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Bluetooth Skype phone doesn't make the grade

First INQpressions Trendnet Clearsky Bluetooth Skype phone
Fri May 19 2006, 15:51
THE FREE-ISH VoIP service Skype has generated a huge collection of third-party add-ons and accessories.

The latest to arrive is the Clearsky handset from Trendnet. This hooks up to your PC wirelessly via Bluetooth and then connects directly to Skype.

A USB Bluetooth dongle is included in the package for use worry if your PC isn't already Bluetooth-enabled.

I'm in the kitchen

The Clearsky may not sit too well next to a modern mobile or Dect phone, but by minimising the number of buttons Trendnet has at least given it an uncomplicated feel.

The phone charges via USB (a cable is included in the package) and Trendnet quotes standby time at 60 hours, with a typical talk time life of six hours.

Initially, we struggled to get the Clearsky to connect with Skype, however. The Bluetooth installation went well and, amazingly, the phone was paired with the PC without any problems, but despite repeated attempts on numerous PCs, we simply couldn?t get Skype to recognise the handset.

After the eighth installation attempt failed, we ditched the installation CD that came with the package, downloaded the drivers directly from Trendnet's website and tried reinstalling the phone yet again.

This time it worked flawlessly, with the Clearsky instantly connecting to Skype, but it was more than a little annoying that so much time was wasted faffing with the drivers supplied on the CD.

Once the Clearsky connects to Skype, a press of the Contacts button on the phone synchronises your Skype contacts list. Once this is done, you're ready to make and receive Skype calls using the Bluetooth handset.

Just a few options are available on the device. You can adjust the volume, change your Skype status, check your credit and choose from four rather cheesy ringtones.

Call quality was acceptable, but we frequently experienced short bursts of interference, especially when moving round the house while making a call.

When activated, the Clearsky takes over as your PC's default audio device. This means if you watch a video or listen to music, the audio will be outputted direct to the phone. In order to redirect audio to your soundcard you either need to switch off the phone or adjust the sound properties in Control Panel.

Since the phone hooks up directly to your PC, you'll also need to have the PC switched on whenever you want to use the phone. If you're a big Skype user and fancy being able to wander around the house while making calls (typical Bluetooth reception stretches around 15-20m) the Clearsky from Trendnet is worth a butcher's.

But at £89 it's blooming expensive. ?

Our new mates


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