Gadling gear review – IPEVO Skype and VOIP handsets

In this 3-in-1 review, I’m going to show off three different Skype/VOIP handsets for your computer. IPEVO, the company behind these three handsets has been producing some of the best selling VOIP equipment on the market for several years, so it makes sense to take a close look at what they have to offer.

In the review, I’ll show you the ST-4RT.1 universal VOIP handset, the FR-33.1 Skype USB handset and the TR-10 Speakerphone/handset.
IPEVO ST-4RT.1 Universal VOIP handset

The ST-4RT.1 is the simplest of the three phones on review today. It isn’t much more than a lightweight handset with headset/microphone connectors. That said, at just $14.99 (with free shipping), VOIP handsets don’t get much cheaper than this.

It features a volume control dial, and 2 color coded plugs. You don’t need to install any special software, and don’t need to make any changes to your audio setup, with the possible exception of fine-tuning the microphone. It weighs just 2.1 ounces, making it ideal for any carry-on bag.

Sound quality is perfect for VOIP calls, and since it doesn’t rely on software, you can use it with any VOIP application, including Skype and Magicjack.

IPEVO is currently running a promotion on this handset – if you order a two pack of them, you’ll only pay $20, or just $23.99 for three!

IPEVO FR-33.1 USB Skype handset

The FR-33.1 is the best selling USB Skype handset in the world – and rightfully so. This thing is a real treat to use. With the FR-33.1 you don’t need to touch anything on your PC to make a Skype call. The IPEVO software communicates with your Skype installation, and the keys on the handset provide full control. You can dial, browse speed dials, control volume and more.

It weighs just 3.5 ounces and retails for $29.99. This really is the handset you’ll want if you make a lot of Skype calls on the road. I found that while the handset is designed for Skype, that you can still use it for any VOIP application, as it just shows up as an audio device. The keys will only work with Skype though.

Like on the previous handset, IPEVO is also running a promotion on this one – a two pack is currently on sale for just $43.99.

IPEVO TR-10 Portable conference phone

The third and final handset in this lineup is the TR-10. This curious looking handset does several things in a single device – it is a normal phone handset, a portable speakerphone and a USB computer speaker.

It is in its element as a speakerphone, and really will allow you to make conference calls with surprisingly good quality. Stuck in your hotel room with 6 others, and need to make a call back to your office? This $59.99 is on par with those $500 conference phones found at most upscale offices.

On the front of the TR-10 are controls for volume, mute, call control and on the side you’ll find a button for switching between handset mode and conference phone. Inside the phone is a DSP chip which cancels out background noise, making the call sound much better for all participants. In addition to this, the TR-10 comes with audio recording software, capable of recording your call. On the unit itself, and buttons for controlling the software.

Since the TR-10 installs as a regular audio device, you can even use it for music or movies – and it will almost always sound better than the tiny speakers in your laptop.

The TR-10 is also included in an IPEVO promotion – a two pack is on sale for $99.99.

Final thoughts

Each of these three phones has a different target audience – the $14.99 ST-4RT.1 is ideal for anyone looking for a very basic high quality handset. The FR-33.1 is great for heavy Skype users and the TR-10 is great for all-rounders – it’ll be in its element as a business phone or if you just need a good handset for calling friends and family.

The real winner here is the TR-10. This may be the bulkiest of the three handsets, but I’m loving the ability to use it as a handset, speakerphone and PC speaker. I was not expecting the speakerphone quality to be as impressive as it is – people on the other end of my call could not hear I was sitting back in my chair talking handsfree.

Next week, I’ll be reviewing two more products from IPEVO, their WiFi Skype Phone and a very neat WiFi enabled photo frame – so stay tuned!