Double cheeseburgers, dual videocards, Nickelodeon Double Dare. Things that come in pairs always seem to be good, and the Dualphone is no exception. Plug in the phone, hook up its base via USB to your computer, and plug in the phone line. As long as you have Skype installed, you can receive and make calls via your computer through your Skype connection.
Voice quality is excellent for Skype calls. Most phones stop at this option, but the Dualphone keeps going. If you want to make or receive calls through standard telephone lines, you can. The phone has two call buttons, both sport green telephone icons, except one is labeled “PC”, so you know you’re making a VoIP call instead of a normal phone call.
Still, we have a few problems with this phone. For one thing, it’s ugly—really ugly: It looks like a standard, gray, boring, cordless phone with a poorly lit monochrome screen. And trying to figure out the menu navigation is frustrating. Without icons, the menu is confounding—we found ourselves constantly referring to the instruction booklet.
The good thing is that, unless you’re storing numbers in speed-dial memory, you’ll only need to use the menu to contact friends on the Skype list. If they’re online, their names show up, otherwise they won’t be on the list.
The manufacturer advertises a 1,000-foot talk distance for the Dualphone; we were only able to receive a clear signal up to about 90 feet in our office, but the sound quality was noticeably better on this phone than on the Linksys CIT200. It’s hard go fall in love with something so hideous, but the phone works as both a cordless phone and a Skype phone, which is pretty attractive.
Month Reviewed: October 2006
+ GUI: Clear reception; supports both land lines and Skype VoIP calls.