Using USB-based phones to make VoIP calls is nothing new, so when we were
offered a chance to look at Eutecticsï¿½ Internet Power Phone 200 Handset (IPP
200) USB IP Phone, we werenï¿½t necessarily very excited. In fact, when we
received the IPP 200 in the mail, it looked like a standard phone handset,
except for this white handset cradle with stick-on tape used to attach to
the side of a computer monitor, which the handset rests on. Ok, we thought,
so you can mount the phone on the side of the monitor and keep the phone
from cluttering the desk. While a neat idea, we werenï¿½t overwhelmed with
That is until we determined that the IPP 200 can actually integrate with
several popular VoIP applications, including MSN Messenger, 3Comï¿½s NBX,
Ciscoï¿½s softphone, Nortelï¿½s softphone, IP Blueï¿½s softphone, and SJ Labsï¿½
SJPhone. Essentially, with the integration you can automatically go off-hook
or on-hook simply by placing or lifting the handset on the included cradle.
In addition, the appropriate software application will ï¿½pop upï¿½ when you
lift the phone handset, and the software application will minimize when you
place it back on the cradle.
Is it magic?
Interestingly, we inspected the phone and cradle and we determined that
there doesnï¿½t appear to be any physical mechanism on the handset or cradle
that tells the software to pop-up or minimize depending on whether the phone
is on-hook or off-hook. Hmm. So just what mysterious force is at work here?
We discovered that there is a magnet inside the cradle which must trigger
some sort of relay switch inside the phone when it is placed on the cradle.
In any event, the hook-switch functionality is provided by a Eutectics DLL
and API. Once the integration software is installed, you can simply lift the
handset receiver off the included white cradle and the VoIP application will
magically pop onto your screen. We downloaded the integration package for
MSN Messenger and then tested it. Indeed, when we lifted the handset
receiver, MSN Messenger instantly popped up allowing us to make a call.
In any event, we made some test phone calls using MSN Messenger and were
very impressed with the voice quality. Since the IPP 200 is simply a USB
audio device in addition to MSN Messenger, it also works with all other VoIP
client software such as Deltathree, Net2Phone, AIM Phone, ICQ, and Dialpad.
Although, we should mention that there may not be the ï¿½hook-switchï¿½ API
integration in some of these applications. Eutectics is constantly adding
downloadable integration packages to add hook-switch functionality to VoIP
applications, so we recommend you check their Web site regularly.
Overall, the Eutectics IPP 200 is an excellent choice if you are looking
for a USB-based IP phone. The sound quality is excellent, it has the look
and feel of a regular phone, and can be easily mounted on the side of the
computer monitor, and it has the unique hook-switch functionality. We should
mention that Eutectics carries other VoIP-related products, including a
cordless phone that integrates with the PC via USB and a USB adapter that
works with your existing headset. All in all, TMC Labs was quite pleased
with the Eutectics IPP 200 and would recommend it.
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