In the words of TRENDnet’s website "Networking is the future!" (No, I didn’t add that exclamation mark). They’re all about ’embracing’ and ‘bridging gaps’ apparently. And with such passion, it’s no surprise they’ve got a Skype phone kit in their product range.
The ClearSky Bluetooth VoiP phone enables you to disconnect the handset from the USB cable it uses for charging and wander around to your hearts content. The press release claims you should be able to take calls in your car, but with a range of 100m you’d have to be sitting in your driveway… or your neighbor’s driveway at a stretch. Still, you can safely wander around a distinctly average sized house without losing any of the sound quality.
The Bluetooth capability moves Skype forward another leap, freeing the caller from the computer, and making it more feasible as a main family phone. This particular dongle is also compatible with most other Bluetooth devices, such as printers, PDAs and cameras, so will be a useful addition to any computer.
It’s been criticised by some as being difficult to set-up, but in this case, worked perfectly from the word go. There was instant recognition of both the Bluetooth dongle and the handset by my computer, which historically, has trouble recognising a new mouse. Impressive stuff.
It comes fully integrated with the Skype features, including Conference Call and Credit Status accessible from the handset. It shows you your contacts, and their current status, as well as the usual, like call histories. It uses a lithium battery, providing 6 hours talk-time and 60 hours on standby.
However, the downside is whilst it’s excellent at the Skype bit, it’s not so good for your bog-standard, non-VoiP phone calls. Many DECT/Skype phones have a range of 300 metres, and unlike this phone, can be used as a normal handset if the computer is switched off – a major bonus.
It costs £78.99 here so you’ll be paying a bit of a premium for the Bluetooth, but it is the only one on the market with a decent range (see the Skyphone-2500). If you’ve got a number of Bluetooth enabled pieces of kit, AND use Skype a lot, AND tend to keep your computer on, go for it.