Advantages Freedom of movement, Standard and Skype combo phone
Disadvantages A bit pricy. No speakerphone or cross application support
Olympia Cordless DUALPhoneThe Olympia Cordless DUALPhone brings in a new era of internet telephony. It is a cordless combination standard DECT phone and internet VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) phone.
Before I continue, a warning to those who are considering purchasing this phone. Whey they say that this is a Skype phone, they really do mean that this is a Skype phone. It only works with the Skype software, and cannot be used as a microphone with other programs. For those technically minded, the phone will show up in your computer's audio device control panel, but will not work with other programs.The phone itself is quite slim and lightweight, with a fairly neutral grey colour, and will not look out of place in either a home or office environment. The base however is rather on the bulky side, and users may have difficulty slotting it into a narrow space between workstation compartments. It would probably be better placed on a desk top or shelf.
The DUALPhone has a number of useful features. It has a full number dialpad, and the LCD screen allows for navigation of your Skype contact list. You can use the four arrow keys on the joypad to scroll up and down. You can see the status of your contacts, but it would probably be better to filter them by whether or not they are online or not to curtail its size. There is a hold button to mute the microphone, although this also mutes the call itself so you cannot hear the other person. There is a button each for opening, closing and muting the Skype and standard phone line.
Battery life is quite good. The phone has rechargeable batteries which last a good 5-6 days with normal to high usage. The phone remains operational even when placed on the charger, and is still able to receive calls. Reception is good to more than 100 metres, making it ideal for use around the house, garden and even in neighbouring areas.The package comes complete with a multilingual user manual, driver CD and of course the phone itself and connecting cables. The software installs in just a few minutes, and is updateable over the internet. The DUALPhone site at www.dualphone.net is simple and somewhat lacking in the support department, but it does it's job. For further assistance, users could always ask at the Skype forums at www.skype.com
The only thing that this phone is really lacking is a speakerphone, which would be very useful for many users, with the number of businesses turning to VOIP only operation increasing rapidly. For the features it does have, the price is quite high, with the current lowest online price being £68. The addition of a speakerphone, and cross-application compatibility would certainly make this price more acceptable to the general public.
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