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This is a dual-purpose phone by Philips. It lets you make normal landline calls and Skype calls from the same phone. A bonus is that you don't need to turn your PC on to make Skype calls - you can just use the phone with the PC off.
This wasn't really an essential purchase. We had a normal landline phone and a headset for making Skype calls via the PC. But having just moved into a new house, we splurged and bought this, justifying it by saying that we would call our friends via Skype more and so save lots of money (although that hasn't really happened)!
--- Looks ---
One of the big plus points for this phone is its looks. It's made of black plastic and sits in a small black plastic stand. It fits in well with the current styles of TV's as they are also black plastic at the moment. There is a small black base station which gets connected to your internet connection. The phone is then wireless i.e. it doesn't need to be connected to the base station and can sit in a different room.
--- Software ---
This phone seems to be designed as a Skype phone that you can also use for landline calls, rather than the other way round - the emphasis in the software is definitely weighted towards using it for Skype. You need to have a Skype account to use this phone, although this is easy enough to sort out, and chances are that if you want a dual Skype-landline phone, you already have a Skype account.
The menu system is easy to navigate. It is similar to a mobile phone where the display gives you options and you press an appropriate button to select the option you want. You can add contacts to the phone and specify the type of call for each one i.e. do you want to call them using Skype or a landline. Then when you ring a contact, the phone will automatically use Skype or a landline according to the option you chose for that contact.
--- Operation ---
Calling with the phone is very easy. Similar to a mobile, you either dial the number you want or select a stored contact. There is a loudspeaker on the phone and this works well as the caller can be clearly heard.
The major problem with this phone is that I don't think the sound quality is great. Landline-landline calls are fine. The sounds quality is reasonable, although I wouldn't say it is super clear. I haven't had any complaints about quality from anyone on the other end, so I assume the microphone is good.
I am less happy about Skype-Skype calls. Calls to one Skype account in particular are really poor. The sound often cuts out for a split second or sounds crackly which makes conversations really tricky. I have tried moving the phone closer to the base station but this hasn't helped. I also tried calling via my PC and the clarity was much better, so I don't think it's a problem with the other person's equipment. However I have had Skype-Skype calls to other people where the clarity is fine, so maybe it is just this one account (although why it works via the PC, I'm not sure).
-- The Good ---
The great thing about this phone is that your PC doesn't need to be turned on. Skype calls used to require a degree of organisation - "I'll call you Tuesday night at 10pm" and so at 9:55pm you turned your PC on and sat waiting for the call or forgot entirely and found a voicemail waiting for you the next day. This phone makes using Skype much more flexible.
--- The Not So Good ---
The sound quality is definitely where the phone lets itself down however there are a couple of other areas which are worth considering before getting this phone.
1.For some reason it keeps ringing after the caller has hung up. I'm not talking a second here - it keeps ringing for up to 5 seconds which I can't understand. Normal phones manage to stop ringing immediately so why doesn't this one?
2.It's a phone not a PC so your Skype contacts can't message you and you can't do video calls (obvious I know, but it wasn't something I'd considered). If this is an important aspect of your Skype calls, then this is not the phone for you.
3.There are no volume up/down buttons. I use these all the time on my mobile and really miss them on this phone, particularly during the crackly Skype-Skype calls.
--- Overall ---
If the sound quality was as good as it's looks, I wouldn't hesitate in recommending this phone to anyone who doesn't need Skype messaging or video calls. The ability to switch between calling via a landline and via Skype without needing to turn the PC on is great. Even with the disappointing sound quality, I would still recommend this phone to anyone who wants to be able to make and receive Skype calls at any time, without needing their PC turned on.