The promise of VoIP has a tendency to sometimes fall short when it comes to simplicity. After all, a VoIP solution is supposed to replace the standard landline telephone — one of the simplest communication devices of all time. Ever seen an old person work a landline? They rock those things, no sweat.
IPEVO’s ST4RT (pronounced “Start”) attempts to blend the simplicity of an old school telephone headset with the convenience of VoIP. Is the ST4RT an advanced, feature-packed, powerful handset? No. It’s a $15 piece of plastic with a volume knob that plugs into your headphone jack and your microphone jack. You hold it up to your face, sound comes out near your ear, and you speak into a little mic located near your mouth – just like the telephones of old. Hallelujah. What a concept. When you’re all done, you can wrap the cords around the handset and be on your merry way.
I got my hands on a two-pack of ST4RT phones (the two pack will cost $25, versus $15 for one handset) and left one at home with my wife while I took the second one on a fancy business trip. I called her up using Skype, we both used our phones, and everything sounded just fine.
Then I called up United Airlines to see if they’d reveal the secret behind the magic trick of somehow losing my luggage between Boston and Denver. After being transferred between India, Denver International Airport, Logan Airport, and the Eagle County Regional Airport, I still don’t have any clean clothes to wear tomorrow but boy, oh boy, did the ST4RT handle being on hold for an hour like a champ. But I digress…
If you use any sort of software-based VoIP and you want a dead simple way to make calls, it doesn’t get much simpler than the ST4RT. Use it at home, then throw it in your bag when traveling (assuming you’re not flying United, because you’ll probably never see it again). And while $15 might seem a tad high for such a simple device, it’s the simplicity that makes it worth adding it to your travel doodads.
IPEVO ST4RT Universal Handset [IPEVO.com]