Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
- Simple, sleek design, handsfree speakerphone, notable sound quality, no PC required, doubles as a regular landline phone
- Restricted to Skype for VoIP calls, ringtones aren't loud enough
Skype users will find plenty to like about the VOIP841. A sleek design, decent call quality and an easy to grasp interface make this a recommended product.
Price$ 299.95 (AUD)
Following on from Philips' earlier Skype release, the VOIP321 (Skype), the VOIP841 is the company's latest edition. Essentially two products combined into one, the VOIP841 offers the flexibility of both a regular landline telephone, as well as a Skype phone.
The major difference between the VOIP841 and its predecessor is the fact that it doesn't need to be connected to a PC to make Skype calls. Instead it simply uses a broadband Internet connection through a router or modem, in addition to a regular telephone line.
The VOIP841 consists of three main parts; a phone, a charging dock and a compact base station. The base station has two connections on the rear – one connecting a standard RJ-45 Ethernet cable to your modem or router, the other connecting a standard RJ-11 telephone line jack to your landline. Both the base station and the charging dock require AC power via the included adapters. The design of the VOIP841 means you can keep the base station near your modem or router and the handset where you would normally keep your ordinary landline telephone. The handset uses DECT wireless technology, so it won't interfere with a wireless network.
Setup is as simple as connecting all the appropriate cords and plugging both the base station and the charging cradle into AC power. Users can configure the VOIP841 with an existing Skype account, or create a new Skype account on the phone itself. This process is as easy as entering your country and area codes, typing in a username and password, accepting the Skype agreement and signing into your account. The VOIP841 allows users to save their Skype name and password for automatic sign in.
The quality of Skype calls depends largely on the quality of your Internet connection, but we found it acceptable. Call clarity is not outstanding, but there are no major problems. The clarity of landline calls is excellent – we were particularly impressed with volume. The handsfree speakerphone also worked well. A minor complaint is the included ringtones – they aren't as loud as we expected.
The user interface is very simple and although the display is quite small, it's more than adequate. The buttons are large, easy to press and all are clearly marked. The keypad has a softy green backlight, while the display's brightness can be adjusted to suit.
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