Mobiboo UTstarcom F3000 Wi-Fi VoIP phone
It flips, it SIPs
As a phone, the F3000 looks very much like most clamshells did a couple of years ago. It's fairly small - it measures 8.5 x 4.3 x 2.2cm and weighs 90g - and has a stubby antenna. It doesn't have any screen on the outside, just a small speaker, and the internal screen is rather small and based on old passive matrix technology. It has a fairly poor resolution of 128 x 160 pixels, but it can at least display 65,536 colours.
The keypad isn't the best I've used. Sometimes it seems slow to respond to key presses, but it does the job. The F3000 has a rather comprehensive set of features, comparable to any budget mobile phone. There are a couple of games, a calculator, alarm clock, world time, calendar and a 200-contact phone book. All rather rudimentary features on mobile phones these days, but it's the first VoIP phone we've come across with such an extensive list of features.
There's a 2.5mm socket that accepts standard mobile phone handsfree units. A mini-USB connector in the bottom of the handset is used to charge it, so you can top up the battery with a PC and a standard mini-USB cable when you're on the move. Mobibloo bundles a charger in any case. The battery is good for 60-70 hours in standby made and up to about three hours' talk time, according to Mobiboo. Not that impressive, but good enough for most.
In use, the F3000 felt like using any other clamshell mobile phone, although the sound quality could drop at times. This is very dependent on the Wi-Fi connection as well as the bandwidth of the internet link that you're connected to. It's unlikely to be a lot worse than any other VoIP handset out there.
Mobiboo offers competitive call charges both within the UK and abroad. Sadly Mobiboo doesn't offer free VoIP calls to other VoIP providers at the moment, which somewhat limits the appeal of their service as it's a UK-only company. Another downside is the cost of the F3000, for which Mobiboo wants £179 inc VAT, although this inlcudes £10 of call credit.
Mobiboo has an interesting take on VoIP and, in the UTstarcom F3000, one of the better looking VoIP handsets on the market. It's just a shame that its service is only available in the UK, and that the handset is comparably expensive to similar devices that aren't as pocket friendly. ®
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