I originally started looking for a phone that can be used over the internet of more specifically VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) because my girlfriend and I were going to different universities. I had read a lot of news and other articles about how VOIP was the way to go, where rates to landlines are the cheapest of most providers and calls to other VOIP users are free. I then narrowed down my search to a phone which will work with Skype over the internet, as I think Skype is one of the easier to use and generally better VOIP services. This Freecom phone is entirely compatible with Skype, because it's "Skype Certified". My girlfriend and I planned to get two of these phones and would call each other on them, as we could both use the internet and as we would be calling another Skype user it would be free, which is always good for a university student.
We both decided to look around and research what phones would be best for us to use, there was a number of features / criteria that we needed. These were; the phone had to be relatively small, lightweight, be a conventional phone shape, easily connected and disconnected, have good sound quality, and is able to work with Skype. We decided that we would purchase two Freecom Internet Phones from Amazon as that was the cheapest place. An added bonus was that this phone comes with a gift card inside which gives you 30 free minutes on Skype to a landline or anywhere in the world. This phone met all our criteria, is was the right size so it could be held comfortably and had the speaker next to your ear and the microphone near to your mouth (I was surprised how many of the "stylish" phones are the wrong size for this, meaning you can't hear the other person and they can't hear you very well). The phone was light and is easily connected and disconnected, as it has a USB connection which is one of the few connections on a PC which can be connected and disconnected whilst the computer is on, which is an advantage. The sound quality of the phone is very good, but it does vary on the speed of your internet connection, as at home I have a slow internet connection, but on University campus where it's fast the quality is adjusted. The phone is capable of producing a call quality similar to that of a conventional analogue phone, which is impressive for such a cheap device, it also has many features to help it achieve a good sound quality such as echo cancellation technology and other features. The phones compatibility with Skype is excellent, it can interact with Skype without having to touch the computer and is isolated from the computer too, for example when you adjust the volume on the phone it only modifies the phones internal speaker, not your PC's overall volume e.g. PC speakers. This is good because a lot of the other internet phones modify settings on your PC that can take a while to get back properly e.g. the volume is turned up loud on a different category i.e. in the volume control window where it has the individual settings for WAV, Midi, Internal, Digital Out etc. Another useful feature is that of the shortcut keys on the phone, which enable you to view your Skype contact list and select it all from the phone. The phone also comes in two colours, black or white and comes with its own stand so it can be propped up nicely on your desk.
Installing the software for the phone also isn't a problem as it comes on a CD which you just load into the computer and then it guides you through the setup. The setup is short and basically installs an application that starts up when you start windows which enables the phone to communicate with Skype. The program itself doesn't use much space or performance of your computer e.g. RAM (Memory) or CPU (processor). The phone also comes with a 2 years manufacturer warranty with free unlimited helpdesk support. The phone also has 10 selectable ring tones, speed dial, and a LED light indicator, programmable keys, scroll buttons, volume control and many other features. It's not like this phone is designed solely for functionality as it is also a good design, this has been validated by the phone winning the Reddot and the iF Design Awards in 2006. The phone only weighs 65 grams, and because of its slim 151 x 38 x 25 mm dimensions, it's a mobile lightweight, which is perfect for laptop users.
To conclude my review, this internet phone is;
Small and lightweight
Good sound quality
Compatible with Skype
Good value for money
Has 30 minutes of SkypeOut credit
2 Years Warranty
Good connection - USB
Easy to use because of shortcut keys
Comes with a stand and looks pleasant
In Short this phone is a great choice for an internet phone, especially when paired with Skype as it works very well. The phones reliability is good as it hasn't gone wrong yet and my girlfriend and I have been using it for about 6 months now. My only suggestion would be that it might be an idea to get a Skype Pro subscription, as this means for about £2 a month you get unlimited calls to any number beginning with 01 or 02, however there is a connection fee of 3p for each call. You also get large discounts on there other services, for example you can have a phone number from them which is completely independent form your house and mobile phones for around £20, so you can travel around and login from any internet connection and have the same phone number. Currently I think the phone is on Amazon for about £24 which is a good bargain compared to its competitors which start around £30 and stop at about £65, and with free delivery on it, its even more appealing. I would recommend this phone to anyone who wants to save money on their current phone bills and wants to take advantage of VOIP.
Thanks for reading my review.