Gigaset SIP/DECT Handsets For 2010: Part 4 – S67H

Thus far in this series I’ve looked at things common to all the Gigaset handsets, the A58H and C59H. With this post I turn my gaze to the middle-of-the range S67H.

Since there are already some good reviews of the S675IP available online I’m not going to go into great length describing it here. However, I will highlight the differences between it and it’s siblings in the Gigaset range.

To start I recommend you read the review offered by Alan Lord at The Open Sourcer.com. In his review Mr. Lord details his use of the S685IP with an Asterisk system. His review has been online for a while and collected a long comment trail with a lot of good information.

You’ll note that Mr Lord reviews the S685IP whereas in North America you’ll only find the S675IP being offered. The difference is in the handsets; S67H vs S68H.

These two handsets differ in only one feature; support for a Bluetooth headset. The S67H offered in North America supports only a wired headset via a 2.5mm jack. It does not have Bluetooth support. They are otherwise identical.

Actually, that’s not entirely true. The S67H is offered in the US because it has been changed to operate in the DECT 6.0 frequencies allowed under FCC rules. The S68H operates at different frequencies and so is not legal for use in the US. Those who might be inclined to import your own from afar, consider yourselves warned!

The S67H handset is a core component of the S675IP system, and the better of the pair of base systems initially offered in North America in 2009. Beyond the handset, the major difference between the A580IP and S675IP is local voice mail capability in the DECT base radio.

As we move up the line of handsets each model offers a list of features that is generally a super-set of all the lesser models. For example, like the cheaper C59H, the S67H handset sports backlit color TFT LCD display. The display resolution is 128 x 160 pixels at 64,000 colors. It’s bright and makes using the phones various menus and features quite simple.

You can safely assume that the S67H does everything that the lesser models do, including;

  • Display of RSS feeds
  • Alarm clock
  • Room monitor function
  • G.722-based wideband calling
  • Removable belt clip
  • Speakerphone
  • XHTML browser
  • User-selectable polyphonic rings tones (sample)

If purchased on its own as an expansion handset for an existing system the S67H is priced at around $75.

The S67H was provided with a pair of 800 mAh NiMH AAA sized batteries. Gigaset claims these provide 180 hours of standby time, or 10 hours of talk time. I cannot refute that claim. I’ve never had a problem with battery life except where I forgot to put the handset on its charging stand for several days.

Whereas the A58H and C59H allow for up to 150 contacts in the built-in contact list, the S67H has more memory, accommodating up to 250 contacts. Thank goodness that the entire range allow for uploading contacts from vcards since it’d be simply murderous to have to enter all that information on the keypad! You can also copy contact lists between handsets.

Physically the S67H seems to be nicely made, for the price. It’s more durable than the C59H, also more refined than the A58H. It feels like a solid device in the hand.

The audio performance of the S67H is very good. They may not quite be as good as a high-quality desk phone like my Polycom IP650, but they perform well enough that you will truly appreciate the availability of wideband calling.

Further, I have found that I cannot hear a difference between any of the Gigaset handsets. They all sound the same to me. That being the case you can freely choose from the lineup based upon other aspects of feature set and price.

The plastic buttons of the keypad on the S67H are raised and backlit. I find that dialing one-handed, even in a dim or dark room is very easy. Even my wife, who is picky about such things, likes the keypad. She also likes the speakerphone function, much to my chagrin.

While on a call volume control is done using the four way rocker button in the middle of the handset above the keypad. It stores separate volume settings for the handset, speakerphone and wired headset. While I find that the output volume is adequate, I usually have it turned up quite high.

While the C59H has a dedicated mic mute button, the S67H being a slightly older design provides that function by way of a soft key under the LCD when a call is active.

Looking into the firmware on the handset, the S67H extends the core set of features offered in the C59H in some novel ways. For example, there are a library of images that you can use to create pictorial caller ID. Like the ring tones,  you can’t load your own, but there are  quite a list of cutesy little illustrations. That #2 looks like my former boss is purely coincidental.

It also has a calendar function. With the calendar you can enter appointments and the phone will ring to remind you at the appointed time & date. In the S67H there’s no connectivity between this function and external services like Google Calendar or Outlook, which makes it less than ideal. Nonetheless some might find it handy.

The S67H also has an e-mail feature. The handset can be setup to access an email account, allowing to read messages on the phone itself. While this is cute, I doubt that many people actually use the 1.8″ display on the phone to read their email.

As with the C59H, my sense is that the primary role of the color display is accessing the phones telephony related functions. The various extended features, like accessing email, I find to be cute but not profoundly useful.

When faced with the 2009 offering of the S580IP and the S675IP I found the S67H handset to be a much better match for my needs around the home office. The color graphical LCD display makes accessing the phones features much easier then the monochome, low-res display on the A58H.

Further, the addition of support for a wired headset was key to me using the phone for business purposes. I often use it to allow me mobility as I participate in extended conference calls. I’ve even given marathon online training courses in this manner. On such occasions it’s terrible to be tied down to my desk, or more specifically, kept from refilling my coffee!

If I have one complaint about the S67H it’s that the handset is a bit sluggish in response to keypad activity. There’s a little delay after each keypress before the execution of the action. It’s as if the underlying host platform is near its limit given the increased feature set of the handset.

Pros:

  • Color graphical LCD display
  • Supports wired headsets
  • Room monitor function
  • Good call quality
  • Supports wideband calling over IP
  • 250 item contact list can be uploaded from a vcard file
  • Good battery life
  • Very good cordless range

Cons:

  • Sluggish responding to keypad activity
  • Screen-saver discards initial keystroke in dialing sequence
  • Chris

    Well done for mentioning the “Screen-saver discards initial keystroke in dialing sequence” bug – this is the most annoying “feature” of any handset of any type I have ever used, and it astounds me that they still haven’t fixed it. We make a couple of calls to the wrong number every day because of it., and heaven help you if you’re dialing a number whose 2nd, 3rd and 4th digits are 0 as you’ll end up with the emergency services. What on earth were their firmware engineers thinking.

  • Chris

    I forgot – have you ever encountered a wired headset compatible with the 2.5mm jack on these handsets? I just assumed that any cheap PC style one would do, with the appropriate jack converter, but I haven’t yet been able to find one that works.

    • Sure. I had a cheap Panasonic headset remaining from the days when I used a KX-TG4500 KSU. This works fine with the Gigasets. You can find headsets like this at any Office Depot/Office Max type store, usually under $15.

  • Laurno

    I heard that this phone’s mute function plays some embarrassing hold music.
    During our internal and external conference calls, we ask participants to mute their phones when they’re not speaking, to minimize background noise, for example typing on keyboards, or airports. Hold music would defeat that purpose.
    Can we turn it off? If not, it would appear to be a dis-qualifier for business purposes.

    • yes, the MIDI-like music-on-hold can be turned off. It’s generated in the handset, not the DECT base. The function to disable it is in the handsets menus.