Netgear SPH101 Skype Wi-Fi Phone
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- Call anyone else on Skype, anywhere in the world for free, no PC required
- Make and receive Skype phone calls where you have access to a wireless Internet signal
- Connect to any landline or mobile phone outside of the Skype network for pennies per minute
- Manage your contact list and display who is available to talk
- All calls are secure and encrypted with WEP and WPA-PSK Wi-Fi security
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Unlimited free wireless calls to Skype users, no PC required NETGEAR’s Skype WiFi Phone is the world’s first wireless Internet phone that can make free calls to other Skype users anywhere in the world, anytime you have WiFi access, without a PC. All of your contacts are shown right on the phone’s color display so you will know exactly who is on-line. You will also be more available for your friends to call, because you no longer have to be on your PC to be connected. You can even make calls to ordinary phones using Skype-Out for just pennies a minute and NO MONTHLY FEES. With the Skype WiFi Phone, NETGEAR makes true mobile wireless Internet telephony a reality. Now for the first time, a phone that lets you use any WiFi network to which you have access, to talk with anyone else who’s also on Skype, anywhere in the world, for absolutely free.
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Weaknesses: Gets Warm, Only works on Open Wireless Networks
I purchased this phone to use as a better option than using Skype on my computer. I had found that when using Skype on my Computer I would get disconnected often. Using the new Netgear phone though the connection does not drop and the quality of sound is pretty good. I did try the headphone jack thinking it would allow me to use a mic as well, but did not have much luck with that.
The USB charging is easy, fast and convenient. It would be nice if for the $200+ that a stoarge case for protection was included. The biggest drawback I found was that it can only be used via an open network or secured networks with the passkey. This really does not allow it to be used in too many places for convenience since most free public open networks require browser authentication. It would be grand if Netgear could come up with a way around this and offer a firmware upgrade for existing users. This would make the phone very usable at hotels, airports, coffee shops etc. Right now it is basically a phone to use around the house with ones own wireless network.
To top it off Skype has been advertising other similar phones (they look identical) for as low as $150 that is about $80 less than the Netgear phone and you also can get hours of free skype calling with them.
All of my networking gear is Netgear and I am very fond of their products, but this one has a way to go to make it truly useful.
Update (May 9, 2007): Having used this phone for more than 5 months, I do not think this product is usable as a regular phone. Battery life is very low, the phone keeps disconnecting from Skype service and firmware upgrade has not fixed the problem.
Skype service is OK but dealing with Skype business is like dealing with a Merchant from Hell! Their acceptance of Credit cards is very erratic, there is no phone number to call to resolve problem (ironic for a telephony merchant!)and they do not respond to emails!
But since then, technology has progressed. You could do the same trick nowadays with most smart phones and a skype app. Alternatively, you could use any of the similar but improved versions of this old thing that have come out in the intervening several years. There are now skype phones for pretty much every different type of consumer.
If you do choose to buy this thing for what I can only assume is an affinity for technological antiquities know two things: (1) Don't expect to get too much use out of it. The battery life was terrible. And (2) if you think you're buying the last one in existence, think again. Mine is still in a box somewhere in my basement, where it has resided since shortly after I bought it.
It I jostle the phone or simply set it on the table or pick it up abruptly or even tap it with my finger, the phone reboots and starts scanning for a network again. Obviously, if in the middle of the call everything is disconnected. After a lo-o-ong call with a tech in India who couldn't help and then demanding to talk to his supervisor who couldn't help much, I eventually got transferred back to the U.S. to talk to a second level tech. After describing my problem, he instantly said "It sounds like it is tap sensitive and is rebooting." Duh! After an hour on the phone the reps in India couldn't figure this out?
The U.S. rep offered to replace the phone but said, "Unfortunately, it is a new unit and we don't have any in inventory for replacements. Please call back later and we'll see if we have one then." Uh, you can't notify ME, the paying customer, when one becomes available? Do you understand the word BACKORDER? Reply from the tech: "Nope, we can't do that."
Hopefully, the problem I had is an isolated occurrence. I'll leave it to the reader to determine if (1.) this is the only reported incident like this and (2.) if my experience with Netgear customer service is an isolated incident of ludicrous customer service or not.
I know I am not buying anything else from Netgear! As a paying customer, I think I deserve better customer service, isolated incident or not.
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outgoing audio quality is lousy for most people I've talked to.Read more