Archive for July, 2007

GE Skype DECT Phone 28310EE1 Product Review – Part I

July 25, 2007

 

Introduction

The GE Skype Dect phone 28310EE1 is the latest release in GE’s Skype phone product line. It has Skype – a peer to peer communication program — embedded to provide users a true PC-Less Skype experience. It also employs DECT technology to insure no interference with other home cordless technology such as WiFi network and 2.4GHz digital phone.

According to market sources, this phone uses the same design blueprint as RTX’s Skype Dect Phone 3088. Therefore, for the RTX Dualphone fans in US, your wait to upgrade to the PC-Less Skype phone solution could be over.

GE Skype DECT phone 28310EE1 boxThe GE Skype Dect phone 28310EE1 Package Includes:

  • Base unit
  • Handset
  • Handset cradle (with an universal AC adapter connected to the cradle)
  • 2 Nimh Battery
  • Cables (1 network, 1 PSTN)
  • 1 universal AC adapter for the Base unit
  • Belt clip
  • Instruction
  • Warranty card

Installation

“Straightforward” is the best word to describe the installation process of the GE Skype Dect Phone 28310EE1. Just follow the manual:GE Skype DECT phone 28310EE1 cables

  • Make connections (network cable, telephone cable, and AC adapters for both the base unit and the handset cradle)
  • Insert batteries to the handset and leave the handset on the cradle to charge the batteries for 16 consecutive hours
  • Now you are ready to sign in your Skype ID and start using the GE Skype Dect phone 28310EE1.

The Skype account sign-in process on the GE Skype Dect phone 28310EE1 is also a breeze. It looks to me like Skype has provided its PC-Less phone solution hardware developers a unified procedure. We have seen the similar steps / display in Netgear SPH200D and the Skype WiFi phones from SMC and Netgear. If you are a frequent Skype user, you should feel at home with the sign-in process.

Skype LogoOn the other hand, you don’t need to worry if you are the first time Skype user. The on-screen instruction for signing up a new Skype account is intuitional. As long as you know the method to switch between capital case / lower case / number input, which is very similar to it is in cell phone and regular digital phone, you will be fine.

The only thing I don’t like in the GE Skype Dect phone 28310EE1 setup is the long 16 Hours first time charging requirement for the handset battery. However, overall, it is not that bad since it is a one-time-only process. Besides, because the batteries used in the handset are two AAA Nimh batteries, a full 16 Hours charge is recommended to achieve the maximum long term battery life.

Call Quality

GE Skype DECT phone 28310EE1Here is where the GE Skype Dect phone 28310EE1 really shines. The call quality is excellent. I have tried the GE Skype Dect phone 28310EE1 at three different locations: my office (T1 line), my home (AT&T ADSL service) and my co-worker’s house (Comcast cable service). It’s easy to hear callers with no problem and the voice quality is reported as being normal to excellent by those whom I queried. There are small number of times when the voice gets choppy and distorted when I talked to people oversea. However, I suspect it is due to the temporary clogging Internet connection issue, not because of the GE Skype Dect phone 28310EE1.

One of the major improvements from RTX’s previous version Dualphone to this GE Skype Dect phone 28310EE1 is the offering of the hands-free speaker phone. During the conversation, the speaker phone can be activated by hitting the left selection button on the handset. Although the speaker phone quality is decent, I am not so impressed on the results comparing to the call conduct by the handset.

Handset Design

GE Skype DECT phone 28310EE1 handset designThe GE Skype Dect phone 28310EE1 handset looks like a regular 2.4GHz digital home phone. It has a color LCD screen to display both the Skype and PSTN call information. While conducting different tasks, users will regularly encounter functions that require one of two options. These functions will be shown on screen clearly and can be executed by the left and right on-screen selection buttons on the handset.

As a default, the handset will get into standby mode after being idle for 1 minute — which is a great way to save battery power. Pressing any key or lifting the cradle will ‘awaken’ the sleeping LCD screen. However, pressing any key to awaken the handsets presents a minor issue. When the handset is not on the cradle and is in standby mode there is no null function key designed on keypad. Any key a user hit to wake up the handset will perform a function. The user thus needs to hit several number of key (the number depends on which function is activated) to get back to the home screen.

Another thing I notice on the handset is that the keypads are designed with more resistance. Combining with the half sec built-in delay in the keypad confirmation sound (beeping sound after the keypads are hit), I get the feeling that GE engineers really want the users to key-in the phone numbers slowly with caution. It is not something good or bad. But, it’s something an inpatient user like me needs to get used to.

There are more… Click here to see the Part-II of the Review

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