The best thing about Skype's VoIP (voice over IP) internet phone service is the price: calls to other Skype users are free.

But you don't want to be tethered to your PC while making and receiving calls – hence the current spate of handsets that allow you to roam around your house while connected to your account.

So what's different about Logitech's solution to this problem? Cost, in essence. Most previous models set you back more than £100, but the Logitech is just £69.

The handset looks and operates like an ordinary cordless phone, but above its keypad is a six-line colour LCD that displays your Skype contacts and call logs. Its base station links to your PC via the USB port. Logitech claims that the product will offer clear calling up to 50m away when indoors, but we were able to pick up a great connection some 60m from the base station.

Installing the phone was slightly tricky: the software and instructions both gave us problems. First, the setup software did not start automatically, forcing us to dig through several menu layers. Then the instructions failed to mention that you must reboot before getting the phone up and running.

But once installed, the handset works remarkably well. It performs all the functions of Skype's desktop applications directly from the receiver; a scrollable list of your contacts allows you to see who is online and available to talk. From there you can connect via free Skype-to-Skype calls. You can also use the handset to access the fee-based SkypeIn and SkypeOut services for making calls to and from landlines and mobile phones.

One drawback of this otherwise impressive device: when the base station is connected, all other sound on the PC is muted. You can't, in other words, listen to MP3s until you disconnect the phone.

Logitech Cordless Internet Handset: Specs

  • USB cordless internet handset
  • Skype-certified
  • supports DECT and GAP
  • range 50m (indoors), 285m (outdoors)
  • 10 channels
  • standby 120 hours
  • talktime 10 hours
  • uses 2x AAA batteries
  • handset 133x45x25mm
  • 1-year limited warranty
  • USB cordless internet handset
  • Skype-certified
  • supports DECT and GAP
  • range 50m (indoors), 285m (outdoors)
  • 10 channels
  • standby 120 hours
  • talktime 10 hours
  • uses 2x AAA batteries
  • handset 133x45x25mm
  • 1-year limited warranty

OUR VERDICT

This is the first truly affordable Skype phone we've seen. If you want to make and receive calls away from your PC, the Logitech is a decent choice.

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