Wed, 06 Dec 2006 Cyperphone-W Mac Version
A USB handset that makes using Skype’s cheap phone service more enjoyable
You’ve probably heard of Skype – the program that enables you to make cheap phone calls via an internet connection – even Tesco has jumped on the bandwagon.
You can use any ordinary microphone and speakers to make calls with Skype, but if you use the service a lot then you might want to get a specialised Skype handset such as this Cyberphone-W.
There are several Skype handsets around at the moment, but the Cyberphone is one of the few that works with the Mac. It looks like an ordinary telephone handset, but has a USB cable attached to it so you can plug it into one of your Mac’s USB ports.
Once that’s done, you need to install the VoipVoice software that is supplied with the Cyberphone (you’ll also need to have Skype already installed – available as a free download from www.skype.com). The Cyberphone software enables you to control Skype by using the various buttons on the Cyberphone to dial numbers and use features such as speed dial.
Once set up, the Cyberphone is very easy to use because – for the most part – it works just like an ordinary telephone. The one big difference is the lack of a dialling tone – we thought it wasn’t working at first, because there was no tone or any kind of beep as we dialled numbers. However, our first call went straight through as soon as we pressed the green ‘dial’ button on the handset.
The manual could be a little clearer. At one point it rather confusingly tells you to select your Mac’s built-in microphone in the Sounds preferences panel, rather than selecting the Cyberphone. It also doesn’t really explain how to use the speed-dial option properly.
Still, it didn’t take us long to experiment and find out how everything worked, and using the Cyberphone quickly began to feel very natural. We particularly like the way that Skype automatically uses the ‘genie’ effect to zoom in and out of the Dock whenever you lift the handset or put it back down again.