Monday, September 30, 2013

ZTE WF720 Wireless Home Phone Device Review

I got the opportunity to try out the ZTE WF720 Wireless Home Phone Device and thought that I would write a review of the product.

This device is offered by certain cellphone/wireless carriers such as AT&T Wireless (in the US) and Rogers/Fido (in Canada). The monthly price varies but since I live in Canada, the version that I got to try was from Fido. Rogers has the exact same deal. The monthly charge for both Rogers and Fido is either $9.99 per month or $24.99 per month plus the applicable monthly taxes/fees. The $9.99 monthly price tag is to anyone with an existing service with the carrier and gives unlimited nationwide calling (no long distance fees). The $24.99 monthly price gives the same service except it is for people who don't have any services with the carrier. I'm not sure what the fee is for AT&T's wireless home phone service.

The way that the device works is that you insert the SIM card into the device (the device uses a normal mini-SIM), connect the battery to the device, and plug it into an electrical outlet. You then connect your household phone's RJ-11 cable to the device and start making/receiving your calls. According to the documentation, the battery will last for ~3 hours if not plugged into the AC outlet. I haven't tested the battery myself but based on my experience with advertised battery usage times, I would probably say divide that number in half. However, since it is meant to be a home phone, it should always be plugged into the AC outlet.

The unit has 2 RJ-11 phone ports, a power on/off button, the power cable input port and what the manual labels as a service port. In terms of LEDs, the ZTE WF720 Wireless Home Phone Device has 4 indicator lights (power, voicemail, battery, & signal strength). Each RJ-11 phone port is simply an extension of the phone number so you can plug 2 different phones to each phone phone (ex: one cordless and one corded) and use either phone to make a call and pick up either phone (or both phones) when a call is received.

Since the plan that I tested came with unlimited nationwide calling at a very low price compared to regular cellular service, I tried the SIM in a regular cellphone to see what would happen and the phone would not lock onto the network with that SIM card but would lock onto the same network with a different SIM card from that same carrier.

Another reason that I put the SIM card into a regular cellphone was that I wanted to set up the SIM lock on the SIM card which is not possible to do using the ZTE WF720 Wireless Phone Device itself. After setting up the SIM lock on the SIM card, I inserted the SIM card back into the ZTE WF720 Wireless Phone Device and the phone that was connected to the device seemed to get a regular dial tone but calls could not be made from the phone. The only indication that the SIM lock was in effect was the flashing green battery indicator LED on the unit itself. After entering my SIM unlock code using the connected phone and pressing the # key, I could then make a phone call (and receive phone calls).

Although the device looks like it is a VoIP solution, it is in fact using the carrier's phone service in order to make and receive calls. I find the signal strength of the device to be good and the voice quality to be better than what I would get in the same location with my cellphone.

One thing that I wanted to write was that the device mentions that it will not work with satellite receivers, modems, fax machines, and home alarm system. I have not tested the device in any of the above items to see whether it will work or not.

For Canadians, depending on your needs and usage, I have no problem recommending this device with the price plan price of $10+taxes per month. The $25+taxes per month price tag might still be worthwhile depending on how much you pay for your home phone service and what you use your home phone service for.

In terms of the sound quality, I would say that that sound quality is equivalent to what you would get on a cellphone at the same location (or maybe slightly better). For me, even though I am using a regular landline phone connected to this device, I can still tell that you are not using a real landline since the sound quality is not as good as what I get with a real landline because sometimes the person's voice whom I'm talking with will sound a bit "robotic" and other times I will lose certain syllables/words during the conversation similar to what I would get with a handheld cellphone.

One of the good things about this device over a regular landline phone service is that it is easily transportable and since the plan covers unlimited nationwide calling as long as the device is within the carrier's cellular coverage area, it makes a good phone to take with you if you go to another part of the country temporarily.

What makes this device extremely attractive is that unlike in the US, in Canada, most cellphone plans don't include nationwide calling. What this means is that if someone with a Montreal area code goes to Toronto and receives a call on his Montreal cellphone, he/she will pay long distance to receive the call. If he/she makes a call back to Montreal while in Toronto (even though his phone has a Montreal area code), he/she will pay long distance to make the call. Using this device, all of this is ignored since while in Canada, you can receive a call without paying anything extra and you make a call to a Canadian number without paying anything extra.

For a copy of the ZTE WF720 Wireless Home Phone device manual, you can click *HERE*.

