Belkin Skype Wifi Phone Review Pros and Cons

I purchased a Belkin Wifi phone about a month ago. I’ve been on Skype for the past year and have been utilizing more of their features in order to determine if it will be a lasting service or a passing fad. I’ve been really happy so far with the service and keep looking into more products and ways to digitize my communications. After purchasing the Belkin Wifi phone I’ve learned a few things about the pros and cons of operating and using this new technology, and I’m happy to share them with you.

Pros:

  • It’s great to be able to pick up the phone and dial a number direct and not have to pay for it. Other products for Skype either require the user to connect to a computer, or put the caller into a contact list to be able to use the Skype service. I’ve found that it’s just as useful as a normal cordless phone would be.

  • It does search wireless signals the same way a laptop does and can pick up a good range of signals. Plus, it does enable the user to put in save parameters for networks and store them for automatic connections, as well as connects to open network automatically. I keep it as my home phone and have my home network stored in the device as the primary connection. It stays on 24 hours a day and I’m almost at the point where that would be my full time home phone.
  • It does have the ability to do caller id, call forwarding, and other Skype features. I like being able to dial into my voice mail and also see caller history, length of calls, etc.
  • It has a cool color screen which makes it easy to read and navigate through colorful icons. It almost looks and feels like the IPhone, but without the touch screen, which would be a nice feature later on.
  • It doesn’t require any additional set up or hardware to connect to most networks. Right out of the box you can begin to connect to networks and start using the Skype service, without any other fees, connection charges, or software setups in computer systems. I tried the Phillips cordless unit, which does both landline and Wifi signal, but that needed the computer to work and I wasn’t prepare to leave my computer on 24 / 7.
  • It has add-on services like Boingo to provide more access points in public areas. Although it does sound good, I checked my area and the only additional places I got was McDonald’s and a couple of coffee houses. However, it does work in most airports through their Wayport partnership.
  • The quality of talking is pretty good and most say they don’t even realize that I’m on a Wifi phone. There is maybe a second delay on their receiving end, but Wifi user gets the audio back almost real time. I’ve tested it with various sources.
  • Ability to store contacts and numbers for fast dialing.
  • Simple and easy to use and has limited functions to worry about.

Cons:

  • All phone calls have to be originated with a 1+area code, similar to long distance calling. Although it’s not extremely inconvenient, it does make for an extra step in dialing.
  • Although it can find most network connections, if the access requires a browser based login, similar to the ones that are found in hotels, the phone cannot connect because it doesn’t have a browser built into it to enable the password to be entered through it. I’ve taken it with me to hotels only to find out that I cannot get on to their network with the phone and had to use my computer to connect.
  • The signal strength is pretty good, but I’ve noticed as well as one friend who also has the same unit, that it occasionally will drop the signal in the middle of a call. This is because of the wireless network losing it’s packets and I’ve tried to strengthen my main signal by putting as the top source, but it’s frustrating when in the middle of a call and the signal goes dead, but not unlike cell phone where bars get dropped also.
  • It’s not able to run some of the Skype extras like games, media player, etc., which should be in the next generation phones.
  • Because it’s simple and easy to use, it doesn’t have a lot of features that other phones have but hopefully that will work out with the next generation, as well as adding a browser to be able to sign in on secured networks.

I hope this helps anyone who is thinking about buying one of the new Wifi phones and some of the things to consider when making the purchase. I personally think the Belkin Wifi phone is a great buy and I love having mine around to be able to make free calls anytime I want. There are also a few other products on the market that do a similar function but I’ve not tested them yet. NetGear, Linksys, and Panasonic have phones on the market that are also Wifi and Skype certified.

15 thoughts on “Belkin Skype Wifi Phone Review Pros and Cons”

  1. thank you for all the info.

    I’m a bit confused about the a wifi cell phone works. I understand that we are able to make outgoing calls, are we able to receive them? how is a phone number issued if so? I used my sister’s computer at home for all my needs, how will I be able to own and use a wifi cell phone?

    thanks

  2. Thanks for commenting and I’ll be happy to see if I can help clear some of your thoughts.

    To answer Roger’s questions, yes the phone does have a headset port on it and it’s a standard headset plug like on most cell phones. However, the phone does work as it’s own device similar to a cell phone with a built in microphone and speaker, and in fact I’ve heard from most of the people that I talked to that the phone sounds really clear and nice. However, I’ve not tried to use the phone with a headset yet, but that might be an interesting test and you might see a blog post about it soon.

