[fr] Test et critique du téléphone Skype sans fil (pas wifi!) Dialog+ de Miglia. Franchement sympa et abordable, en plus!
If you want the review without the whole chatty story, scroll down.
As is now public knowledge, my visit to San Francisco coincided with MacWorld. (“Oh, you’re going to SF for MacWorld?” — “Mac-what? MacWorld? What’s that? Oooh…”) This was nice, because it gave me the occasion to join the geekfest, discover lynda.com, watch the Leopard and iPhone demos, buy a pink “Mac Chick” cap, and last and lot least, hang around my IRC friend Victor’s booth, which quite unexpectedly led to me walking off with a Dialog+ cordless Skype/iChat handset.
That booth was very obviously the most busy one in the row, and for a reason: Miglia (drop the “g” when saying it, Italian-style) is a hardware company which make a bunch of pretty cool toys for Mac (and Windows!) users.
They have digital TV stuff, which I’m unfortunately a bit deaf to these days, as wireless digital TV doesn’t really work in Lausanne, and the way Swiss TV does “bicanal” (the thing that allows you to choose between dreadful dubbed versions and original versions) seems to be somewhat non-standard. At least it didn’t work with EyeTV, which I tried and brought back to the store a few months back.
Much more exciting for me: cordless VOIP handsets, and in particular the Dialog+. It’s a Skype/iChat cordless handset. I’m using Skype more and more, and next best to a WiFi Skype phone (the geeky toy I said I wanted for Christmas here) is a cordless one. Unfortunately, most (if not all) of the cordless handsets I’ve looked at (see the Skype Shop for example) have big nasty clunky non-laptop-friendly base stations. Not this one. Have a look at how laptop-friendly this is:
And the price was nice too: $80 MacWorld price, $100 normal price.
Well, I was tempted. Very tempted. So tempted that I decided to buy it, after dragging Victor upstairs in the lobby where we could find wifi to try it out (I’m a bit picky about audio quality). On the way, we bumped into one of their PR (?) people, and a few seconds later I was eagerly saying “I’ll blog it, I’ll blog it!” at the prospect of being given the handset. Here for the disclaimer, then — but I would have bought it anyway 🙂
For the trouble, here’s a nicely hReview-formatted review of the phone, after 24 hours or so of ownership and a couple of outgoing Skype calls. People who didn’t care for the backdrop story should start here.
Laptop-friendly Skype/iChat phone, light, nice sound quality and affordable price. Small USB dongle and recharges through USB too.
You can scroll through your Skype and iChat contacts on the phone easily, and even scroll through the Skype contact list which is displayed on your computer from the phone (it’s a bit eerie, as if the phone were a remote mouse or something). At first I wondered what the purpose of this feature was, but actually, even though the LCD display on the phone is very nice, it’s still even nicer to go through your contacts on your computer screen.
Besides the up/down, green-red, and normal number keys you’d expect on a phone, the Dialog+ has only three “special” keys: one to display call history (you can use it to toggle between received, outgoing, and missed calls), one to display your contact list (use it to toggle between all contacts and online contacts), and a third button (clear/backspace) which allows you to take control of the Skype contact list on your computer. It’s pretty easy to figure out what each button does and memorize it.
I personally don’t use iChat much, particularly for voice (I use Adium for instant messaging, and unfortunately it doesn’t do voice over IM), but I placed a couple of Skype calls to check the sound quality. My hearing is slightly impaired and I sometimes find that volume settings on phones don’t allow me to listen at a comfortable level. Not the case here, I could hear the person I was speaking with very clearly. However, people on the other end do hear an echo if the volume is set too high, and have complained a bit about the audio quality they receive. This can be due to the quality of the Skype connection, but I’ll try lending my phone to somebody and have them call me to hear for myself.
Setting up the phone was rather simple: close Skype, install the driver from the CD, pair the phone with the dongle by pressing the little square button on top of it. At first my phone said there was “No contact list”, so I tried reinstalling the driver and re-opening/closing Skype, and it worked. Not quite sure what went wrong, but it fixed itself quite nicely. The instructions booklet is just the right thickness and contains clear explanations. I would, however, call this a “cordless” phone rather than “wire-free” — when I read that on the back of the phone, I went “wi-fi phone?!”, which of course, is incorrect.
So, to sum it up: very happy about the toy and its design. I’ll certainly be using it. I just unwittingly gave it its first crash test by kicking it off the sofa as I was writing this post, and it survived. According to the booklet, it has good autonomy. I still need to dig into the audio quality a little, and see how it works when I start walking about my flat with it (upto 25 meters range).
I was disappointed at first that I couldn’t send text messages from it, but actually, that’s not too bad: if I have the Dialog+, I have my computer nearby — and anyway, Skype text messages aren’t always very reliable (for example, depending on the carrier, they don’t give your own phone number as the “reply” number, and messages get lost).
Great job, Miglia — oh, and I nearly forgot: Miglia’s interest being hardware sales, the phone comes with free software upgrades. For life. Neat!