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 visorcentral >> reviews >> springboard modules >> parafone
Sunday August 26, 2001 - 3:44 PM EST - By Michael Ducker

Speaker troubles

When a phone call comes in, the Parafone will ring (unbelievably soft compared to a 1940 rotary phone), and if it's in the Visor a box will pop up asking if you want to Answer or Ignore. If the phone is not in the Visor, it will ring, and you can then plug it in to your Visor to take the call.

The module is virtually useless without a headset because the phone's speaker really isn't a speaker per say. It's a buzzer, just like what's in the Visor, and does not allow a quality of sound at which you can easily understand someone speaking. The buzzer also makes the ring not very audible.

Furthermore, without a headset you can't take notes while talking, and the module in combination with the Visor is fairly heavy, making it uncomfortable holding it up to your head.

I would say, based on others advice (The Today Show, Lockergnome) that the Jabra headsets are some of the best.

The Parafone is quite expensive for it's category of phone. For the same price I can get a pretty nice 2.4 Ghz, digital phone. But there's the mix of communication and information, one that I found cool. Here is what I thought was missing.

  • 900 MHz Analog - My current phone right now is a 2.4 GHz Digital. It's a pretty big drop to go down to 900 MHz analog. I noticed that if I was in the yard, using the phone without a headset was impossible; static made it so you couldn't hear anything. If I was using the headset, it was much better, abet a little fuzzy.

  • No hardware buttons - I wish The Parafone had a small button, which would launch the Parafone app - like the VisorPhone has. Yes, I could map one of my precious 4 hardware buttons, but I really couldn't give one of those up.

  • Hanging up - The cool thing about the Parafone is that you can go into other apps and still talk. The problem is getting back. Say I'm typing something up using WordSmith; my friend and I have been talking, and the conversations over now. He hangs up, but it will take awhile for me to hang up. The problem is that to hang up, you have to go back to the Parafone app and push hang up. It would be nice if Arkon adopted what Card Access does with their thin modems. You tap the corner, and wherever you are you get a status screen, or you could use my above mentioned hardware button to hang up.

  • No Graffiti - On the keypad, you can't graffiti in your number you want to dial. On the speed dial, when entering a new number, say a calling card, you can't enter 1-800-CALLATT. You have to know the number equivalent and put it in. A small feature, which could save somebody 30 seconds of time. Just making things easier.

  • Does not use Springboard charge pins - To my total surprise, this module does NOT utilize the pins that the Springboard provides for charging. Even though this module wasn't optimized for Visor models like the Prism (because of the base station), I think it would have been better to take advantage of the pins like the VisorPhone does. Users could then just buy a charging cable, and they could charge the Parafone without using their cradle.

  • No flash memory - It's a pretty big disappointment to me. It cuts costs, but I believe springboards should be upgradeable. I believe that many Springboards can always add more and better features - look at the Thinmodem!

  • No modem function. - On the VisorCentral boards, it appears that many users were surprised that this module cannot act like a modem. I think this would have been VERY cool if it did - you could surf the web anywhere in your house using a dialup connection. At a hotel, you could set the base by the hotel phone, and move and sit anywhere on the bed. Even better in a suite. Arkon didn't include this, apparently due to trying to keep costs down. Oh well, I guess I'll have to wait for their G24, which should hopefully fix all everything mentioned above, and work with broadband.

Conclusion >>  

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Product Details
Name: Parafone
Company: Arkon Network
Frequency: 902-928 MHz ISM band
Dimensions: Handset module 94mm×8mm×29mm approx., Base 164mm×130mm×106mm approx.
Operating range: 300 feet (indoor), 1000 feet (outdoor)
Talk time: 3 hours talk / 3.5 days standby time
Price: $119.00

Update: Auction Update / VisorAdventure 2
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Tue Oct 2 - 4:46 PM EST


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