NETGEAR’s first Skype phone logs on the home’s w-lan and connect to Skype. Sounds promising? But in reality, it becomes a flat case. By Tomas Nilsson
Long is Netgear a gigant on network equipment for computers. Not least, wireless networking has become one of the company’s top sellers in recent years. Therefore, it is logical that the Netgear now also focuses on IP phones via w-lan.
Skype is private market giant on IP telephony, and Netgear SPH101 is the first Skype phone. The first Skype phone required that you had the computer running, but the great strength of this product is that it connects directly to Skype via the home’s or Office’s w-lan.
This is of course good. For those who use Skype a lot, it’s brilliant that you do not have to be tied to your computer. The sound quality is also clearly accepted, above all strong enough to be fit even if it’s the buzz in the room you are in.
The phone itself contains a w-lankrets, but it is still a phone, really smooth and small format. It looks pretty much like a classic models of Sony Ericsson: T630.
With the number buttons do I call normal calls, to the common telephone number, via SkypeOuts regular phone rates.
To bring up the contact list of Skype contacts, touch I phone’s joystick stick down. Then just choose any Skype contact’s online and click on the Green handset. Icon in the list showed if the contact was online and possible status (busy, idle, etc).
So far I feel this phone is simply very smooth operation. And after a few hours of use, I felt quite pleased with how it worked. But then doubts began to come.
The first doubts arose when the battery laid off after only half a day’s use with only a few short calls. I tried to charge it up fully, but also the following times were battery performance mediocre. The best I managed to achieve was barely eight hours of standby time, which is significantly less than what Netgear indicate that standby time.
The next doubts arose when I wanted to send a text message to a contact. Skype on your computer is to use text chat, when you do not want to interfere with a normal call. But the live chat feature is not supported by the NETGEAR Skype phone. And whoever tried to chat with me when I was online was answered that I was using an old version of Skype that lacked support for chat.
The connection to the wireless network went well. I used the phone both open w-lan, with WPA-encrypted networks and WEP-encrypted networks. It is possible to set the “preferred networks” that you want the handset to log on automatically. However, I had to enter my Skype username and password each time I would connect me.
However, there is a problem for those who want to be able to use this phone fuillt out: It does not work in hotspots, public w-lan. For example, I walk into the Seven Eleven and buys an hour of access to their w-lan (Rover Rabbit) do I have to log in via a Web page. So does most hotspots. But because the Web browser is missing from the Netgear phone is the phone unusable in public surf zones.
Bluetooth is not available in this phone, but it was good to use a corded headset with a standard 2.5-mm plug.
Finally, I think the price is the highest team to be reasonable. 2000 dollars is clearly more than what this phone is worth.
Before you buy
NETGEAR SPH101 Skype makes it easier to use at home. But deficiencies including battery life pulls down the final grade, and the price tag is well high.
TopCOM and Cisco has recently launched phones that provide access to Skype without having to go through the computer.
Can handle non-hotspots
Miss chat support
A total of 54%
Type: W-lantelefon for Skype
W-lan: 802.11 g/b
Weight: 110 grams with battery
Display: 65 k colours, five lines of text
Standby time: 20 h according to the manufacturer, up to 8 h in our test
Talk time: 2 h