Linksys CIT200 cordless Skype handset
Talk while you walk
The handset has a Skype menu which provides access to your Skype contacts list, culled from the host PC, user status information and - if you have it enabled - connection to your voicemail. The handset also sports a dedicated Skype button, located below the numeric keypad, that goes straight to the contacts list. Alongside the Skype button is an intercom button to talk to other handsets, and a button that calls up the call missed/received/dialled lists.
The Skype menu's user status option, incidentally, only lets you select whether you're displayed as online, offline, popped out, etc. It doesn't, for example, tell you how many SkypeOut minutes you have left - for that you need to return to your PC. Linksys bundles 60 minutes' SkypeOut calls with the package, by the way. You can't use the handset for instant messaging, despite the SMS-friendly keys.
The keypad itself comprises three rubber keys each mounted over three separate switches. They're well spaced and it's easy to use the keypad one-handed. There's a four-way navigation control, but for the life of me I can't find a place in the menu structure where you need to go left or right - it's all up and down.
You can store 100 individuals' contact information on the handset, with a further 20 that can be accessed by other handsets, but unless you're going to connect it to a separate Skype accounts or to a PSTN-connected base-station, what's the point? Most users will use the handset with a single Skype account running on one PC, I suspect, and rely on Skype to maintain their contact information.
The handset sports a small, five-line colour LCD, a speakerphone and an earphone port, though no such accessory is bundled in the box. It feels solid in the hand without being heavy, and it's certainly comfortable to use. There are 15 ringtones, three wallpaper images and three colour schemes, so the scope for handset customisation is limited. The UI is aesthetically crude - smart-phone users will feel it's a real step backwards - but it works. You can't assign ringtones to specific contacts or groups of them. The screen looks fine, but the colour is largely irrelevant.