USRobotics USR9630 Cordless Skype Phone Hands-On Review (Verdict: Great Price for Skype and Landline Calling)

You may have heard of the USRobotics Dual-Purpose Skype phone that lets you use Skype and your normal landline all from a single handset. It's similar to the Linksys CIT300 Dual-Mode Skype phone we reviewed a while back.

To get the feature list out of the way, it uses DECT 6.0, which operates on a wireless frequency that doesn't interfere with WiFi and Bluetooth. It also supports four handsets (I only had one), has a 150 foot indoor and 900 foot outdoor range, speakerphone, caller ID, Skype phonebook, and Windows 2000/XP support.

How do I like it? Only one way to find out.

USRobotics USR9630 Cordless Skype Phone Hands-On Review (Verdict: Great Price for Skype and Landline Calling)

The short answer is, I really enjoy it. The phone is very easy to use, and though some would dock points off the old-school LCD screen, I give it points for its large text that makes it easy for slightly older users to read. Which ties into the other think I like about it, that it's easy enough for your parents to use. Let me explain.

Setting up the phone just consists of installing the included software onto your PC to interface with your Skype install, plugging in the USB base unit, and charging up the handset. The handset and base unit detect each other automatically so there's no setup. Then, you can plug in a landline phone to your base unit to get analog calls as well. Once everything's set up (less than 10 minutes), you can make and receive calls on both Skype and your landline from one receiver—very useful.

The call quality was pretty great on our setup, and although there was a little static, we couldn't figure out whether it was due to our PCs, or the phone, or the Skype network. As opposed to the WiFi Skype phones like the Belkin or Netgear models, all the Skype processing is done on your PC. There's tons more processing power there, so as a result the call quality and battery life both go up. The only downside is that you can't take this phone anywhere you go, but it's good for an office or home phone.

So besides the call quality being great and the screen easy to read, we also liked the one-touch Skype contact list button. The buttons are large and give great feedback, and the handset is large enough to not feel uncomfortable in your hand, something we noticed with a few other phones. All in all, the $120 price tag and feature set on this phone makes it a great deal if you're looking for a Skype phone that also does analog calling.

Product Page [USRobitics]