Archive for the ‘Skype Gadget’ Category

IPEVO TRIO Product Review

August 8, 2007

IPEVO TRIO Introduction:

As promoted by IPEVO, TRIO is truly designed with versatility in mind. TRIO has an acceptable speaker phone quality and it can be a cost effective Skype conference phone solution.

With a single button to easily switch between handset and hands-free mode, a person can pick up the IPEVO TRIO and use it as a Skype USB phone without difficulties. Since the TRIO has a smallish footprint, travelers can put the IPEVO device into the carrying pouch (included in the retail package) and bring it on the road.

IPEVO TRIO standingPackage Includes:

  • IPEVO TRIO handset
  • USB extension cable
  • Carrying pouch
  • Installation CD
  • Quick installation Guide

The Look:

I was impressed by the look of IPEVO TRIO. The outline design is elegant. The color fits into any office environment without any problem. The paint on the case is strong enough to pass my fingernail scratch test. The fact that IPEVO TRIO can either be laid down on the table to provide easy access in a multi-speakers situation or be stood up in front of a single user to accomplish best voice quality shows that IPEVO has thought through all the real-world scenarios.

IPEVO TRIO hadset handsfree switch Voice Quality:

IPEVO TRIO has two modes to conduct Skype calls: handset mode and hands-free mode. There is an easily reachable button at the side of the phone to toggle between modes. In handset mode, the voice quality is very good. Although I was surprised to see the voice sampling rate in the IPEVO TRIO specification is only 8KHz and does not fully comply to Skype’s highest 16KHz standard; the result is still ok. I am not sure if it is a typo or not because I can not tell the sound quality difference between using IPEVO TRIO and a USB phone which claims to have 16KHz sampling rate.

IPEVO TRIO gap at the bottom to put the cable inIn hands-free mode (speaker), IPEVO TRIO performs better than other desktop Skype phones, such as Netgear SPH200D and GE 28310EE1, in the same mode. It is a true conference phone solution.

However, the microphone sensitivity of the IPEVO TRIO is not up to par to the Polycom Communicator, a direct competitor. This means a person needs to speak closer to the microphone in order to attain better performance. Considering the price different between Polycom Communicator (MSRP: $129) and IPEVO TRIO (MSRP: $79), the trade-off is acceptable, and expected.

IPEVO TRIO function keysFunctions:

The most-talked-about feature of IPEVO TRIO is its recording function. It is done with software, FreeRec which is included in the package and installed along with the driver.

During a call, a user can click on the red circle recording button on the phone to save the conversation. The microphone volume level on TRIO can be set to auto-adjust by FreeRec. There is no setup in the software for recording time limit (I guess the HDD capacity is the true limit). But, FreeRec allows users to reduce the voice sampling rate which can significantly lower the saved file size.

IPEVO TRIO’s recording has a time delay between pushing the red button and the actual starting of the recording session. The computer needs several seconds to load FreeRec software into the system. Therefore, it is recommended to manually run the FreeRec software from the TRIO icon at the Windows tool bar before the call – if you expect the need to record the conversation

Most other IPEVO TRIO’s functions, such as volume up and down, call, hang-up and microphone muting, can be activated through buttons on the phone. Those buttons are marked clearly with symbols and are simple / obvious to use. There is also a green “S” button on the phone which allows users to toggle between different Skype tabs, such as “Contacts”, “Call Phones” and “History”, on the computer screen.

Skype IconWish List:

The IPEVO TRIO has nearly all the features I would look for in a conference phone. However, there is one thing I would like to see on the next generation IPEVO TRIO: a button on the phone to select different Skype contacts on the computer screen. If this button is available, I don’t need to go back to my computer keyboard and mouse to pick the right Skype contact to call. It will be very convenient if we can do all the necessary steps to conduct Skype calls through the phone.


IPEVO TRIO can perform several different Skype tasks in one unit, while still providing respectable voice quality. If you are a SOHO or are running a small business with a mid-level budget, the IPEVO TRIO is the right Skype conference call solution for you.

By the way, it’s a pleasant experience to test IPEVO TRIO. When I see the USB extension cable and the carrying pouch in the package, and the English manual written in real English, I know the IPEVO design team has really taken the end users’ need into consideration. As a product qualifying engineer who has checked out tons of products from the Far East, I feel very good in finally seeing an Asian vendor providing a quality product. Good job, IPEVO.

