Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Netgear SPH200D Dual-mode Cordless Phone with Skype Review

When I subscribed to the unlimited North American Skype Plan, I purchased this phone. At the time, I already had the Belkin Wi-Fi Skype phone but because the Belkin device relies on Wi-Fi and I wasn't overly satisfied with the sound quality with the device, I thought that a cordless phone as opposed to one using Wi-Fi would be better.

I believe that at the time that I'm writing this review, Belkin has discontinued this product but I've seen this product for sale occasionally on Ebay.

As you can see from the picture, there are essentially 3 components to this product. The first component is the transmitter unit. It is here that you would have to plug in your regular phone line as well as your RJ-45 network cable from your router. The second component is the handset which is used to make/receive calls. The third component is the handset charging cradle.

One of the things that I like about this product is that the handset is powered by two AAA NiMH batteries so they are easy to replace if necessary.

When someone calls you via Skype, the phone will automatically ring. If someone calls you on your phone number, the phone will also automatically ring. It does all of this transparently/automatically. When you want to place a call, you can have it either automatically use your phone line or Skype or you can have it ask you before each call.

With this device, you can make Skype to Skype calls (these over-the-Internet calls are free), SkypeIn/SkypeOut calls (used to make or receive regular phone calls over the internet at Skype's low per minute rates), and traditional phone calls (it functions as a regular phone through the use of a "landline".)

Now, the most important question is... how is the reception? I find that the reception to be like any other cordless phone for regular phone calls. For Skype calls, I find the call quality to be better than the Belkin Wi-Fi Skype phone but it is nowhere as good as a regular phone call and can't be mistaken as a regular phone call.

Similar to the Belkin Wi-Fi Skype phone, the Skype contact list appears on the display and you can add/delete someone from your Skype contact list directly using the handset. Once added/deleted, these changes are made to your account's contact list so when you use Skype on a PC or another Skype device, the addition/deletion will also be reflected there.

This device supports up to 4 handsets where the additional handsets are sold separately. If you ever lose/misplace one of the handsets (and the handset still has power), there is a paging function on the top of the transmitting unit that you can press. Once pressed, it will page all the handsets that are "married" to the transmitting unit and that are within range and they will all ring.

The cordless phone technology for the Netgear Dual-mode Cordless Phone uses DECT 6.0 (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications) and broadcasts in the 1.8/1.9 GHz band which according to the documentation should avoid interfering with Wi-Fi networks as well as offering long range and clear voice quality. Based on my usage, I found that cordless call quality (using the regular phone line) to be on par with other cordless phones that I've used in the past.

If you have any questions/comments regarding this blog entry, please don't hesitate to leave a comment in the comments section.

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