Review Price free/subscription
RTX Dualphone 3088
There does seem to be general consensus that Skype is the best thing since Sporks were invented. In our office, people regularly make calls all over the world, both Skype to Skype, as well as Skype Out (to standard lines). I haven't had quite as much luck, with intermittent performance when trying to contact my parents in Italy. Much of this, I believe can be blamed on NTL and my World of Warcraft loving house mates, but that is hardly an uncommon combination and does prove that you can't always rely on Skype.
We've seen our fair share of Skype phones come in and out of the office, but none of them have quite hit the spot for me. Although the Netgear and SMC have come close, as these don't require a computer – just a WiFi connection. But these can't do standard land line phone calls, so you'd be carrying two phones around the house. Although the VoSKY starts to go in the right direction, using a standard telephone for connectivity, this lacks portability and requires connecting to your PC via USB.
With models as cheesy as the ones above, this phone has to be good – right? The RTX Dualphone 3088 doesn't require a PC, doesn't require wireless, and gives you a cordless phone that will place Skype calls as well as standard land line calls.
The base unit is where most of the action happens. Into this, you plug in an Ethernet cable which connects to a switch or modern combination router. A telephone cable can also be plugged in (although of course, not mandatory), for land line use. These two reasons mean that keeping this unit near your ADSL router makes sense – as hopefully there is where your phone line connection is, and your corresponding Ethernet connection.
The unit itself uses a Conexant CX8101 ARM processor, which is a fairly powerful CPU that coupled with other VoIP specific processors on the PCB help turn our voices in to that digital stream that costs us so little.
Communication between the phone and the base unit is the standard DECT communication, which has not been used in a Skype phone yet. One of the benefits of DECT is that using a single base unit, you can have multiple handsets. At this stage, I don't think this is the case for the RTX Dualphone 3088, but it will apparently be added in with a new firmware release.