SMC WiFi Skype Phone – Preview Part I

A product with a bright future… Currently, it is a good phone for travelers who know where to find a Wi-Fi HotSpot that does not require a web browser in order to connect to the network.

Click here to see the phone spec on AmperorDirect.com

Product Preview

The Wi-Fi stand-alone phone is probably the most anticipated product within the Skype community. Skypers are hoping the PC-less and Wi-Fi functions will free them from their computers and finally reach the Skype promised land: “…talk to anyone, ANYWHERE, for free.”

Through our oversea department, we were able to get our hands on a non-beta, Asia release version of the SMC Skype Wi-Fi Phone. As written in our posting at here, all four Wi-Fi phones that have been announced are using designs by Accton, therefore our peview of this phone should be fairly accurate in showing what you will see in the final US Skype Wi-Fi phone versions.

Items included in the box:

• One Skype Wi-Fi Phone (VM1185T)
• One Lithium-Ion Battery
• One White Headset
• One White Mini USB Cable
• One AC Power Charger (with Mini USB Output Tip)
• One Quick Installation Guide
• One User Guide CD

Installation – A True PC-less Experience:

With the software already being pre-installed, use of the phone is a breeze. The phone will automatically detect any available Wi-Fi networks, ask for the encryption key for the selected one – if necessary, connect to the selected network, and then prompt you for your Skype account information. After signing in, the phone will automatically grab your Skype contacts through the Wi-Fi network from Skype, then be ready for you to make a Skype call. The whole process is completed quickly, and without having to connect the phone to a computer at any time.

Control Interface:

The 1.5” x 1.25” LCD color display is at a comfortable light setting by default for indoor usage, but while still readable (at the highest light level), is not very clear while under the hot Houston sun. The display also has a privacy feature in that it is best seen and read from while looking directly at it, but if you are someone trying to read the list from the side, you would not be able to see much on the screen.

The buttons on the keypad are well designed, in that the navigation stick can be used in 4-directions when you move it around, and pressing it straight in will act as a confirm. This makes the navigation stick a very helpful tool for navigating around the different functions. The alpha-numeric buttons are built-in with enough feedback force and a loud touch tone for you to know when a button has been pressed. Except for the smaller button size than a normal phone, we had no difficulties in using them.

Abundant Features:

Surprisingly, the phone comes with loads more features than we would expect to see from a first-generation Skype Wi-Fi phone. Some examples of what it can do includes:
• Displaying the Skype contact list with online/offline status.
• Saving the network encryption keys and Skype account ID and password for future use.
• Having call blocking and call forwarding features.
• Can store Skype voicemail, receive SkypeIn and make SkypeOut calls.
• Has three built-in ring-tones, and can be in silent or vibrate mode.
• Can also change network proxy settings and set up ports for Skype.

Voice Quality:

Before using for the first time, we highly recommend that the first thing done is to do a software update on the phone. This can be performed from Menu > Settings > General > Software Updates. The old software that comes with the phone will create a 1 sec delay in voice transmissions, while the latest version (V 1.0.0.0) will greatly reduce the delay.

The communication quality is acceptable, while occasionally we can hear short periods of voice distortion or silence – especially when the call is first connected. However, this is not much different than what sometimes happens with cell calls, too. The distortion period is short enough that you sometimes notice it, but not enough for you to loose track of the conversation.

Known Issues:

Need a web browser:

First we used the phone in our office where we were able to connect to our Wi-Fi network with our normal connection settings provided by our network administrator. Then, we took the phone on the road to try out in different Wi-Fi HotSpots. This is where we found our first problem for the phone: most HotSpot providers, such as T-Mobile and AT&T, need to initiate an account ID and password check through a web browser before the network will allow full connectivity. Because of the lack of a built-in web browser, there is currently no way to connect the phone to those types of HotSpots.

