Netgear's New Cordless Phone Swings Both Ways

This image was lost some time after publication, but you can still view it here.
This image was lost some time after publication, but you can still view it here.

Netgear today introduced a new cordless phone that combines plain-old telephone service and Skype calling in one handset. It's not a new concept (Linksys is already doing it, for example), but the new Dual-Mode Cordless Phone with Skype SPH200D is a handsome little package. And it looks easy to use. The handset LCD shows you the option of selecting a SkypeOut or landline connection, and your can scroll through your Skype contact list. The wireless functions use the DECT standard, so reception should be good even if you have lots of other wireless devices flooding the hosue. It's available now for $200.

The base station supports up to 4 handsets, but we're not sure how useful that is. You can only make one phone call at a time. And the clueless Netgear flaks didn't even know if you can use two handsets at the same time (say your two kids want to get on the phone with grandma at the same time.) We can't imagine the phone not supporting that. (But then, neither can we imagine Netgear's top marketing people not knowing how their own products work).

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I purchased this phone about 60 days ago. It has been a HORRIBLE nightmare. The base station frequently locks up. When it locks up I miss calls. Even the landline goes dead. I have called Netgear's useless support. (From India.) They know less about the product than I do. They always gave me wrong advice. They even told me to return the hardware to the store and ask for another one. I did that. The replacement acts exactly the same. The firmware is BROKEN. This system is NOT reliable! The Netgear support is HORRIBLE! What's even worse... The last time I called for support they tried to CHARGE me for the call. I will NEVER buy another Netgear Product. BE WARNED!