Thursday, May 14, 2009

Wireless on the SciPhone G2 Cellphone

One of the biggest draws of the Sciphone G2 is its wireless abilities. I have the Wifi model, which also includes Bluetooth. One of my biggest concerns when buying this phone was how well it would work as a phone as well. If it doesn't pick up a cell signal and get my calls in and out, all the other features don't mean a lot to me.

I've had a chance to use my new G2 under a fairly wide range of conditions since I first got it. I live out on the edge of the reception areas for the local cell providers. There's an Interstate highway going through our town, which helps, but we go to a lot of places locally that aren't right along the Interstate, too. Further, my carrier's coverage has gotten worse in this area over the past couple of years.

So I need a phone that can pick up a signal well. A marginal phone won't work out here.

My prior phone was a Nokia 3650, a phone which was recognized for its excellent reception. It's worked very well for me, even as the cell coverage has gotten worse. It manages to get calls through in places other phones get nothing, and it only drops off the network in places that it's flatly impossible to get a signal through.

My reception with my Sciphone G2 has been equal to that of my Nokia 3650 so far. The only caveat is that it's somewhat sensitive to angle and position. It gets the best signal when held up vertically. It gets a good enough signal to connect even in other positions, but I notice a greater change in signal strength with this phone based on its position than I ever did with my Nokia.

But I have no coverage complaints with this phone. If it'll work for me, out where I am, it'll work for you at least as well as anything else without an external antenna.

Bluetooth



The phone's Bluetooth works well, too. I had no problem going through and getting it set up for my devices. It paired with my computer easily as well. If you've used the Sciphone i68+, it works pretty much the same way, and it's pretty much the same as any other mobile's Bluetooth setup. You can search for devices, pair with them, set what you want to use them for, and so on.

One thing that's less than perfect about the G2's Bluetooth is that its antenna is very sensitive to the phone's position. Data transfer rates vary a lot based on the angle of the phone with respect to whatever it's talking to. I got changes of 10x while transferring photos by how I was holding the phone. It never dropped the connection, but it certainly made a really big difference in how fast the data was going.

I haven't had a chance to try out a Bluetooth headset yet. I expect the really small distance between a headset and the phone will make this not a problem, but when transferring files across the house it does. So if your photos or files are moving slowly across Bluetooth, try holding the phone in a different position.

Wifi



Here's the biggie. Wifi! I'm using Wifi for web browsing on my home's wireless network. The signal strength is excellent under all circumstances. The only hangup I've had with Wifi was the initial configuration, which wasn't obvious enough to do without instructions.

There are instructions at:
Wifi Setup Directions at MySciPhone.com

You can also get other information from the home directory for that file. Basically, you need to set up a wireless profile that uses Wifi, then select that from the available profiles when you start your browser.

The data transfer rates I get are reliably about 2Mb/sec across my 802.11n home network. I'm not sure what version of 802.11 the phone is actually speaking. But the data transfer rates outpace my internet connection to the outside world, and are plenty fast for the types of transfers I do otherwise.

Summary



One minor thing is that Bluetooth and Wifi can't both be on at the same time. You have to turn off one to use the other.

Battery life is not severely affected by the wireless being on. I left Wifi turned on over 6 hours while using the phone outside the house for calls, taking photos, and so on, and the battery level was still at 86% when I got home. Playing music is the hardest thing on the batteries that I've found so far.

I haven't configured my EDGE/GPRS networking for my provider yet. The configuration that worked for the Sciphone i68+ didn't work for me (the Nokia 2610 config.) So I'll need to log into the forums at MySciPhoneShop.com and see what folks are saying there. More on that once I get it going.

My Articles on the Sciphone G2:
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