GE 31591GE1 Digital Cordless Telephone for Skype Review

There are many ways to take advantage of Skype and all it has to offer. You can run its software on your PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android phone, etc. But some of us still enjoy having conversations the old fashioned way – with a landline handset.

That is where the new GE 31591GE1 Digital Cordless Expandable Telephone comes in. This cordless handset has been designed specifically to work with Skype. Sure, there have been many devices to come out like it in the past, but the GE Digital Cordless Expandable Telephone has a significant ace up its sleeve – and that is its ability to also work with your landline. In other words, the system has a dual line capability.

Of course you don’t have to use the system with a landline, and you can always choose to use it exclusively for Skype. This is a great solution if you’re considering jumping ship and getting rid of your landline, but you’re not ready to replace your landline with Skype just yet. Or perhaps it’s that grandma or grandpa want to save money using Skype, but they don’t have a PC – then this PC free solution is a great way for them to start saving money using Skype. Either way, with this device, you have the best of both worlds.

The phone works totally independently of a PC. It’s also fully compatible with Skype – that means it will work with Skype to Skype calls, as well as SkypeOut and SkypeIn phone calls, and even allow you to access your Skype Voicemail. The phone also packs in DECT 6.0 Digital Technology, a 50 name/number call log, up to 10 hours talk time, caller ID/call waiting, a speakerphone, unlike most cordless handsets – it’s software upgradable and it can be expanded with up-to 5 handsets.

An ethernet cable, telephone base, charger, battery pack, and telephone line cord are all included in the package. Set-up is simple. Out of the box you’ll have to connect the GE Digital Cordless Expandable Telephone to your router via ethernet and plug your phone line into the telephone base. You’ll then have to log-in to your Skype account using the phone’s keypad. With a glossy black front plush, complimented by a silver trim and a white back finish, the system itself is quite attractive. Its back is also curved, making it comfortable to hold. Finally, it also sports a blue backlit keypad and a matching blue backlit display. Its set of keys include a dedicated Skype, Speakerphone, and mute button

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From the phone’s menu system you can sign in to Skype and see which of your Skype contacts are online and set your Skype status. From the homescreen you can also see the current time and how much credit you have left in your account. Along the top of the handset’s  display are icons which indicate reception, missed calls, new voice mail, new authorization requests, battery status and more. When an incoming call comes in, the phone has a Distinctive Ring set up for each line that helps reduce confusion when the phone rings. Overall, the interface is straightforward and simple to use, with all of Skype’s essential function at your fingertips.

We tried using our Skype account to call other Skype users and to make phones calls. As far as Skype to Skype calls are concerned, quality is generally very good. Skype users on the other end said that we sounded very clear and we could hear them well too, although some faint background static could be heard. The same experience applied for SkypeOut calls to regular telephone numbers.


The GE 31591GE1Digital Cordless Expandable Telephone for Skype is truly the modern day answer to the cordless handset. It offers the best of both worlds – the ability to use Skype and save tons of money on calls – while not having to give up your landline. The system is easy to set-up and use, and also provides a quality calling experience.

Currently, Skype is running a special promotion where you can get the GE Digital Cordless Expandable Telephone for $89.99, with a year’s worth of Unlimited calls to US and Canada, plus up to 200 worldwide minutes. You can also choose to get the phone alone for $69.99 and that comes bundled with 400 international minutes. Overall, we think that this is a quite  a good value. Considering that a Dect 6.0 cordless handset would cost you at least $30, and that a yearly Skype subscription for calling the U.S. and Canada, would cost around $30 alone, this handset is a great deal. The system also helps transform Skype into a more direct competitor with the likes of NetTalk and MagicJack. Overall, we recommend this system and think that it should give you more reason to be using Skype than ever before.

The Good: Good call quality; attractive design; works independently of a PC; works with your land-line too; easy to set-up and use.

The Bad: Keypad keys are bit stiff; no dedicated volume button; cant purchase credit directly from the handset

Update 10/12/2011: Skype asked us to point out that if you use this telephone handset exclusively for Skype, you wont be able to use the phone to call 911.


  1. I have Philips VOIP841 PC-Free DECT 6.0 Wireless IP Phone for 3 years which does the same thing. Nothing new.

  2. The speakerphone feature has really bad feedback… I got the phone and so did a friend of mine.  We both have the same problem.  Is there a reason for the bad feedback, or is it a common problem?  Anyone else experience this?  Because of the bad feedback, that feature is rendered useless.. But, Wow!  What an amazing phone. I would still recommend it to anyone.. It is awesome! 

  3. There’s a long thread on Skype’s community boards about how the voicemail feature on this phone is essentially unusable.  GE apparently refuses to update the firmware that would allow the user to set the number of rings before going to voicemail, and set the default at 60 seconds – long enough to make anyone assume that there is no voicemail on that line, and hang up.  Additionally, any phone calls coming in default to the phone’s voicemail settings, overriding any delay settings you may have on your computer’s Skype software.  

    We unfortunately purchased this phone for our office, and the only way we can use it is to physically unplug the base from our router any time we anticipate being unable to take a call.  In practice, the phone goes completely unused – a complete waste of money.

  4. I am also interested… Is it 240V compatible? If not, perhaps one could purchase a 3rd party AC adapter? 

  5. Same result as unplugging can be achieved by switching the status to “offline” from the phone – users get greeted by the voicemail. But I agree, the issue needs to be fixed.

  6. This review is of no use without saying whether this phone has a standard 3.5mm headset jack.

    Speakerphone can substitute sometimes, but uses more battery, isn’t private and annoys and restricts others in a home or office setting.  All cordless phones need standard 3.5mm headset jacks, and no I would not use a Bluetooth substitute.  Good phone headsets cost $2-6 these days but Bluetooth starts at about $20 and has never worked, will never work, and cannot work.

  7. This pone works has worked great for us. We use it with a Google voice subscription and have no problems with voice mail. Of course tis simply bypasses the Skype voice mail system.

  8.  Yes, I would like to know how to set up Google Voice too.  What resources are available?

  9.  Its fairly straight forward. This is what Ive done.

    1. subscribed to the 2.99 skype plan.
    2. Ordered a number through skype so land lines can call without having skype.
    3. turned off the skype voicemail.
    4. opened a google voice account. Just go to google voice it will step you through the process. google voice will have you choose a local phone number. this number is the one I use to give out to anyone trying to contact me.
    5. the only number I give out is the google voice number. I dont even know the others now.
    6. google voice is set to ring the skype number and the cell numbers when someone calls. If im out I answer the cell phone if im home I pick up on the GE home phone.

    hope this makes sense. I went this route because local phone service here is 29 bucks a month without long distance and cell phone coverage is pathetic.

  10. I bought this phone thinking it can work in Italy where I live. Apparently it works only in the US and Canada. can you confirm this? thanks

  11. I have been using 2 of these GE Phones as our only landline for 3+ years. They are dead reliable. Can’t seem to find more to buy, but would like to buy another one for my son.

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