    To answer the second comment, the wifi phone works a little differently than cell phones in the fact that it’s accessing the Internet to make the calls. When you’ve connected to the Internet, the Skype or other program takes over and processes the information. It breaks down as you dial the numbers on the wifi phone it’s sending that information digitally to Skype’s servers that then process the data and uses it’s own software to convert that information to be able to send to standard land-lines and cell phones. All you are doing is connecting to the net, and the Internet is basically routing your call. Instead of using the standard lines that are control by only a few, you are using a source that is almost limitless and provides many more options. I get a full phone service at home and a wifi phone, with about the same range as my cordless did, and I only pay $60 a year for unlimited phone calls to the US and Canada as well as every phone feature you could want like call forwarding, caller id, voice mail, call waiting, conference calling, and many more.

  3. Roger Erickson on July 20th, 2008 12:52:

    From other forums and sources I have just read, this phone does not have a built-in microphone. Does it have a speaker? Does it need something like a headset with a microphone? Does the phone have a place to plug in the ports for the headset to allow the phone to work. I’ve read from some authors about how wonderful this phone is, however without a microphone, or a description of what is needed to make this phone work in terms of additional hardware, or available ports (on the phone), the authors obviously biased salespeople that provide misinformation. Advertisements for this phone are covering up a lot. Right now it can’t even be purchased from Skype’s site due to nonavailabiltiy. No wonder.

  4. I have purchased the phone about 4 weeks ago and found that its operation is very similar to use a mobile hand phone.
    All you need to get started is wireless broadband in your house and it only takes minutes to set up
    I use it as my home phone so it is on 24/7, I have signed up on a cheap Skype subscription deal which has given me a phone number in my home city so my parents and friends can ring me for the cost of a local call while I live OS and I ring them for free!!!
    It does have a 2.5mm plug point for a headset if you want to use one (I do when the kids are too noisy)
    The only problem I have found is that some times it will drop the internet connection and end the call, apart from that it works great and a lot cheaper for me than a landline.
    I bought mine through EBay from a local shop so delivery was free and I had it in two days.
    What I do want is a charging cradle to sit it in to charge instead of having to plug a cable in mobile phone style but maybe I’m just getting too lazy

  5. It will indicate some calls, especially if they are already saved in the phone, but from my experience a lot of calls come up as either private or blocked so it’s not that efficient. However, it’s similar to a home caller ID or even cell phones. I noticed a lot of times that I don’t get a caller ID and a lot of people have opted to make their numbers private.

  6. Still confused! I see Skypes is $29.95 a year US. But in other posts I have seen, I paid $50 $65 $70 last year for service with Skypes.What are they paying for is the question?
    The other Question is McDonalds was listed in a post for WiFi, from my understanding they charge a fee to use their WiFi. I have identified almost 50 WiFi open net work with in 5 miles of the house.The only use for Skypes for me is the WiFi phone, so how would I find out if I could use these WiFi areas on Skypes.What other charges are incurred on Skypes? Only US usage..

  7. Skype has various services, but to start with it’s free. It’s free to download and free to use to make calls to other Skype users. From there, if you want to call out to any phone then they have a plan that is $30 for a subscription. Yes, that is the best way to go as you’ll also get 50% off on a phone # coming in. If you just want calls going on then you are set, however, if you want people to call you on any phone number you select then you would pay another $30 per year. This means for $60 per year you would get a phone number with voice mail, call forwarding, call waiting, conference calling, and a bunch of other services, as well as unlimited calls to the US and Canada.

  8. 1) Do I need to have a home phone service provider to be able to use a D-Link box adapter that will enable to use a regular phone handset? (i think I have an old one but I do not pay for landline currently)
    2) Does the Wi-fi phone come with a USB adapter so that in case you are in a wi-fi environment where you need to type a password (and you CAN’T because the phone does not allow it); then you can connect it to the USB port of any computer connected to the Internet and be able to use the phone?

  9. I like Wi-Fi and I like free. I now would recommend Skype to anyone that is a digital nomad, or distance working.

    Skype used to be borderline , but works great now.

  10. How do you know if you have a browser based connection? At home I have cricket wireless & at work I have AT&T. At home I have to hit a connect button to connect to the internet through cricket at work I just jump on line. Will this phone work with both of my connections?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>