I’ve had a cellphone for years, but I never used it much until we recently dropped our landline. I’ve started to worry about cellphone radiation now that I’m using it more – like those 3-hour phone calls to my friend, Leah. In addition to the radiation from holding the iPhone to my head for so long, I often find the back of the phone starts to get a bit hot. Also, the battery can die, which cuts into my gabfest. I don’t like wearing Bluetooth headsets, so I started looking for another way to reduce my radiation exposure. Recently I posted a news item about an iPhone Desktop Handset from Hammacher Schlemmer. After a bit of Googling, I found that the handset was actually from iClooly, and I could get it much cheaper from Amazon.com. I started trying it out as soon as my iClooly Phonestand arrived.
Some of the images in this review can be clicked for an enlarged view.
The iClooly Phonestand looks a little like the skeleton of an old-fashioned desk phone. The base is made of anodized aluminum and white plastic. The handset is made of white and silvertone plastic. I measured the base at almost 3” wide (including the cord holder) X 7.5” long X 2.5” tall at the back. The handset is 7.12” long X 1.85” wide X 1.4” thick.
The coiled cord is about 17” long. It stretches to at least 40” long, but you should be careful stretching the cord that long as the base isn’t heavy enough to hold steady while the cord is under that much tension. The cord has a standard telephone connector to plug into the handset and a 3.5mm audio plug to connect to the headphone jack on your phone. iPhones use a 3.5mm plug, but not all phones do. You could use this handset with any phone that has an adapter that will allow you to use a standard 3.5mm audio plug. You can find a list of compatible phones at the iClooly Phonestand page.
The base of the Phonestand has a cord holder on the left side. The handset rest doesn’t have any controls. You can’t disconnect your call by simply “hanging up” the phone. There’s a black sticky pad on the base to keep your phone safely in place. The adhesive on the pad was so strong that I was afraid I was going to break my iPhone while trying to remove it from the pad. I put the protective cover back on the sticky pad, and will just rely on friction to hold my phone in place. At the front right corner is a holder for your stylus.
The base also has another cord holder at the bottom back. You can run your charging cable through the bottom and charge/sync your phone while it’s in the stand. This will be very convenient while I’m on one of my long calls with Leah.
Because I use a Bumper Case with my iPhone 4, I naturally tried to plug the handset cord into the iPhone while it was wearing the case. The shape of the 3.5mm plug prevents it from making a complete connection while the phone is in the case. I can make a phone call, but it takes some effort. I either have to continually press down on the end of the plug with my finger or try to wedge it into the stand firmly enough that the plug makes a connection. It’s still a bit staticy this way, and any movement of the phone can mean the connection is lost.
When I took the Bumper off, the 3.5mm plug make a stable, secure connection. I tried making some calls, and no one I talked to complained about the sound. When I asked about the call quality, everyone said it sounded great. They were surprised when I told them I was using a handset instead of talking directly into the phone. My daughter even thought the handset sounded a bit better than the iPhone itself.
The handset simply replaces a headphone/microphone set, and it has no controls built in. You have to end your call with the controls on the phone itself. This isn’t a problem, because you can’t get that far away from the phone while you’re talking anyway.
The handset is comfortable to hold. My hand doesn’t get cramped even when talking for a long time. I think this is because the handset is narrower than any cellphone I’ve used, and I can hold it securely without feeling like I’m using a death grip. iClooly says using the handset reduces radiation exposure by 96%. I don’t have any way to test that claim, but I do believe that keeping the phone on the table instead of against my ear has to offer a reduction in exposure.
If you have an AT&T iPhone (or a Verizon phone that’s connected to WiFi), you’ll find that the Phonestand holds your phone at a comfortable angle for multi-tasking while you’re talking on the phone. The Phonestand can hold the iPhone in either the horizontal or vertical position.
As I mentioned earlier, you can use the Phonestand with other phones. I don’t have access to any others, but phones considerably longer than the iPhone may not fit the stand in the vertical position, especially if the headphone jack is on the top. Also, an adapter may interfere with the fit if the headphone jack is on the top or bottom.
I like the iClooly Phonestand, but I wish the headset cord would work with the Bumper Case. I really think it might be worth removing my Bumper and using the stand when I make my long weekly calls to Leah, though. I also like how I can charge my phone with the stand, and how it keeps my phone elevated and in plain view on my desktop or nightstand. I think the price at Amazon is a fair price, too. It’s worth considering if you want to try to reduce your radiation exposure but don’t like traditional wired earbuds or Bluetooth headsets.