Thursday, April 14, 2011
Sunday, February 27, 2011
At one time, having a dedicated land-line phone in your house was a requirement. Like heat or air conditioning, every house had it. With the advent of cell phones I have found it impossible to justify the cost of keeping a land-line phone—I just don't use it that much anymore. When you include taxes, the minimum cost of having a land-line phone in the house (in my state) is $45 a month ($540 ayear). I only used the land-line phone for 5-10 calls a month, which worked out to be over $5 per call.
I thought about getting a land-line phone through my cable company. At $30 a month it was a savings over the phone company, but it still worked out to be at least $3 a call. So I dumped my land-line and went just with my cell phone. This has met all my needs, but it has added a few inconveniences:
I despise carrying my cell phone with me when I'm at home (at home I want to kick back and relax).
I don't want to race across the house to answer my cell phone.
I often don't hear the cell phone across the house and miss calls.
My spouse complains about inconveniences 1, 2, & 3.
So I've started looking for for someway to solve these problems (without paying out the wazoo). I've come up with several. I'm going to discuss the first one now: the XLink phone box.
In a nutshell, this box lets you use all the old style land-line phones in your house to talk over your cell phone.
The XLink box is a bluetooth device. It communicates with your cell phone the same way those fancy cell phone earpieces work. That is a big point in its favor. Even though this box is new, it is based on old, stable technology.
I'm not going to go into detailed setup, other then to say it was easy and straightforward.
This box plugs into one of your wall phone jacks like you would a regular telephone. When you enter your house, just set your cell phone down next to it and you're done. You do not have to plug your cell phone into the XLink box (when your cell phone comes into range—about 30 paces away for me—the cell phone and XLink box will automaticaly connect via bluetooth).
At this point, when someone calls your cell phone all the phones in the house ring. When you pick up one of the house phones it has a dial tone, and you can can call just by dialing the number.
It has solved inconveniences 1, 2, 3, & 4 above.
Receiving calls has been seamless. It rings every phone in the house (including some 30 year old phones that have the old style bell ringer on them).
Making calls works just like with the old land line.
You can register up to three phones with it. So not only my cell phone, but my spouse's cell phone will work with it at the same time.
The voice quality is not as good as the land-line. I understand from talking to others that it is a pretty typical bluetooth quality. It's not a problem for me, but I can see how it would be a problem for others.
Bluetooth is a battery hog. If your cell phone battery goes dead, then you lose your phone service. We solved this by plugging our phones into a charger, but it's still a pain.
You don't have a permanent “home” number that will always ring the phones in your house. Although one person did point out that the cost to add an extra phone to their cell phone plan was $10 a month, so you could do that and just leave that cell phone next to the XLink unit all the time—still much cheaper than a regular land-line.
When dialing out, there isn't a way to tell the box which cell phone to dial out on. A problem if you have multiple cell phones simultaneously linked up with the box.
The cost of the unit is $99 on the XLink web site, but runs $80 on Amazon. It pays for itself in two months. After that it saves you $540 a year.
There are other similar devices out there, but this is the one I have so it's the one I'm talking about. The others may be better or they may be worse, I don't have any experience with them, so I leave it to others to discuss them.