A good quality cordless phone can be an important tool in the home or home office communications arsenal. In the past I’ve written about my experience with the Gigaset SIP/DECT cordless phones, which began when I discovered their S675 IP model, even before it was offered in North America. I actually order one from LiGo, a leading UK-based online reseller.
That generation of the Gigaset products were especially interesting as they included some IP-connected, SIP-capable models. These SIP/DECT products offer considerable advantages over the combination of an analog connected cordless phone and an ATA. I made the case for such systems way back in 2008. The argument offered then still holds up well in 2014.
I recently discovered LiGo’s Top 10 list of Best Cordless Phones on the Market. The list is dominated by eight (!) Gigaset models, with Panasonic taking the other two positions.
Since LiGo is UK-based they sell a range of models that operate at European DECT frequencies, which makes them illegal for use in North America. Nonetheless, looking at the list I find that several of the listed models are offered in the US.
Top of their list is the Gigaset SL785. This was the top-of-the-line offering when Gigaset first moved into the US market. The SL785 system (Base + Handset) is not itself IP capable. You can add the SL78H handset to an IP-capable base. That give you the great user experience of the SL78H handset, with it’s big, bright, color display…along with SIP connectivity and HDVoice.
In the #4 spot they offer the Gigaset S820A. Here again, this is not an IP-connected or SIP-capable system. That limitation is part of the DECT base, which has only an analog RJ-11 POTS connection. Like the SL78H, the S820H handset can be added to an IP-capable base, delivering SIP connectivity and HDVoice quality.
It’s worth noting that the S820H has a Bluetooth radio that supports both a wireless headset and the Gigaset QuickSync software for loading contact information.
In the #10 position they list the Gigaset C610A, which is nearly identical to the Gigaset C610A-IP offered in the US. The “–IP” designation indicates that the system includes an IP connected, SIP-capable DECT base. The C610A-IP replaced the older S675 model in the lineup back in 2010.
In the US the newest IP-capable starter system offered in North America is the Gigaset A510IP. This is a fairly basic system but you can mix-and-match additional handsets, adding the fancier or more feature rich handsets should you find them appealing. The past few years we have been using an older S675 IP base with a combination of handsets, including; A58H, C59H, SL78H and S79H.
I’ll close with a bit of caution. The range of products that Gigaset offers globally is vast and potentially confusing. You can find much older models still being offered while there are newer, better choices to be had. It’s not always clear which is which.
The primary model designations follow a pattern established by Mercedes-Benz; “A” class are entry-level, followed by C, E, S and SL at the top-of-the-line. There are starter systems comprised of a DECT base and a handset. Systems with “A” after the number include an answering machine function implemented in the base. Only those systems that end in “IP” have a base with an RJ-45 connector and SIP capability.
When purchasing a new system some may think it worth the effort to determine if the starter system (the base + initial handset) are still current product. If so then there is still software development ongoing for that platform.
In the case of older product, the constraints of the hardware design (typically available memory) usually limit their ability to load new firmware over time. Our S675IP base saw firmware updated for about 18 months, beyond that it could no longer receive the new firmware loads.
Some handsets have USB and/or Bluetooth connectivity. This may allow you to perform a software update to the handset independent of the DECT base. Thus an SL78H handset can be updated even when used with an older S675IP base that cannot itself receive new firmware.
I tend to see these sorts of devices as appliances. If they do what I need at the time of purchase then there may never be a requirement for updated firmware.