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Thread: Philips VOIP841 PC-free DECT/Skype phone - world's first review

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    Philips VOIP841 PC-free DECT/Skype phone - world's first review

    We were childishly excited late last week to get the chance to go hands on with the Philips VOIP841 - a PC-free combined DECT/Skype phone.

    Happily, we can report that the phone does seem to do exactly what it says on the tin - in some cases, rather better than we'd have expected and hoped.

    Check out the world's first independent review of the Philips VOIP841 and let us know your thoughts, questions and comments.

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    Forget Skype usage, can I configure it as a regular SIP phone, for standardised VoIP? That might interest me.
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    Steve,

    I think you know the answer to that question.

    But, although the phone doesn't interest you, it will interest a goodly number of the millions of people who use Skype regularly and has, I'm quite sure, the potential to entice a whole lot of others to start using Skype more regularly or for the first time.

    Assuming, that is, Philips and Skype give the product some serious advertising exposure.

    I was told the other day (by David, as I recall) that Philips sells an equivalent product for MSN (ie a DECT/MSN PC-free phone) but I don't know of any product that meets your requirements.

    Might be nice to think Philips will one-day deliver something more up your street, though, because, in its Skype incarnation, the VOIP841 really is very well thought out indeed - and a genuine pleasure to use.

    As an aside - but a relevant one - I can see that despite your own perspective, you have already sent out a news letter about the review - so a big public thank-you for that!

    Last edited by Bob Crabtree; 05-03-2007 at 08:49 PM.

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    I rest my case my lord - Exhibit a) - http://www.home-phones.co.uk/asp/pro...chFor=&PT_ID=1

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    Steve, on a side note - I've been looking for a VoIP SIP phone - which can connect to an Asterix server, and also have multiple lines and call forwarding - either to mobile or land line - I also want to feed a POTS line in to it too...

    The "best" one which I can find is the Linksys one - http://www.broadbandstuff.co.uk/prod...roducts_id=930

    And SIP service - well there are loads of them - mebbe a HEXUS one soon You can run a virtual PBX so easily as well

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    Quote Originally Posted by DR View Post
    I rest my case my lord - Exhibit a) - http://www.home-phones.co.uk/asp/pro...chFor=&PT_ID=1

    Just realised that this is not an equivalent at all.

    This Philips page shows the full spec.


    It's not a PC-free model, it has to be connected to a PC via USB, so is pretty much old hat.

    Where the VOIP841 scores (in addition to be extremely easy to use) is in the fact that its base-station connects directly to your broadband router and so doesn't need a PC.

    And that makes it very convenient.

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    Also, have you tried making a phonecall through windows live messenger? Last time I used it, the quality was awful.

    I'm already a skype pro user, so this is very interesting...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Crabtree View Post
    Just realised that this is not an equivalent at all.

    This Philips page shows the full spec.


    It's not a PC-free model, it has to be connected to a PC via USB, so is pretty much old hat.

    Where the VOIP841 scores (in addition to be extremely easy to use) is in the fact that its base-station connects directly to your broadband router and so doesn't need a PC.

    And that makes it very convenient.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dreaming View Post
    Also, have you tried making a phonecall through windows live messenger? Last time I used it, the quality was awful.

    I'm already a skype pro user, so this is very interesting...
    Well, if you are willing to pay the price, I think you'll find the product really is rather wonderful.

    I was genuinely amazed (and delighted) at how good it is.

    I've got a horrible feeling that I'm not going to be able to let this one go back, so will have to see if Philips will sell it to me.

    If they won't - perhaps because the unit needs to go to another reviewer - then I'll probably end up buying from Skype and using the £20 discount I've got from having signed up to Skype Pro.

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    Sod it, I'll design and build one myself.
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    Update - a bunch of new grabs of the display have been added

    Now added a bunch of new grabs of the display during various tasks.

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    how about a review comparing the Philips VOIP841, the RTX DUALphone 3088, the Netgear SPH200D and the Linksys CIT400? that would be a very interesting article, as im interested in all 4 but not sure what the pros and cons are of each compared to each other.
    Last edited by DragonStar; 08-03-2007 at 03:01 AM. Reason: added in the SPH200D

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    Thumbs up Philips VoIp841 ( Skype / DECT) used with Other VoIp providers

    Hi,
    I've got myself one few days ago. I ordered from Skype and it came with a 20 Euro reduction + as a gift the Philips Voip 080 (get's handy if you travel and you want to use skype with your laptop).

