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SMC WiFi Skype Phone Review

SMC Skype Wi-Fi Phone Preview – Part I – (Part Two... Previewing the Battery.)

 

 

NEW WIFI PHONE IS AVAILABLE NOW

Check out the IPEVO SO-20 Wifi Phone

IPEVO_SO-20


Product Review (Date: 08.16.2006)

smcA product with a bright future… Currently, it is a good phone for travelers who know where to find a Wi-Fi HotSpot that does not require a web browser in order to connect to the network.

 

The Wi-Fi stand-alone Skype phone is probably the most anticipated product within the Skype community. Skypers are hoping the PC-less and Wi-Fi functions will free them from their computers and finally reach the Skype promised land: “…talk to anyone, ANYWHERE, for free.”

 

Through our oversea department, we were able to get our hands on a non-beta, Asia release version of the SMC Skype Wi-Fi Phone. As written in our posting here:   http://www.amperordirect.com/pc/r-skype-news/z-news-08032006.html, all four Wi-Fi phones  that have been announced are using designs by Accton, therefore our preview of this phone should be fairly accurate in showing what you will see in the final US Skype Wi-Fi phone versions.

 

Items included in the box:

  • One Skype Wi-Fi Phone (VM1185T)
  • One Lithium-Ion Battery
  • One White Headset
  • One White Mini USB Cable
  • One AC Power Charger (with Mini USB Output Tip)
  • One Quick Installation Guide
  • One User Guide CD

 

Installation – A True PC-less Experience:

Skype - Download Today!With the software already being pre-installed, use of the phone is a breeze. The phone will automatically detect any available Wi-Fi networks, ask for the encryption key for the selected one - if necessary, connect to the selected network, and then prompt you for your Skype account information. After signing in, the phone will automatically grab your Skype contacts through the Wi-Fi network from Skype, then be ready for you to make a Skype call. The whole process is completed quickly, and without having to connect the phone to a computer at any time.

 

Control Interface:

The 1.5” x 1.25” LCD color display is at a comfortable light setting by default for indoor usage, but while still readable (at the highest light level), is not very clear while under the hot Houston sun.  The display also has a privacy feature in that it is best seen and read from while looking directly at it, but if you are someone trying to read the list from the side, you would not be able to see much on the screen.

 

The buttons on the keypad are well designed, in that the navigation stick can be used in 4-directions when you move it around, and pressing it straight in will act as a confirm.  This makes the navigation stick a very helpful tool for navigating around the different functions. The alpha-numeric buttons are built-in with enough feedback force and a loud touch tone for you to know when a button has been pressed. Except for the smaller button size than a normal phone, we had  no difficulties in using them.

 

Abundant Features:

Surprisingly, the phone comes with loads more features than we would expect to see from a first-generation Skype Wi-Fi phone. Some examples of what it can do includes:

 

  • Displaying the Skype contact list with online/offline status.
  • Saving the network encryption keys and Skype account ID and password for future use.
  • Having call blocking and call forwarding features.
  • Can store Skype voicemail, receive SkypeIn and make SkypeOut calls.
  • Has three built-in ring-tones, and can be in silent or vibrate mode.
  • Can also change network proxy settings and set up ports for Skype.

 

Voice Quality:

Before using for the first time, we highly recommend that the first thing done is to do a software update on the phone. This can be performed from Menu > Settings > General > Software Updates. The old software that comes with the phone will create a 1 sec delay in voice transmissions, while the latest version (V 1.0.0.0) will greatly reduce the delay.


 
The communication quality is acceptable, while occasionally we can hear short periods of voice distortion or silence - especially when the call is first connected. However, this is not much different than what sometimes happens with cell calls, too.  The distortion period is short enough that you sometimes notice it, but not enough for you to loose track of the conversation.

 

NEW WIFI PHONE IS AVAILABLE NOW

Check out the IPEVO SO-20 Wifi Phone

IPEVO_SO-20

Known Issues:

 

Need a web browser:

smcFirst we used the phone in our office where we were able to connect to our Wi-Fi network with our normal connection settings provided by our network administrator.  Then, we took the phone on the road to try out in different Wi-Fi HotSpots. This is where we found our first problem for the phone: most HotSpot providers, such as T-Mobile and AT&T, need to initiate an account ID and password check through a web browser before the network will allow full connectivity. Because of the lack of a built-in web browser, there is currently no way to connect the phone to those types of HotSpots. 

 

Need to fine-tune the mode transfer timing:

Our next problem came in the form of automatic volume control.  SMC needs to fine-tune the timing when transferring the phone from “ringing” mode into the “speaking” mode. For example, when the phone rings for an incoming call, the volume is automatically turned up very high to ensure that you can hear it from across the room, etc.  After you pick up the call, the phone is supposed to lower the volume to a non-ear-bleeding level for your conversation, but doesn’t seem to manage it until after the first couple of words have been exchanged.  When we called Skype echo123 testing center to try things out for the first time, the first incoming word (“Hello”) after the call was picked up was actually played at the same level as the ring-tone. The “Hello” was so loud that it hurt my ear!

 

Conclusion for today:

As a first-generation Wi-Fi phone, the sample we received exceeded our expectations. It is packed with loads of features, and provides acceptable sound quality. Furthermore, it deserves the PC-less title without a doubt. If the released US version can include a built-in web browser for paid Wi-Fi network connections, and can solve the volume timing issue we ran into, then it can finally free Skypers like us, from our computer.

 

Keep in touch. We’re going to test the battery capacity next and publish more thoughts about this phone as we continue to use it.

 

(Product ID: 10003/1.0.0.0/SMC. Software Version: V1.0.0.0. Software Date: 2006/06/21. Hardware version: R03)

 

SMC Wi-Fi Phone for Skype

Image The SMC WSKP100 Wi-Fi Phone for Skype extends the convenience of wireless connection and the voice quality of Skype into one portable device. The WSKP100 is intended to help users make Skype calls at home, workplace and campus without the hassle of turning on computers.

 

The modulation of WSKP100 is based on the IEEE802.11b/g standard so it is compatible with most standard 802.11b/g Access Point (AP) in the market. With the embedded Skype software, users can have access to both PSTN and Skype networks as long as users have a valid Skype account. With the easy startup user will not have to remember the SSID or security keys; the WSKP100 stores these information and will connect to AP automatically when it boots up.

 

The SMC WiFi Phone for Skype will deliver 3-hours continuous talk-time and 30-hour standby from its internal Li-Ion Battery and can be recharged from any USB enabled socket

 

With embedded Skype software, SMC Networks' Wi-Fi phone for Phone provides the users of cost savings, mobility with 802.11b/g WLAN, and hassle free installation with easy startup.

 

  • Supports voice mail, SkypeIn and SkypeOut services
  • Industrial standard 802.11b/g networks compatibility
  • Exceptional Quality-of-Service (QoS) function to ensure high quality calls
  • Supports Advanced Wireless Network security: WPA / WPA2 & WEP
  • Over the Air (OTA) Upgrade
  • 1 Year Warranty

 

NEW WIFI PHONE IS AVAILABLE NOW

Check out the IPEVO SO-20 Wifi Phone

IPEVO_SO-20

 

Part Two... Previewing the Battery.

 

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