Cell2Tel Bluetooth Gateway review: Cell2Tel Bluetooth Gateway

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MSRP: $99.99
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4 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good The Cell2Tel Bluetooth Gateway is a handy way to use your cell phone with a landline telephone. Call quality is great, and you can still keep features like caller ID and voice mail. You can connect up to two cell phones with the Cell2Tel.

The Bad The Cell2Tel Bluetooth Gateway does cost quite a bit, and it is not necessary if you already have a great signal in your home and don't like talking on landline phones.

The Bottom Line The Cell2Tel Bluetooth Gateway offers a smart solution for those who want to use their cell phones with a regular landline telephone.

8.0 Overall

Even though a lot of people use their cell phones as their primary means of contact, many are still hesitant to give up their landlines altogether. Not only is the call quality usually better, but the comfort of using a regular desk telephone can't compare to holding a little cell phone next to your ear, especially when on long calls. There is, however, a way to connect your cell phone to a normal telephone: you can use a Bluetooth gateway, like Grace Digital's Cell2Tel. Simply pair your cell phone with the Cell2Tel, connect it to a regular telephone, and you're good to go. The Cell2Tel can be paired with up to two cell phones, and you can use it with or without a landline. You can also use it with a cordless phone system. The Cell2Tel is available now for $99.99.

The Cell2Tel is really not much of a looker, design-wise. Measuring 5 inches long by 3.7 inches wide by 1.7 inches tall, the Cell2Tel looks a bit like a boring black answering machine. On the front are two LED indicators; the one on the left glows green to indicate that the power is on and the phone is connected, and the right one glows red when it isn't connected. Underneath that are two buttons, one for Cell Phone 1, and the other for Cell Phone 2. Next to both buttons are amber indicator lights, to show which cell phone is connected. On the back of the Cell2Tel are the connections for power, the USB port for firmware updates, a telephone line-in jack, and then the phone jack that leads to the desk telephone.

Setting up the Cell2Tel is quite easy. First, you attach the power supply and connect the appropriate phone jacks. If you still want to use your desk telephone for landline calls, be sure to connect the landline cable to the telephone line-in jack. If you don't have a landline, then you don't have to plug anything into the line-in. Next, you hold down one of the two cell phone buttons (let's say the Cell Phone 1 button) for 4 to 5 seconds. The amber light will begin to flash, and that's how you know the Cell2Tel is in Bluetooth pairing mode. You would now go to the Bluetooth menu in your phone and pair it like you normally would a Bluetooth headset. You can repeat this process for the second cell phone if you wish; be sure to select the Cell Phone 2 button if the Cell Phone 1 line is in use.

Now when you receive an incoming call to your cell phone, the desk telephone will ring as well. Just pick it up and answer as you normally would. Each line has its own distinctive ring pattern, so you'll know which number was dialed. You will also know if it's a call to one of the cell phones, because the amber lights on the Cell2Tel will flash when there's an incoming call. In order to make a cell phone call from your desk telephone, you'll need to press the number of the cell phone line followed by the Flash button before dialing a number. So for Cell Phone 1, you will press 1, and then the Flash key. After doing that, you will hear a dial tone, and you can dial a number as you normally would.

We paired the Cell2Tel with our Apple iPhone 3G, and it worked flawlessly. Call quality is very good, though we did encounter the occasional GSM static noise, but that's to be expected. Overall we think the Cell2Tel is an excellent solution for those who want to keep their cell phone as their primary number, but still want the comfort and security of a normal telephone. This is especially useful with a cordless phone system, since you can park your cell phone in an area with good signal, and still be able to wander around the house with your cordless. Do note, however, that Bluetooth signals can sometimes interfere with Wi-Fi or 2.5 Ghz cordless signals.

Other features of the Cell2Tel include Caller ID display, support for speed dialing, call waiting, and voice mail.

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