Calisto Pro Hands-Free Phone System

I’ve been using an evaluation unit of the recently-released Calisto Pro phone and Bluetooth headset for a few months and absolutely love it. I replaced an old phone in my office and set this system up on my business line; I clip the handset on my belt when I am away from my desk so I don’t have to run into my office to pick up from there.

It is the details that really matter. The base is compact and elegant, and because the only dock for the headset is in the base unit, you never have to worry about losing the headset. The soft-clip on the phone opens easily and it’s placed on the phone upside down, so when a call comes in you can easily glance down and easily read the screen right side up. The handset also has a built-in speakerphone that is just tremendous, both when docked in the base and used remotely. But the headset is so elegantly integrated with the phone (and it has a long voice-tube for a change!) that one hardly needs the speakerphone function. The system can also sync with Outlook and has a bunch of neat extras, like elegant switching among land, VOIP and cellular calls. Though I haven’t used them in my office, I have seen these features demo’d.

I’ve yet to replace my cell phone headset with this one, but I really should, as the Calisto Pro headset is much better. However, this would be a terrific product even if it had no headset because of the quality of the DECT-6 protocol, which delivers tremendous sound quality on the handset. Battery life is also very solid, and so is range, though of course the laws of physics still apply and thus it matters where you put the base and what sort of building you are in. Set up is no different from an ordinary cordless phone — no need to read directions or the like; it is all very self-evident plug-and-play sort of experience. Just plug into the wall jack and plug in the power supply. When a call comes in, picking up the handset is as easy as picking up a traditional phone.

All in all, this is the first cordless headset phone I consider good enough for a home office — and I’ve been buying cordless headset phones since the mid-80s and have more than I can count moldering away in boxes. Interestingly, Plantronics is the company that built the headset used by Neal Armstrong when he first stepped on the Moon!

-- Paul Saffo  

Calisto Pro Hands-Free Phone System
$220

Manufactured by Plantronics

Available from Amazon