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Belkin's Wi-Fi Phone for Skype Breaks Out of the Pack

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Introduction, Specs and Design

At a Glance
Product Belkin Wi-Fi Phone for Skype (F1PP000GN-SK)
Summary Belkin version of Accton OEM'd phone with better battery life than SMC version
Pros - Doesn't need a computer running Skype
- Much better battery life than SMC and Netgear phones
- Intuitive, attractive interface
- Good wireless range
Cons • No Skype text chat
• No browser-based authentication

My previous reviews of SMC's version of this phone OEM'd from Accton and Netgear's version, whose maker I'm not sure of, have covered what these products have to offer pretty well. So this review will cover only the differences between Belkin's and SMC's version, which boil down to vastly improved battery life and features that work in Belkin's version that didn't work in SMC's .

As the beauty shot above shows, Belkin's phone is black to the SMC's white. But what you can't tell from the photo is that instead of a smooth plastic surface, the Belkin has a textured surface that I think is supposed to feel like a kidskin glove. The phone also has slightly softened edges that give it a nice feel in the hand. More importantly, however, is that the top surface of the phone is smooth, without the sharp recess that irritated me on SMC's version.

Belkin includes a short USB cable and compact charger that accepts 100-240 VAC, 50/60 HZ. It also has a U.S.-style flat-blade plug that is not removable—just like SMC's charger. Belkin doesn't, however, throw in an earphone / mic, as SMC does, but joins SMC and Netgear in not including a protective case.

Note that the charging contacts on the bottom of the phone are located identically to those on the SMC phone. So you should be able to use the optional charging and charging / access point cradles announced by SMC last month—if you can find them.

Specs and Design Info

As mentioned earlier, both the Belkin and SMC phones are manufactured by SMC's parent company Accton. The SMC phone I received was a pre-production unit and didn't have an FCC ID label. But the Belkin phone did and the FCC ID confirmed its manufacture by Accton. I had to take the internal photos in the SMC article myself, but the Belkin's FCC file came with internal photos...and a surprise!

Figure 1 shows the Belkin phone's board, which you can compare to my photo of the SMC phone's board in Figure 2. They look pretty identical to me!

Belkin phone board

Figure 1: Belkin phone board (click image to enlarge)

SMC phone board

Figure 2: SMC phone board (click image to enlarge)

But the surprise comes in Figure 3, which is a close-up of the Belkin / SMC / Accton phone's radio with its RF shield removed.

Belkin phone radio closeup

Figure 3: Belkin phone radio closeup

The shows that my guess was wrong about the phone using the Texas Instruments WL1251 WiLink 4.0 single-chip 802.11b/g radio that is used in the Netgear SPH101. Instead those are Marvell 88W8385 integrated 802.11g wireless MAC/BB and 88W8015 RF transceiver devices. Now I know why Marvell was showing the phone in its booth at the fall VON show a few months ago and demoing battery life!

Checking the specs in the User Guide, I found the same specs for transmit power (16 dBm [40 mW] for 802.11b / 12 dBm [16 mW], antenna gain (5.5 dBi), battery (removable Li-Ion 3.7 V minimum 1100 mAH) and Use Time: 3 hrs" / standby time of 50 hrs as the SMC product.

Finally, while browsing through the Settings > Information menu, I came upon the same "Powered by TrollTech.com" logo as in the SMC phone. I also recorded a V1.0.0.10 software version, 2006/09/13 software date and R03 hardware version.




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