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Product Reviews
June 2003

Internet Power Phone 200 Handset

Eutectics, Inc.

343 Passaic Ave.
Fairfield, NJ 07004
Tel: 973-227-4051
Web site: www.eutecticsinc.com

Price: $49.95

Editor's Choice Award

Installation: 5
Documentation: 5
Features: 4.75
Overall: A

Using USB-based phones to make VoIP calls is nothing new, so when we were offered a chance to look at Eutectics� Internet Power Phone 200 Handset (IPP 200) USB IP Phone, we weren�t 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 weren�t overwhelmed with this feature.

That is until we determined that the IPP 200 can actually integrate with several popular VoIP applications, including MSN Messenger, 3Com�s NBX, Cisco�s softphone, Nortel�s softphone, IP Blue�s softphone, and SJ Labs� 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 �pop up� 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 doesn�t 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 �hook-switch� 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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