Skype is an incredibly useful service. With this Internet phone service, you can utilize the Internet to make free calls to other Skype users or very cheap calls to traditional landlines and mobile phones across the world.
However, some people don’t use Skype because the service confines you to being in front of your computer to engage in a Skype call. This is convenient for people like me as I sit in front of a computer for abour 70% of my days…but not for folks who aren’t as computer nerdy as me.
This is where products like the Dualphone come in to play. The Dualphone looks like a regular cordless phone, but it will allow you to make calls on Skype. As an added bit of functionality, the Dualphone will allow you to use your regular landline with it also, if you so desire.
Like the Philips VoIP841, The Dualphone uses DECT frequencies to communicate between the base unit and the cordless phone, meaning your microwave or WiFi hotspot won’t interfere with the phone itself.
Opening the Box
The Dualphone comes in minimalistic package, presumably to cut down on waste, and the box contains: the base unit that you plug everything into, a charging dock for the handset and the actual handset itself. The base unit is about as big as a regular cordless phone base and the phone is roughly the size of a normal cordless phone. The box also contains all the necessary cables needed to operate the Dualphone including power, Ethernet and phone cables.
Setup and Use
Setting up the Dualphone involves physically plugging in the base unit in and attaching the appropriate ethernet and phone cables.
Then, after you charge the Dualphone handset, it’s time to turn it on and get started. Using the on-screen menus, I easily signed into my Skype account. My contact list took a bit to download but afterward I was able to see my friends’ Skype status and make calls to them.
My first tests were to calling my three usual groups: another Skype user for VoIP calls, a person on a landline, and a person on a mobile phone.
In all three cases, I experienced only OK voice quality. I’ll focus on Skype-to-Skype call quality, because it offers the best chance to focus the feedback on the Dualphone itself. On my calls, people sounded crackly and a bit static-y. The calls, basically sound a poor quality cell phone call. You can hear the other persons voice just fine, but there’s a bit of crackling on the line that annoys you just a bit.
From a usability point of view, the Dualphone is pretty easy. Techies will handle it just fine and I think most non-technical people can use it without issue as well. Screen options allow you to add Skype contacts, adjust your online status and other routine Skype functions.
The Dualphone offers good functionality whereby it gives you landline and Skype calling on the same phone unit. The phone is easy enough for your Mom to use and configure. However, if you’re a stickler for audio quality, the Dualphone will leave you looking for more.