February 11, 2013

Phone Talk

Alexander Bell would be amazed – there are a number of innovative ways to connect by telephone.

BY SHAUN CONLIN

Pyle PRT351:  Retro Telephone / iPhone Dock

For the executive who has everything except a retro home telephone with built-in iPhone dock, there’s the Pyle PRT351 Retro Home Telephone with Built-In iPhone Dock ($110; www.pyleaudio.com/sku/PRT35I).

As the name vaguely suggests, it’s a functioning iPhone dock and charger that conveniently syncs with the device and allows you to make phone calls the old-fashioned way, with a handset/receiver all fancied up in old-school wood and faux brass. Also faux is the system’s rotary dial, which is actually a touch-tone dial – it doesn’t rotate – so you can dial out through the iPhone.

The PRT351 accommodates a land line as well and will do double duty, toggling between land and cellular use with the push of a button.

Slap your iPhone in there and you’re golden, straddling two telecommunication eras like some kind of postmodern hipster. With its coiled cord keeping you attached to the desk, this is a great excuse to put your executive feet up on your executive desk and act all executive, tethered and vogue, adamantly old school or technologically evocative. I don’t know. But it’s some kind of statement, that’s for sure.

 

ePure Home Telephone

by Swiss Voice

Once in a while, someone reinvents the proverbial wheel. Well, improves upon the idea, anyway. Such is the case with ePure Premium Cordless Phone by Swissvoice ($100; epure.swissvoice.net). As you can surmise by the price tag, this is no ordinary cordless home telephone. It’s very well made with exceptional call clarity – even when placed on a countertop and used (optionally) as a speakerphone.

All the more striking, obviously, is the look of the thing. There’s something about Swiss design sensibilities that invariably shrieks elegance and style and sophistication. Maybe “shriek” is the wrong word, but the ePure is damn sexy considering its commonplace utility.

While quite unlike any other cordless handset, being a sort of hollowed out and reshaped silhouette of the classic phone handset, the ePure is also perfectly accommodating to the ancient habit of cradling the phone on one’s shoulder. Internally, the thing packs a lot of useful features and functions, including a backlit LCD display, 10 hours of talk time, speed dials, alarm, ringtones, and the so-called “Fulleco technology” that purportedly reduces exposure to electromagnetic emissions by 65 per cent – though it’s not clear what the emission baseline is, but they probably don’t mean Chernobyl.

 

NetTalk Duo Wi-Fi VoIP phone system

Voice-over Internet Protocol (VoIP) has been gaining traction as the new, non-telco land line. Companies like Vonage and Skype are household names. But the market for the open technology is wide-open, which is why there are literally dozens of ways you can “cut the cord” and start using your high speed Internet connection as your home phone connection, too.

The netTalk Duo WiFi ($75; www.nettalk.ca/duowifi) from the aptly named NetTalk.com Inc., is one such alternative. It’s pleasantly competent about it, too. It delivers the gambit of expected home phone features such as Call Display, Call Block, Caller ID Blocking, Call Waiting, Voicemail, Conference Calling and so on, but unlike regular home phone plans, you get all features for free. Free is nice. Speaking of all-inclusive, local and long distance calls across North America are also free. All of them, all the time.

The $75 purchase price includes one year of service. It’s $40 per year after that – about $3.33 per month! Just couple the thing to your Internet connection, either with a cord or via Wi-Fi.

Best of all, the NetTalk Duo Wi-Fi system allows you to port your current phone number to it (with some regional exceptions).

Shaun Conlin is editor-in-chief of Evergeek Media Inc., www.evergeek.com

 

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