With the computer comes a barrage of gadgets that aim to make life simpler and better. Of those launched in recent times, handsets boasting Skype technology have been the most prominent. This is a nifty product that promises free Skype to Skype calls, regardless of geographic locations of caller and receiver. The latest addition to the Skype phone family is the WSKP100 from SMC – a Wi-Fi Skype phone that allows users to connect to the Skype network via a wireless access Internet point and connection to a PC is optional.
Now, before you toy with the idea of trading in your mobile phone, we must let you in on a few limitations of such a handset. Firstly, it offers no GSM support because it's essentially a VoIP device that also supports Wi-Fi connection, and Wi-Fi as we know has very limited range. There's also no built-in browser in the WSKP100 as well, which means it's primarily meant for voice communication.
The ivory white and gray fascia along with its cellular phone design, won it an iF Product Design Award. However, that is not to say the product is perfect example of a SKYPE phone. First off, the handset is considerably thicker than competing models, which doesn't bode well for SMC where ergonomic is concerned. The keys are also too loosely assembled for our liking, as it hints lax quality control in engineering design and production. Response time from accessing the menu to inputs from the keypad is also slow and is most evident when waiting for alphanumerical entries to be reflected on the LCD screen.
To facilitate quick usage, users can simply sign up for a Skype account using the SMC phone. However, if one chooses to use the Skype phone to call landlines, SkypeOut credits would be purchased beforehand via the Skype website. The WSKP100 does not have the options to let users send text messages or initiate conference calls (conference call is possible if it is initiated by a PC Skype user).
Despite the drawbacks mentioned, the SMC Skype phone is still able to rise up to the challenge of being a SKYPE phone. You'll find that it has almost all the Skype functions of its PC counterpart and it is ready to be used right out of the box. The WSKP100 also allows users to search through Skype database for new contacts, voicemail, as well as to receive and perform outgoing calls via the SkypeIn/SkypeOut services. And with WEP support included, SMC also has security covered.
In our tests, voice quality was found to be acceptable, even surpassing quality of low rent mobile phones – though it must be said that there were several occasions of lags from losses of data packets. The battery life of the phone was acceptable as well, granted it doesn't need to have a long standby time as expected of mobile phones.
While new Wi-Fi Skype phones (including the SMC Skype Phone) do not have built-in web browser or authentication extensions, the new SMC WSKP100 Skype Phone is still a great addition to the Skype phone line-up. It's good looking, easy to use, and has good voice quality to ensure a smooth and enjoyable conversation over the Internet.