Edge-Core WM4201 Wi-Fi Phone review

Price when reviewed

We’ve seen cordless VoIP phones before, but the Edge-Core is one of the first to connect directly to a wireless router or access point. So not only can you talk to your Skype contacts without needing a PC or laptop, but you can also chat when out and about at hotspots in airports, hotels and cafes.

Edge-Core WM4201 Wi-Fi Phone review

The phone itself is attractive with a glossy white finish, although it’s bigger than most mobiles at 50 x 18 x 115mm (WDH). The design is identical to the current range of Belkin and SMC Wi-Fi phones and has the same 1.8in LCD. It means the soft keys are a long way from the labels at the bottom of the screen and, being a CSTN panel, viewing angles are poor and response times are awful.

But once you start using the WM4201 and realise how much more intuitive it is than using Skype via a headset on your PC, these shortfalls almost pale into insignificance. You use the Edge-Core just like a mobile: stick it in your pocket and it will ring on receiving an incoming call.

If you have a SkypeIn number, people can call you from a landline or mobile and, if you’re not connected, they can leave a voicemail (another subscription service) or you can divert unanswered calls to a landline or mobile phone.

Initial setup is simple. A wizard guides you through connecting to a wireless network, inputting a password (WEP, WPA and WPA2 are supported) and then either signing up for a new Skype account or logging into an existing one. Instant messaging, video calling and file transfers aren’t supported, though. Once signed in, your Skype contact list appears and you can set your status, just as you would in the Windows version.

We found call quality to be adequate, but voices often lacked treble. Of course, quality will depend on how busy the network is at the time of the call. If you’re using an access point that supports 802.11e or WMM (Wi-Fi Multimedia), you should find quality improves, as this QoS feature prioritises VoIP traffic.

Even accounting for the bundled hands-free kit, mains charger and USB charging cable, the Edge-Core isn’t cheap. But it costs less than equivalent offerings and is worth the extra if you regularly use Skype or would use it even more if you could carry on chatting at hotspots.

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