Models from Cisco, Alcatel-Lucent, and AT&T that are smarter and sleeker.
Smartphones may get all the attention these days, but many of us still rely on desk phones for workaday calls. These new models are packed with useful features, and they probably look much sleeker than the one on your desk.
ALCATEL-LUCENT OMNITOUCH 8082 MY IC
The OmniTouch has a 7-inch color touchscreen with apps for playing music, checking e-mail, and setting up conference calls. You can watch streaming security footage on it and even use it to buzz in visitors. The cordless Bluetooth handset works up to 30 feet away from the base. The phone is due out this fall, along with a new back-end system. COST: $800, plus $1,325 for a basic gateway
CISCO SPA 525G IP
This Internet phone works well with a hosted VoIP service. It has a bright 3.2-inch color screen and comes loaded with an RSS news-feed app and a music app. As with the OmniTouch, you can watch streaming security footage on the phone's screen. The back-end system, a Cisco UC500 gateway, supports up to 104 extensions and requires professional installation. COST: $430, plus $3,099 for each gateway
AT&T SYNAPSE SB67030
The more traditional Synapse has a 5.1-inch monochromatic screen that is crisp and easy to read. It does not have apps, but the display features handy directions for complex tasks like setting up conference calls. The back-end system, the SB67010 gateway, is easy to install and supports up to 16 outside lines and 50 extensions. COST: $279 for the phone, plus $199 for each gateway