Tell me about the Gizmo user experience.
May 11, 2006 10:55 AM   Subscribe

I'm strongly leaning toward dumping Verizon and switching to Gizmo. What I'm curious about is the actual user experience of making and receiving VOIP calls. Is it be a hassle to be tethered to the computer via a headset? Do I need to leave my computer on all the time? How do I check voicemail (it's got something to do with e-mail, apparently -- does Gizmo e-mail me WAV files or something)? How do I dial out? If I'm making a call to an automated system that requires touch-tone data entry, how would I do this? How expensive and complicated would it be to route my calls to a conventional handset?
posted by Artifice_Eternity to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My friend has Vonage, and I would say it sounds better than a cell phone, and slightly lesser than a landline. I don't have experience with Gizmo, but since nobody has replied to your question yet I thought I'd at least give my anecdotal evidence about another VOIP service.

I don't know how Gizmo compares to Vonage logistically, but with Vonage, you plug a regular old phone into it and it can be wireless, so you're not tied down like you would be with, say, Skype.
posted by twiggy at 12:22 PM on May 11, 2006

Best answer: Twiggy, Gizmo is like Skype, not Vonage. No takeover of your POTS wiring.

Is it a hassle? Not if you like to make all your calls at or near your computer.

Do you need to leave your computer on? Yes, if you want to talk on the phone.

How do you check voicemail? Check your e-mail. Yes, attached WAVs or MP3s.

How do you dial out? Typey, typey.

If you're making a call to an automated system that requires touch-tone data entry? Onscreen keypad.

How expensive and complicated would it be to route your calls to a conventional handset? Conventional how? Bluetooth headsets should be fairly simple. Buy, install software, link to Gizmo. Otherwise, you tell Gizmo to forward your calls somewhere (to an actual landline or cell, not to a specific handset).
posted by deadfather at 12:30 PM on May 11, 2006

On your last question, I see what you mean now. No, there is no easy way to link Gizmo to your house's telephone wiring. You're talking about making your own PBX. It can be done, but takes expertise or a decent chunk of change to pay someone to do it—certainly more than $300, likely more.
posted by deadfather at 12:35 PM on May 11, 2006

Oh, and there are a bunch of WiFi handsets coming soon to market. Theoretically, these can work anywhere your wireless network reaches, with no wires (except electrical). Whether or not they will support Gizmo (a) at all, or (b) without considerable effort, remains to be seen. Likely, Vonage and Skype compatibility is a first priority.
posted by deadfather at 12:41 PM on May 11, 2006

Response by poster: Deadfather: Thanks for the info.

But I wasn't looking to hook up to my existing home telephone wiring, just to a conventional handset. On further perusal of the Gizmo site, it looks like this is not terribly difficult:

SIP Phone Adapters (ATAs)

For those of you who would like to use your Gizmo Project account with your regular telephone, it’s possible to configure a standard, unlocked SIP adapter with your account. You will need to use the SIP number associated with your Gizmo name.

Adapters have many advantages, the most obvious of which is being able to use a standard telephone with your account. Also, many like the ability to use their account even when their computer is turned off.

An adapter simply needs a broadband connection to the Internet. We have pre-certified some of the best adapters in the industry which can be purchased here. Any adapter that is Plug-N-Dial enabled can configure easily with your account.

Hopefully this would plug into my existing router.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 1:07 PM on May 11, 2006

You can also get cheap (think $30) USB handsets, which you can use on Skype, Gizmo, or other similar services. They look, and work, just like a mobile phone.

(You still need to leave your computer on, of course.)
posted by jamescridland at 1:53 PM on May 11, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks, I'm looking into USB headsets right now. Given that the mic and headphone jacks on my computer are hard to get to (and I usually have high-quality headphones plugged into the latter), a headset that I could plug into the USB port on the front of my box as needed would be ideal.

Now I just want to find out about making a SIP phone adapter work with my existing router (which has a wireless component for my laptop-using wife). Any advice on this appreciated.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 2:17 PM on May 11, 2006

Gizmo gives you a plain ol' SIP number. You find it by cliking on your Profile in the app. For example, mine is 1 (747) 635-8852. Any SIP adapter will have instructionson how to use it with your particular SIP number.
posted by Monochrome at 4:53 PM on May 11, 2006

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