Now this is nice. 3 launched their new Skypephone yesterday, and wow – I’m impressed. It’s sitting right here in front of me, and this thing looks a lot nicer than the old Skypephone version 1. It’s got lots of brushed aluminium and black plastic, and nice clicky buttons, as well as a very small form factor – it’s 103 x 45 x 14mm.
Also in the upgrade are the camera – up to 3.2-megapixels, and there’s applications for Skype (obviously) but also Facebook and Windows Live Messenger. Using the Skype app you can call people over the HSDPA connection, or send chat messages. You can even plug it into your laptop via USB where it’ll act as a dongle and give you internet access on the move (where there’s 3 network coverage, anyway)
But will this save you a bucket of cash, or will the data charges kill you? I’m pleased to say that this will likely save you that aforementioned bucket. The phone itself costs £69, but unlimited data on a pay-as-you-go deal will just cost you £5 a month. Alternatively, you can get the phone free on any of 3s Mix & Match tariffs and pay a fiver a month for 1GB of data.
Personally speaking, I’m strongly considering picking this up on Pay-as-you-go for £70. We use Skype a lot at Tech Digest, so it’ll be useful for that, but I’ll be using it mostly just as a wireless dongle. I can also use it as a secondary phone for emergencies. I’ll be testing a review model out extensively first, and will let you know what battery life and HSDPA coverage is like across London. Look out for a video review soon.
Update: As Krikor points out in the comments, there’s an application that you can download onto many phones that does a bunch of the stuff above for free. It’s called Fring. You won’t get the wireless dongle functionality, but on the other hand it is free! Thanks Krikor.
By Duncan Geere | August 19th, 2008