Need to fine-tune the mode transfer timing:

Our next problem came in the form of automatic volume control. SMC needs to fine-tune the timing when transferring the phone from “ringing” mode into the “speaking” mode. For example, when the phone rings for an incoming call, the volume is automatically turned up very high to ensure that you can hear it from across the room, etc. After you pick up the call, the phone is supposed to lower the volume to a non-ear-bleeding level for your conversation, but doesn’t seem to manage it until after the first couple of words have been exchanged. When we called Skype echo123 testing center to try things out for the first time, the first incoming word (“Hello”) after the call was picked up was actually played at the same level as the ring-tone. The “Hello” was so loud that it hurt my ear!

Conclusion for today:

As a first-generation Wi-Fi phone, the sample we received exceeded our expectations. It is packed with loads of features, and provides acceptable sound quality. Furthermore, it deserves the PC-less title without a doubt. If the released US version can include a built-in web browser for paid Wi-Fi network connections, and can solve the volume timing issue we ran into, then it can finally free Skypers like us, from our computer.

Keep in touch. We’re going to test the battery capacity next and publish more thoughts about this phone as we continue to use it.

(Product ID: 10003/1.0.0.0/SMC. Software Version: V1.0.0.0. Software Date: 2006/06/21. Hardware version: R03)

Click to see the SMC Skype Wi-Fi phone preview – part II – Battery life test

Click to see the SMC Skype Wi-Fi phone preview – part III – Wish list

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23 Responses to “SMC WiFi Skype Phone – Preview Part I”

  1. thomas michale Says:

    where can i find it in UK and is there any way i can transfer my contacts from zyb.com in it.

  2. amperordirect Says:

    Basically, it is a Skype phone. You need to use SkypeOut to reach people on landline or cell phone. If you can import contacts from zyb.com to your Skype contact list in your computer, the SMC Skype Wi-Fi phone can grab the contacts from your computer.

    We got our sample through our far east department. If you really want to get a hold of one, now, we can buy one for you. Please send me an email(howard_chang@amperor.com) if you are interested in it. I can ask our UK office to do the follow up service.

  3. gautam chhabra Says:

    certainly a good review. Keep up the good work

  4. amperordirect Says:

    Thanks, Qautam. I’ll re-check everything when I receive the final released version.

  5. Keno Says:

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  6. Sanda Says:

    I just bought one.
    I am having the worst time to get it to work properly.
    I now figured out the how to dial out but when I get incoming calls my computer takes over and I actually do not get to answer through the phone. NIGHTMARE!

  7. Nicolas Crismer Says:

    Hi,

  8. Nicolas Crismer Says:

    Hi,
    You should read the manual !
    It says that you cannot have your PC + SMC togheter on line.
    Switch on off or choose another name like my_name_mobile for the smc.
    kr,
    Nicolas.

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  10. Britney Says:

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  12. sveta Says:

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  13. sveta Says:

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  15. Helga Says:

    daite na pivo

  16. Bill Says:

    Interesting web page is, i\’ll see you later one more timen

  17. Frank Lin Says:

    Nice concept, hope to see more new products coming.

  18. Algomdede Says:

    Emm.. I want you to respond well to my slimy generation I have a nice joke for you people! :) What farm animal is a cannibal? A Cow, it eats it’s fodder!

  19. apmari Says:

    Hi there,
    i’m trying to find a couple of those VM1185T.
    I can’t find n one seller.
    Some suggestion?
    Regards,
    Paolo.

  20. rick savage Says:

    I got the belkin wifi phone, I have had no problems with it, I get great service at school/home. It automatically connects when I get in my wireless range and everyone I call says they cant even tell the difference between a cell phone call, there is a few Milli second delay after you press a button or such, but people remember they are still working on the firmware for the phone and giving you the updates to continuously make it better. This is just the start of many many many Voip cell phones and I am sure they are going to get better!

  21. Silvanus Dennis Says:

    The long, dull, drab years of middle-aged successfulness or middle-aged adversity are capital campaigning windward for the devil.

  22. Chris Cooper Says:

    I lost my driver software for my skype phone. When I plug my phone into the computor it asks for the driveware software. Is it posable to download this off the internet. Would like to use my skype cell phone to it’s full potential.

  23. SMC SKYPE PHONE REVIEW | Quality Products Blog Says:

    [...] smc skype phone review amperordirect.wordpress.com [...]

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