How many people have a land-line telephone anymore? What’s the need, you ask, when the cellphone’s always in a pocket? But that’s not true at home when the cell’s been put down in one room or connected to a charger in another room, or the volume’s low or its been set to Mute or Vibrate and left that way. The results are lost calls because nobody heard the ringer. That’s when the Renny HOME Smartphone Hub & Ringer licks its lips; it’s a speakerphone with the right kind of tech inside, like the ability to sync two phones and connect to them automatically over more distance than Bluetooth is supposed to do. Plus it has a loud, loud speaker that you can’t help but hear when a call’s coming through. And it doesn’t matter how the phone’s volume has been adjusted either, as long as Renny is turned on any incoming call is going to get noticed.

Renny Hears Better

So Renny looks like a speakerphone built around a U-Clamp: all glossy black with a series of blue LED press-tabs surrounding a speaker grill. Charging its battery via USB takes care of a lot of hours and makes it portable, but if you use its USB out to charge your phone or even a tablet, expect to have to power it up again soon. The biggest thing to keep in mind is that the swiveling antenna shouldn’t be aimed straight up — a bit of an angle towards the farthest area of your place will help.

Look Ma, No Hands!

After a simple BT pairing, Renny’s ready to go and all its blue lit up icons say that. I’m expecting a call and here it comes — Renny is doing the ringing from one of its built-in ringtones. Because I’ve got the Handsfree mode on, I just say “Answer” and now I’m talking through its mic and listening through its speaker. When the call’s done, I press the phone icon to disconnect (which I could have done to answer the call too). And since Renny also has a Caller ID”-like function that will announce a person or the number of the incoming call, if I don’t want to answer I can just shout out “Ignore.” All this is going on with Renny hanging out at my desk in the living room while my phone’s charging in the bedroom. Cool.

Where’s That Music Coming From?

The other icons handle audio volume and playback because — if set so — Renny can function as a Bluetooth speaker and stream music from the phone. The downside is that every single sound the phone makes comes from the Renny —so if this rankles, just push the tab away from this and over to where it just performs as a speakerphone, sans music streaming.

The Renny HOME Smartphone Hub & Ringer makes it easy to answer calls at home –but more importantly, it makes sure you know you’re getting them. No WiFi network to worry about either. The music streaming is just icing on the audio cake to be found in a small and compact package for $139.99.

Marshal Rosenthal

Marshal Rosenthal is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and journalist specializing in technology, consumer electronics and pop culture.

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