The Toktumi Line2 BlackBerry app lets you add or port a second phone line to your mobile handset. Is this functionality for real, or too good to be true? We break it down in this review.
The Swiss Army Knife of Phone Apps
Line2 for BlackBerry is a well-polished service that for $15 per month gives users an impressive range of tools to manage their telephone systems. Small businesses will get the most utility out of this tool, though at $15 per month it's within a single user's budget.
Two uses: As a primary line or a second line
Setting up Line2 for BlackBerry takes less than 10 minutes thanks to helpful guides and tutorial videos. There are two main uses for Line2 -- as a primary line (available by porting US or Canadian cell phones) or as a secondary line.
Users can choose their new number's area code, or can even choose a toll-free number. Unlike other services like Google Voice, users can't choose vanity numbers.
Managing calls with Line2
Line2's real power comes from the way it lets users manage call flow. Users can elect to have callers announce their names, pass calls directly a number, directly to voicemail, or to an Auto Attendant option (described below).
After uploading contacts from a mobile client or from a CSV file online, users can organize contacts into Personal, Business, and Blocked categories with specific routing for each. Line2 can handle up to 6 forwarding lines (i.e. phones that ring when the Line2 number is called).
Users also have the option to route callers through five 3-digit extensions (with an option to add more). Users can also define time-specific routing rules (ex. after business hours). Several call-handling options are outlined in the infographic shown right.
The Line2 BlackBerry client allows for quick option selections such as putting the line into a voicemail-only "do not disturb" mode.
Users can select to have caller IDs passed through or to show the Line2 ID when calls come in, can manage account-access numbers, forwarding numbers, upload all contacts or upload new contacts. It's intuitive and to the point.
Users make calls from Line2 numbers by selecting "Call from Line2" as an option in the contact list. There is a bit of an annoying delay before a call is connected through this method, as opposed to directly calling someone.
Line2 features desktop clients for Mac and PCs that offer call management features as well as the ability to route calls to the desktop. Unfortunately the client stopped working on my standard Windows 7 machine and I was unable to get it to work again.
This app is unique in that users have the option to route callers through several different rule-specific voicemail prompts, which can all be accessed in one place.
Voicemails are emailed as an MP3, or can be downloaded by the web interface. Unfortunately there is no text-alert system, nor is there an email-transcription or online voicemail streaming options, which are present with some alternatives (i.e. Google Voice).
Texting with Line2
For all of its robust features Line2 suffers from inability to text from the Line2 number. This can cause difficulties in the case where a user wants a caller to only have one number for the user or who might not want to give out his/her personal information.
Line2 for BlackBerry offers a feature-laden call management solution for individuals and small businesses. At $15 per month it can is an economic solution for those who want more control over their call experience.
Still, one has to ask -- does adding features add value? In an effort to not confuse callers and to maintain a familiar calling experience for them, I found myself turning off or under-utilizing many of Line2's features. After looking at the core features I did use, I'm not sure there is still a strong case for paying for Line2 as opposed to free alternatives such as Google Voice, unless there is truly a justified need.
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