By Andrew Garcia  |  Posted 2006-10-29 Print this article Print

-Specific"> Device-Specific As they are based on the same model, the SMC and Belkin phones are practically identical in form and function, although our Belkin device came in glossy black finish while the SMC device had a white finish. Both phones measure 1.93 inches wide, 4.53 inches long and .71 inches thick and weigh 3.7 ounces with the battery installed.

The SMC phone we tested used a slightly older firmware revision (0.9.02) than the Belkin phone did ( This difference likely accounted for the SMC phones "stickiness" in tests: We found that the Belkin phone was quicker to identify when a network connection dropped and the Skype connection timed out. The SMC phone, in contrast, would fail to recognize that the Skype connection was gone and would then hang for a short period once we attempted to access a Skype function.

In our battery tests, we connected all three phones to a Trapeze Networks-powered unencrypted WLAN, with each phone placed about 3 feet from our access point. To measure battery life, we booted each fully charged phone (preconfigured to attach to the network and log in to Skype) and then received an incoming call from a second Skype client configured on a PC. The results provided below represent the entire duration of an active call with music playing constantly in one direction.

Keyspans VOIP Phone offers good coverage in eWEEK Labs tests. Click here to read the review. The SMC phones 3.7-volt 1,200-mAh (milli-Amp hours) battery is rated for 3 hours of talk time or 30 hours of standby time. (We expect the Belkin devices rated times to be the same, but we did not have access to the devices technical specifications). However, we were pleasantly surprised by performance that surpassed these numbers: The Belkin phone had a talk time of 4 hours and 51 minutes (although massive dropouts started occurring around the 4-hour, 42-minute mark), while the SMC phone turned in 5 hours and 3 minutes of talk time before shutting down.

Netgears SPH101 is slightly smaller yet heavier than the other devices we tested: It measures 4.33 inches long, 1.81 inches wide and .75 inches thick, and it weighs 4 ounces with the battery installed. The SPH101s 3.7-volt, 840-mAh battery does not promise quite as much kick as that of the Accton-based devices—its rated for only 2 hours of talk time or 20 hours of standby time.

In tests, the SPH101s battery performance did lag significantly behind that of the Accton-based devices, delivering 1 hour and 59 minutes of talk time. We tested the SPH101s talk-time performance when connected to a WPA-PSK-encrypted WLAN, and the battery performance dropped slightly to about 1 hour and 40 minutes. The SPH101s battery shortcomings are a shame because the device was superior to the Accton-based phones on almost every other front.

We noted that all three phones black out the LCD panel during a long call. In addition, none of the phones shows the battery level during an active call, which could lead to some anxiety when you dont know if you have enough power to make it through an important call.

Technical Analyst Andrew Garcia can be reached at

Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on voice over IP and telephony.

Andrew cut his teeth as a systems administrator at the University of California, learning the ins and outs of server migration, Windows desktop management, Unix and Novell administration. After a tour of duty as a team leader for PC Magazine's Labs, Andrew turned to system integration - providing network, server, and desktop consulting services for small businesses throughout the Bay Area. With eWEEK Labs since 2003, Andrew concentrates on wireless networking technologies while moonlighting with Microsoft Windows, mobile devices and management, and unified communications. He produces product reviews, technology analysis and opinion pieces for, eWEEK magazine, and the Labs' Release Notes blog. Follow Andrew on Twitter at andrewrgarcia, or reach him by email at

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