capsule review

Vonage V-Portal VoIP Phone Adapter

At a Glance
  • Vonage V-Portal

    PCWorld Rating

If you're an Internet-phone user, you may not pay much attention to the VoIP phone adapter, the nondescript gizmo (aka digital voice gateway) that links your home phone to your cable/DSL modem or router. Vonage aims to change that with its new V-Portal, a relatively flashy adapter with a built-in LCD screen that helps with installation, troubleshooting, and diagnostic issues. While most VoIP adapters are homely contraptions best hidden behind a printer or in a corner, the V-Portal--with a curvy orange stripe framing its control panel--at least makes an attempt to be fashion-forward. Okay, it's no iPhone, but Vonage gets an A for effort.

Available to new Vonage customers for a nominal $10 fee (after a $70 rebate), the V-Portal does some handy tricks. Its 2.5-inch monochrome LCD eases setup by suggesting fixes for common glitches--though not always accurately. In my tests, for instance, the V-Portal detected an "incorrect network setting" during setup. The LCD posted a message suggesting I unplug the power connector and then reinsert it; unfortunately, this didn't fix the problem, and I had to call Vonage for help in getting the V-Portal to work with our 2Wire DSL modem/wireless router.

The LCD's interface is easy to learn. Four buttons--up, down, back, and select--located below the screen make navigating the on-screen menus easy. V-Portal works with Caller ID and displays the phone number and (sometimes) the name of the person calling. This feature is convenient if your phone is tethered to the V-Portal, but less so if you use a wireless handset that's usually in another room. The call timer is convenient for attorneys and businesspeople who need to log phone times, and the voice-mail indicator shows when messages are waiting, though the latter feature is fairly common among phone adapters. The V-Portal has two phone ports, one for the main line and the other for an optional fax or second voice line. And since the V-Portal is also a single-port router, you can connect a computer or another networkable device to it.

If you plan to sign up for Vonage service, the V-Portal, for a mere ten bucks, is a worthy upgrade.

--Jeff Bertolucci

To comment on this article and other PCWorld content, visit our Facebook page or our Twitter feed.
At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Enough helpful features to warrant its bargain price.


    • Bargain price
    • Includes Caller ID and call timer


    • Setup help didn't solve installation issue
    • Caller ID not helpful if phone is in other room
Shop Tech Products at Amazon
Notice to our Readers
We're now using social media to take your comments and feedback. Learn more about this here.