The Skype menu is pretty much standard across the majority of handsets so you have features such as a contacts list for quick access and a history option, which provides plenty of information about inbound and outbound calls, missed calls and voicemails. Call diverting enables incoming calls to be sent to another number and voicemail can be activated as well. The Services menu enabled us to keep tabs on our SkypeOut credit and its expiry date along with our SkypeIn number plus voicemail options and how long they are good for.
We found the Solwise handset nicer to use as it's slightly smaller than the Netgear equivalent but just as solidly built. We also prefer the design of the Solwise base station and handset as they look more like a normal phone system. Pick the handset up and the keypad lights up with a bright orange backlight making it very easy to use in dim and dark places. The LCD display is also brightly lit and easily readable and you can change the timeout after which it blanks itself to save power.
Making calls is simple enough and the large keypad buttons should be manageable for the majority of thumb sizes. You can configure the handset to have a default preference for either the landline or SkypeOut or you can set it to request this each time you make a call. Voice quality proved to be up to the mark with our testers reporting that they could hear no significant differences between calls made to them over SkypeOut or the landline. The same judgements applied to calls coming in via the landline or our SkypeIn number.
Whereas Netgear gives you a choice of sixteen ring tones, Solwise mercifully only provides nine although these are just as hideous and neither handset provides a vibrate only option. There's also no option with Solwise for assigning different tones to differentiate incoming landline and SkypeIn calls although you can assign a separate tone for the intercom function where there are multiple base stations in use.
If you want a single handset solution that supports both landline and Skype services then your choices are limited. Solwise's V500-DS is well worth consideration and compared with Netgear's SPH200D it's more affordable and its sleeker design looks better in a home environment, whereas Netgear offers a slightly better features list.