- Easy access to POTS, excellent sound quality
- Proprietary technology
Despite the lack of interaction with other systems, there are 70 million other Skype users out there
Skype is the big name in peer-to-peer Internet telephony after hitting the headlines with its $2.6b sale to eBay - which seems unbelievable considering their main product is freely downloadable and so are most of their competitors. But what sets Skype apart from most other VoIP clients is a mature, full featured client that offers unsurpassed voice quality.
Skype is an internet telephony (VoIP) network which allows its users to call and speak to other Skype users for free. To do this, you simply search for other Skype users on the network and make calls to their PCs using a microphone attached to your PC. You can also make calls to traditional phone lines, but this service is charged.
Unlike the majority of VoIP client software out there, Skype doesn't use SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) combined with RTP (Real-Time Transport Protocol) for calls but instead uses its own proprietary technology which provides calls of remarkable clarity. However, this is also the principal downfall of Skype in a market where broadband providers are increasingly offering SIP based hardware handsets and services to their customers - Skype users can only make free calls to other Skype users, and the technology lock-in means the SkypeIn and SkypeOut services are the only way to connect to Plain Old Telephone Systems (POTS).
Being a peer-to-peer system, Skype offers more than just the basic call setup/teardown functions of SIP and H.323. Users can advertise their availability like in an IM client - available, offline, busy etc. In fact it includes an IM chat client as well. It also offers a centralized directory for searching and connecting to other Skype users - recent estimates suggest upwards of 70,000,000 Skype clients have been downloaded. A nice feature is the "Skype me" search function which locates anyone with the "Skype me" status set - this means they welcome random conversations with strangers who just want to chat. Skype users can also block users from calling them or seeing their status, or set their mode so the only people who can ring them are the ones they authorize. If only a normal telephone could do that.
The interface is clean and easy to use, and the address book can import contacts from Outlook and automatically search the Skype directory for them. It also supports vCards. As for connectivity to POTS - it couldn't be easier. Just login to the Skype website and buy some credit and SkypeOut can be used to dial regular phone numbers anywhere in the world - Skype's backend servers will route the call out their gateways to deliver low cost long-distance calls just like using a calling card. SkypeIn provides a unique phone number that can be used to dial Skype from normal telephones and there is the subscription-based Skype Voicemail service.. Of course, with their lock-in you can only use Skype's service, which is undoubtedly the reason why Skype doesn't support SIP connectivity. That's a shame because it is about the only thing it's missing.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Google Daydream VR headset
Acer Swift 7
Huawei Mate 9
Lexar® Portable SSD
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Surface Pro 4
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei Mate 9 full in-depth smartphone review
- 2 ZTE Axon 7 review: Is ZTE dumping old stock on Australia?
- 3 Oppo R9s smartphone full review
- 4 Huawei Nova Plus smartphone review
- 5 Google Pixel XL full, in-depth smartphone review: Phones just got smarter
Latest News Articles
- Village Roadshow aims to block 40 pirate sites
- Analysts peer into Microsoft's rumored Windows 10 Cloud
- Google lets users get social with Maps
- Microsoft unveils a bonanza of security capabilities
- Google might be gearing up to remove millions of Play Store apps next month
PCW Evaluation Team
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Huawei Mate 9 full in-depth smartphone review
- Time to ditch Foxtel and the iQ3: How to replace Foxtel packages with cheaper alternatives
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSenior Dot Net Backend Orientated DeveloperNSW
- CCProject Support OfficerNSW
- FTLinux Systems EngineerQLD
- FTLife/400 Resource - PermanentNSW
- FTSenior Software Engineer x 2 - Adelaide Based (PV, NV2 or NV1 required)QLD
- FTTechnical Consultant MS Dynamics AXVIC
- FTWeb Developer / Applications AnalystQLD
- CCDevops Consultant - 12 month contractVIC
- FT.Net DeveloperVIC
- TPProject ManagerOther
- FT.Net Azure DeveloperSA
- FTDynamics AX Functional Consultant (Supply Chain Modules)QLD
- CCUser Experience Designer - Part time - Short contractACT
- TPSenior Java Developer - ContractQLD
- CCBusiness Project ManagerNSW
- CCAgile CoachNSW
- FTPerformance TesterACT
- FTDeveloper/ ProgrammerSA
- CCERP Business Analyst (Time Capture/ Management) - Contract - Sydney CBDNSW
- CCPega DeveloperNSW
- CCSenior Infrastructure EngineerNSW
- FTSenior Java Developers (Several positions available)QLD
- TPBusiness Analyst - PeopleSoft HR/Payroll ProjectVIC
- CCSystems Engineer (Systems Architect/Designer)VIC
- FTDevOps/Senior Sys Admin - eCommerce - Permanent - Sydney Northern BeachesNSW