Carrieann Stocks tests the GSP-1700 mobile satellite phone from Globalstar, and discovers it could be a key communication tool
When I was asked to complete a review of the Globalstar GSP-1700 mobile satellite phone I thought they couldn't have picked a better reviewer - giving an editor a phone is like giving sweets to a child.
Designed to work in remote areas - like hydropower plant and dam construction sites - I thought the best place to test the phone would be in the scenic surrounds of the Brecon Beacons, which are only a twenty minute drive from my home.
I charged the phone for two hours prior to testing, and it lasted for the whole time I needed it. The phone has in fact been designed for four hours of talk time, 36 hours on standby mode (a lot better than my mobile phone!)
Having reached a nice remote location, the phone worked well. It connected quickly and was very clear - even to the person on the other end of the phone. What impressed me was the fact it worked when my standard mobile phone had no signal at all. While the phone wouldn't connect in a built up area, where access to satellites are difficult, it had a clear signal in the beacons. While also working to call out, I was able to receive calls and have clear conversations. The phone even rings when the antenna is stowed. The clearest signals are gained when the antenna is in the correct position - with clear guidelines shown on the phone's instructions.
Onto the design of the phone, I was surprised how compact it was. I was expecting a much bigger unit but the GSP-1700 is portable and lightweight, only slightly larger than a standard mobile phone, meaning it can be packed easily for travelling. While compact, it appears to be a robust unit that would be able to handle falls and the day-to-day working life of a hydro engineer. The phone has been optimised for outside daytime viewing - it has backlit color display with 4-line 12-character LCD, but it also has an illuminated keypad which means it is easy to see when lighting is inadequate.
A key feature that I think would be useful for the industry is the Globalstar Data Kit (available separately) which allows users to send key information via email or internet from the phone. A full list of the phone's calling features and services are included below. Combined, I really think this product could be a key communication tool for the industry and I would recommend it based on my experiences.
*Comes standard with French based telephone number. No international call charges
* Simple emergency calling
* Automatic international roaming
* Easy access to SMS and voicemail, with user configurable 'new message' alert
* Standard 2.5mm jack for connection to a noise cancelling headset, vehicle/marine kit headset, or Bluetooth module
* User configurable ringtones (8)
* CDMA technology for optimal voice clarity
* Optional weather proof enclosure for external antenna also available for use in salt water environments
* Price plan options tailored to your calling needs, including monthly or annual plans for seasonal users.
Win a GSP-1700
Want to get your hands on one of these mobile satellite phones? Sign up for our weekly email newsletter and you'll be entered into a draw with a winner selected at random. If you're already signed up and would like to enter, please send your details to the editor, Carrieann Stocks, via email: [email protected] and we'll automatically enter you. Closing date 31 August 2014.