Yesterday I talked about the best full-fledged skype phones. But if you haven’t already been using Skype, you may not be willing to make the $100+ commitment to equipment – even with the BKB recommendation. I wasn’t, (but if I knew then what I know now… ). I started with a simple headset plugged into the microphone and speaker jacks of my computer. And I started with a $5 headset I had lying around. Only my persnickerty friend Andrew Isen complained about the sound quality, but I knew I could do better.
The Koss CS100 is optimized for speech, with a noise-cancellation microphone, excellent sound, comfortable design and a great price: only $19.83 at Amazon.com. Now suitably impressed with Skype’s sound quality, I got tired of dialing from the screen widget and started looking for a USB Skype phone. I settled on the IPEVO Free-1. It’s got a compact design, and is both PC and Mac compatible. It allows you to talk like you would on a regular phone, albeit tethered to your computer. If that computer is a laptop, say in a hotel room with WiFi, you can talk on the phone — using the same skype account you would use at home. The Free-1 is $27.45 at Amazon.com marketplace. Tomorrow, I’ll write about WiFi Skype phones that allow you to use skype like a cellular phone anywhere there’s a WiFi hotspot!*
* A hotspot that does not require web-based sign-in.