So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
NetComm LSV40 VoIP Handset (MyNetFone)
- Value for money, simple, ease of use and set-up, voicemail included
- Slight distortion and echo on some calls, no advanced features, no volume control on phone
The LSV40 combined with the MyNetFone service is a quick, easy and budget-friendly way to get started in the world of VoIP, although we would be inclined to spend a little extra for a cordless VoIP phone.
Price$ 49.50 (AUD)
The NetComm LSV 40 is a budget orientated USB VoIP phone that connects to a PC, and is able to make VoIP calls via the MyNetFone service. The LSV40 package consists of the USB handset, as well as a MyNetFone account, which is free of any contracts, minimum monthly spend or connection fees.
The LSV40 is a very simple handset, comprising of a small keypad, answer/end call keys and a clear button. There is no display on the phone, so both caller ID and a phonebook are absent. Instead, a small LED light adorns the top right hand corner. When this is lit red, the phone is powered and ready for use. The LSV40 sources power via the USB connection to a PC, so it doesn't need any batteries, nor does it need to be charged.
The LSV40 connects to a PC via a USB cable, included in the sales package. The cable is about two metres long and is twisted in the middle, like a regular phone cord. The LSV isn't cordless, so it can't be used away from your computer. Set up is a fairly simple process. Users first install the MyNetFone software from the included CD, which is needed to make a call with the service. Connecting the phone is then simply a matter of plugging the LSV40 into a spare USB port, and letting Windows configure the hardware installation.
The MyNetFone services 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 LSV40 allows users to make VoIP calls to regular landline and mobile numbers, and free VoIP calls to other MyNetFone subscribers, but to receive calls on the LSV40 phone from a landline, you'll need to upgrade to a MegaSaver plan. For more information on plans, see: http://www.mynetfone.com.au/residential/
The software is as basic as they come, with a small window letting users know if they are logged in, and a phone number box beneath this. To make a call, users dial a phone number using the LSV40 phone, and the key presses are inputted into the phone number box on the PC. Alternatively, numbers can be dialled using your PC's keyboard. Any previous calls made are saved in a drop down bar next to the number box.
In-call quality was a mixed bag. We didn't expect much considering the units price tag, but 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 noise at our end. However, we were clearly able to hear all of our conversations, so for the price, the service is decent. Our main gripe was with a lack of volume control on the handset. Even though the in-call interface of the software allows you to adjust the volume, we'd prefer to do it on the phone itself. The software also allows users to adjust microphone level and mute a current call.
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.
The MyNetFone service also offers voicemail out of the box. Users simply dial 121 from the LSV40 handset and follow the voice prompts to set up a personal greeting. Listening to any voice mail messages is as easy as dialing 121 and following the voice prompts once again.
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