[Review] USB-RJ11 Skype Phone Adapter

Months ago, I spotted the USB Skype Phone Adapter. I printed it out and kept it in my someday/maybe file. Last week, I finally ordered one.

Why?

My mom is the primary Skype user. I set her up on the $2.95/month unlimited calls to US & Canada plan for family and friends here, Canada, and Hawaii. Our AT&T landline costs extra outside our area code, so we use our cell phones for those calls. But, we should be using Skype since it’s unlimited[1. The legal bit – as part of their fair usage policy you’ll get up to 10,000 calling minutes per month.].

When she uses Skype, she has a headset and sits in front of my computer. With this doohickey, she won’t have to. Yay!

The USB-RJ11 Skype Adapter lets you make and receive both Skype and regular landline calls, all from the same phone.

Continue using your phone for landline calls as you normally do. But when you want to make a Skype call, pick up your phone and press * to switch to Skype calling mode. Then dial a SkypeOut call to any phone number, or dial a Skype contact, all from your phone’s keypad. Your phone rings for both landline and Skype calls, just pick up the phone and start talking!

The USB-RJ11 Adapter transforms your existing phone into a dual-mode Skype/landline phone, no additional equipment required.

  • Use any standard telephone for Skype and landline calls
  • Phone rings on incoming Skype and regular calls
  • SkypeOut and Speed-Dial integration with Skype
  • USB powered, no external power required
  • A landline connection is optional, so you can also use your regular or cordless phone as a dedicated Skype phone.

I’m not paying for SkypeIn, so the phone will only ring for standard landline calls.

The instructions are very simple. Once I had it setup, I took a screenshot of my mom’s contact list, had her choose speed dial numbers, then printed out the list and instructions for her.

Funny story — I changed the adapter key switch from “*” to “9” because I wanted it to act like a business phone. You know, like how you dial “9” for an outside line? Anyway, about 10 minutes into testing and making sure things work, we get a knock at the door. (It was about 8:50pm.) I open and it’s the police[2. I think he’s really a sheriff.]!

He asks me if I called 911. I said I hadn’t, because nothing required me pressing that combination. He explained that it was cool[3. His words.] and that dispatch just heard a phone call from this number, then a dial tone. I gave him my information[4. Again, he told me that it was no biggie.], then he was on his way. He was really cool about it.

I switched the key back to “*“.🙂

Conclusion — I know, I’ve only used it for less than a day. But, if you use Skype and you’d like to use it away from the computer, the USB Skype Phone Adapter rocks!

Disclosure: I bought the product with my own money and I’m not getting paid for this review

Update 4/24/08 8:45pm: When on a Skype call and multitasking on the computer, the device will sporadically switch from USB to LINE. Then, I need to manually press “*” to switch back to the Skype call. Fortunately, the call isn’t dropped. Does this mean I can’t use the computer heavily while Skype is being used?

I emailed John Morley about this two days ago, but haven’t heard a reply from him yet. Not good.

I’m running SkypeMate 3.0.2.47 and Skype 3.6.0.248.

Published by

Bryan Villarin

Bryan is a Happiness Engineer at Automattic. He's also a photographer, card magician, and cat whisperer. (Thanks to my friend and colleague Steve Blythe for the sweet photo!)

9 thoughts on “[Review] USB-RJ11 Skype Phone Adapter”

  1. I have been using skypemate for just over a year and it died on me yesterday. I am unable to make calls on skype but the regular phone line still works. When I try to switch to skype mode, it just defaults back to the land line. I have been using an older touch tone phone with mechanical bell which uses 1 REN of ringing power. I wonder if I have blown a circuit since the unit is very hot. At times, I have had two phones with a splitter running from skype mate. Should I be using one new phone with less than 1 REN? Has anyone else had this problem? Maybe that is not the problem and it just has a short life factor. I have ordered two new units since I find it a must to have this system.

    Like

  2. Do caller id info and messages show up on the phone also? I don’t have a landline so I’m confused about how the * would work or does it automatically know it’s to use skype?? Thanks.

    Like

  3. @ Lisa:

    Unless you get a SkypeIn online number, a phone number won’t display. It’ll display something along the lines of: unavailable, restricted, or 012-345-6789.

    Pressing the star (*) key tells the adapter to switch from using landline to using the Skype software. If you’re using it without a landline, this step would be redundant.

    In SkypeMate, you could change the adapter default channel. So, when you pickup the phone, it’ll automatically go to the USB device.

    Hope that helps.

    Like

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