Cell phones have become so ubiquitous that landline phones--especially in urban areas--may soon find themselves on the endangered species list. It seems a logical step to integrate the two types of phone service into a single device; you would get the convenience of a cell phone (free long distance and so on) with the comfort of a standard-size telephone. RCA's Cell Phone Docking System is an example of such a device, but if you already have a normal telephone to mate with your mobile, it will be more than you need. That's where gadgets such as CellAntenna's CellDock 1000 come in handy. Unlike the RCA option, the CellDock doesn't come with a cordless phone. You just get a couple of wires and a simple docking cradle for your cell phones. Once you're set up, you can use your preexisting landline telephone to make calls over your cell phone's network. But as with the RCA system, you don't need a landline connection at all. You simply dock your mobile in the cradle (see below) and start yakking away. Be advised, though, that only a limited number of Motorola, Nokia, Sony Ericsson, and Siemens phones are currently compatible with the CellDock 1000.
Though it certainly serves a purpose, the CellDock 1000 doesn't look like much at all. The gray-plastic docking station largely resembles a desktop syncing cradle for a PDA. There are no controls or indicators aside from two small LED lights that flash when the cradle is in use. At 5.0 by 4.5 inches, the CellDock 1000 is a relatively small device, and unfortunately the construction feels a bit shoddy. Also included in the box are four phone connectors (one for each compatible model), a medium-size AC adapter, and a phone cord.
Despite a sparse user manual, setup was easy. To get going, you only have to plug in the docking station, then connect it to your telephone with the included phone cord. Also, if you're using a landline connection, you can connect it to the docking station. You can then "dock" your cell phone; however, we quickly encountered a couple of problems. With both the Sony Ericsson S710a and the Motorola V600, we found that the connection was never very secure. The V600 slipped off multiple times, and because a rubber door covers the charging port on the S710a, it took some effort to push the phone all the way down onto the connector. On the plus side, once your phone is connected, the docking station provides a continuous charge.
Using the CellDock 1000 took some getting used to, but after we got the hang of it, we had no issues. When answering a cell phone call, you simply pick up the telephone to start the connection. The method for making calls from your telephone depends on whether you have a landline connection. If you have a connection, you must start by pressing the Talk button on your cell phone. Though the S710a and phones similar to it don't have a dedicated Talk button, the lack of one didn't cause any problems. If you don't have a connection, you just dial the number on your telephone and press the pound (#) key. In all, it was a user-friendly process.
Cell phone calls using the CellDock 1000 were clear, but keep in mind that audio quality ultimately depends on your mobile's reception. If you place the docking cradle where your signal is patchy, call quality will suffer.