PS. My co-worker said that I look like a detective recording messages on a tape recorder in an old Hollywood movie when I’m using TRIO’s recording function. Do I?

More Reviews on IPEVO products


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How far a Man will go to Promote the Skype Gadget – Verball Review

December 8, 2006

OK. Amperor, I know this review is long. But, please bear with me and watch it to the last part. I have done enough to embarass myself. So, where is my raise?

BTW, the software, Robo Skyper, I mentioned in the clip, can be found at:

Jan has a pretty detailed explaination about how to install this software on your computer.


Here is the review clip:



Hello everybody

This is Howard Chang from Today, I want to provide my review on this cool Skype gadget, the Verball. If you follow the news in the Skype community, you must have heared the good words about this cute little gadget, at Skype Journal or Yahoo Tech. After the log wait, is now finally available here in US for the 2006 holiday season.

Basic Functions

Before getting into the application of the Verball, let me first show you the basic functions of it. The Verball is an external speaker and microphone combo unit. It uses USB interface to communicate with PC. There is also a 3.5mm audio jack on the back of the Verball. Just in case you don’t want to broadcast your private conversation into the air, you can plug your headsets into the audio jack, enjoy your privacy, and still have fun with the Verball.

ID Design

After going through the basic functions of the verball, let’s look at its ID design. In my opinion, the thing makes the Verball stand out from the already over-crowed PC speaker market is its cute outfit. There are five different cute Verballs you can choose from. This one is called Mr. V. This is the baby. You can go to to see the other three, which are the slick Boss, Britney, and Striker. There are stories behind each Verball. So, don’t forget to check them out while you are at



Three different movements

Other than the cute, unique outfits, there are three build-in actions in Verballs: hand-waving, ear-flashing, and mouth-flopping. The first two motions can be activated if there is an incoming call, which I’m going to show you later. You can see the mouth flops if the volume of the voice (or music) coming out from the Verball exceeds a certain level.

Skype Incoming Calls

Now that you have a pretty good understanding about what a Verball is and what it can do, I want to put it in actual use so that you can have some feeling if it is the gift you want to put under the Christmas tree. First, let me Skype my laptop through the SMC PC-less WiFi phone. You can hear that, as an external speaker, the Verball plays fairly good sound. You should also be able see the hands waving and the ears flashing. It’s cute, isn’t it?

Internet Chat Companion

Second, let me show you why a Verball can be a very good companion when doing Internet chat. Most people’s average Internet chat experience is typing and waiting for a response from the screen. If the imagination hat is not on, it can be a very mono visual experience. However, I have a Skype third-party application, called Robo Skyper. It can translate any received Skype chat message into voice, and announce it through the speaker, which, in my case, is the Verball. Let me show you how it works. So now, I can have a cute little guy interact with me, and talk to me. It is kind of weird because the Verball will always use its ridiculous big, but innocent eyes staring at me. and using its innocent big eyes to stair at me during the chat. But, it is fun.

For Your Loved Ones

Seriously, if your loves ones (significant other, spouse, or kids) are not in the same area and you rely on the Internet chat to keep in touch with them, I strongly recommend you to get a Verball for them. The baby verball can be the best choice because its fury outfit can provide an extra warm feeling.

Sing a Song to Your Loved Ones

Speaking about the far-away loved ones, here is another thing you can do to them with the Verball. You can sing a song to them when they are down. It can be a comforting song, a ove song, or even a lullaby. Before I give you an example on how adorable a singing Verball can be, I want to show you an important trick. Because Verball uses the sound volume to determine if it needs to flop the mouth, you need to fine-tune the speaker volume level to get a right mouth movement. If the speaker volume is set too high, you can expect to see the mouth stays in the open position during the whole sentence. On the other hand, if it is too low, the mouth won’t move. Furthermore, using Skype 3.0 version can make the fine-tuning job easier. Skype 3.0 allows users to change the volume level during the chat, on the Skype screen.

In conclusion, the Verball is a great holiday gift, if you have loved ones being far away from you.

Have Fun

OK, my review will be ended by having my Verball singing Aero Smith’s “I don’t wanna miss a thing”. It’s a pre-recorded clip. Remember, the voice is from an anonymous singer. It is not from me…

Click Here to See More Video Review

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