When telephones first hit the mainstream more than a hundred years ago, they were obtrusive things with a large footprint. But they were also status symbols; handcrafted coffers of high technology. Later, as ye olde telephone became commonplace, they looked decidedly utilitarian and were almost always attached to a wall or desk with a cord or two. Of course, then came cordless, wireless and cellular. Phones got pocketable and about as sexy as a bar of soap.
Everything Ion Tourmaline Infused Silicone Handset
Because there aren’t enough retro Bluetooth handsets in the world, Everything Ion adds some extra novelty to the gimmickry heap with the Tourmaline Infused Silicone Anti-Radiation Handset ($ 50; shop.everythingion.com).
Tourmaline is a semi-precious stone that has recently made a blip in the holistic health scene as medicinal, not unlike magnetic wristbands. But here’s the thing: This is a great Bluetooth handset for the sake of, you know, talking on the phone. Aside from the funky, take-it-or-leave-it hues, the Everything Ion handset pairs with any Bluetooth device, so it’s universal. It’s also nice and big and hearkens back to the days when you could cradle a handset between your shoulder and chin — the original “hands free” method. No coiled cord to drag the phone off the table, either. Plus, it’s really light — less than three ounces, rechargeable via USB and holds its charge for days, if not weeks, unused.
For the executive who has everything, there’s the Pyle PRT351 Retro Home Telephone with Built-in iPhone Dock ($ 110; www.pyleaudio.com).
It’s a functioning iPhone dock and charger that conveniently syncs with the device and allows you to make phone calls the old-fashioned way, with a handset/receiver fancied up in old school wood and faux brass. Also faux is the system’s rotary dialer, which is actually touch tone — it doesn’t rotate — so you can dial out through the iPhone.
The PRT351 accommodates a landline as well and will do double duty, toggling between land and cellular use with the push of a button.
It’s actually compatible with any mobile with a 3.5mm headset port, but the dialing function only works with the Apple product. Slap a genuine iPhone in there and you’re golden, attached to your desk with a coiled cord, straddling two telecommunication eras like some kind of postmodern hipster.
ePure Home Telephone by Swiss Voice
Once in a while, someone reinvents the proverbial wheel. Well, improves upon the idea, anyway. Such is the case with ePure Premium Cordless Phone by Swissvoice ($ 100; swissvoice.net). This is no ordinary cordless home telephone. It’s very well made with exceptional call clarity — even when placed on a countertop and used (optionally) as a speakerphone.
While it is a sort of hollowed out and reshaped silhouette of the classic phone handset, the ePure is also perfectly accommodating to the ancient habit of cradling the phone on one’s shoulder. Internally, the thing packs a lot of useful features and functions, including a backlit LCD display, 10 hours of talk time, speed dials, alarm and ring tones.