EnGenius SI-680H Wi-Fi VoIP phone
Have Wi-Fi, can call via VoIP
Review VoIP may be revolutionising the telecoms industry by allowing us to make free calls with little more than a broadband connection and computer, but it's also tying us to our PCs. If you'd rather spend more time talking than being tied to a machine, a Wi-Fi phone like the EnGenius SI-680H will help you cut the cord.
EnGenius' SI-680H: PC not required
The SI-680H houses all the necessary gubbins to make VoIP calls without requiring a PC to be on while it's doing it. It can log onto a Wi-Fi network, pick up an IP address, and then place calls via an SIP provider all without the help or assistance of a computer.
The advantage of this approach is that it not only means you can make VoIP calls at home using your own wireless network, but you can also use it while you're out and about and in range of a suitable Wi-Fi hotspot.
However, although it supports protected Wi-Fi connections, which require a password or key to access, you won't be able to use it on a network that requires you to purchase access via a web browser as there isn't one built into the handset. Fine if you're visiting an office and you know the network key, but not suitable for chatting away in Starbucks.
The handset design is pretty basic - think mobile phone from about five years ago. Compared to the pretty interfaces of today's mobile phones it's fairly ugly by comparison, but it's still reasonably easy to navigate and does the job. Likewise, it's not exactly big on styling, but it's not too large or bulky and it's not too unpleasant to look at.
Numbers and Contacts
The Philips VOIP8411B Skype/PSTN phone does the same thing regarding incoming calls being listed as numbers, but all the call logs listing the actual names from the contacts. Very annoying!
Perhaps when the product under review is so poor, el Reg could do it's readers a favour by pointing similar but better products, otherwise the review is pretty much a waste of time. I'll start the ball rolling with:
- Siemens C460IP: DECT handset with SIP client + ethernet/PSTN ports in the base station. Obviously no use outside of your own home or office, but far better coverage and battery life than a SIP+WiFi handset.
- Any number of Nokia handsets with integrated SIP client: Reviewed here by el Reg, and you'll probably get them for free or very little on top of your existing mobile contract. With the integrated browser, you can log onto WiFi hotspots too, further increasing it's utility over the EnGenius.
Why spend a hundred quid on this, when you can spend 50 quid more and get yourself the Toshiba Protege cellphone.
Its got build in wifi and supports VoIP and SIP. You can also load skype on it and use it as your wireless skype phone at home.
Just like any laptop, you can set it to connect to the network automatically when it becomes available.
I use one of these phones, and is extremely happy with it.
For what it offers, this seems to cost too much: you can buy a SIP ata around GBP 20, a DECT phone for about the same, a mobile with 802.11 / SIP for slightly more than this unit.
why bother to review this?
Although I wanted to write something mean after reading the first 2 paragraphs I thought I'd read the whole review to see if their is anything at all interesting about this phone.
Sadly this just looks like a crap version of the cheaper Siemens gigaset IP phones that have been around for a while.
Why are you bothering to review this old technology? I want my 4 minutes back.