Review: ZyXEL v660 – mobile and VoIP hybrid phone

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zyxel_v660_phone.jpg The propaganda

VoIP may be great for keeping calling costs down – but it does mean you’re shackled to your PC by a headset, which doesn’t lend itself to long conversations.

ZyXEL is hoping to change all that with the V660 phone which combines a normal mobile with Wi-Fi and VoIP functionality. The idea is simple – when you’re in range of a hotspot you can make calls cheaply over the internet and when you’re out of coverage you can still be contactable via the standard GSM network.

The good

As the V660 runs Microsoft’s Windows Mobile 5.0 operating system you get all the goodies you’d expect from a high end smartphone.

In addition to your normal phone functionality there’s cut down versions of Internet Explorer for web surfing and Outlook for email on the go. With built in Wi-Fi, you can surf away without worrying about high data costs.

Wi-Fi also means you can use it with a VoIP service such as Sipgate which offers calls much more cheaply than normal mobile rates. Like most VoIP services, it depends on the speed of your internet connection and the sound does drop out at times, but it’s still usable.

The bad

The V660 doesn’t currently support Skype – perhaps the most popular VoIP service. Support is planned for later in the year, but there’s no confirmed date at present.

Setting up the VoIP service is also fairly fiddly and involves entering seemingly random text into lots of different boxes to get it to work – although you only have to do it once, thankfully.

Battery life also wasn’t brilliant – after just a day’s moderate use with both GSM and Wi-Fi turned on it was down to half full so you’ll need to keep it topped up regularly.

Geek Sheet

Connectivity: 850/900/1800/1900MHz GSM, Wi-Fi, USB

Internal memory: 64MB

Display: 1.9”, 176×220 pixels

Camera: 1.3 megapixel

POP3 email client

Dimensions: 44x107x15 mm

Overview

There’s no confirmed price, but ZyXEL estimates it will sell for around £250 without contract which is fairly pricey considering most phones are given away free with a contract.

Design-wise it’s fairly basic to look at, although it’s relatively simple to use – especially if you know your way around Windows Mobile.

The VoIP functionality is a welcome addition, although lack of Skype support is disappointing and setting it up other services is quite complex and could be made easier.

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Related sites: ZyXEL

Will Head