Since mid-October the snom m3 has been the only phone on our home account. That’s when the old Panasonic KSU finally breathed its last gasp. I’ve been using one of the snom handsets in my office since they arrived in January. In general I’m pleased with the device. It does what I need and it’s been reliable.
About a week ago my wife came to me with one of the little snom m3 cordless handsets in her hand. She wasn’t mad, but she said that the little phone is source of frustration, and she’d like me to replace it on the home line.
I probed a little to get to the reason for her frustration. She said that “it was not a bad phone.” But the keypad is too smooth and it causes her to misdial a lot. So I should get something where the keypad buttons are a little raised and separated. She should be able to dial by feel, not needing to look at the handset.
In fact, she’s right. It’s just an ergonomic aspect of the handset that I’d not considered before. It’s a little like a touch typist preferring a certain keyboard.
So for the moment we’ll be using the m3 on my office lines only.
This all comes back to something from a post I wrote over a year ago arguing that cordless phones are not cellular phones. The trend in manufacturers adopting the cellular phone form factors for cordless phones is in many ways misguided. But it continues nonetheless.
Consider the three phones in the following image; the handset from a Panasonic KX-TG4500, Siemens S685 and a snom m3. All three are shown proportionally in size.
The snom is the only one where the buttons are smooth and seamless. The other two have buttons slightly raised and therefore also separated. It’s easier to dial the other two with one hand or without looking at the handset.
The Siemens has its own problem as the phones reaction to each keypress is a little sluggish. If you’re expecting to hear a tone immediately on each keypress then the S685 can be frustrating as well. Lack of a mute function is a killer as described previously.
IMHO only the Panasonic handset would suffer being dropped without incurring serious damage. It’s curious that Panasonic, a company that so dominated cordless phones for the past decade, would seem to almost completely avoid VoIP as it evolved its product line. This has left an opening for other players to exploit.
Earlier this week Woot.com offered a Philips DECT phone system with four handsets for $49, cheap enough that I bought one just to give it a try. The Philips phone is not a SIP device so I’ll probably plug it into one of the FXS ports on the Jazinga appliance.
I was needing to buy a couple more snom handsets if it was going to be the long term solution in the house. The Philips phone is a lot cheaper than going that route. The Philips handsets seem likely to pass the spousal approval test.
It’s certainly going to be a drag manually entering all of our friends and family into the contact list on the Philips phones. Both the snom and Siemens phones support upload of a csv file from the web interface.
For business use I still prefer SIP devices to the combination of an FXS interface & cordless phone. For home use either will do.
But then again, we’ll probably only use the Philips phone until something better comes along.