Posts Tagged ‘review’

IPEVO Skype Wifi Phone SO-20 Review

March 16, 2009

Here is my review for the latest and the greatest Skype WiFi phone: IPEVO SO-20.

Here is the script.

Hello. This is Howard Chang from AmperorDirect. Today, I want to present the latest Skype Wifi phone from IPEVO.

Some Good Words about IPEVO

Before I start reviewing the phone, let me say something good about IPEVO. While big name players, such as GE and Philips, are retreating from the Skype accessory market, IPEVO is the only one I know who still actively rolls out new products to fill the void. They should be recognized by their good will and the effort to serve the industry. Now, if they can come up with a new Dect PC-Less Cordless phone or a PC-Less USB-to-RJ11 Skype phone adapter, it would be even better.

Yes, the Package Comes with the Charging Cradle

OK, let’s look at the phone. This is the retail package. At the first glimpse, I was confused by the picture on the cover. Shouldn’t the phone come with a charging cradle as IPEVO advertised? Yes, it surely does. On the back of the package, it mentions “charge cradle included”. If I were the package designer, I would put the charging cradle picture on the cover, too, because it is a very good selling point. But, I can fully understand they want to focus on presenting the phone.

What’s Included in the Box

In the box, we have the manual, the phone, the battery, the charging cradle and the AC adapter. Compared to the accessory list of our previous favorite: SMC wifi phone, it has an extra charging cradle included, but doesn’t come with the headset. If the IPEVO SO-20 has the similar functions, features and performance, a price point in the $140 range is reasonable. Let me assemble the phone and you can take a better look at the phone.

Good Design

OK, here it is: the IPEVO Skype wifi phone sitting on the charging cradle. I like the look of the design. It is a little smaller than its competitor, but carries the same size colored 1.8” LCD display. I can hold it comfortably in my hand – not too big, not too small. The key pads are designed with the curved edge to provide an elegant look. When you click on the buttons, the feedback force level is just right. The volume controls are at the side of the phone. And, the 2.5mm headset jack is on the other side. The only thing which can be improved are the four navigation buttons. They are a little bit too small. It is easy for me to hit the other buttons while doing the left or right navigation. I like the joystick design in the SMC phone better. However, I also understand that if the button design is done right, the design is simpler and might provide longer life.

General Functions of a Skype Wifi Phone

Let me run through the basic functions of the Skype wifi phone just in case this is the first time you have looked at one. The phone has a Skype program built-in, and can let you conduct Skype calls without using a PC. What you need to do is to make the phone connect to your wifi network, sign in your Skype account and you can walk around in the wifi range and talk. The phone supports WEP and WAP security settings. However, it does not have a browser built-in, to handle the web-base log-in process. Therefore, it is more suitable to use in your home, your office or at a public place which provides open wifi network. You cannot use the phone in a paid hot-spot or some hotels which force users to use web-base sign-in process.

Let me put the phone back in the cradle to charge the battery. I’ll come back to finish the review when the charging process is completed.

Sound Quality Depends on the Network Connection Quality

Ok, the charge is done. It is recommended in the user manual to perform a 3 to 5 hrs full battery charge before the first time using the phone. When you turn on the phone, you need to connect the phone to the wifi network and sign in your Skype account. I’ve already done those boring steps to save us some time. Just be aware if you have more than 500 contacts in your contact list, the phone will take a very long time to finish the contact downloading process. The sound quality is acceptable. It can at least match the cell phone conversation quality. Like all the Skype wifi phones on the market, the conversation quality is largely dependent on the quality of your wifi network, and the connection between your wifi router to your calling destination. I have experienced crystal clear sound quality when using this phone to call our China factory. They just love the call quality and want me to keep using this phone to do our daily conversations. I have also experienced so-so call quality when contacting people in US. My suggestion is when you encounter a bad call, just hang-up and repeat the call. Skype might route you through a better connection and solve your problem. Or, you can check out the following webpage and ask the call receiver to perform a technical check on the connection quality. You might find some good data reflecting your call quality there.

Battery Life?

One thing which I need to perform further investigation is on the battery life. When comparing the spec, the IPEVO wifi phone carries a 3.7V 900mAh Li-ion battery, while the SMC wifi phone carries a 3.7V 1200mAh Li-ion battery. Supposedly, the IPEVO SO-20 should have a shorter talk and stand-by period. However, on paper, it offers a similar usage time. Maybe its miniature design has helped to save some power consumption. Maybe, two companies have their tests done in different test conditions. I’ll need to perform my own test to find out the results. I will also post the results on my blog later. No matter what the result is, I think IPEVO is taking the right step by including a charging cradle in the box. With this cradle sitting on a desk, people can better organize the cables and are more likely to put the phone back for charging. In the end, you might not notice the difference of the battery life because it is always in full charge mode.


OK. Here is the conclusion for today’s review.

  1. IPEVO has done a good job in designing the SO-20 Skype Wifi phone. I like its elegant look.
  2. Sound quality can be very good when the network connection quality is good.
  3. IPEVO Skype Wifi phone comes with a lower capacity battery. But with the charging cradle included, you might not notice the difference in talk and stand-by time.

Thanks for watching my review on the IPEVO SO-20 Skype wifi phone. Please send in your questions or feedbacks.
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