Digital Phones: Yes, People Still Have Landlines!

Digital Phones: Yes, People Still Have Landlines!

Digital phones are still more modern than this old relic. Remember the Age of Rotary? Nope? [Image by John Starnes via Flickr]

Sometimes you just gotta get it off your chest (whatever “it” may be), and often there’s no better way to do it than with a phone call. Though I prefer using FaceTime when I want to immediately get in touch with someone I can vent to (actually, I’d prefer a transporter, but right now they only exist in Star Trek), not every single friend or family member of mine has invested in Apple hardware. And I’m sorry, but Skype and Google Talk are simply not as convenient for me as making a phone call (though LockerGnome contributor Harold Johnson claims to have a Skype solution he says works). I have friends here in Seattle, but the weather and the traffic don’t always work in concert to make it easy (or even safe, in the state of mind I’m sometimes in) to drive anywhere. Don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about. There are some things that simply need to be discussed or vented or dealt with quickly, and when Diana’s not around, picking up the phone is still the best and most convenient way to do so. That is, until you find your smart phone battery too low to make a call. Thank goodness, then, I still have a couple of digital phones.

Digital Phones? What Are Those?

What do you mean you don’t know what digital phones are? Oh, that’s right — I’m nearly 40 30-something, so some of you may not use digital phones anymore. Perhaps your parents gave up their landline so long ago in favor of cell phones that digital phones already seem like ancient artifacts (and a quaint memory to your parents). Digital phones are simply, well, phones that are digital. They’re the ones that plug into a landline (or a Skype-enabled device, as Harold says he does). They’re the phones they’re still using in most corporate offices. They’re simply the digital equivalent of the analog phones that had been used (and are still being used, in quite a number of households) for about a century, more or less.

Believe it or not, digital phones are still a handy item to have around. Just like having a weather radio available if you live in a tornado-plagued region such as Huntsville, Alabama (sorry, Harold), having a digital phone available can not only be a convenient communication device to have handy, but it may even save your life. Though you can call 911 from your cell phone regardless of whether or not you have service, it’s still easiest to simply pick up a digital phone and press whichever number you have pre-programmed to automatically dial your favorite venting board… er, person.

Which Digital Phones Would You Recommend?

Digital Phones: Yes, People Still Have Landlines!These cordless VTech phones are pretty neat, in my opinion. They’re DECT 6.0 technology, which means they operate at the 1.9 GHz spectrum band, meaning they won’t be interfering with (or be interfered by) your other wireless devices. They have the ability to transfer calls between each other, which is useful if one phone’s battery is getting low and you want to switch to the other handheld without dropping your call. (This can also be useful when you have one phone located downstairs in the living room and another other upstairs in the bedroom. When you answer the living room phone only to find out it’s your in-laws asking to speak with your wife, you can transfer the call to your bedroom phone, where your wife has been reading and watching her favorite TV series.

Harold tells me the digital phone he’s using has far superior sound quality to any cell phone he’s used thus far. He plugs his digital phone into a box he purchased from Skype, which enables him to use his Skype account to call any cell phone or landline phone (or to receive calls from either). This solution didn’t work so well with a cheap digital phone he had, though, so he recommends buying one that rates well on sound quality. “It’s not worth buying the cheapest digital phones available only to find that you’d be better off using a straight string tied to two cans,” he says. (I seem to have a vague memory of what he’s referring to with the cans, but when it comes to Harold, one never knows.)

If you still use digital phones for your landline, let me know if you agree that it’s still handy to have them around. I’d especially be interested in knowing if you believe the sound quality of your digital phones beats all the cell phones you’ve used.

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Chris has consistently expressed his convictions and visions outright, supplying practical information to targeted audiences: media agencies, business owners, technology consumers, software and hardware professionals, et al. He remains a passionate personality in the tech community-at-large. He's a geek.