In the first post in this series I described the common aspects of the the various Gigaset SIP/DECT systems being offered in North America. This post will go on to examine the entry-level handset, model A58H.
This handset was already described in depth back in my review of July 2009. That review, which has proven to be very popular, was done on a system using the most current firmware at the time. There have been several firmware releases since then, some adding significant new functionality. I’m not going to burn the cycles to go through that entire process again, but I will offer a brief summary of its features.
Suffice it to say that the A58H is a very affordable handset ($50). In reaching that level of accessibility it gives up all but the most basic of functionality. Even so, the A58H has been very well received by households around North America.
Probably the defining thing about the A58H is the LCD display. The display is a monochrome, relatively low-resolution LCD. It is backlit, and bright enough to be read from a distance.
While the LCD will display a one line text crawl from an RSS data source, its limited pixel count makes it of limited use in the presentation of data. We do like the clock function in the displays screen saver mode.
While the A58H may be an entry-level handset, that works to its advantage in some ways. For example, the phone is nicely responsive to keypad activity. There isn’t much lag between pressing a key and seeing the result of the keypress. Similarly, moving through the menus is very quick.
The A58H sounds good, even supporting G.722 based wideband calling. However, there are a couple of caveats.
There’s no support of any kind for a headset. Not wired, nor wireless. The handset does have a built-in speakerphone function, but it’s not very good. It’s not terrible, but it’s more of an occasional use capability than something that I would use routinely or for business.
In fact, let me very clear, we use the A58H handsets in the house on our personal line. I’ve not used them for business, nor would I recommend them in that role. Despite my reservations about it in office applications that A58H has proven very robust and reliable around our home.
In part 3 I’ll examine the model one step up the product line, the C59H.
- Good call quality
- Supports wideband calling over IP
- Contact list can be uploaded from a vcard file
- Very good battery life
- Very good cordless range
- Lackluster speakerphone
- No support for any kind of headset
- Screen-saver discards initial keystroke in dialing sequence
- No support dialing by SIP URI, even in contact list