Wireless Skype Without The Fuss
By Mendelson Tiu | Monday | 11/02/2008
While VoIP is widely being used for free (or affordable) calls to anyone in the world, users usually have to be sitting in front of their computer to have direct access to this service. Linksys aims to remove the 'computer' in the VoIP equation by introducing the CIT400, a dual mode portable telephony kit that comes built-in with the Skype program.
It may seem a good idea to combine two different kinds of telephony (traditional and IP-based), but will it work without a hitch? We take a closer look.
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The kit comes with the handset, rechargeable batteries, a charging base, a base station, two power adaptors, a telephone line cord, an Ethernet cable, a quick installation guide, and a user's guide CD. Users have to charge the handset (for 16 hours) and connect the RJ-11 telephone line cord, Ethernet cable, and power adaptor to its base station. Users can also add up to four additional handsets to the base unit, and can be 'paged' by pressing the page button.
The handset has an LCD screen (128 x 128 pixels) for easy menu browsing, has five hotkeys (menu, contact, intercom, mute, and loud) on its keypad, and even comes with a 2.5mm jack for hooking up an external headset. The Linksys handset also comes with a built-in speaker at the back for its speakerphone function.
The main hook for this product is the fact that it can make Skype calls without being hooked up to a PC or notebook. But it also makes traditional calls. The Linksys CIT400 supports SkypeIn/Out, Skype to Skype calls, landline calls, as well as call waiting and Skype's optional voicemail service. Users can view their contacts, call history, Skype status, add new contacts, and adjust the phone settings by pressing the menu key (upper left button). Unfortunately, uses cannot store landline contacts on the phone, forcing them to store data onto their Skype accounts.
As soon as a user dials a number on the handset, they will be asked which function will be used (either SkypeOut of Landline) for that outgoing call. Landlines calls were clear and did not have any noise or feedback. Skype to Skype calls were generally clear, but still had the usual occasional 'hiccups' (chopping, lag, or feedback) during conversations, which is a bug to bare with VoIP today.
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Another feature that we liked about the CIT400 is that its handset uses two NiMH AAA batteries instead of a proprietary battery pack. With this, users can easily swap out the old batteries for a fresh pair when its talk and standby time diminishes.
Besides some minor Skype issues (call drops, lag, and chops), the Linksys CIT400 is a solid phone that can help you get in touch with loved ones here in Australia or with friends who live on the other side of the globe, all for an affordable price. If you do not like the idea of turning your PC on just to access Skype and want a wireless phone that can do it all, then this kit is worth a look.
Frequency Band: 1880 - 1900Mhz
Standards: DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunication Standard)
Distance Range: 300 Meter Outdoor; 50 Meters Indoor
Number of Channels: 10 channels
Standby / Talktime: 120 hours / 10 hours
Display: 4K colour LCD with 128 x 128 pixels
Power: 2 x AAA 750mAh NiMH rechargeable batteries
Ports: Ethernet 10/100 (RJ45), Line (RJ11)
Button: Handset Locator
LEDs: (4) Skype, Phone Line, Ethernet, Activity
Power: 7.5V 500mA
Base Station: 147 x 126 x 35.5 mm
Handset: 45 x 143 x 25.5 mm
Base Station: .36 kg
Handset: .099 kg
Linksys Cordless Dual Mode Internet Telephony Kit With Skype (CIT400) | $229.95 | | www-au.linksys.com
For: Form factor; Easy to connect and install; No PC required; Great Skype integration; Comes with software update; Long battery life
Against: Contacts must be saved in Skype
Verdict: An easy to use, dual function phone.
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