Using the Phone
The screen on the Asus AiGuru S1 Skype phone is a monochrome blue and black that many users will question with all of the color screens in devices across the market. But based on the pricing Asus has aimed at for this phone, the screen is acceptable.
The idle screen on the phone indicates the signal strength of the wireless network in a standard cell phone “bar” method, the current time, battery level, login status on Skype and what network the phone is attached to Skype through. The two “soft keys” on the phone allow you to select either “Skype” or “Menu” to move further into the settings.
Entering the Skype menu gives us options of phone book, voice mail, call history, conference call and answering machine settings.
The phone book lists all of the contacts in your Skype contact list on your PC. The check marks indicate that a user is online and the phone icon indicates a Skype Out call to a non-Skype phone. In this screen, I was setting up a conference call and the dots on the screen tell us which contacts are selected for the call.
The phone settings include changing the language between English and Chinese, ring volume (but no ring tones) and display contrast and brightness.
One of the more unique features on the Asus AiGuru S1 Skype phone is the ability to stream audio from a Windows Media Player playlist to the phone so you can listen to it via the speaker phone or the head phones jack.
Here I am testing the feature, playing an MP3 through the speaker. The sound quality is pretty dismal for music as you would expect through the on-phone speaker, but the headphones jack provides acceptable audio. I don’t think you’ll be replacing any of your music sources with this phone though. You can skip tracks and repeat via the keypad, but other than that functionality is pretty low. A neat gimmick to show off at least.
How does the phone perform when making calls though?
During a phone call to the house, no doubt annoying my girlfriend with its incessent ringing, this is what the screen looks like. Since this is a Skype Out call, it shows the full phone number, including the “+” sign since this is an international calling device. In fact, you HAVE to dial the “+1” in order to make a call to anywhere in the US if its not in your phone book.
Putting a user on hold allows you to go to other parts of the phone. The little “person” icon there indicates someone waiting and the phone number or contact name scrolls across the screen as well. Sorry, no hold music here.
The phone sound quality was actually pretty impressive, as reported on both ends of the phone. I chatted with a couple of our other reviewers using the phone during a full day of work and found that users in Canada and Skype users locally both reported good results on their end of the coversation. Land line calls were nearly as good with just a very slight delay during an out going call before my voice would be projected.
The sound quality on the Asus S1 Skype phone was pretty good, but one issue that I would knock Asus on is that there is no volume control for the head set to increase volume over the speaker. Overall though, I would consider the communication experience on the Asus S1 Skype phone to be quite pleasent once everything was setup.