Skype and a $50NZD USB Phone

By tonyhughes Hughes, in , posted: 26-Apr-2006 12:14

## UPDATE ## This unit is working FINE under Kubuntu as of 8 July 2006 See for more info. Okay, so any self respecting Geek should be VoIP-ing their brains out right? Well, I tried and got sick of speakers and mic - its just not natural after thirty years of talking on a handset. Next was bluetooth - with a Nokia HS-11W. This worked great in terms of the actual talking, but I would often forget to charge the headset, and there is always the mad rush to unplug it, hook it over the ear and press a button to get going (or even have to turn it on while Skype is ringing). I looked at a USB telbox, which seemed like the perfect solution - use my current cordless phone and just enter a code or two to slect POTS or VoIP, but this would require education of non-geeks in the house to a degree that they probably wouldnt end up using it, or would just expect me to help them every time. Then I see these USB Phones at DSE - they were $60 or so Trademe a while back, now about $45 delivered, but I paid the extra five bucks for some local service (which DSE is good at...). I take it home, plug it in, and XP and Linux both set it up automatically to work straight away (although I am still fiddling round with Ubuntu trying to get the mic working). The bundled software also includes Skypemate, which helps the phones buttons interact with Skype, and provides a system tray volume control for the phone (because the phone is really a sound card, and the normal volume control for your PC still operates your original sound card). Skypemate was a doddle to install, took one minute, and you just accept all the defaults. Skypemate also allows the ringing sound to come from the handset, so even if your volume on the PC is muted, you wont miss a Skype call. Quality is great - better than a NZ landline in my opinion - much better clarity. There was perceptible delay though, nothing to bother a Geek, or even a normal person, but I chatted to my Grandmother for a few minutes, and she must have thought I was rude or mental... delay would have been less than most international PSTN calls I have experienced. To call someone, all i do is pick up the handset, press up or down to bring up my Skype contact list, select a contact, and press talk (the green phone button), just like a cellphone or cordless phone. If Skype rings with an incoming call - pick up the handset, press talk. Thats it, no fluffing around with PC keyboard/mouse, or waiting for a powered down monitor to come to life. The cable is a bit short - 1 metre, expanding by another 30cm comfortably thanks to the curly cord. I will be experimenting with putting a short extension USB cable on it. The unit also works with SIP services, but I have not tested any yet - I am very happy with Skype, and am about to start using Skypeout and call forwarding to do some neat stuff to route my calls around. One annoyance is that Skype doesnt have New Zealand Skype-In numbers yet. Also I have noticed that you have to go and manually choose to enter more profile details and choose to be listed in the Skype Global Directory. I would have thought that at time of setup it should ask you all this, and also say "Shall we add you to the Skype Phonebook so your friends can find you" or something... I tried to look up lots of Geeks I know that I am sure would have Skype, but there are actually very few New Zealanders listed.

More information

Other related posts:
How to update your XT Galaxy S to Android 2.2 Froyo
Download Samsung KIES 2.0
Running an Android Task Killer? Get rid of it, and get your battery back.

Comment by freitasm, on 26-Apr-2006 12:40

And don't they look like some old Nokia mobile phones :-) ?

Author's note by tonyhughes, on 26-Apr-2006 12:58

they are really light too.... the cable is the heaviest part i think! This might tempt me into a Cordless Dualphone i think. I would use SkypeOut a lot if Telecom werent paying for my tolls...

Comment by juha, on 26-Apr-2006 21:30

I've got one of these for Skype: There is a NZ distributor as well, but I can't remember the contact details. Works very well, and what can I say? The old-fashioned way of dog-and-boning is how you do it, VoIP notwithstanding. You'll find that calls to Telecom networks will have degraded quality though. Working on that at the moment...

Author's note by tonyhughes, on 26-Apr-2006 22:52

no product at that link.... got a catalogue number or something?

Comment by juha, on 27-Apr-2006 09:52

Grack. It's a red Yamamoto USB phone. Oh here we go: My mate Thomas has one of the Dualphones in Copenhagen. Have talked to him over it and honestly, the sound quality beats the PSTN. Then again, I'm able to use a non-Telecom network which doesn't deliberately add latency and jitter to kill VoIP, or that funky packet queueing with random transmission times.

Author's note by tonyhughes, on 27-Apr-2006 09:55

Testing last night between me and another NZ user, Skype was better call quality than PSTN, and MSN Messenger Voice conversation began better quality than Skype, but degraded badly after a few minutes, so switched back to Skype.

Author's note by tonyhughes, on 27-Apr-2006 09:56

I have read a lot of bad things about these USB phones, which is probably why it took so long for me to buy one, but really, they are great. Heavy users or 'power' users would prefer something like the dualphone though i should think.

Comment by freitasm, on 18-May-2006 23:05

Yes, I ahve a Dualphone as well. That's a real phone - cordless with long range, full control from the handset. Recommended...

Comment by Jess, on 23-May-2006 00:19

Help! My lovely mother, in an attempt to have regular, free contact with me in the UK, sent me this exact phone but she didn't remember that I own a Mac! Before I send it back to her -- anyone know if I'll be able to get this handset working on MAC OS X? cheers....

Comment by ashley HILTON, on 14-Jun-2006 00:28

Can anyone tell me if theres any problems using the des skype phone with a mac

Comment by Paul, on 24-Jun-2006 22:31

I'm curious as to whether you managed to get the mic working correctly under Ubuntu. I'm looking for a handset to use and Ubuntu is my preferred distro. Cheers Paul

Author's note by tonyhughes, on 25-Jun-2006 00:09

Nope, still struggling, tried lots of things, under breezy, dapper, fedora last 3 versions, mandrake, mandriva, knoppix and others....

Author's note by tonyhughes, on 8-Jul-2006 22:55

## UPDATE ## This unit is working FINE under Kubuntu as of 8 July 2006 See for more info.

Subscribe To My RSS Feed