Skype has spawned an entire ecosystem of telephony, which includes plenty of hardware devices intended to enhance the experience. You can find just about any kind of phone product for Skype you might want, from speakerphones, to headsets and dialpads, to wireless handsets, and a whole lot more.
This review will look at two additions to the Skype hardware universe: Iogear's USB VoIP Skype Calling Kit, and Trendnet's ClearSky Bluetooth VoIP Kit.
Iogear USB VoIP Skype Calling Kit: The Pitch And Product
|Iogear USB VoIP Skype Calling Kit (GVI2065U)|
|Summary||Combo device for Skype calling that includes a USB keypad with headset and functions as an active 6-port USB hub.|
|Update||5/11/2006 - Added work-around for missing "+" key|
|Pros||• Easy to install and use
• Good sound quality
• Good Skype integration
|Cons||• Current keypad doesn't completely support SkypeOut dialing
• External speakers require switching a jack or using another microphone
So you've got a broadband Internet connection and want to start using it for phone calls? Iogear offers an interesting combination of capabilities in a compact package, which delivers most of the goods necessary to support a positive IP telephony experience based on eBay's wildly popular Skype VoIP service.
The product is simply designated a Skype Calling Kit. It includes a dialpad and a headset, along with strong Windows compatibility and good Skype integration; this combination of features makes it easy to install and use. Figure 1 shows a front view of the dialpad with no cables installed, for an unobstructed view.