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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|Item Dimensions||4.33 x 1.81 x 0.83 in||7 x 5 x 2 in||9 x 7.8 x 4.4 in||7.09 x 7.48 x 5.91 in||8.9 x 3 x 8.3 in|
|Item Weight||4 ounces||0.6 lb||0.95 lb||1.98 lbs||1.2 lbs|
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!
1) it does work for calling -- skype-skype, skype-in, and skype-out -- with good sound quality
2) has a (just ok) speakerphone
3) reasonably portable -- slightly bigger than most "candybar" cell phones
4) contacts get imported automatically, and they're easy to navigate
1) battery doesn't last a full day on standby
2) the screen sometimes stays on until you turn the phone off (doesn't help con #1)
3) even when con #2 doesn't happen, the device can get really hot against the ear
4) doesn't work with the 2 standard earpieces i've tried
5) doesn't offer conference call abilities
6) doesn't offer any texting abilities, even skype's IMs, never mind SMS
7) battery goes dead really fast when you wander off-network or to patchy public networks
certainly not a cell phone replacement, and not supposed to be.
not bad if you want something, say, for use at home and work.
if it's just for home use, probably better off with something else, or with vonage.
As other reviewers have noted, this phone has woefully inadequate battery life and lacks a web browser, so it can't authenticate to many public WiFi networks that require browser-based authentication.
Sound quality is mediocre and there are only a few ringtones (all obnoxious).
The font loaded in the phone is a mainland Chinese (GB) font and not a full Unicode font; their GUI vendor is a company in Beijing. This is important when you have contacts in foreign countries whose names use non-alphabetic characters. Names in English and Chinese are fine. Names in Japanese have the Chinese variant substituted. Names in Cyrillic (Russian, Ukrainian, Bulgarian) are displayed in double-width. Names in Korean are not displayed at all.
The font problem may not be an issue for some people, but is rather important for other people. The SPH101 is better than the Linksys CIT200 (which barely supports any foreign names at all), but it should still do better.
The single worst problem is failure in hiss suppression in calls to some locations. It it quite reproducable in calls to Alaska, Canada, and Korea, and occurs whenever the other party is not speaking. This problem does NOT occur with Skype on the PC or Mac.
Hiss suppression is a basic part of telephony. Hiss is normal on some lines, and the equipment has to recognize it and mute it, much like the way the squelch works on a two-way radio. As noted above, it works with Skype on the PC and Mac (you can just barely hear the hiss in calls to the affected areas) but on the SPH101 it is so LOUD that it hurts your ears. It's also very distracting to talk over a loud hiss.
If you call areas that are affected by the hiss suppression problem, you will find the SPH101 to be unusable.
When you contact Netgear technical support, you get directed to an outsource center in India where they don't have a clue as to what you are talking about. It takes two weeks or longer for a problem to escalate to someone who actually knows something.
Most recent customer reviews
outgoing audio quality is lousy for most people I've talked to.Read more