The RTX 4088 is a dual cordless phone, which can be used for both landline and Skype calls. Unlike older Skype phones, the base of the 4088 plugs straight into your router or modem to facilitate Skype calls conveniently without the need for a PC. Whilst there isn't much competition when it comes to Skype compatible cordless phones, we found that the 4088 is a home phone of outstanding merit.
Design & Build
The handset is a lot smaller than I was expecting; from the promotional shots I was expecting it to be quite long but at just over 12cm it is one of the smallest DECT handsets available. There is a comparatively small colour display (1.2”) and the keypad is also on the smaller side so anyone thinking of purchasing for elderly friends or family as a more convenient way to use Skype may have to reconsider if sight and/or dexterity are an issue. Aside from the size, the design and build quality are fairly good, the solid chrome finish around the handsets charging cradle is a nice touch and the base station is equally compact.
Ease of use & set-up
Setting up the RTX 4088 should be fairly straightforward even for those who are not particularly tech-savvy. To use as a landline, you simply need to connect the base station to your telephone socket with the included line cord and follow the onscreen installation prompts. If you already have a Skype account then you’ll be asked to input your login details; however, it is also possible to create a new account during start-up. The on-screen instructions are easy-to-follow, as is the included user manual that comes with the phone.
After you have set-up and signed in with Skype you can use the 4088 to place free Skype to Skype calls. It is possible to place calls to landline and mobile numbers using your Skype account but these are not free of charge; the price of a call varies depending on where you want to call, and whether you choose to pay as you go using Skype Credit, or buy a calling subscription.
On the handset you can change your Skype status, check your SkypeOut credit balance, search for Skype users, and listen to Skype voicemails (you can also record your own personalised outgoing message). Having only ever used Skype on desktop (and a couple of times on tablet) it was a novelty to use. Overall I found the RTX 4088 works well for Skype, and not any different from using a landline phone normally.
The RTX 4088 works well for Skype
Switching between whether dialling out on Skype or Landline could be easier (and would be better if you could set a preference on a contact by contact basis); as it is, you have the choice to set your preference for: Always landline, Always SkypeOut, or Always ask. As Skype does not allow emergency calls such calls will always be routed to the landline connection
I’m not sure why, but I wasn’t expecting the sound quality of the RTX 4088 to be all that good. Perhaps I thought it was trying to be a jack of all trades and master of none...regardless, I was pleasantly surprised when it came to the clarity of calls (on both landline and one Skype). Landline outperformed Skype, which was to be expected – but I was impressed by both, good volume, very clear.
Range & Battery Life
We found the range of the 4088 was OK – can be a bit more temperamental than other DECT phones we’ve tested – but overall the actual range provided was good (indoors and out). However, the base is not repeater compatible so if you do live in a larger home or have problems with range then it is important to bear in mind that there is no way to extend the range.
The battery life is adequate for a home phone – over 10 hours continuous use on a single charge, and about a week when on standby. It uses 2x AAA NiMh rechargeable batteries (750 mAh), which should last a couple of years before performance begins to deteriorate.
RTX are currently the only brand offering a dual-phone capable of being used for both Skype and landline. They could have rested on their laurels and relied on their monopoly but instead they have improved on their previous 2 models and delivered a very modern phone, which delivers its unique function and more. If you are looking for a home phone that can also be used for Skype then whilst your choice might be limited to the 4088, at least you won’t be disappointed with it.