TRENDnet Clearsky Bluetooth VoIP Phone
- Design, controls, ease of use, call quality, wireless and battery life
- Ringtones, range less than quoted, can't access voicemail or add new contacts
An excellent option if you are looking for a VoIP phone, the ClearSky is an enticing package that is very easy to use.
Price$ 199.00 (AUD)
The TRENDnet ClearSky Bluetooth VoIP Phone is an enticing package, offering a solid handset that features an effective wireless bluetooth range of up to 50 meters. Its responsive buttons and full compatability with Skype (as well as providing audio support for the likes of MSN and Yahoo Messenger) ensure it is a worthy VoIP option.
The ClearSky uses an included Bluetooth dongle to provide a wireless VoIP phone which acts just like a regular cordless telephone. Its design is reminiscent of a standard phone and apart from the vivid blue colour scheme, you would be hard pressed to tell it was a VoIP handset. Although the ClearSky is slightly long, it cups nicely in your hand and is comfortable to hold against your ear thanks to the grooved edges running along the sides of the unit.
The phone has a very responsive keypad, with tactile and easy to press buttons. The same can be said for the rest of the controls, which are comprised of answer and end call keys, an up and down scroll button and dedicated keys for contacts, menu and clear functions. The layout is simple yet effective and TRENDnet deserve some credit for striking a good balance here. A mini-USB port is located at the bottom of the phone and this is used to charge the handset with the included USB cable.
The ease of use of the ClearSky was apparent as soon as we installed the drivers. The phone paired via the included Bluetooth dongle almost instantly and we were up and running in a matter of minutes. We also had no problems using the phone thanks to a simple list format menu system. The screen is monochome but the backlight ensures it is bright, clear and easily readable.
Installation and syncronisation with Skype is just as easy as the pairing process, but unfortunately you can't add new contacts through the phone. You are also unable to access your voicemail from the phone itself, which is quite strange. These issues side, the rest of the handset is quite good with excellent call clarity and good talk volume levels, although moving from room to room can result in a little interference. You can even check your SkypeOut credit levels and change your Skype status directly through the phone itself.
Our main complaint is with the ringtones. There are only four and their volume can't be adjusted, so you'll need to be sitting right next to the ClearSky if you don't want to miss a call. This is partly due to the speaker being located at the rear of the handset - when the phone is sitting flat on a desk or table its sound is slightly muffled. Also, the quoted range of 100 metres isn't exactly accurate. We struggled with call quality in another room less than 50 metres away.
The ClearSky has 60 hours of standby time and six hours of talk time (according to TRENDnet) thanks to a standard lithium ion battery. These figures are very close to the mark as we found ourselves charging the unit every 2-3 days, with plenty of time spent on the phone. You shouldn't have to worry about battery life though, as you can easily plug the phone into a spare USB port to charge when it's not in use.
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