Mobile Tech Minutes: Vidtel’s Videophone

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About a week ago, I received a videophone review unit from Vidtel. It’s drop-dead easy to setup: Simply plug in the AC adapter and connect the phone to your home broadband router. The $199 device grabs an IP address and has a local phone number already assigned. Aside from the roughly 6-inch color display and .3MP web-cam, the device looks like any basic landline phone. It also offers the same features, but of course, all voice and video traffic is sent over the Internet. Another nice feature: News headlines scroll on the display when the phone isn’t in use. Unfortunately, I see no easy way to get more information on that news.

Judi Sohn of WebWorkerDaily also has a review unit, so today’s video shows the phone in use. While the phone is easy to use and can call to any mobile or landline number, the video portion is only good between two Vidtel phones for now. The company is looking at Skype video integration, however.

Like most other VoIP services for the home, you pay a monthly fee. Current monthly plan pricing ranges from $14.95 to $29.95, although there are discounts for yearly service. A Vidtel phone isn’t going to replace my daily Skype video calls by any means. For folks that don’t sit in front of computers but still want inexpensive voice service with the potential for video calls, this is worth a look.

(Note: for some reason, my camera stopped recording about 15-seconds before we concluded our call. Hence the video stops just after we discuss how the camera doesn’t “mirror” video on a call.)


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