IPEVO Wi-Fi Phone for Skype Review

Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Randy Savicky
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IPEVO Wi-Fi Phone for Skype Review

ipevo-wi-fi-phone-skype2.jpg The IPEVO Wi-Fi Phone for Skype launched just last month and IPEVO sent me a review unit to check out, which I've been testing for a few weeks.

Installation
Installing the IPEVO Wi-Fi Phone was a snap. Although it only has a numeric keypad for entering in alphanumeric characters for entering in the WEP/WPA/WPA2 key. As you hit a key, it shows you the current key where your cursor is located, but it also shows you a horizontal list of all the characters that key can produce and highlights the current key. This is useful not only to confirm what keys it can produce, but if overshoot the key you want, you can easily see how far away you are to scrolling back around and reproducing that key. Definitely made entering the Wi-Fi key much easier and faster.

After entering in TMC's Wi-Fi key I proceeded to add my Skype name and password. Similarly, it showed the key as it was being pressed, as well as the horizontal list of keys, making it very easy to enter in my Skype credentials. I should mention that you can add multiple WiFi networks, so you can have a Home profile, Work profile, etc. So when you walk into a WiFi area you have configured it will automatically connect.

The phone then signed into Skype and I saw my list of contacts. From the Contacts screen you can click the center green button or the Options button to access a submenu. From this submenu you can then Call the contact, Send Voicemail (if you paid for this service), View Profile, or go into Advanced where you can rename, remove, block/unblock, or add a contact. If you have a ton of contacts, no worries - holding the up or down key will cause it to autoscroll and it will wrap around to the top/bottom depending on which direction you were scrolling. Of course, it's worth noting you don't have to go into the submenu to initiate a call. You can simply highlight the contact and press the green phone icon to initiate a one-click dial.

The IPEVO Skype phone supports both Ad hoc and access point mode for connecting to a wireless network. For security it supports WEP, WPA Personal, and WPA2 Personal. It also supports static IP as well as DHCP (default).

Let's now do a video demo of the IPEVO Skype WiFi phone which shows the phone in action making a SkypeOut call to a direct dial number which terminates to my Aastra VoIP desk phone.

I like that the phone can display Skype credit, access SkypeIn settings, and Skype voicemail. It also lists the history by all calls, missed calls, incoming calls, outgoing calls. Access to voicemails and contact requests is also available.

It took 71 seconds from off till fully authenticated on the WiFi network and can dial a Skype contact. While other Skype WiFi phones also take over a minute to fully boot-up, I'd like to see all Skype WiFi phones speed up the boot process. I should add that there doesn't appear to be a speakerphone available, even though the back of the phone sports a speaker, which apparently is only used for the phone's ringtones.

I was pretty impressed with how lightweight the phone was and the call quality was excellent. I called some people and they said the call quality was just as good as a landline if not better. My only complaint about the phone is the lack of instant message (IM) support, but I haven't seen other Skype phones support IM either. While typing an IM using just numeric keys (0-9, *, #) is difficult, the phone should at least be able to receive IM messages. But even that isn't possible. Maybe there is a technical reason while IM wasn't included or maybe was just a design decision. Still, I'd like to see IM on Skype WiFi phones.

Ratings Score
Installation
Documentation
Features
Usability
Performance
Overall
The standalone Skype phone features a backlit keyboard, 1.8" LCD screen, and rechargeable battery. The 1.8" screen supports 128x160 resolution with 65k colors. The phone supports G711 and G729AB codes with a voice sampling rate of 8KHz.

It supports 802.11b/g WiFi standards along with WEP, and WPA/WPA2-PSK encryption protocols. Talking time is approximately 4hr & standby time is 30hr via its Li-ion 900mAh battery. I tested the standby time, and it was indeed about 30hr.

The IPEVO Wi-Fi Phone for Skype is now available at the MSRP of $129.99 at http://store.ipevo.com/.

Update: It's also available on Amazon here.


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