Firebox VoIP Cyberphone

Time to chuck out that call centre-style headset?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Review Nothing in life is free - or is it? With Skype's gratis voice-over-IP (VoIP) software taking the world by storm, Firebox.com, a UK-based gadgets site, has teamed up with the company and a small handset manufacturer to release the Firebox VoIP Cyberphone, writes Stuart Miles.

Firebox VoIP CyberphoneFor those not in the know, Skype allows you to make phone calls over a broadband connection to other users for free. Think of instant messaging but with voice rather than the typed word. VoIP will also allow you to call 'real' telephones or mobiles at a fraction of the cost of dialling through the normal exchange. That's 'fraction' as in 1.2p per minute to a mobile in the US rather than the 13p that BT would charge you if you called from a landline.

Skype is nothing new, of course - Internet telephony apps have been around for years. What's prevented them from entering the mainstream is the lack of a phone-like handset. Who, after all, wants to sit around all day wired to a PC through a headset and looking like a dork. Enter the Firebox VoIP Cyberphone.

The handset is very basic, but when connected to a PC through the computer's USB port, it interacts nicely with the Skype software. If someone calls you, the phone will ring. Pick it up and it will launch the software, just as dialling the number on the phone controls the software on screen.

In tests the software installed easily. We managed to create a Skype account in seconds rather than minutes and, as with free email services, the only major problem was choosing a user name that hadn't already been taken.

Having set up an account, we started phoning friends around the world, and our €10 voucher bought from the Skype website seemed to last forever. Calls were made to France, the US and Australia, and we still had credit. Even better is the fact that if you're only dialling other Skype account holders the service is free.


So what's the catch? Currently, the Cyberphone will not work with a Mac. Skype does, but the Cyberphone doesn't. It's just down to the lack of drivers, and we're rather disappointed. Other than that, you will have to start learning all those international dialling codes, including the UK's +44, as Skype, in an effort to be globally downloadable, doesn't ever acknowledge which area code you are calling from.

Grumbles aside, the phone is basic but good, the calls are cheap and Skype is certain to change the way we use the phone in the future, particularly once its starts appearing on Wi-Fi mobile phones and PDAs. For £30 you will soon make back the money that you would have spent on your BT phone bill and if you really must look like a call centre dork then the phone offers a headset socket input.

Review by

Firebox VoIP Cyberphone
Rating 80%
Pros Cheap, if not free, phone calls.
Cons Not wireless.
Price £30
More info The Firebox Cyberphone site

Recent Reviews

IBM ThinkPad T42p mobile workstation
ViewSonic VP171b 8ms LCD monitor
Apple iPod Shuffle
Apple Mac Mini
HTC 'Magician' PocketPC phone
Aigo P750 20GB MP3 Player
MSI K8N Diamond SLI mobo
Sanyo S750 3G handset


Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Protecting against web application threats using SSL
SSL encryption can protect server‐to‐server communications, client devices, cloud resources, and other endpoints in order to help prevent the risk of data loss and losing customer trust.