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SMC_WSKP100_tn

SMC WSKP100 Skype phone

Another white Skype Wi-Fi phone

Reducing security risks from open source software

Review It’s getting difficult to move for Wi-Fi Skype phones here at Vulture Central. Belkin has announced its Wi-Fi Phone for Skype and Lars has reviewed the Netgear SPH101 and now we have the SMC WSKP100. The Belkin and SMC products appear to use the same Accton handset so there is precious little to tell them apart and to date the most interesting implementation of the handset looks to be the Edge-Core WM4201 which uses the two contact pins on either side of the USB and headphone ports to connect to its WA4101 recharge cradle.

SMC_WSKP100_front

It’s worth pointing out that Edge-Core is the Brand division of Accton, so very likely they know how to get the most out of their own hardware.

Getting back to the SMC, our initial impressions weren’t favourable as the ‘MNO 6’ button was sticky and would only work when we mashed it violently, which is hardly ideal for triple tap and key response was generally quite slow.

This wasn’t good so we looked for a solution and downloaded a 13MB firmware update from SMC which appeared to be the same as the release version, but once it was installed the keyboard responded properly and was markedly improved so we have to assume that the sample was shipped with pre-release firmware.

Although the update transformed the handset it only raised it to the level that we would expect in the first place and it still left a number of issues unaddressed, very likely because they are inherent to the handset.

The first and most minor quibble is that you only get a paltry four ring tones of dire quality.

Secondly the screen is rather small at 1.8 in and doesn’t look too great as it’s using a CSTN LCD screen with a resolution of 128 x 160 pixels. This is mainly a cosmetic matter as you search on Skype names and then make a connection, so you don’t have any need for fancy graphics or bright colours. Indeed, if we got the eye candy that we have come to expect from modern gadgets then you can bet that battery life would take a hammering, which brings us to the main problem with the SMC. When the backlight turns off the screen is completely dark and you don’t even get an indicator light to inform you that the phone is turned on, so every so often, you’ll find yourself toggling a key just to check that everything is OK. As things stand the battery life is fairly dire and doesn’t begin to match the claimed figures. SMC claims up to three hours talk time with a 50h standby if the phone isn’t in use, although we didn’t get close to that.

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Next page: Verdict

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