Ooma, for the uninitiated, is a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) provider that allows you to buy its basic Ooma Telo device, and be done with ever having to pay for anything ever again. If you want added features such as an instant second line and some other bells and whistles, you can subscribe to Ooma Premiere for $9.99 a month, or $119.88 a year.
The Ooma Telo, the heart of the system, has been out for some time now, but now the company has released some peripheral devices that will let you expand its usability and make it more of a true landline phone replacement than it ever has been before. While our Ooma Telo review was pretty glowing, will we think the same of the HD2 Handset and Linx? Lets find out.
Ooma HD2 Handset
If you have a burning desire to see Facebook profile pictures of your friends when they call, then the Ooma HD2 Handset may be the phone for you, but beyond that, it doesn't offer you much more than any other phone in this price range will. It is built to interact with your Ooma Telo base and access your voicemail easily, and can give you an automatic second line if someone else is currently using another handset (available only with Ooma Premiere), but you can get the same feature by plugging another phone in the Ooma Linx (reviewed below).
Call quality with the HD2 via the earpiece and speakerphone were crisp and clear, but the latter revealed a flaw with the physical design. Typically when you use the speakerphone on a handset you'll stand it up both the microphone and speaker are unobstructed, but the rounded base of the phone makes this impossible. While the handset also includes a headphone jack, using it caused those on the other end to complain of a constant buzzing sound. The same headset used with other phones did not cause the same complaints.
Navigation of the handset's menus and features are intuitive and easy, and you never feel as though you may get lost. However, the actual number pad buttons used for dialing have very little give to them, and feel somewhat cheap to the touch.
While we were unable to test this for ourselves as we had none of the original Ooma handsets, apparently registering HD2 handsets with your Telo will render them useless. Seeing as those also cost $60 when released, you will need to weigh how badly you want to upgrade to the latest handset.
The Ooma HD2 Handset brings some nice features with it, but for $60 you have to wonder if it is really worth your hard earned dollars. Our summation is it clearly isn't.
There isn't a whole lot you can say about the Ooma Linx as it doesn't have many features, but what it does do, it does perfectly.While I am a big fan of the Ooma Telo base and the oodles of money it saves me over a landline, my biggest complaint has been the fact that you can only plug one traditional phone into it. Yes, thanks to cordless phone systems you can plug a base in and have multiple handsets, but I still needed more locations where I could answer a phone. Just as I was trying to figure out a solution, along comes the Ooma Linx for $50.
Setup of the Linx couldn't be simpler. You plug it into an outlet, set your base to registration mode and the two devices do a little handshake. You have to wait for the lights to both go blue before you can start using it, but that only takes a few moments. You are then ready to plug in another phone, or in my case an older cordless phone system I had laying around. Thanks to the Linx, I now have 10 cordless handsets spread around the building my office is in, and I am never more than a few feet away from one.
If you're going to use stationary phones, you're limited to four Linx units registered to a Telo base, and at $50 each, that is going to quickly add up. If that is your scenario, I'm not sure how quick I would be to recommend the device, or the Ooma system overall to be honest. If you have a fax machine you need to connect, or spare phones that could be put to good use, then the Linx is a home run for you.
While the Ooma HD2 Handset left us cold, the Linx is a very welcome addition to the VoIP providers line-up of products. When you also consider the HD2 has a suggested retail price of $60 versus the Linx's $50, and the latter will allow you to use any phone of your choosing with the system, it seems like an easy call.
While we love the actual Ooma Telo, and the Linx adds more flexibility to the system, we simply can not recommend the HD2 Handset.
Ooma provided us with review units of both the HD2 Handset and the Linx.
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