The Linksys CIT300 Dual-Mode phone works on both Skype and standard analog lines, allowing one cordless handset to make and receive calls on both. The base station has an RJ-11 (normal telephone port) and a USB port to connect to your computer. Yes, it relies on your Windows PC to handle the Skype codec with the Skype client and just passes off the audio onto the phone.
So what did we think of the CIT300? Find out after the jump, plus pictures.
The Skype part first, because that's what everyone's here for. Installation was easier than Monique from Lincoln High: just pop in the CD and install the software. If you're familiar with other Skype-plugin software that hooks into Skype, this is exactly the same. All you have to do is find an empty USB port to plug the base into and you're in business.
The Skype calling is merely adequate, but relies on you having your PC on and running Skype at all times. That's fine for techies, but some people only turn on their PCs when they're using them.
By passing the audio from the handset to the PC, there's a little added delay occasionally when we were making Skype calls. Nothing too severe, but when it was there it was noticeable. Overall, the audio quality was what you would expect with Skype, but with no echo coming from your end since this is a handset and not a speakerphone. There is, actually, a speakerphone function on the handset, which is useful for when you're cooking or in the loo.
The interface on the phone has a dedicated Skype button for you to bring up your Skype contact list and cycle through both the currently-online contacts and your Skypeout numbers. Skypeout is free in the US 'til 2007, so you're free to make loads of long distance prank calls to your grandmother in Kansas on Skype's dime. Of course, if you want to make calls out through the analog line, you can do that easily, too.
I actually couldn't test the analog telephone line features here in Gizmodo's West Coast HQ, aka, my apartment—I only have cellphone service. But cordless phone technology has been around for tens of years, so there's nothing new there. The UI on the handset lets you choose the analog line or the Skypeout line when you're making calls to standard numbers. Easy as pie.
So with this being a "dual-mode", PC-tethered device, we would recommend it for people who still want to keep a standard home line but also want to make and receive calls from people on Skype. For instance, you could buy one of these for your parents, so they could use the same phone to take regular calls and the calls you make to them using Skype on your PC. To them, it'll sound exactly the same. To you, it'll sound like money being saved.
Product Page [Linksys]