Archive for the ‘Skype PC-Less’ Category


September 7, 2007

IPEVO SOLO Introduction

SOLO is the latest IPEVO release; and their first to move the Skype conversation out of the computer box. Connecting IPEVO SOLO to your router or cable modem, you will get a true stand-alone PC-Less Skype desktop phone. IPEVO SOLO is currently available in some Asian countries and will reach the US coast very soon.

What’s in the IPEVO SOLO Box?

Through AmperorDirect’s oversea department, we were able to get a hold of an IPEVO SOLO. The Asian version retail box includes:

  • IPEVO SOLO base unit
  • Handset
  • AC adapter
  • Graphical hardware installation guide
  • Quick setup guide
  • User manual
  • 6 Ft. network cable

Unique Features

IPEVO SOLO is a decent designed Skype desktop phone. With the embedded version Skype software provided by Skype, it can handle the Skype incoming and outgoing calls without the need of a computer, and can do most of the extra functions such as speed dial and call diverting that we see on other PC-Less phones such as Netgear SPH200D and GE 28310EE1. However, there are some unique features which make the IPEVO SOLO stand out from its competitors.

Eye-catching LCD Display

The first thing I notice on IPEVO SOLO is the beautiful large sized LCD display. You can see a comparison of the screen on IPEVO SOLO and Netgear SPH200D at the side picture: a picture is worth a thousand words.

The big display on IPEVO SOLO does make the phone operation easier. For example, it is the first PC-Less phone that can fully present a long Skype ID, such as the “Echo / Sound Test Service”, on one screen. (Previously, the PC-Less phone will set the highlighted Skype ID to scroll mode so that the user can view the full name.) With this, IPEVO SOLO enables users to find the correct contact name on the screen faster.

Magnetized Handset

Yes, this old feature that used to be seen on a high quality home phone has finally made onto a Skype phone. The IPEVO SOLO handset is magnetized and thus can stay firmly on the base unit (which is also magnetized).

Have one Network Connection Only? No Problem…

The reason I like products from IPEVO is this company always take extra steps to think through what potential users need. On the back of IPEVO SOLO’s base unit, there is a WAN port and a LAN port. An IPEVO user doesn’t need to buy an extra switch / router or sacrifice the network connection to the computer, if there is only one network connection available. Just plug in the network cable from the modem to SOLO’s WAN port and connect the computer to SOLO’s LAN port, both the SOLO and the computer can be online simultaneously.

In addition, IPEVO SOLO provides four different network connection modes: DHCP, static IP, PPPOE dynamic IP and PPPOE static IP mode. This should be able to cover all the possible real-use situations.

A Universal AC Adapter with Interchangeable Plug

The AC power adapter of IPEVO SOLO is rated at 100~240Vac. There is a push button on the adapter to pop out the plug. With the right plug, IPEVO SOLO has the potential to be used in domestic and oversea. However, at this moment, it is not clear if the final US version will include the European plugs.

IPEVO SOLO comes with a Pre-registered Skype Account

In the Asian version, each IPEVO SOLO comes with a unique pre-registered Skype account (w ID and password). This feature can be helpful if I want to send IPEVO SOLO as a gift to a person who has limited computer knowledge. Again, it is not clear if the pre-registered Skype account will be included in the final US version.

The Look?

The IPEVO SOLO we purchased comes with a black base unit and white handset. There is also a black handset version available. I have mixed feedback from my co-workers about the IPEVO SOLO design. But, those feedbacks can be very subjective basing on my co-workers’ taste. I think the best way for me to do is to provide pictures with IPEVO SOLO taking from different angles and on different table surfaces. You can make your own call.

Question Mark on the Audio Performance

The best way to describe my IPEVO SOLO sample voice quality is it can match the cell phone audio performance. I get distortion here and there in my testing but the overall quality is ok. It is a little disappointed especially after seeing what IPEVO can do on FREE1 – a USB phone. However, I also understand the issue might be on the embedded version Skype software provided by Skype. It comes with the 8KHz audio sampling rate. If IPEVO tries to upgrade it to 16KHz to match the sound quality on FREE1, the cost would go up.

The other possibility is we purchased a bad unit. The unit is from an auction site and I don’t know whether it is a pre-production unit or not. After reporting this issue to IPEVO US, I had a chance to talk to their tech support in California (he was on a SOLO too). The strange thing is that I can hear him ok on my SOLO without those distortions. I’m kind of making the conclusion that my unit is bad. I’ll report the audio quality again when I can get a hold of a US version IPEVO SOLO.

Wish List

As usual, I’ll provide my wish list for the next generation IPEVO SOLO.

