours. Users can configure the DUALphone with an existing Skype account, or can even create a new Skype account on the phone itself. This process is as easy as typing in a username and password, accepting the Skype agreement and signing into your account. The DUALphone also allows users to save their Skype name and password for automatic sign in.
In-call quality was quite good for both Skype and landline calls. Keep in mind that the quality of a Skype call depends on a number of factors which are out of your control, including the quality and reliability of your Internet connection. Our test calls did experience some unwanted echo and background hissing noise, and some of our callers complained of our voice not being loud enough. For most part however, the DUALphone worked well during a number of Skype and landline telephone calls and users are able to switch between a Skype call and a landline call with the press of a single button.
The DUALphone supports SkypeOut, SkypeIn and Skype Voicemail. Ease of use is excellent, and the detailed installation guide is a real plus for first time users. It offers excellent, easy to follow instructions, and even uses screenshots from the phone to illustrate key points. Dialling a Skype or landline call is the same process; users simply dial the phone number, press the answer call button and then use the five way navigational pad to select either "Dial on SkypeOut" or "Dial on landline". Alternatively, there is a 200 entry telephone book, and both Skype and landline contacts can be stored here. The phonebook is accessed by pressing the right selection button and usefully, your Skype contact list is automatically downloaded to the handset the first time you sign in.
The DUALphone's user interface is excellent, with clearly marked menus and coloured backgrounds. The main screen of the phone provides various status indicators, including a reception indicator, battery life indicator, and a number of notifications including missed calls, voicemail, keypad lock and silent mode. The main display also shows your Skype online status and account name, the current time, and the amount of Skype credit the account has available. In the menu, users can change their Skype online status, set the time, check their call history, search for other Skype users and access the phonebook.
The design of the phone looks much like a standard cordless telephone, perhaps with the exception of the bright, blue, five-way navigational pad. The DUALphone also has two selection buttons, answer/end call keys and a good keypad that provides solid tactile feedback. Our only complaint with the design is that the keys aren't backlit, and the fact that there is no "locate handset" button on the charging cradle. Both the base station and the charging cradle are black boxes, each with a red LED indicating connection to AC power.
Battery life is average according to RTX figures of up to 10 hours of talktime and up to 100 hours of standby time. The DUALphone runs off two AAA, rechargeable batteries and these are included in the sales package.
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