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ZTE Skype S2x review

Niall Magennis

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Reviewed:

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ZTE Skype S2x
  • ZTE Skype S2x
  • ZTE Skype S2x
  • ZTE Skype S2x
  • ZTE Skype S2x
  • ZTE Skype S2x
  • ZTE Skype S2x
  • ZTE Skype S2x
  • ZTE Skype S2x

Summary

Our Score:

7

The S2x is Three’s latest Skype phone that enables you to make Skype calls from the handset in the same way you make normal mobile calls. This is the third Skype handset that Three has introduced, so is it a case of third time lucky?

The handset is certainly the best-looking Skype phone yet. It’s actually built by ZTE, the same Chinese company that manufacturers Three’s budget F102 3G handset, but whereas that model was obviously quite plasticky, the S2x is a more solid and high-class affair. It has an aluminium battery cover that reminds us slightly of Nokia’s old and rather pricey 8800 and we like the thin strip keys on the keypad as they not only look quite stylish, but are also very responsive when tapping out text messages. The phone is relatively small, too, as it measures just 102.9mm x 45.4mm x 13.75mm, and although the aluminium used on the case makes it a little bit heavier to hold, it also helps the phone feel more robust than most candy bar shaped handsets.

Naturally, the phone’s 2.2in screen can’t compete with the displays found on today’s touchscreen phones, but it’s very bright and considering its small size, its QVGA resolution is impressive. Text on web pages viewed in the browser looks quite small, but it’s still easily sharp enough to read without having to squint at the screen.

Obviously, the phone’s key feature is its Skype support. If you already have a Skype account, setting the S2x up to work with the service couldn’t be more straightforward as you simply tap the centre of the D-pad to launch the Skype client and then enter your username and password. The handset will then log you into the service, download your Skype contacts and neatly integrate them into the phone’s main address book. If you don't already have a Skype account you can sign up directly from the phone rather than having to create an account on your computer.

The Skype services work similarly to those on a PC. Skype-to-Skype calls are free, but you have to pay if you want to call standard mobiles or landlines via the SkypeOut service (Three restricts SkypeOut usage to non-UK numbers, but as most people use Skype for cheap foreign calls, this is not such a big issue). To use SkypeOut you buy call credit in advance rather than having calls show up on your mobile bill and call charges are generally much lower than normal mobile or landline calls.

Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut

robjohn

June 23, 2010, 12:31 pm

A little publicised conflict between Skype on 3 phones and Skype on a Mac/PC is worth mentioning (it is hidden deep in the Skype forums). When you log on to your Skype account on a 3 phone it alters the default settings on your Skype account to 'receive incoming calls (Skype and Skype In) from contacts in address book only". This may not seem like a big deal but it means that if (like me) you want to use Skype on your main Mac/PC and on the 3 phone, your default settings are forced to contacts only. I have lost many incoming calls this way as I forget to go back into my Skype account and manually change the settings after using the 3 phone. As a business user with 2 Skype In numbers, I found this was a serious conflict. Skype tech support told me they were aware and working on a resolution with 3 (that was a year ago). For most people this is not an issue, but for some of us it has been big enough to abandon the otherwise excellent 3 Skype service.

Booshambles

June 23, 2010, 2:35 pm

if you still have this phone you might want to load facebook up mess around with it for a bit then leave yourself logged in. What happens on the earlier model is the phone crashes and the screen goes black, its pretty random at what point it happens, but apps like facebook rarely skype and the picture viewer of all things causes it. it doesnt turn the phone off but freezes with a black screen, you have to take the battery out and put it back in. i know if i press facebook by accident on thephone its easier to take the battery out straight away to avoid crashing later. give it a test if you still have the phone, press facebook then come back to it in a few hours and see if it still works.

DavidDB

June 23, 2010, 8:39 pm

With the news that INQ are going ANDROID the prospect of a Cheap Android from 3 looks like a certainty.





Might be a good time to wait and see what INQ brings to the table - If it pans out the way I would like it to we could see a cheap PAYGO Android soon enough

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