Digital Crave

Use your smartphone like a landline

Digital Crave

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While smartphones are one of the hottest tech products on the planet, it's hard to deny the fact good 'ol fashioned landlines have their distinct advantages.

Not only are home-based cordless phones more comfortable to hold up to your ear, they emit less radiation than a cell phone (or none at all if they're a wired landline) and if you're on your mobile while at home, how are you going to charge it up before you leave again?

And so a handful of products aim to deliver best of both worlds, by bridging the gap between you smartphone and home phone.

Heed the call with these following solutions.

Good Call iG1

I've been testing one called the iG1 from Good Call ($79.99). It looks like a black docking station to snap your iPhone into — which also charges up your mobile device — and then you simply pick up the cordless receiver to walk around your home with.

The docking station also includes a USB port and cable in case you want to plug the other end into your computer to power up (and sync your media through iTunes) or you can plug it into a wall outlet instead. The AC plug is included in the box.

The iG1 uses Bluetooth technology to establish a connection between the iPhone and the cordless handset. When wirelessly paired with your smartphone, the iG1 phone imitates your iPhone's ringtone and lets you place or accept calls using the slender, black cordless phone.

Volume up and down buttons are on the phone, along with a green "call" or red "disconnect" icon.

You can use your iPhone 4S's voice-activated Siri feature to call someone by name -- but there's no way to see contacts on the cordless phone as there's no screen. Another issue is this device was designed specifically for iPhone only, though in theory it might work with other Bluetooth-enabled phones include Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone devices -- it just won't charge up a non-iPhone.

The iG1 can last up to four hours between charges (the handset also docks on the base, beside your iPhone) and perhaps most importantly, call quality is very clear.

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Panasonic Link2Cell

While not tested for this Yahoo! Shopping blog post, there's also a similar Panasonic product called Link2Cell. But it works a little bit differently.

The Link2Cell system looks like a regular DECT cordless phone system, but also has Bluetooth technology to sync with a smartphone. In fact, these cordless phones link up to two cell phones via Bluetooth and allow you to use either one to place or receive phone calls over your cell connection.

Link2Cell works with or without landline telephone service. Panasonic says to place the base unit wherever cell reception is strongest, and then pair up one or two Bluetooth-enabled cell phones to the system; once paired, cell phone calls will ring on all compatible handsets.

Similar to the iG1, iPhone users can import their ringtones to the Link2Cell phone system so that each call rings throughout the home with the same tone as the mobile phone.

But unlike the iG1, users can sync the smartphone's phonebook with the Link2Cell and see the information on the handset's small LCD screen (up to 3,050 entries).

The cost for the Link2Cell starts at $79.95 (2 handsets), $99.95 (3 handsets) or $149.95 for 5 handsets, all of which must be plugged into an AC outlet. Older Panasonic Link2Cell models with two handsets can be found for as low as $63.

Uniden and VTech also have similar product offerings, as well.

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Broconi Retro iPhone Handset

Another way to treat your mobile device like a landline is to go with one of the "retro" handsets -- completed with the tightly curled cord -- that snaps into the 3.5mm audio jack of a mobile phone, or in some cases, the 30-pin connector underneath the iPhone, iPod touch or iPad.

Hello '70s. Now all you need is a glass of Tang, wood paneling, shag carpet and Welcome Back Kotter playing on the flickering boob tube.

Because most are not Bluetooth-based, you can find them for as low as $5, plus you can use them outside while connected to your mobile device, too, if you like. (We've all seen these guys pull them out on the street as a gag, no?).

Available in multiple colors, these retro handsets draw power from the phone rather than requiring batteries, plus they include a button on the phone to easily accept or hang up the call.

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