    My final scope of the projectwas to reduce the call costs as much as possible.
    I have used already a VoIP setup at home for more than 3 years now, using Asterisk, online virtual PBX services and recently the new Linksys SPA9000 voice system.
    I do not have “classic PSTN”. I like “free” like in “free beer”

    For Steve:
    You may use this phone with your traditional landline and "free" VoiP service providers if you get an ATA adapter in between. Consider the SPA3000 from Linksys (many other brands available).

    As I do not have a traditional phone line at home, I wanted a DECT / Skype phone that can be used together with my SPA9000 PBX system + Asterisk and VoxAlot / FWD / etc….
    My setup is a connecting to internet via a broadband cable connection (max 4Mbps download with 196 Kbps upload not guaranteed)
    The router is a Linksys WRVS4400N (Wifi N, 4 ports Gb switch Layer2 , QoS – very important for VoiP on such a poor broadband line, good FireWall,IPS functions and DMZ + works with DynDNS using the build in Dyndns client)
    My PABX is the Linksys SPA9000 (4 external lines + 2 FXO ports + 4 SIP internal extensions). In total you can configure up to 6 different phones to be used with a combination of 4 external providers.
    To maximize the number of providers I’m using voxalot.com on one external line + an hosted account on an Asterisk server on the 2nd line and 2 other local SIP / Voip Providers including Free World Dialup (FWD).
    I have number of DID’s via SIP providers in countries like US, Germany, UK, Belgium, Romania and virtually using SIPBroker service almost everywhere in the world.

    The choice of Philips was perfect. I'm very happy with the final result and with my home setup. After few years of trials and waiting for the right products to be available on the market I can say that I’m getting very close to my “free communications project”. Next Step will be to add a Voip – GSM Bridge.

    Back to Philips 841, I found it very easy to configure until one point:
    When asked to choose the Country Code and Local Area Code I would have liked to be able to skip this part as my set up at home does not rely on any national PSTN service.
    Because of that I had a bit of a hard time until I figured out that my PBX (SPA9000) did not understand the Country Code for Belgium as I had to set up at the beginning. It took me 1 hour to investigate and debug the FXO / SIP connection without any results.
    In the end by chance I changed the country code to 1 (US) and my phone finally worked with SPA9000. I was able to dial VoIp and landline phones using my own dial plan with different Voip providers. Fact to remember if you plan to use the phone with an VoiP FXO / ATA adapter.
    The skype experience was equally good. The phone does exactly what it should.
    The sound quality is good and the sleek design fits in every modern environment.

    Few remarks:

    1. Manual: I do not mind having it on PDF. ( save the planet the waste ) I always can print the pages I’m interested in. Most of the printed manuals come in 3 – 5 languages and they end up in a paper bin somewhere...
    2. There is a missing item in the Advanced Settings; the phone has the Settings for PABX and in the manual I couldn’t find any reference to that.
    3. Some of the settings could be better explained and some practical examples of usage should be provided.
    4. FAQ list are most of the time targeted to first time users, but something with more technical content would be nice to have.
    5. The online support is rather poor and I understand the reason. This is a brand new product and experience around support will build up in time.
    6. Philips support is slow in answering , 3 days later and I don’t have any news from them on a practical setup scenario…problem was solved in the meantime
    7. Contacts management: Ok, but I would like to be able to filter or group / separate skype numbers from the others.
    8. Time is sometimes wrong on the screen, but when you check the settings there it is correct?!? Online time sync wit NTP would be a good feature to keep in sync as this phone is always connected to the internet.
    9. Battery life: After 14 h of charging and around 1 hour of testing + 12 h stand by the battery was less than 50%.
    10. Web interface provides basic access to the Voip / Lan / settings, but nothing for Skype. A debug mode could be useful in order to send syslog info to some sysloging tool installed on a PC.


    After all this is the first generation and it is a very good product for a first release.
    I give it 4.5 out of 5 Stars.

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    Additional handsets

    I spoke with Philips and there are no additional handsets available, or so they say. Dumb or what?

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    It's dumb - in my view.

    I speculated in the review why no additional handset are available but something I didn't think of is that the supply of handsets might be limited and so the company is intent on using EVERY available handset to sell a complete system.

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    I am having a real problem with a brand new VOIP841. I can connect to Skype, I can see my contacts etc, everything looks fine. But when I try to dial either a Skype or Skype-Out number, it appears to connect and my credit goes down (for Skypout), but there is no sound. If I dial Skypeout there is no ringing tone, but dialling Skype, there is a ringing tone for a few secs and then nothing.

    I do not have a regular telephone line attached yet, but I don't see how that would effect Skype calls. Anyone have any suggestions ? I have emailed Philips but got no reply.

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