Clarisys i750 phone puts the IP in hip
- By Carlos A. Soto
- Sep 11, 2003
International IP phone is a low-cost alternative as long as you remember to dial the country code
The Clarisys i750 USB speakerphone works well for outbound calls'but it can't receive calls.
Henrik G. de Gyor
Hotel calling fees added on top of long-distance charges can drain a government traveler's expense account fast. Wireless phones are more convenient'unless you have to pay roaming costs or are out of the country.
There's a cheaper Internet alternative for making outbound calls, particularly international ones.
It costs far less per minute than most wireless service plans and calling cards, and has the added advantage that you can use it from any Internet portal regardless of country.
Clarisys Inc.'s Claritel i750 USB speakerphone makes outbound calls to any other phone in the world via a Universal Serial Bus port and your notebook computer's Internet connection.
The third-party software I used in testing was DialPad, which is downloadable from reseller.dialpad.com. After loading the phone software, I also installed DialPad service, which bundled Clarisys phone drivers for the PC and other third-party services.
I sat down beside my office phone and dialed it through a logically constructed DialPad interface. When I heard an odd-sounding ring tone, I wondered why my office phone in front of me wasn't ringing. Then an irate woman answered in what sounded like Arabic.
Apologizing, I quickly hung up and consulted DialPad's summary list. The call had gone to Cairo, Egypt.
On the plus side, I noticed that calling Egypt cost only 32 cents per minute.
Next I decided to dial home, only to hear another woman speaking Greek at the other end. I was about to retrace the installation steps when I realized my error. The Claritel i750 is an international IP phone, not a U.S. land line. I should have dialed the country code for the United States first, even though I was only placing domestic calls.
I felt like an idiot, but it cost more pride than cash. In the continental United States, calls cost about 0.029 cents per minute. With $8 in my prepaid test account, I could call anywhere in the States and talk for 276 minutes'a little less than the average talk time included in most monthly wireless service plans. Call quality was good in all my tests.
The Claritel i750 speakerphone resembled a remote control. It weighed only 5.4 ounces but was fairly bulky at 9 by 3 by 1 inches.
Remember, the Claritel makes outbound calls only and cannot receive calls over the Internet. One final quibble: The End button on my test unit didn't work. I had to hang up by clicking the mouse on the PC's DialPad interface.