Experiences with the Gigaset S675IP

A few months ago I replaced out old Uniden phones with a Gigaset S675IP and all new DECT 6.0 handsets.  I liked the S675IP because it offered something I couldn’t find anywhere else — VOIP service with automatic failover to a POTS line backup.  After using it for a few months, the result has been half rewarding, half frustrating.  The Gigaset product is pretty impressive when it works.  Sadly, the software seems to have been written as a freshman project and support from Gigaset is completely useless.

The handsets are sleek, very nice, and work well.  Battery life has been great; they will last for days off the charger, and I don’t think we’ve ever managed to kill a battery yet.  It’s also nice being able to have two simultaneous phone calls going at the same time.  The ability to set up a dialing plan to route local calls via the POTS line and anything long distance via the VOIP server has saved us money in long distance charges — we went from .05 per minute for long distance, to .0098.  Intercom voice quality is excellent, as is voice quality during calls.  I’d like a little better volume with a call on speaker.

The software has been a horror show.  While the dial plan feature is nice, what they don’t tell you is that if your dial plan specifies that a call goes out via VOIP connection, and that VOIP connection is down, your call just simply doesn’t work.  The dial plan also allows for only one destination for a call — you can’t have backup routes.  My solution will eventually be to just route everything via VOIP and let a real dial plan handle it, but it’s certainly a disappointment.

I’ve also had more than one occasion where a corrupted voicemail is stored in the internal answering machine memory.  Once there it can’t be deleted or managed in any way…  the only solution is, apparently, a complete wipe of the base unit.  ALL settings are lost.  There is NO way to back up the setitngs, so you have to start completely from scratch and set up the system.  VOIP accounts, dial plans, all settings — everything.  Again, Gigaset support has been completely useless.  They tell me the settings can be backed up, but apparently are talking about the directory stored in each handset.  Gigaset has stopped releasing new firmware for this product, and after a couple of emails they simply stop responding to help requests.  It is the poorest support I have ever gotten from a vendor, bar none.

I honestly cannot recommend this product.  It’s a really cool idea, with the crappiest implementation I have seen in a long, long time.  Add to that the fact that their support is effectively nil, and you have a product that looks nice but just simply doesn’t work as it should.  It looks like the newer model might be better — but apparently they have abandoned the US market, which is probably not a bad idea.  Maybe the EU customers will tolerate this kid of junk.