Zyxel Prestige 2000W WiFi VoIP Phone Review

The Zyxel Prestige 2000W is one of the first WiFi VoIP phones to get out on the market. It will allow you to send and receive calls as long as you are within range and have access to an IEEE 802.11b or g wireless network.

The effective range on the 2000W is one of its strongest points. I was surprised at some of the access points it had found, it was picking up networks that my Powerbook was unable to find. Zyxel rates the operating range at up to 300m out-doors and 75m in-doors, I won’t argue those stats.

The actual sensitivity is -82 dBm@11Mbps, the antenna’s output power is 14 + 1dBm. So we know the antenna is solid, you can connect to just about any network you would imagine, but the problem with that is the battery gets drained very very fast.

You can easily just charge it off any computer USB port, or leave it connected, but that defeats the whole purpose now doesn’t it? I really can’t see them getting around the battery issue unless they use more efficient WiFi components, if it must stay connected to a far off network to receive a call, your battery life is going to be drained indefinitely. I really think this phone would be best suited for a home/office situation, where you like the freedom of roaming, but are close to a port to keep it charged when not in use. It’s not at the level or quality where this would replace your mobile phone, not yet atleast, but they are getting close.

Interface & Design

The Zyxel Prestige 2000W is based on SIP v2 (Session Initiation Protocol version 2.0) open standard, this makes it interoperable with most major SIP-based providers, IP-PBXs and other standard SIP-based client devices. This makes it compatible with just about any SIP provider out there, so long as they give you access to their gateway, proxy with a login and password.

When you press the “OK” button in the center of the phone you get sent to the main menu. From here you have eight options which expand into many more options, here are the available options;

1. Information; Shows Phone Number, IP Address, Mac Address and Firmware version.
2. Call history; Missed, Received, Dialed, Erase Calls
3. Phonebook; Search, Add Entry, Erase
4. Net Settings; Network Mode (DHCP, PPoE, Fixed IP), IP Address, Subnet Mask, Gateway
5. SIP Settings; Registrar, Outbout Proxy, Proxy Server, User Account
6. Settings; Melody, Vibrator, Ringer Volume, Edit Time/Date, Banner, Key Lock, Don’t Disturb
7. Wireless; Site Survey, SSID, Network Mode, Channel, Rate, WEP Select, WEP Key 1-4, Key Select, Profiles, Auth Type
8. Restart

This system is very easy to understand, just not convenient. Usually when you have a menu system with numbers indicating options, you can just press that number on the keypad and it will jump to that option, not in this case. The most important option I could think of for a device of this nature would be the Profiles, this is your saved list of network settings for frequently used networks. I would want this option at my fingertips, but for some reason it’s buried in the menu. Also if specifying an IP address manually, or entering a WEP key, the text input system is not conventional, so when changing from CAPS, to Numbers or Symbols you may have to try a few times to figure out just how the heck to do it. I would rely on the web configurator for anything that requires inputting lengthy names and numbers.

The physical design of the P2000W is decent, it has a charcoal grey aluminum look, but you can still tell it’s just shiny plastic. It only measures a mere 127 x 48 x 20mm so it’s quite compact and portable. If you press or twist the phone you can hear plastic creeks and cracks, however it does feel solid, by no means is it one of those light hollow feeling things you see at the mobile display counter.

Everyone loves blue backlights, and this is just what the P2000W has. A bright blue backlight keypad and a blue backlight 112 x 64 pixel LCD.

On the bottom is the USB port connector, it has a tiny rubber cover which is probably there just for when they ship it to you. Unless you take it out and save it somewhere special, you won’t have this piece for longer then 24 hours. On the left side are two volume up/down buttons, and an ear-phone jack. I’m really surprised that it doesn’t support a normal functioning headset with microphone, so all we get is a headphone jack.

Features & Functions

The P2000W offers a smart auto-provisioning mechanism, ITSPs can easily deploy and manage the VoIP services on each handset. It will also support a service provider’s QoS (Quality of Service) planning, such as ToS (Type of Service) similar to that used by tglo, this means they can automatically send your handset updates.

Performance

Support for G.711 and G.729 voice compression reduces bandwidth consumption caused by voice traffic on your network. Battery life is less then par in my opinion, Zyxel’s spec sheet claims that it offers “Enhanced Power Saving Design for Extended Standby and Talk Time”, however I have yet to see this in action. The battery is a 3.6V, 1350mAh Lithium. From my tests it won’t give you more then 11 hours standby time and 1 hour talk time, it should get most people through the day however I have continuously found it dead the next morning just after unplugging it the very night before on a full charge.

Bank for your buck

When it was first announced the Zyxel Prestige 2000W was priced at US $249.99, since then it has dropped to around $165 from some online retailers. Zyxel has informed me that they are selling it through tglo and Office Depot, however I have yet to see it at any Office Depot stores or online.

I have it running on a Broadvoice account which is ok at times, but I often had line noise, echos and static. I wouldn’t put the blame of these problems on the handset, since it can very well be the quality of the VoIP connection.

Pros

- Excellent range
- Nice design, small, cool blue LCD
- Works with any SIP provider

Cons

- Battery life is horrid
- Menu system lacks innovation
- Headphone jack without microphone support

Full Specs and Pricing.


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