While a lot of young people are said to be ditching their landlines, the vast majority of households continue to maintain some sort of wired line in addition to their cellular phones. As a result, people are often juggling both lines at home--fielding calls on the landline while opting to use the cellular to take advantage of free night and weekend minutes, for instance. Imagine, then, the advantage of being able to access both lines from a single phone. That's exactly the convenience promised by the GE Cell Fusion, a family of cordless home phones that can take and make calls using your cell phone or landline connections--or even both at the same time.
We examined the main 28128EE2 Cell Fusion model ($180 list, less online), which includes two cordless handsets and a digital answering system built into the base station. The base station supports a total of up to seven handsets, with additional ones (model 28101EE1) available for purchase for about $50. All of the Cell Fusion models utilize DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications) wireless technology, a communications standard designed to minimize radio interference from other electronics devices, use power more efficiently, and provide encryption--potentially resulting in better audio quality, longer battery life, and secure conversations.
Out of the box, the Cell Fusion 28128EE2 delivers what appears to be a fairly typical cordless phone system: two handsets, a base station with a built-in digital answering system (for the primary handset), and a cradle charger (for the secondary handset). Each handset gets its own rechargeable battery and belt clips, and the package includes a wall-mount bracket for the base station as well. GE also throws in a Windows software CD and USB cable for customizing ringtones and editing the speed dial lists (more on that later).
In terms of cosmetics and aesthetics, the GE Cell Fusion phones are perfectly functional, but they aren't going to win any beauty contests. The handsets offer a slightly curved, rubberized-like grip on the backside of the handset, making it easier to hold in your hand or on your shoulder. The steel-gray, hourglass shaped faceplate includes a blue-backlit 1x1.5-inch LCD display, with a big chrome menu/navigation button underneath the LCD. The buttons are slightly raised with a keypad backlight. The handset measures 6.54 by 3.0 by 3.39 inches and weighs 0.34 lb. We found the handset to be comfortable and light. The base station measures 6.65 by 7.36 by 5.24 inches.
Using the Cell Fusion with your landline is as easy as connecting the base station to your telephone wall connection. But the Cell Fusion lives up to its name when you bring a cell phone into the mix. Up to two cell phones can be paired with the Cell Fusion base station. Any Bluetooth-enabled cell phone should work, and the process is identical to that of adding a Bluetooth headset. It took us only about 5 minutes of setup and getting acclimated to the keypad layout before we were making and receiving calls over our cell phone connection.