The Swedish-designed Phonette freephone is a hardware interface for software that enables you to talk to anyone in the world using a broadband Internet connection. Free call software includes Skype in addition to various instant messaging software from the likes of Microsoft, Yahoo and ICQ.
To call regular telephones or mobiles, you'll need to subscribe to a VoIP software telephony service such as Callserve
Installation couldn't be easier and requires no drivers - just a microphone and speaker port. The Phonette's unique design allows your PC speakers to connect to it, so you can use them as normal when not making calls. Just flick a switch at the bottom of the handset to enable this, and flick it back to have the Phonette act as your PC's speakers complete with side-volume control.
Our test pair of handsets worked quite well and Skype, particularly, delivered high voice quality and a cool ringing sound. MSN Messenger had the best microphone/speaker setup wizard, which is ideal for beginners.
A button on the base of the handset detects when you pick it up and put it down, which is useful for starting and ending calls. Of course, you could also just use your existing microphone and speakers to do all this, but that would take all the fun out of it, wouldn't it?