Handset dazzles with a vast range of functions

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 20 May, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 20 May, 2003, 12:00am

Product: Olympia CDP-24 201 cordless phone
Price: Less than US$199
Pros: Simple, low cost way of setting up a wireless network at home. Very versatile product with multiple functions, this is the way home phones should go
Cons: A memory boost and a Wi-Fi version would be nice

The CDP-24 201 cordless phone from Olympia is the most exciting gadget I have seen in months. It looks, feels and weighs just like any one of the many cordless phones you can buy from Broadway stores but it is more than just a phone.

It has integrated high-power Bluetooth and can communicate with up to four Bluetooth devices at the same time, turning your phone into a wireless network.

The CDP can take two phone lines and has an integrated 56 kilobits per second modem. If you have a portable device with Bluetooth, you can wirelessly connect to the CDP's modem and get on the Internet. The company will be releasing a DSL version with an Ethernet port later this year or next for broadband connection.

The handset unit can double as a Bluetooth dongle if your laptop does not have Bluetooth. The product comes bundled with a short USB connector which you can use to link the handset to your laptop. It has a working distance of about 300 metres.

Capable of transferring data, it is also an Internet protocol phone, but do not expect a reliable connection over narrowband. With fixed-line short-messaging services (SMS) entering many markets, the new Olympia phone, which has a large monochrome display on its handset, also has SMS capability.

However, you will have to wait for PCCW and the mobile operators here to introduce the service, which probably will not happen soon.

The CDP is simple to install and set up. A sleek, silver design, it has speaker-phones integrated into its base station and into each 140 gram handset.

The base station offers a phone book for 100 name and number entries, while each handset boasts a phone book for another 40 contacts. It has all the regular cordless phone functions, including hands-free speaker-phone. Priced at US$199, it will probably retail at a lower price in Hong Kong, so I am told.

It is a really attractive price because a good 2.4 gigahertz Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications (DECT) phone costs about HK$1,600 to HK$2,000.

It will be available in Broadway stores in about three weeks' time. We will be getting a unit to test around that time.