REVIEW: The iPhone Pro

No, this is not the rumored Apple iPod-based cellphone. Instead, this is a capable VoIP USB phone manufactured by Red Chief. Geeks.com sent it over for a review of this promising Skype and SIP handset.

The installation of the iPhone Pro is very easy, you just plug the device into a USB port. The USB cord is about 1.4 meters long. The handset comes with a very handy cradle, which not only makes it look really cool in your desk, but it's also very handy as it displays the name or number of the caller. In the box you will also find a small manual and the software CD that includes the drivers for the special Skype support.

The device has a rubber-based keypad with an up and down key, hang up and pickup buttons, a special button that brings up the "contacts" screen on Skype, one that navigates the Skype Tabs, and one that minimizes Skype. On the left of the device you can find a button that enables speakerphone functionality, one that can put a call on hold, while one the right side of the device there is a + and a - buttons that control the handset's volume. On the top left thre is a small light that flashes green on an incoming call.

Of course, the handset works with any VoIP application (it's essentially an external 16bit sound card), but if you want to make use of its extra abilities and buttons, then a special addon driver is required. So far, the handset's addon driver only supports Skype. One very useful feature is that the device has a built-in voice mail recording, voice message recording, and call conversation recording function.

Regarding other operating system support, the basic usage of the VoIP phone works with Mac OS X and Linux. But there is no Skype addon driver for these operating systems, so none of the extra buttons will work on these OSes.

Overall, this is a pretty good VoIP handset and if you are a Windows Skype user you will love it. For other VoIP applications or operating systems you will have to live with compromises. Build quality is good though, sound quality is good and for $17 this is a steal.

Rating: 8/10

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