Short Version: If you’re looking for an alternative to using your computer’s built-in mic and speakers or a wired headset for use with Skype then Ipevo’s handset could be right for you. It has one simple purpose and works quite well. Battery life is fairly good and call quality varies based on signal strength. Compared to competitors like Belkin, the Wi-Fi Phone for Skype performs admirably at a lower cost.
Long Version: Truth be told, I rarely use Skype and, as is, I hardly even use my cell phone. Landlines are a foreign concept and I haven’t had one of those since the mid-90s. VoIP just makes sense these days since we’re all paying for Internet access anyway. Now that I think about it, I probably don’t use Skype as much because wired handsets and the built-in protocols are a hassle. What if I need to use the little boy’s room while I’m on a call with granny? A wireless handset just makes sense, no?
Like I do with all my gadgets, I charged the Ipevo handset overnight just to be sure the battery gets a good charge the first go-around. A charging cradle is provided with the Wi-Fi phone, but it can also be charged via the miniUSB port located on the end of the handset. When you turn on the device for the first time, you’re greeted with a white sun on a yellow background. Why? I have no idea. The Skype logo then appears for about 10 seconds. The device immediately searches for all networks and asks you to connect to your preferred network. Assuming your network of choice is security enabled you’ll input the password and then be prompted to sign into Skype or create a Skype account. Creating a Skype account on the device is pretty painless. Just pick a username, password and then agree to the terms of service and voila, you’re ready to roll. Otherwise, you need only input your username and password. You have a choice as to whether the device automatically logs you in or you can choose to input your password each time you turn the handset on.
Ipevo’s Skype phone supports all Skype features except chat and video chat. You can view your history, update your status, add contacts, or search for others. It also supports Skype In and Skype Voicemail, but you’ll have to add those services along with credits from your desktop. Call forwarding is also enabled in case you step away.
When viewing your contact list you can call, send a voicemail, or view their profile. Under an advanced option, you can rename your contact, remove them, or block/unlock them.
Call quality is about as good as you’d expect from a VoIP call. That’s not to say it’s bad. Skype to Skype calls were clear and Skype to landline phones were also crisp and clear. Users on both ends hardly noticed any discernible characteristics that made the calls unbearable other than our boring conversation about how good the quality of the call was. Overall, I was quite pleased with the call quality.
The hardware itself is nothing to write home about, but it’s small, lightweight and gets the job done. It actually looks exactly like my old beloved Nokia 8210. The whopping 1.8-inch LCD is plenty bright and big enough for even the geriatric crowd to make out what’s what. The 900mAh Li-ion battery managed to get me a few minutes shy of the rated four hour talk time. And it sat idle for a good day and a half off of one charge. On the left side of the handset are volume controls and the right side has a 2.5mm jack for wired headsets in case you need the use of both hands.
Like I said, the device works well but the $130 price tag is a bit much for a single purpose gadget. However, it’s cheaper than the alternative from Belkin by $40 based on MSRP. But times are tough, so we’re giving our review unit away to one lucky winner. Sure, it’s used, but it’s in mint condition! To win, leave a comment and be sure to use your real e-mail address. We’ll pick a winner at random on Wednesday at 12PM ET. Good luck!