Obihai Technology has been featuring the OBi202 on the front page of the company’s main web site for several months. Now, the device, which represents a huge step up from the company’s wildly popular OBi100 and OBi110 VoIP adaptors, is finally available on Amazon for $75.
Was it worth the wait? Should users of previously released OBis jump in and upgrade?
Definitely “yes”. And “probably”.
The OBi202 improves on the company’s previous offerings in many ways, including a beefier and faster processor that improves on what was already very high voice quality, a decent router, T.38 fax protocol support, connectivity for two telephone handsets (versus one on the OBi100/110), and support for four separate VoIP services (including, as has been exclusive to the OBis, Google Voice). However, those who need an FXO port on their device to hook up a traditional telephone line or a locked analog telephone adaptor from Vonage or another VoIP company, are out of luck with the OBi202, and should stick to the OBi110.
Unlike its predecessors, the OBi202 sports a USB port which currently supports only direct connection of a storage device (A flash drive or USB external hard drive). By accessing the device through the router, a user has access to the files stored on the drive connected to the OBi, giving the device free Dropbox- and pogoplug-like cloud data access capability.
Obihai plans to release what it calls the “OBi WiFi wireless adaptor”, which would allow the device to be connected in locations with no ethernet plug. The small WiFi dongle, an Obihai spokesman said, should be available in early May through Amazon for about $25.
Still missing is the ability to register an IP phone directly with the device. VoIP power users who already own an IP telephone would love to use Google Voice on their desktop handset. The OBi202 (really any of the OBis) would make this simple if the devices were to allow an IP telephone to be registered as a service. Though you can use an OBi with a Cisco IP phone, and we’ve shown you how here, but the process is cumbersome. It would be better if the OBi supported it natively. Is this in the works in future firmware, Obihai?
Still this is a minor nit. Obihai’s consumer VoIP devices are already the most powerful on the market, and the OBi202 has raised the bar even higher.