Getting it set up - which like most SIP-based VoIP devices is not exactly thrill-a-minute - is a relatively painless process. It will search for available wireless networks and once you've entered any necessary security details it will log on and acquire an IP address.
From here, you can enter the seemingly bizarre and arcane SIP settings via the phone's menu and keypad - but it would be a fairly time consuming and convoluted process. Luckily, you can also log onto the phone using a web browser and change the settings there, which is a much more simple way of getting it up and running. The phone initially was set up to try and automatically acquire its SIP settings - with no mention of how to turn this off in the manual. However, once the hidden menu setting had been deactivated, it was happy to accept manual configuration.
Getting it up and running with VoIP provider Sipgate took about a further five minutes and then it proceeded to register with the server and was ready to make and receive calls a couple of minutes later.
When making calls from a landline phone to the SI-680H the quality was very impressive on the fixed line side with the conversation almost imperceptible from a normal call. Call quality on the SI-680H side was also good, but was marred by a slight buzzing from the handset that seemed to occur constantly throughout the call.
The handset features an internal address book, so you don't need to remember everyone's number, and caller ID is passed through to the handset. Unfortunately, the two don't seem to be linked in any way, so even if a contact is in the phone book, the number rather than the name appears on the display for incoming calls. Perhaps even more bizarrely, the call history links up with the phonebook, listing entries by name rather than number... so it seems a little odd.
The phone book can also be accessed via the web interface, making adding or updating a large amount of numbers a much less daunting process. It's also possible to backup and restore the phone book, so you don't need to worry about losing all your contacts if you become separated from the phone.
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.