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Gift Review - Skype Phones
Skype is the most popular of the services providing broadband phone calls across the Internet. It works in three ways. After downloading the free Skype software, you can call anyone else, anywhere in the world, with the Skype software for free. You can also dial out to ordinary numbers using SkypeOut - there's a charge per call for this, but it's cheaper than many ordinary phone calls. And using SkypeIn you can set up a number in a wide range of cities around the world to receive incoming calls which are routed to your computer - this is charged on a flat fee basis.
So far, so good - but to use Skype you need to be able to talk and listen, which means some form of sound system. Initially this meant using a microphone and headphones, but recently there has been a whole spate of phones that can be plugged into the PC. Some, like this one, are wireless and can handle ordinary phone calls as well, combining all you phone needs into a single compact package.
Gift category - special - prices from around £30 to around £120
There are a wide range of options. Check out these which require the PC to be switched on:
Freecom Skype USB Internet Phone -
Linksys CIT200 -
Philips VOIP8010 -
Philips VOIP3211S -
VoipVoice V Traveller -
And these which work using a network without the PC on (some use wireless network, others their own adaptor to a wired network):
Dualphone 3088 -
GE - Skype - Dect 6.0 -
Linksys CIT400 -
Linksys WIP320 -
Netgear SPH101 -
Netgear SPH200D -
SMC WSKP100 -
Reviewed by Brian Clegg
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Last update 05 June 2007