- Low cost
- Some sound quality issues
The USB1200 is a decent, entry level VoiP phone, that should satisfy those who are after a cheap alternative to their regular landline.
Price$ 49.95 (AUD)
The MyNetFone USB1200 is a USB VoIP phone that connects to a PC, and is able to make VoIP calls via the MyNetFone service. The package consists of a USB1200 handset, as well as a MyNetFone account, which is free of any contracts, minimum monthly expenditure or connection fees, and includes $20 of call credit.
The USB1200 isn't cordless, so it can't be used away from a computer. Setup is a fairly simple process; users simply plug the phone into a spare USB port, and let Windows configure the installation itself. You'll then need to download the MyNetFone soft phone software, which is necessary to make or receive calls with the service, and reboot your machine after installation.
The USB1200 is as easy to use as a normal telephone, with four menu keys, answer/end call buttons, a clear button and a regular telephone keypad. The buttons themselves are raised and are made of rubber, so they are easy to press. Unfortunately, the phone doesn't have any volume controls, so you'll have to look to the software to make adjustments. During calls we found the audio quality to be satisfactory, but the volume at its highest setting wasn't as loud as we would have liked.
In-call quality was a mixed bag. We didn't expect much considering the unit's price tag, but we were able to hold a conversation without too much fuss. Most of our callers complained of a slight delay and echo on their end, while we experienced a bit of distortion and hissing at our end. However, these issues didn't really stop us from having clear, intelligible conversations, so for the price, the service is decent.
The USB1200 is a very simple handset, comprising of a monochrome display, a keypad and a few controls. Finished in dark grey plastic, it connects to a PC via a standard USB connection and the cord is long enough to ensure users can sit a couple of metres away. The USB1200 is also fairly compact, which means it can easily be thrown into a laptop bag for those who have access to mobile broadband. The USB1200 is powered via the USB connection to a PC, so it doesn't need any batteries, nor does it need to be charged.
The generously sized monochrome display provides date, time and year information, and the phone can save 1999 incoming and dialled numbers. The USB1200 also features echo cancellation and a USB power LED indicator in the top right hand corner of the handset.
The MyNetFone service works the same as a regular landline, with the exception that the PC and broadband Internet service must both be running to make and receive VoIP calls. The default MyNetFone service (Super Saver Plan) bundled with the USB1200 allows users to make VoIP calls to regular landline and mobile numbers and free incoming and outgoing VoIP calls to other MyNetFone subscribers are also included, but to receive regular calls, you'll need to upgrade to a MegaSaver plan. For more information on plans, see: http://www.mynetfone.com.au/residential/
The soft phone software includes an on screen keypad and quick access to conference call, phone book, call lists and also includes microphone and speaker volume adjustment controls. To make a call, users dial a phone number using the USB1200 or the on screen keys. Alternatively, numbers can be dialled using your PC's keyboard when the soft phone software is running.
One point worth noting is that the quality of service (QOS) of VoIP depends largely on your Internet connection, and this is something most of us have no control over. The quality and overall reliability of the MyNetFone service relies on the quality and speed of the Internet connection.
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