Newly offered for 2010 the C59H is a significant step up from the A58H described previously. Listing for just $10 more than the A58H, I suspect that many people will find the C59H worth the added cost.
With respect to the A580IP and S675IP the C59H is being offered only as an optional expansion handset. You must have one of the two IP capable systems, then you can add the C59H if desired.
Within the Gigaset SIP/DECT product range the IP enabled base systems are clearly indicated with an “IP” model designation. You may also see Gigaset offering a model C590, if not in the US at least in other parts of the world. The C590 is a complete system comprised of a DECT base and one C59H handset. However, the DECT base in question is not IP capable. It does not have a network connector, only the analog line interface.
Physically the C59H feels a little more refined. It has a curvy, contoured shape that’s less “clunky” than the A58H.
The C59H sports a 1.8” color LCD display with resolution of 128 x 160 pixels at 64,000 colors. The improved display is perhaps the single biggest advantage in moving up the product line. The display makes it much easier and more intuitive to navigate the handsets menus.
Given greater screen real estate the handset offers better access to calling functions like mute, transfer and conference. I’ve found that such functions are reasonably easy to access in the most recent firmware.
Further, the improved display supports more practical applications of the handset as a data display device. Like the A58H the handset can crawl headlines gathered from an RSS feed. The Gigaset.Net web portal allows you to define that source.
You can also using the built-in XHTML browser as a rudimentary display for various convenient bits of data such as; weather conditions, horoscopes or online news summaries.
Gigaset even offers an SDK providing guidance for people who want to developer their own little web applications tailored to the Gigaset XHTML browser.
In truth, while all of this is certainly novel, it’s not something that I find especially useful. The LCD display, while nice enough, is still too small to be used as a primary means of displaying data beyond the phones menus. And IMHO it’s enough that it serves that core role very well.
One of the things I was looking out for was sluggishness in the menus. That could indicate that, given the addition of more features the host platform is in some way resource constrained. Happily, navigating the C59H menus remains reasonably quick, although not as fast as the minimalist A58H.
The C59H provides a standard 2.5mm 3 conductor jack in support of a wired headset. This is a major step up from the A58H. I tried using the C59H in conjunction with a handful of wired headsets that I have on-hand. In all cases they worked as expected.
I find that around the office I still like to use the Etymotic ETY.COM wired headset with the Gigasets. It’s noise occluding earpiece may seem a little odd since it offers no side-tone, but it’s very light and sounds great…making good use of the wideband call capability.
I’ve seen a couple of people critical of the A58H for not including a belt clip. The lack of a belt clip has not been an issue for us, but those folks will be happy to find that the C59H comes with a belt clip.
The C59H comes with two user-replaceable 550 mAh NiMH AAA batteries. The battery life of the handset is markedly less that the A58H, but still well within acceptable bounds. It’s quoted as 180 hours of standby time or 12 hours of talk-time. I’ve yet to be able to run it down except by leaving it off the charging stand for days at a time.
The C59H offers a possibly handy “Room Monitor” feature. When this feature is enabled the handset will constantly monitor the ambient noise level of its surroundings. If there’s a sudden noise it will automatically dial a predetermined number and put itself into speakerphone mode.
I tested the room monitor capability by setting it to call my cell phone then enticing our Labrador Retriever to bark nearby. After two very loud barks the Gigaset placed the outbound call, ringing my cell phone. I was then able to hear what was going on in the office.
I liken the room monitor to a traditional baby monitor alarm, except that it will call you wherever you may be. Because it doesn’t send a continuous audio stream I doubt many people would use it as a baby monitor. I could see it being handy near a door to relay the fact that someone was knocking to another part of the property.
|While I’m on that very thought…door phones…I truly wish that Gigaset would offer the HC450 DECT door phonein the US. I’d buy one in a heartbeat!This device allows your Gigaset DECT phones to provide intercom to your door as well as an electric latch release. It’s a truly efficient way to integrate access control into the home.|
The C59H offers users a series of polyphonic ring tones not unlike the A58H. There are a few extra in the set. You best bet is to simply give them a listen.
Of interest to the aesthetically concerned the C59H is being offered in both black and white variants. The availability of this choice could help with spousal approval. The white version may blend better into some home decor.
I’ve deliberately left describing the handsets audio behavior for last. That’s because in this regard it behaves just like the A58H described previously. With the handset held to the ear it sounds very good, easily up to making wideband calls. Using a good wired headset it sounds equally good. The speakerphone is similarly less than impressive.
To summarize, I find that the C59H offers a significant step up in features for just a little more than the entry level A58H. If you need to add some extra handsets to your existing Gigaset system you will probably find the C59H to be actually a better value than purchasing extra A58H handsets. You can always migrate the A58H to the garage, which is what I’m planning to do.
- Color graphical LCD display
- Supports wired headsets
- Room monitor function
- Good call quality
- Supports wideband calling over IP
- Contact list can be uploaded from a vcard file
- Good battery life
- Very good cordless range
- Lackluster speakerphone
- Screen-saver discards initial keystroke in dialing sequence
In part 4 I’ll examine the mid-range S67H handset, the basis of the S675IP system.