The RTX Dualphone 3088
One of the things In Store Solutions sent it to me for review right around Christmas 2009 was the RTX Dualphone 3088. I’ve actually been (trying to) use it for the past couple of months and I’m now finally ready to write my thoughts down about it.
When I say “try to” use it, it’s not that the phone is hard to use. In fact, relatively speaking, it’s easy to use once it is set up.
The base unit plugs into your regular telephone jack and your router. This gives you the ability to use your regular phone line as well as Skype from the same handset. You can configure which one PSTN phone calls will use by default (and override on a per-call basis, if you’d like). You can browse your Skype buddy list, do buddy list management, and make direct calls to Skype users also. You can even change your Skype status, check inbound/outbound call history, your Skype voicemail, and see your SkypeOut balance!
At home, I have this set up both with my landline and my personal Skype account. Calls to my landline and calls to my Skype account are set up with different rings (yes, you can do that). I have used it both for Skype and for PSTN calls and the sound quality is excellent. The connection between the base and the handset is DECT, making it both secure and WiFi friendly.
Here’s the problem with this handset–I just don’t use them all that much. Nothing against the handset at all, but I either use my mobile phone to make calls or I use Skype with a headset. Yes, the phone has a headset jack and supports speakerphone, so I could use it, but it’s not something I have to work to make use of.
One thing the handset is missing that would make adopting it problematic is the fact it lacks a mute button. It is one feature I make heavy use of on Skype and my mobile phones and not having it makes using this phone difficult.
If you’re looking for a way to make calls on Skype without using a computer and tie into your normal landline, this is a great device. It does exactly what it says on the tin. The pricing, though, presents a challenge: $170 for the base unit and handset, another $100 each extra handset. At half the price, it would almost be a no-brainer.