Gadling gear review – IPEVO S0-20 WiFi Skype phone

In this product review, I’m going to introduce you to the IPEVO S0-20 WiFi Skype phone. The S0-20 is a very compact phone, weighing in at just 80 grams/ 2.7 ounces.

The S0-20 connects to Skype over WiFi, and allows you to make and receive calls, manage your Skype contacts, view call history, listen to voicemail and even search for Skype users. The entire user interface looks and feels just like Skype on your desktop, so operating the phone couldn’t be easier.
Connecting to a WiFi network is simple – you let the phone search for available networks, enter any network keys (if required). The WiFi system can connect to any 802.11 B or G network, and it supports WEP, WPA and WPA2 encryption, which means it’ll work on almost any WiFi network you can fine.

Sadly, the phone does run into a problem when you connect to WiFi that requires you to log in through a web page.

Voice quality is fantastic – I tested the S0-20 in a variety of situations, and each time I made a call, the connection was established right away.

This speaks well for the quality of Skype and of the S0-20. Of course, the phone supports Skype to Skype calls, as well as Skype In and Skype Out calling. When calling “out” to a landline, Skype sent my user ID as the Caller ID name – a very cool feature.

The S0-20 comes well equipped – inside the box is the phone, battery, desktop charging cradle and an AC charger.

The phone and desktop cradle use a MiniUSB charging plug. On the side of the S0-20 is a 2.5mm headphone jack, and a headset is included.

I also tested the IPEVO S0-20 in two different situations. The first allows you to connect the phone to a wired network. For this, I used a Trendnet TEW-654TR pocket WiFi router. With this setup, you simply plug the router in a wired network port, and then connect the Skype phone to the wireless network being broadcast by the router.

The next setup is even cooler – it allowed me to create my own WiFi hotspot anywhere I was in range of the Verizon Wireless broadband network (which covers a huge portion of the country).

With the Verizon Wireless MiFi 2200, I was able to make a Skype call with perfect quality in the middle of a forest preserve. Of course, I could have also installed a Skype client on my smartphone, but being able to use the S0-20 with the MiFi does show how flexible the device is.

Final thoughts

I love that the S0-20 features a very familiar interface – it looks and feels just like the desktop version of Skype, down to the connection sound. Connecting to a hotspot is simple, though some users will run into problems with browser login enhanced sites. Call quality is excellent, which speaks well for the phone and for Skype itself.

Of course, readers with a phone or PDA that supports Skype may not see any need for the IPEVO S0-20, but there are still plenty of people without a smartphone. One major advantage of the S0-20 is that it doesn’t require any monthly charges, like you’ll find on most smartphones (for their data plan).

PROS: Excellent interface, good hardware, good sound quality

CONS: Security key entry can be cumbersome, no support for browser login on hotspots

The IPEVO S0-20 WiFi Skype phone costs $139.99, and is available directly from IPEVO. Shipping is free (promotion till October 31st).