Connection and setup is very simple, assuming you already have Skype installed. Just install the software, connect the box to your phone socket, your phone to the box and the box to your PC with the supplied USB cable. With all of this achieved, all you need to do to enable Internet calls is to assign speed dial numbers to your Skype contacts and all you need to do to dial those contacts is press the # key twice to switch to VoIP mode, followed by a speed dial number (or full landline number for SkypeOut calls). If your chosen Skype contact is busy it can even be set to call you back later automatically when they’re back online.
In practice the main functions all worked without a hitch. Call quality was very good – not notably different from calls made over the standard PSTN connection, dialing numbers using SkypeOut and calling Skype contacts was a doddle, and receiving Internet calls worked perfectly. But it’s not completely niggle-free.
The answer phone feature, which is built in to the bundled software, isn’t really worth activating. You can’t change the greeting either, which put an end to its usefulness straight away, but I couldn’t get it to work anyway. All it would record was silence.
The other problem is with the admittedly useful and potentially money-saving dial-in mode. When this kicks in after a set number of rings all you get is a message asking you to enter your password, which could well be confusing when people (like your Gran, who will probably whisper ‘Abracadabra’ in response) dial your landline expecting an answer phone, or you to pick up.
And finally, you do have to leave your PC on all of the time to give you convenient access to all these functions, which is nether easy on the electricity bill nor good for the environment.
Actiontec’s VoSKY Call Center is certainly a worthy addition to the phalanx of VoIP related products pouring out onto the market at the moment. It’s a genuinely neat solution with some potentially money saving features. The dial-in and callback features are particularly well thought-out.
But I do think that the price could certainly do with a helping hand in the downward direction. The £47 asking price is a little too much for such a simple product that still has some rough edges to it.