Keyspan VP-24A wireless Skype made simple

20070410-IMG_0308.jpgI was looking for a wireless Skype handset for a while now. There seems to a few of them advertised on the internet, but none meet my two simple requirements:

1. Must work with a Macintosh.
2. Must cost up to a $100.

A while back I found one, that was advertised as Skype wireless headset that was $39.99 and it was Mac compatible. Well. Let me tell you, the software that came with the handset did work on a Macintosh, but was not compatible with Skype nor the handset itself. Nice.

Couple of days ago I was in my local Apple reseller and happened on this little device. It’s made by Keyspan, which is known for their great RF remote controls for Macs. I was intrigued, to say the least. Price was right, at $79, and since it was sold by an Authorized Apple reseller, I figured it must work with a Macintosh. I wasn’t going to be fooled by the box again.

Opening the box was a bit of a surprise. All I found inside was the phone, 3 AAA rechargeable batteries, a USB cable, a USB receiver, and a CD. No manual to speak of, just a little leaflet instructing the user on how to install the handset drivers.
Driver installation is straight forward and automatically adds the handset as a audio device to Skype. Pairing the handset to the USB receiver is also very simple. Pressing a button found on the receiver does the trick. The usb cable is used to recharge the batteries in the handset. Unfortunately the handset does not work without the receiver.

Although Keyspan calls this a Voip phone, I cannot do the same. You can’t use this device with out a computer and Skype. So to me it’s just a handset, and not really a phone per se. What ever you call it, I understand why there is no manual in the box. It is amazingly simple to use. Besides the standard number keypad, pick up and hang up buttons it sports two up and down arrow buttons, a log, user list and clear buttons. Also there are two small volume control buttons on the side of the handset. The small LCD screen shows the name of the user, signal strength to the usb receiver, volume and battery level.

Being a wireless handset I wanted to see how far I can walk away from my laptop before the signal deteriorated. I placed a call over Skype, and leaving my laptop in the basement I walked around a two story house. I must say that I was impressed. Never did I loose the signal, and never did the call faltered. Voice quality is comparable to a regular phone. Definitely usable.

To sum up. If you are looking for a wireless Skype handset, that works with both Macs and Windows PC, has great range and is very very simple to use, I highly recommend the Keyspan VP-24A.

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