3 Mobile Skypephone
- Skype integration, compact size and design, ease of use, decent phone features
- Build quality, battery life
At this asking price, the Skypephone is certainly great value for money. It's not perfect but the Skype integration is superb and easy to use and the rest of the phone works well.
Price$ 179.00 (AUD)
Boasting the ability to make free Skype-to-Skype calls and send Skype instant messages, the 3 Mobile Skypephone also doubles as a regular, 3G mobile phone. Among its other impressive features are the integration of Skype contacts into the regular phonebook and the ability to adjust Skype presence information.
The main benefit of the Skypephone over the regular Skype PC software is that you can make Skype calls anywhere, anytime – so long as you have reception and the person you are calling is online. Unlike SkypeOut on the PC version however, you can't use Skype to make calls to regular phones.
One annoying aspect of the Skypephone is the fact that the person you are calling must be online in order to make a call. This means you'll more than likely have to pre-arrange a simultaneous time where your intended caller is online. Regardless, if you are a regular Skype user and are desperate to keep in touch, then the offer of free Skype calls and instant messages (up to 4000 minutes of calls and 10,000 messages) is certainly an enticing deal. We found the quality passable; voice is certainly not as crisp or clear as a regular telephone call and does have a slight delay, but it's good enough to hold a conversation.
It's difficult to remember that the Skypephone also doubles as a regular 3G phone. Although it's not outstanding, it certainly has most features you'll need and the compact size is a real bonus. Unfortunately size is also a drawback as the thin, magnetic battery cover, squashed keypad and plastic build does tend to make the phone feel quite flimsy.
Ease of use is excellent though, and the simple but intuitive menu system is quick to grasp. The display is unfortunately a lower resolution than most new handsets on the market, but it doesn't really detract from the overall user experience. The interface speed is excellent and there is no keystroke delays when text messaging. We also really like the seamless Skype integration – the large Skype button in the centre allows you to quickly access the service and allows you to automatically sign in without having to enter your details.
The Skypephone also boasts a multi-format audio and video player with a 512MB microSD card included in the sales package, Bluetooth with the A2DP profile, a 2-megapixel camera with video recording, and the ability to use the phone as a USB broadband modem thanks to the standard micro USB port. Photos taken are average and the lack of flash means photography in low-light areas is impossible. For multimedia, the included micro USB headphones produce average sound.
Battery life is unfortunately a disappointment – just a little over three hours talk time is certainly nothing to boast about, particularly when you take into account Skype calls and instant messages.
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