SMC’s Skype phone is proof positive that consumer electronics design in 2006 is largely inspired by the iPod. Shiny, white plastic design? Check. Rounded edges? Check. Flat face? Check. Poor user interface that frequently doesn’t work right, and a screen that sometimes shuts off at random? Oh wait, Apple’s products don’t have that.
And that’s the crux of the problem with the WSKP100. When it works, it sounds great, is comfortable to use, and performs as promised. If you jostle it the wrong way, however, the screen turns off—making it difficult to dial, hang up, or even tell if the phone is on. Even worse, some of the soft keypad buttons inexplicably don’t work. In order to dial a 9, you sometimes have to mash the button three or four times. Boo, hiss.
On the brighter side, the SMC phone handily beat Netgear’s product by being 100 percent compatible with the access points we tested it with—including commercial APs designed for public use, as well as a variety of 802.11b, 802.11g, and Draft-N hardware you’ll find in people’s homes. The phone also worked fine with APs that use WPA2-PSK encryption.
Expect to get a full day’s use from this phone on a single charge—and recharge anywhere you want using a standard mini-USB connector.
+ 2.4GHZ: Decent sound quality; cheaper than the competition; worked with all routers.
- 900MHZ: Buttons work inconsistently and screen randomly shuts off.