InnoMedia's InfoAccel Net phone comes with a catch: Long distance calls are free only when made to other InfoAccel users. InnoMedia delivers better software and features than Actiontec's Internet Phone Wizard and better audio quality than software-only Web phones, but only businesses and groups that toe the InnoMedia line will benefit from this product's features. InnoMedia's InfoAccel Net phone comes with a catch: Long distance calls are free only when made to other InfoAccel users. InnoMedia delivers better software and features than Actiontec's Internet Phone Wizard and better audio quality than software-only Web phones, but only businesses and groups that toe the InnoMedia line will benefit from this product's features.
The $99 InfoAccel has a corporate feel to it, with slick installation, handsome interface, and slightly bureaucratic and seemingly unnecessary dialing protocols. You have to press the pound key before and after the number you are dialing, for instance, and if you want to call a non-InfoAccel user, you have to hit the star button before dialing. Installation is easy, however: All you do is install the PCI card, connect your phone to the InfoAccel, and connect a pass-through phone cord between the InfoAccel and your modem.
It's clear that InfoAccel is mainly designed to support voice telephony between InfoAccel users on InnoMedia's Innosphere voice network. Calls are free only to other Innosphere "phone numbers" (voice network addresses). All calls to real phone numbers cost real money. National long distance calls are 5 cents per minute, hardly a bargain when AT&T and Sprint offer comparable rates with much higher voice quality. However, the InfoAccel does come with $10 of phone credit for use with your system. And there are potentially big savings for people who do a lot of international long distance calling: up to 80 percent.
For small businesses or families in which all members decide to get units, savings can be substantial. And the Innosphere-only features add a nice touch. If another InfoAccel user you are calling doesn't answer, for example, a voicemail system pops up and lets you record a message. This message is then automatically emailed to the call recipient as an audio attachment. Other useful features include a built-in speed dialer and address book.
The InfoAccel comes with a one-year warranty, and phone support is available via a toll number from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, PT. Phone support doesn't expire with the warranty, either. InnoMedia's Web site has a support section with online FAQs and email support but no fax-back option.
If the InfoAccel supported free national long distance calls like the competition, it would be our first choice because of its decent software interface and extra features when calling other InfoAccel users. For the rest of us, however, InfoAccel's tolls for long distance won't add up to a bargain when you factor in the degraded audio quality common to all Internet telephony. If you plan on setting up an Innosphere voice network, the InfoAccel is a good choice. Otherwise, it isn't.