Cheap smartphone that will make Skype calls over Wi-Fi?
June 3, 2009 5:28 PM   Subscribe

Can anyone recommend a cheap smartphone that can make Skype calls over Wi-Fi?

I don't want to use the smartphone on the cell phone network (though I might if I can get a cheap one that will work with AT&T). I just want one that will be able to make and receive Skype calls over my home and office wifi networks. I would prefer that the phone actually run Skype's official software, and not some alternative. Basically, I want a cheaper alternative to one of those Belkin or Netgear wifi phones.

The Skype calls must be able to use the phone's built in microphone and speaker - like a normal phone call. I mention this because some of these phones will run Skype but only with a headset or only over the speakerphone or some nonsense.

I will try and find any recommended phones on Craigslist in Los Angeles, if that matters.
posted by redteam to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Since it seems that the wifi access is more important than cellular tower access, why not look into an iPod touch? Even a refurbished one. No monthly charges, and Skype's iPhone/iPod application (which is a free download from iTunes App Store works very well.
posted by emelenjr at 7:37 PM on June 3, 2009

The only problem with emelenjr's suggestion is that the iPod touch does not have a built-in microphone. However, the iPhone does, and you might be able to get a refurbed or used first-gen iPhone for $100-150. Since you don't care about the cell network, it doesn't matter that it's not 3G. I don't think that really makes it any more of an affordable option than a dedicated Skype WiFi phone, however, it will be a much more versatile device, if you care about that, and the audio quality will likely be better.

Short of that, look for a used WinMo device with WiFi, though I don't know if you'd be able to find one under $100, even used.
posted by joshrholloway at 8:06 PM on June 3, 2009

emelenjr - I considered that but you need to have a 2G ipod touch - and even then you need to have a headset & microphone to hear the other person and talk to them. You need to buy some little add-on that may or may not work to talk on Skype on a 1G ipod touch - and then you end up with some fragile knob hanging off of the thing and a tangle of headphones.

joshrholloway: I can't find a 1st generation iPhone at anywhere near $100. Sigh :( Assuming WinMo means Windows Mobile (which Skype has apparently run on for a long time) I did see a few REALLY cheap Dell PDA's running that OS. However, they didn't appear to have speakers and microphones. That's why I'm stuck looking for a smartphone - it has to be as much like a phone (simple and compact) as possible.

The Belkin and Netgear options are ~$140 new and $90 used if you can find one. I'm hoping to find a smartphone for cheaper than that that a lot of people don't want because it's no longer all new and awesome or whatever but will do what I want it to do.

Thanks for the responses so far. Please keep them coming!
posted by redteam at 10:27 PM on June 3, 2009

I use skype on an iPod touch 1g with no problem.
posted by fourcheesemac at 2:06 AM on June 4, 2009

fourcheesemac: What do you use for a microphone? Can you describe your setup in detail, please?
posted by redteam at 10:46 AM on June 4, 2009

MacAlly iVoice Pro mic, v. 2.o iPod software, Skype App, pair of headphones.

Works sweet, though not as sweet as on my Nokia N800 with its built in video cam, speakers, and mic.
posted by fourcheesemac at 11:35 AM on June 4, 2009

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