Sunday, September 16, 2007

Product Review: Ipevo Trio


I recently received a unit of the Ipevo Trio which is a Skype speakerphone.

They promote themselves with "Experience over IP". My experience is mixed.

Before I received the device, I have emailed their customer support asking whether their "drivers" are Vista and 64bit compatible!

I received never any reply.

The thing is even a bit tricky here, so let me explain a bit further:

The device uses, like most USB sound devices, the Windows default drivers for HIDs (Human Interface Devices) but the TRIO comes with a Control Center software and a Skype API plugin which are supposed to be an interface between Windows, Skype and the extra function buttons on the speakerphone. The buttons are supposed to start Skype, allow to accept or deny calls, mute the mic and it even has a button that is supposed to startup a recorder software.

However, it doesn't work! I am running Windows Vista X64 and despite the fact the driver download page uses the Vista logo (which usually indicates it works on 32bit and 64bit editions on Vista), it obviously doesn't work on 64bit!
So, I cannot check the extra functions since they do not work.

I just plug in the device and just can use the speakerphone/handset switch and the volume control (obviously covered by the default drivers)

Now, how about the sound quality? The sound quality is very good! The speaker can be well used for playing music aswell. The speakerphone mode works perfect in Skype2Skype calls thanks to Skype's echo cancellation but SkypeOut calls still have a slight echo, so maybe you wouldn't want to use it for this purpose.

The handset mode works very well, however, it's veeery uncompfortable to my ears and feels like a brick attached to it.

Also one cannot make calls with the handset without being disturbed by the cord, which is always in the way because it's on the wrong end of the handset!

Oh right, it's called "Trio", so the 3rd mode is to switch it to speakerphone mode and have it standing like a large brick on your desktop. However, this "tower mode" has one problem again: The cord is in the way! Okay, Ipevo made a gap into the casing in which you can press the cable, but this is not made very smart since the cable is thicker. So you either end up breaking the cable or it falls down and breaks.


So:

+Very good sound quality
+Works even without software
+handset and speakerphone mode
+perfect for Skype2Skype calls


-Software not 64bit compatible
-Driver download page is inacurrate
-Customer support non-existent
-Cable location not very clever
-"Tower mode" can easily break your phone

My special thanks to AmperorDirect for kindly supplying the hardware! :)


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