If you have any questions/comments regarding this blog entry, please don't hesitate to leave a comment in the comments section below. Please note that the comments are moderated and any comment which contains a URL link (whether it is embedded or not) will automatically be labelled as spam and will not be posted.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Delay in Blackberry Messenger (BBM) for iOS and Android

In this week's blog entry, I was going to write about BBM being available for the iPhone and Android. The date that was stated on Blackberry's blog posting indicated that the Android version of BBM would be available at the Google Play Store on Saturday September 21 whereas the iOS/Apple version of BBM would be available on the Apps Store on Sunday September 22. You can find this mentioned on Blackberry's official blog *HERE*.

Looking at Blackberry's blog entry for today (September 23, 2013), it looks as if it will probably be awhile for BBM to be widely available for Android and iPhone.

Hi Android and iPhone users,
This is Andrew Bocking, head of BBM at BlackBerry. As a follow up to our first blog post on Saturday, I want to take a moment to provide you with an update on the rollout of BBM on Android and iPhone.Last week, an unreleased, older version of the BBM for Android app was posted on numerous file sharing sites. We were aware of an issue with this unreleased version of the BBM for Android app. This older version resulted in volumes of data traffic orders of magnitude higher than normal for each active user and impacted the system in abnormal ways. The version we were planning to release on Saturday addressed these issues, however we could not block users of the unreleased version if we went ahead with the launch.
We attempted to address the problems caused by the unreleased version throughout the day on Saturday, but as active users of the unreleased app neared a million – and accelerated – it became clear that the only way to address the issue was to pause the rollout for both Android and iPhone.
The team is now focused on adjusting the system to completely block this unreleased version of the Android app when we go live with the official BBM for Android app. We are also making sure that the system is reinforced to handle this kind of scenario in the future. While this may sound like a simple task – it’s not. This will take some time and I do not anticipate launching this week.
Thank you for your patience while we take the time needed to deliver the experience you expect from BBM. We will continue to provide you with updates here on and through @BBM on Twitter. We will notify everyone who has pre-registered on when BBM is available on Android and iPhone.
Andrew Bocking

The above was taken from

With all the bad news coming from Blackberry these days, I'm hoping that they actually release BBM for Android and for the iPhone and they don't break their promise similar to what they did when they promised to release BB 10 for the Playbook but then later mentioned that because BB 10 wouldn't run optimally on the Playbook, the decided not to move forward with this project.

For me, even though I have a Blackberry Q10 that has BBM on it, I'm eagerly awaiting (and hoping) that they release BBM for the iPhone and Android platform but based on their past performance, I'm not sure if it will happen anytime soon (if ever).

If you have any comments/questions regarding this blog entry, please don't hesitate to leave a comment in the comments section below. Please note that the comments are moderated and any comment containing a URL link (whether embedded or not) will automatically be flagged as spam and will not be posted.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Blackberry Protect Review

Since my previous blog entry was regarding Google's new Android Device Manager option, I thought that I would write about Blackberry's equivalent program/option called Blackberry Protect.

There is an application called Blackberry Protect for pre-Blackberry 10 devices while for Blackberry 10 devices, Blackberry Protect is built into the operating system. When the Blackberry that I was using was my Blackberry Bold 9700, I used the Blackberry Protect program which I downloaded from the Blackberry App World.

The version of Blackberry Protect available for pre-Blackberry 10 devices does more than the built-in Blackberry Protect available for Blackberry 10 devices. The pre-Blackberry 10 version allows for backing up and restoring of certain data whereas the Blackberry 10 device only allows for a one type restore of existing pre-Blackberry 10 data onto the Blackberry 10 device. In this blog entry, since Blackberry Protect is part of the Blackberry 10 OS, the version of Blackberry Protect that I'm referring to is the one included with Blackberry Software Release / Blackberry OS Version

Blackberry Protect does what I wrote in my blog the last time about Android Device Manager and that is that it allows you to get a rough approximation of the device location and it also allows you to ring the device remotely. In order to do both of these features, the Blackberry 10 device must have data enabled.

The site to access these features of your Blackberry remotely is

Unlike with the current features of Android Device Manager where it can only do three things (give a rough approximation of the location, play sound, and wipe the device remotely), Blackberry Protect for Blackberry 10 devices also allows you to display a message on the Blackberry 10 device and it also allows you to instantly lock the device as well as display a message on the device before locking it instantaneously.

The "My Data" tab on the Blackberry Protect webpage doesn't do anything on Blackberry 10 devices whereas on pre-Blackberry 10 devices it will show you the last few backups which were done on your pre-Blackberry 10 device.

I have included a screen capture of what the "My Data" tab shows for my Blackberry Bold 9700 below.

If you have any comments/questions regarding this blog entry, please don't hesitate to leave a comment in the comments section below. Please note that the comments are moderated and any comment containing a URL link (whether embedded or not) will automatically be flagged as spam and will not be posted.