My wife and I have had multiple telephone lines since we were first married. Most of the time we had two lines, a “house phone” that was for personal use and a “work line” that I used professionally. That changed last year when I got rid of my “work line”. I was using my cell phone almost all the time and having to check messages on both lines became a pain. Moreover, I found myself using the landline less and less.
As a result, for the last year or so when I am in front of my computer I use Skype to make calls and the rest of the time I just use my cell phone. It’s worked rather well for me except for two small issues — being tied down to my iMac for Skype calls is a bit limiting, and my house tends to have spotty cell phone reception. That isn’t a good combination and I was considering getting a landline once again. Thanks to the Xlink Bluetooth Gateway that won’t be happening any time soon.
I saw the press release about the Xlink Bluetooth Gateway and wanted to give it a try. The Xlink lets you easily combine your home or small office telephone system with up to three Bluetooth™ mobile phones. There are no extra cables or modules to buy! That’s right, you can create a multi-line phone system using your cell phone and existing phone system. Moreover, the BTTN version of the Xlink allows you to also continue using a landline!
The concept is this- when you are within 30-50 feet of the device (and the Bluetooth on your phone is activated and the phone has previously been paired with the device) the Xlink automatically transfers calls that come into your cell phone ring any phone on the household phone system. Similarly, if you pick up the house phone and begin to dial, you’ll dial out using the cell phone and its connection even though you are on the household system.
It’s a neat idea, but I wasn’t quite sure how it would work in the real world.
The device came last week. I unpacked it and was amazed at how simple it really is. The device, a stand, a power adapter, and the ubiquitous owners manual, are all in a small box. I plugged the power adapter into the wall and into the device, then I plugged “line 2” (the line that used to be my work line) into the device and I paired my cell phone to it. I then asked my wife to call my cell phone, and about 30 seconds later, the house phone was ringing and the caller ID was displaying “Xlink”. I picked up the house phone, answered it, and had a conversation using my cell phone but routed through the household system. It was simple, it was effective, and it really worked.
This means that I’m able to put my cell phone in a location with the best reception in the house (in this case that means my study — especially since I have a wireless booster at my desk) and now I’m able to get phone calls on my cell without being tied to a part of the house with reception.
The Xlink has some other neat features–
– it will always use the first available line by default (assuming multiple cellphones are connected to the system) for outgoing calls (you can tell it a specific order if you choose instead)
-It auto-pairs seamlessly each time I walk within the range of the device.
-If you are using multiple cellphones, each line has a distinctive ring pattern
-If you press the line button on the device that corresponds to the phone, it will disconnect the Xlink to the cell phone and transfer the audio to the cell phone. That means if you need to leave the house, you no longer have to say- “Hey, Sally, let me call you back form the car.”
-Depending on the phone, the Xlink supports caller ID, speed-dial, voice mail, call waiting, and voice dialing–all from your standard desk telephone.
The Xlink Gateway comes in two flavors. The basic version cost just $159.99 and can connect up to three Bluetooth mobile phones with your existing household system.
For $10 more, $169.99 plus shipping, the Xlink BTTN allows you to use up to three cellular lines plus landline service if you so choose. (I know many people who are keeping a basic landline activated in case of emergency.)
I’ve now been using the Xlink with my iPhone for a little over a week and it has worked perfectly. It is the final piece in the puzzle as I permanently move to my cell phone as my one and only communication device. At close to $200 the Xlink might seem a bit pricey, but the convenience, the quality, and the ability of it to free me from a landline forever makes it worth every penny.
What I like:
-Setup was extremely simple
-It works as advertised
-It allows you to determine the best position for the device and the cell phones with regard to reception quality
-You can connect up to three active cell phones
-Call waiting for the second and/or third cell phone works
-The devices is user upgradable with regard to software updates
-You can fully utilize cell phone minutes, especially if you have unlimited nights and weekends
What needs improvement:
-The software update requires WIndows (yuck!)
-It’s a bit on the pricey side, then again, if it means you can get rid of the landline or two it pays for itself rather quickly.
For more information or to order either the Xlink BTTN or the Xlink BT visit the Xlink Site which can be found HERE.