Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Review: Skype DualPhone Philips VOIP8411B /01


I have planned to replace discontinued RTX USB Cordless DualpHone because it will enventually break with a future release of Skype (when they make chanegs of the API) and also because it's already my 3rd handset because the upper right corner of thw LCD display would stop working and this damage grew so reading caller id and status completely became impossible.

When I told some of my Skype community friends about this I was asked to tell them my opinion, so I decided to make a review of it.

What my friend Kent noticed, is that when one tries me to message me, one gets that notification as on the above screenshot made by him (thanks!)

t. Actually no Skype phone featuring the embedded "Skype on Devices" client has chat notification. It was always this way when I was in DND in past too, because:

When Skype for Windows was closed, the RTX USB Cordless DualPhone would not notify of messages then only my Ipevo SOLO desktop phone or my Ipevo S0-20 wifi phone was on.

He probably never tried before to send me something at night when Skype for Windows din't run :)

So it's not about whether the phone has the feature of "chat notification" or not , it's just that the "Skype on Devices" software doesn't have this feature on any phone.

So this is already the first and only down of the phone so far, but rather of the software used supplied by Skype.

In the Package!

The phone comes with a charging cradle, with a Skype voucher for 120 minutes SkypeOut Global Rate calls and 12 months voicemail, a base sation with LAN and phone jacket , lan and phone cables, receptacle and phone adpaters for different countries. Quick manuals in various language, a CD with the full manual and the handset itself.

Speacial charateristic of the hardware

The handset features an external speaker which is quite big and of good quality used for polytonic ringtonees (Yeah! finally!) and the speaker phone functionality.

It also has a headset jack. The headset jack is the same as on the Netgear SPH101 and the Belkin Skype wifi phone. So we use the Sennheiser MM30

The base station has a "page " button so if you lost your handset you can find it this way again (it plays fine music then).

It also has 2 control LEDs to tell you whether the Skype and the PSTN phone is ready.

The Skype on Devices client: Different functions

As we all know the Skype on Devices software gets modified more or less to the manufacturer's own needs.

The VOIPVOIP8411B has some features that make the phone pretty different from the others like the phones mentioend above or the Ipevo SOLO or Ipevo S0-20.

The Philips phone differs to the others in these aspects;

-It has a lock keypad function
-Despite the warning that it slows down since I have over 100 contacts, it doesn't, so it must have a stronger CPU or just uses the resources better
-the PSTN calling feature is actually part of the included Skype client!

In common with the Ipveo SOLO:

-The Skype phone allows you to add your telephone country and area code so that if you call a number inside your country you do not have to add your country code, same when you call a number inside your city then you can even leave out the city code.

Interestingly however, Philips enclosed a red warning paper which warns you that the city code is only required for UK and USA which is a false claim.

-Equal to the Ipevo SOLO is also that you can have up to 500 contacts while most others can only handle up to 200.



Call quality.

When I first connected the phone the call quality was miserable. there were gaps and shutters, but after the firmware update the call quality is equal to the Ipevo S0-20 and slighty better than the Ipevo SOLO.

The firmware update makes the phone performing very good which explains why it has such a good reputation in the Skype Community. Skype made a fairly bugfree product.


PSTN calls

When making PSTN calls you can decide whether to use preferably your tradtional landline or Skype to dial the number or you can set it this way to ask you every time after you dialed a number.

The PSTN part is included into the Skype software so this menas it acts differently from a traditional PSTN phone:


-When you actually just hang up you really hear your landline's free signal and not some fake one.

-When you put Skype on DND because you do not want that the phone rings at night and wakes you up then keep in mind that incoming PSTN calls also will not ring anymore! So better you instead put the Skype status on "offline", this way you are still logged into Skype and can see the contact list but nobody can wake you up at night.



Firmware update

Updating a Skype phone's firmware is very important for Skype, to keep the phone runing and matching to changes Skype did and remove nasty or not so nasty bugs.

Firmware updating is done over a webbrowser interface exactly like you know it from configurating routers!

When updating the phone's firmware I can into problems, because it always said "site not found" after I pressed on OK in the uploading the bin file process. The reason was, the CGI script used didn't work in IE8 or any other browser, only when I used the compatibility mode in IE8, the firmware update would proceed!


Summary:


Pros:

+Can handle up to 500 Skype contacts
+Perfect call quality in PSTN calls and Skype-to-Skype calls.
+Has a speaker phone function
+Many neat polytonic ring tones
+headset jack
+Pretty bugfree with latest firmware
+PSTN function embedded into the "Skype on Devices" client seamlessly.


Cons:

-DND on disables ringing for incoming PSTN calls too!
-No seperate PSTN phone book, you have to save them as a contact on Skype
-Firmware updating only possible in compatibility mode of IE8!


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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey are you a professional journalist? This article is very well written, as compared to most other blogs i saw today….
anyhow thanks for the good read!

Nafcom said...

@Anonymous: Thanks for the nice words, I did my best! :) No, I am no professional journalist but know the Skype software and hardware well :)