|At a Glance|
|Product||SMC Skype Wi-Fi Phone (WSKP100)|
|Summary||Self-contained Skype phone that connects via 802.11b/g WLAN|
|Pros||• Doesn't need a computer running Skype
• Intuitive, attractive interface
• Good wireless range
|Cons||• No Skype text chat
• No browser-based authentication
• Short battery life
• Muffled sound quality
• Uncomfortable to use
Well folks, the long-awaited Skype Wi-Fi phones are finally rolling off the assembly lines and will soon make their way to your favorite retailer's shelves. While Netgear was the first to announce its SPH101 back at January's Consumer Electronics Show, it was SMC who got the first one into my hands.
Unfortunately, I have to say that aside from the novelty of being able to make and receive Skype voice calls without the computer running Skype that all other Skype phones have required until now, I was pretty underwhelmed by the product.
The phone is not unattractive, but won't win any design awards. It's a "candy-bar" design with dimensions approximiately equal to similarly-styled cell phones, which should allow it to comfortably slip into a pocket or purse. Figure 1 (taken from the PDF User's Guide - the only thing on the included CD) shows the location of all the controls and color display.
Figure 1: WSKP100 Controls
The narrow profile of the keys don't lend themselves easily to one-handed dialing, although they are backlit in case you need to Skype in the dark. The Navigation Key shown in Figure 1 is a 4-way joystick with push-to-select for moving around the various menus.
Hinged soft-plastic plugs cover the USB/Power Charge Port and Headset Jack on the bottom edge of the phone. The jack accepts any single-plug earphone / mic, including the matching white one that SMC includes.
SMC also throws in a USB cable with ends that mate to your computer's normal-sized USB port and the phone's mini-USB plug. The phone can charge from a regular USB port or the included thoughtfully-small charger. The charger accepts 100-240 VAC, 50/60 HZ but has a U.S.-style flat-blade plug that is not removable.
There are also what looks like two charger contacts straddling the headphone and USB connectors as well as two holes that look like docking-pin receptacles. These features are probably used on the Edge-Core WM4201 version of the phone to mate with its WA4101-CAP Wireless Cradle Access Point.
The only thing you won't find is any sort of protective case. But I'm sure third-party case makers will jump in at some point to fill the gap.