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Review: OBi202 VoIP Adapter For Free Local Calls

With Obihai Technology’s Obi202, you will be able to make free unlimited calls when combined with Google Talk (Google currently offers the service for free until 2012).  The device costs [easyazon-link asin=”B007D930YO” locale=”us”]$75 on Amazon[/easyazon-link].

Free Calls With Google Talk

Obi202’s claim to fame is its ability to make free local calls by leveraging Google Talk. Unlike other popular VOIP adapters, Obi202 does not require a computer to make and receive calls, and it works with any traditional phones.  The setup is fairly simple, just click a few buttons as you follow the instructions, and it’s mostly just “plug and play” if you’re just looking for the basic calling features.  If you’re interested in making international calls, Google Talk also has very competitive international rates that mostly beats competitors such as Skype.

Google has offered free phone calls since August of 2010, and officially is still free until end of 2012.  But expectations is for Google to extend the free feature in the coming year as well if they follow the trend.  At the end of 2010 and 2011, Google made announcements to extend an additional year.  So appears they’re taking the decision year by year.

Update (12.26.2012): As expected, Google announced today that Google Talk will remain free through 2013.

IOS and Android App

If you’re interested in the more advanced features, download the OBiON app from the Apple or Android app store.  You will be able to bridge calls from your cell phone to make calls. There’s two advantages that comes to mind with this feature:

  • This turns your Apple iPod Touch into a cell phone.  You will be able to dial out using this App.  And with a bit of more advanced codes in the ObiTalk online interface, you can also receive calls.
  • This goes for tablets as well.  I tried the Android app on my Motorola Xoom, and works great (if you don’t find it awkward to hold your tablet as if it’s a cell phone).

Specs

Obi202 improves on the company’s previous VoIP adapters with super high voice quality, a fairly decent router, T.38 fax protocol support, connectivity for two telephone handsets (compared to one on previous adapters such as the OBi100) and support for up to four separate VoIP services which includes Google Voice. For those that are looking for an FXO port for traditional telephone handsets, unfortunately you are out of luck, and if you’re specifically looking for that you should stick with the OBi100 or OBi110.

The OBi202 currently sports a USB port that only supports a direct connection to a storage device which could be a flash drive or an USB external hard drive. Using the external storage you can access the device through the router. With that said, you’ll have access to the files on the drive that is connected to the OBi202 thus giving the device free cloud capabilities. You’ll be able to use free services like Dropbox or Google Drive for some awesome cloud storage capabilities. As a big fan of cloud data, I think this is probably my favorite feature of the device.

[easyazon-link asin=”B007R6F7PS” locale=”us”]OBiWiFi Wireless Adapter for OBi202[/easyazon-link]

Obihai Technologies has released what they call a “OBi Wi-Fi wireless adapter.” This will allow the device to connect in locations where there is no ethernet plug available or if you just prefer have your phone in another room away from your router. This WiFi adapter is currently available on [easyazon-link asin=”B007R6F7PS” locale=”us”]Amazon for around $25[/easyazon-link].

[easyazon-link asin=”B004OA74MY” locale=”us”]Vtech Cordless Phone[/easyazon-link]

If you are like me and have not owned a landline at home since cell phones were the size of the Zack Morris brick phones, you likely would need to buy a phone to go with the Obi202 device.  I found the Vtech phone to be the perfect complement.  It’s only going for [easyazon-link asin=”B004OA74MY” locale=”us”]$19 on Amazon[/easyazon-link].

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