Netgear Australia SPH101 Skype Wi-Fi Phone
- Ease of use and setup, No need for a PC, Stylish design for a VoIP handset, Up to 200 Skype contacts can be stored
- Price, Phone forgets log in details when battery is completely drained, Battery life
The SPH101 is clearly for those who want the latest technology and are prepared to pay for it. Although it's convenient for regular Skype users, it's still costly and doesn't offer as many features as it potentially could. If you want to use Skype on the move though, then this is very much up your avenue.
Price$ 469.00 (AUD)
A revolutionary entry into the VoIP market, the NETGEAR SPH101, is the world's first wireless Internet phone. A fully fledged Skype phone capable of connecting to a wireless network via Wi-Fi, the SPH101 comes pre-loaded with Skype on the handset itself. Its wireless capabilities allow users to call anyone on Skype for free without the need to be attached to a PC. Unfortunately, while the SPH101 is an excellent idea, some Skype features have been sacrificed to achieve the wireless independence from the PC.
Aesthetically, there is no doubt this is one of the hottest VoIP handsets on the market. In a space dominated by rather bland, standard looking units, the SPH101's white and silver finish is a refreshing change. It looks like a regular mobile phone, albeit slightly chunkier and heavier than normal. Measuring 110mm x 46mm x 21mm and weighing 110g, the SPH101 is quite comfortable to hold to your ear for long phone calls.
Dominated by a smooth, white casing with silver trim, the SPH101 also features a standard keypad and controls; a five-way navigational pad, two selection buttons and answer and end call keys sit below the 1.75in colour screen. The keys are slightly raised and feel easy to press, although we weren't impressed with the navigation joystick as it felt stiff and flimsy. External volume controls and a dedicated speakerphone button are also present.
Despite sounding like set-up could be a complicated process, NETGEAR has done an admirable job in the ease of use department. When powered on, the SPH101 scans for a wireless network and gives the user a list of available access points. If the chosen network is encrypted, the handset will prompt for a WEP or WPA encryption key. Once connected to the network all you need do is enter the Skype user name and password using the keypad and your phone will be ready to use. Thankfully, you should only have to enter these details once, as the SPH101 remembers the details the next time you turn on the handset, automatically connecting to your network and signing you into Skype. Unfortunately this ability is lost when the phone's battery is completely drained, so you'll have to enter the details again.
When switched on the SPH101 takes you to the Skype home screen, which displays Skype status, wireless signal strength, a battery life indicator and the available credit on your SkypeOut account. The menu is particularly attractive, clear and concise for a VoIP phone with bright images accompanied by easy to read text for each menu item. From the home screen you can also manage or add Skype contacts, view your call history, search for a contact, adjust any settings and also access Skype services such as credit, Skype In and Skype Voicemail.
The SPH101 is capable of storing up to 200 Skype contacts and calling is simply a matter of scrolling to the contact and pressing the "answer call" key. Call quality was quite regular for Skype and like most Skype calls, the clarity and clearness of each call will depend on the quality of the Internet connection between callers. We had no complaints with the hands free speakerphone which was quite loud and clear, however we were disappointed that NETGEAR does not include a headset in the package, considering there is a headphone jack on the left hand side of the handset.
Pressing the power button at the top of the handset allows the user to change any Skype settings including status, silent mode, profile details, or the wireless network. Skype status can only be changed to a preset setting (such as online, away, not available etc.), so users can't create their own status message like they can on the PC version of Skype.
The SPH101 doesn't offer all the features of the PC version since it is strictly for phone calls. There is no access to multi-way calling or text chats, despite the presence of a keypad. Furthermore, using Skype on a PC allows other features to be used such as adding contacts from Microsoft Outlook which is not supported by the SPH101.
The battery life was quite disappointing, with just two hours of talk time and up to 20 hours of standby time. Depending on your usage patterns, you'll have to charge the handset quite regularly; this is done via the included AC adapter or a standard USB trickle charge connection to a PC.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 HTC U11 phone: Full, in-depth review
- 2 Gigabyte Aero 15 corporate gaming laptop review
- 3 Huawei P10 smartphone review
- 4 Huawei P10 Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- 5 Motorola Moto G5 smartphone review
Latest News Articles
- Wi-Fi Alliance introduces a certification program for new smart home construction
- Google's Espresso networking tech takes SD-WAN to internet scale
- Netgear expands its Orbi Wi-Fi system into a product family, adding two less-expensive models
- Chips coming by June will herald the next generation of Wi-Fi
- Plume's 'routerless' mesh network blankets your home in Wi-Fi with an army of tiny pods
PCW Evaluation Team
The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.
Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
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.
- Blackberry KEYone phone: Full, in-depth review
- Alienware 13 full, in-depth review
- Alcatel A3 XL phone: Full, in-depth review
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSAP ABAP DEVELOPMENT LEAD- NSW GovernmentOther
- FTSenior Infrastructure Business AnalystVIC
- FTSenior .Net Full Stack DeveloperOther
- FTSolution Architect - SecurityNSW
- FTDigital Records ManagerACT
- FTC# DeveloperOther
- FTLevel 2 Application Support ConsultantQLD
- TPData Migration ManagerNSW
- FTJava DeveloperOther
- FTSenior Project Manager- Cloud- AWS, Office 365- PRINCE2Other
- FTProject CoordinatorSA
- FTMobile App DeveloperOther
- CCSAP Hana DeveloperSA
- FTSnr Technical Salesforce Consultant Global IT Managed Services - SydneyNSW
- FTSEO ExecutiveOther
- FTBusiness Systems Analyst (Cognos/TM1)Other
- FTAccount ManagerOther
- TPTest AnalystSA
- FTSystems Engineer SCCMACT
- CCIT Partner Relationship ManagerNSW
- TPProgram Manager - 10+ month contractQLD
- FTAccount Manager (Infrastructure Transition) - MULTIPLE ROLESSA
- FTTech Lead - FinTech - Product DevelopmentOther
- FTFunctional Support Consultant - Metering / Billing SystemsOther