Quick Review: Hands on with the iPhone

Whoa...slow down! Before you get all foaming at the mouth...

Whoa...slow down! Before you get all foaming at the mouth...I'm talking about the Linksys iPhone for the Skype service. BUT BEFORE YOU RUN AWAY...you should read this review because this phone is outstanding and will save you money (maybe enough to buy that other...uh...iPhone)!
linksysphone



Linksys iPhone CIT-400
 
Last week I did a quick review of the Belkin Skype phone I had purchased, and while I found the phone adequate, I felt it was lacking in a number of very important features to make it ready for prime time. One of my major gripes was the poor battery life and the fact that this phone felt...well...cheap. After that review I was sent (at my request) another phone to test, in this case the CIT-400...and after two days of using it, I gotta tell you...run out and buy this phone!
 

 
The CIT-400 is a hybrid landline/LAN phone that plugs directly into any existing phone line and LAN to give you access to both services. This phone is a departure from the Belkin Skype phone in that this unit requires a base station and is not portable. But that isn't a detraction...that is a big plus.
 
 
Base Station
 
 
This device feels like a real cordless phone because it is one. The audio quality is outstanding and it is as comfortable in the hand as against the ear. The buttons are properly spaced which makes dialing easy for us "fat fingered" folks (although I prefer big boned). It has a decent amount of heft which gives it a nice balance in the hand.
 

 
Because this phone went the route of "cordless phone" versus "stand alone," the battery life is great, since the phone doesn't directly access a 802.11 connection (like the Belkin), and the base station itself requires a Cat-5 connection. I think in an ideal world the base station would have both an 802.11 connection and a wired connection, but this is a small complaint since the phone has excellent range and the base can be hidden just about anywhere you have a router. In my home this base station is plugged directly into my Sonos, so it gets access to the internet through their proprietary wireless mesh. I can tell you that there is no perceptible delay caused by this and I've placed about 3 hours of calls so far.
 
Aesthetically the phone itself looks really good. It has a nice looking charging station and plays a satisfying dittie when you drop it in to let you know it is connected and charging. The display is nice and bright and the buttons have a subtle amber glow. I will give it a slight dig for not actually illuminating the numbers on the buttons. 
 
 
Size Comparison L-R: Nano, Sony Mobile, Belkin Skype Phone, Linksys CIT-400
 
The Skype UI could use some work (and I believe all Skype enabled phones have the same UI), but I'm sure they will continue to improve on this.
 
Final Thoughts
This is a phone worthy of cutting the landline cord and moving to VOIP technology for daily use. The one important thing to remember is that Skype phones do not currently function for 9-1-1 emergency calls, but one work around for this is to check if your local area has a seven digit Emergency number you can program in for speed dialing. In San Francisco that number is 415-553-8090, FYI.
 
If you already have a high-speed connection a quick look at the costs will show you why I recommend moving to Skype for home or business phone service.
 
Skype user to user calls  $0.00   
One time flat fee for a year of unlimited calling to any landline in the US and Canada $29.95
Year of Skype in (gives you a local phone number) with free Voicemail $39.01
Price of CIT-400 phone on Amazon $152.00 
First year total $220.96

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