  • Build a dualphone to handle both Skype and PSTN calls.
  • There is a USB port in the back of the SOLO. Can we connect a webcam to the port and do Skype Video using that big LCD screen? It will be a stand-alone PC-Less Video phone!!!
  • A way to connect to the wireless network. (maybe using that USB port?)

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GE Skype DECT Phone 28310EE1 Product Review – Part I

July 25, 2007



The GE Skype Dect phone 28310EE1 is the latest release in GE’s Skype phone product line. It has Skype – a peer to peer communication program — embedded to provide users a true PC-Less Skype experience. It also employs DECT technology to insure no interference with other home cordless technology such as WiFi network and 2.4GHz digital phone.

According to market sources, this phone uses the same design blueprint as RTX’s Skype Dect Phone 3088. Therefore, for the RTX Dualphone fans in US, your wait to upgrade to the PC-Less Skype phone solution could be over.

GE Skype DECT phone 28310EE1 boxThe GE Skype Dect phone 28310EE1 Package Includes:

  • Base unit
  • Handset
  • Handset cradle (with an universal AC adapter connected to the cradle)
  • 2 Nimh Battery
  • Cables (1 network, 1 PSTN)
  • 1 universal AC adapter for the Base unit
  • Belt clip
  • Instruction
  • Warranty card


“Straightforward” is the best word to describe the installation process of the GE Skype Dect Phone 28310EE1. Just follow the manual:GE Skype DECT phone 28310EE1 cables

  • Make connections (network cable, telephone cable, and AC adapters for both the base unit and the handset cradle)
  • Insert batteries to the handset and leave the handset on the cradle to charge the batteries for 16 consecutive hours
  • Now you are ready to sign in your Skype ID and start using the GE Skype Dect phone 28310EE1.

The Skype account sign-in process on the GE Skype Dect phone 28310EE1 is also a breeze. It looks to me like Skype has provided its PC-Less phone solution hardware developers a unified procedure. We have seen the similar steps / display in Netgear SPH200D and the Skype WiFi phones from SMC and Netgear. If you are a frequent Skype user, you should feel at home with the sign-in process.

Skype LogoOn the other hand, you don’t need to worry if you are the first time Skype user. The on-screen instruction for signing up a new Skype account is intuitional. As long as you know the method to switch between capital case / lower case / number input, which is very similar to it is in cell phone and regular digital phone, you will be fine.

The only thing I don’t like in the GE Skype Dect phone 28310EE1 setup is the long 16 Hours first time charging requirement for the handset battery. However, overall, it is not that bad since it is a one-time-only process. Besides, because the batteries used in the handset are two AAA Nimh batteries, a full 16 Hours charge is recommended to achieve the maximum long term battery life.

Call Quality

GE Skype DECT phone 28310EE1Here is where the GE Skype Dect phone 28310EE1 really shines. The call quality is excellent. I have tried the GE Skype Dect phone 28310EE1 at three different locations: my office (T1 line), my home (AT&T ADSL service) and my co-worker’s house (Comcast cable service). It’s easy to hear callers with no problem and the voice quality is reported as being normal to excellent by those whom I queried. There are small number of times when the voice gets choppy and distorted when I talked to people oversea. However, I suspect it is due to the temporary clogging Internet connection issue, not because of the GE Skype Dect phone 28310EE1.

One of the major improvements from RTX’s previous version Dualphone to this GE Skype Dect phone 28310EE1 is the offering of the hands-free speaker phone. During the conversation, the speaker phone can be activated by hitting the left selection button on the handset. Although the speaker phone quality is decent, I am not so impressed on the results comparing to the call conduct by the handset.

Handset Design

GE Skype DECT phone 28310EE1 handset designThe GE Skype Dect phone 28310EE1 handset looks like a regular 2.4GHz digital home phone. It has a color LCD screen to display both the Skype and PSTN call information. While conducting different tasks, users will regularly encounter functions that require one of two options. These functions will be shown on screen clearly and can be executed by the left and right on-screen selection buttons on the handset.

As a default, the handset will get into standby mode after being idle for 1 minute — which is a great way to save battery power. Pressing any key or lifting the cradle will ‘awaken’ the sleeping LCD screen. However, pressing any key to awaken the handsets presents a minor issue. When the handset is not on the cradle and is in standby mode there is no null function key designed on keypad. Any key a user hit to wake up the handset will perform a function. The user thus needs to hit several number of key (the number depends on which function is activated) to get back to the home screen.

Another thing I notice on the handset is that the keypads are designed with more resistance. Combining with the half sec built-in delay in the keypad confirmation sound (beeping sound after the keypads are hit), I get the feeling that GE engineers really want the users to key-in the phone numbers slowly with caution. It is not something good or bad. But, it’s something an inpatient user like me needs to get used to.

There are more… Click here to see the Part-II of the Review

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