The Vonage F1000 Wi-Fi phone (£90 inc. VAT) is a VoIP device that enables cheap telephone calls over the Internet. Although it looks like a mobile phone, the aim is for it to replace your current landline. The F1000 has a built-in Wi-Fi adapter, and works wherever you can log on to a wireless network. Thanks to a venture between Vonage and The Cloud, it will work in major UK airports, Coffee Republic outlets, and all other Cloud hotspots.
The user must set up an account with Vonage to activate the phone. This is done online, and is an easy process. You'll be given an account number, a username and a password, allowing you to keep track of account activity.
There's a fixed £8 monthly fee, which includes free, unlimited local and national calls. Calls to mobile phones cost 15p a minute in the daytime, 10p a minute in the evenings, and 5p a minute at the weekend. There is no contract, so users are free to stop using the phone whenever they wish.
The phone automatically searches for nearby hotspots when switched on. After selecting the network you wish to use, calls can be made as you would with a standard mobile phone. Handsets are still scarce, but we found the unit weighed less and felt smaller than other VoIP phones we've seen. The 1.4-inch screen has a black on orange back-lit display. This saves on power, and is similar in style to mobile phones from several years ago.
Bearing in mind it's intended for interior use, build quality is reasonable rather than outstanding, but the phone feels sturdy to the touch. Resilient plastics are used, and the unit is capable of withstanding everyday knocks and drops.
Although the aim is to replace your home phone, many users will still require a landline for their Internet connection. As an additional phone, the F1000 works well, but the fixed monthly charge looks pricey after the initial outlay of £90.