Selecting a Phone for use with Skype

May 25, 2010 by Garrett Smith

Last week we took a look at how to select a headset for use with Skype.

In that post we went through the basic options available to Skype users and how to go about ensuring that you select the right headset for your needs.

Now we’re going to take a closer look at selecting a phone for use with Skype

Types of Skype Phones

As Skype has continued to grow in popularity, equipment manufacturers have rushed to release a variety of phones designed to meet the different needs of Skype users.

Today one will find four different types of phones for use with Skype:

  • USB – USB phones are the primary type of phones that most consider when using Skype. These USB phones connect directly into your PC or Laptop and come in standard versions as well as speakerphone versions.
  • Desktop – Desktop Skype phones perform similar functions to USB phones, but they do not require you to connect to your PC or Laptop. Desktop Skype phones plug directly into your network via Ethernet and have soft-buttons to control the various Skype functions.
  • Conference – Skype conference phones are more like speakerphones than full blown room conferencing solutions, but they do the trick if you are looking to do a lot of small group meetings.
  • Wireless – Wireless Skype phones are, as the name suggests, 802.11 b/g phones that provide Skype users with a mobility solution. Wireless Skype phones are excellent for use in small home environments and for those who spend a lot of “talking time” in cafe’s or hotspots.
  • Video – Skype Video phones are the latest phone type to hit the market. Skype video phones allow you to take advantage of Skype’s voice and video capabilities and can be found in USB, Ethernet and Wireless versions.

Selecting a Skype phone

Now that you have a general idea of the different options when it comes to Skype phones the next things to do is narrow down the choice based on need and preference. This can be done in three easy steps:

  • Step OneWhere will you be using Skype? The easiest way to start the search for a Skype phone is to first define where you will be using Skype. For example if you normally use Skype at your PC or Laptop, a simple USB Skype phone might be a perfect fit. Or alternatively if you’re constantly on the road, you might want to look into a Wireless Skype phone that can be used anywhere a wireless internet connection is available.
  • Step TwoWhat Skype features and functions are needed? Everyone uses Skype differently and not every Skype phone supports all Skype features. To avoid purchasing a Skype phone that does not support some of the features and or functions you may wish to access via the phone, write down some of your “must haves” and then compare those with the supported Skype features and functions of the phone.
  • Step ThreeWhat is your budget? The last step is determine what you are willing to shell out to buy a Skype phone. Skype phones range in price, from under $50 USD to over $300 USD. You should expect to pay more for Skype phones with more functionality, so if you have a laundry list of needs from Step Two be prepared to pay more.

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