Archive for August, 2005

The Olympia Dual Phone

I’ve been using an Olympia Dualphone for couple of months. Borrowed it from my friend, tomeck, and was initially impressed with it. Its main feature is the fact that it can use Skype for phone calls, so you need to connect it to a PC, and a land line. Kind of an integrated unit for Skype/land line phone calls, thus. It also has a bunch of advanced features, such as a good phonebook, etc. Installation was rather simple, pretty much just a question of finding the right pieces of software, and installing them, and then connecting the unit. Using it for calling using the phone book, or Skype, is easy, as is regular phone calls. It has a headset connector for, as it seems, a standard 2.5mm connector, which works rather well.
But, during the time Ive used the unit, Ive come to really, really hate it. So today I disconnected it and started to use my four year old basic Doro phone instead. Why?
1) The battery life is poor. Really poor. But, that is kind of manageable; the problem is that there is no battery level display. None. Until the battery is empty, of course, then it displays a warning. And it takes a lot of time to charge the battery too. My old Doro, which uses standard rechargeable AA batteries, get near a week of use. Ineeded to recharge the Dualphone at least every other day.
2) The buttons on the unit is really easy to press by accident. Perhaps my ears are stronger and more powerful than the regular ear (or simply huge), but its become a frustratingly regular habit for me to accidentally press some button during a phone call. And, then you get introduced into the world of crappy menus. And the phone call is put on hold. 9 out of 10 times it easily took me 30 seconds to get out of the menu, all the while the person on the other end would think that Ive hung up on them.
3) The buttons on the device is placed poorly. In fact, even after a long period of use, I tend to mix up, for instance, the Skype button, and the hang up button.
4) The software is frustratingly poor. No, correction: It is rather well working, but it is frustrating that you cannot minimize the dual phone software. Nor can you, for instance, edit the phone book using the USB connection, which would be a quite useful function.
5) Size. The handset is huge. My four year old cheapo cordless phone is far smaller. In fact, if my apartment were to be (or when it will be) attacked by zombies, I would not hesitate to use the Dualphone as a head-smashing tool, based on size and weight alone. Sadly, the poor build quality would probably leave me vulnerable to a thorough brain eating by all but the most delicate zombie.

So, to sum it up. It is really a smart idea. Brilliant. The execution, however, is bad. Perhaps the unit is really useful if you use Skype a lot, but I know that heavy Skype users also dislike the Dualphone. Save your money for the next version, or even better, use one of the boxes you connect directly to your phone line instead. Ill review one of those in the future, hopefully.

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August 18, 2005 at 20:41 Leave a comment


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