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Siemens' M34 USB adapter for Skype reviewed

Marc Perton
siemens skype dongle

There are now a handful of specialized phones and devices that let you make Skype calls using telephones. While our preference is to use something like the Actiontec Internet Phone Wizard, which lets you make Skype calls using any telephone in your home, most of the action is concentrated on specialized phones or adaptors that typically connect to your computer via USB and to your home phone system via an RJ11 in a base station, allowing you to make calls using both Skype and your landline. One of the first of these to hit the market was the Siemens Gigaset M34 USB adaptor, which lets certain Siemens phones work with Skype. Digital Lifestyles tried one out, and came away impressed, both by the Siemens S440 handset they tried out (which, of course, still works without Skype), and by the M34, which, in addition to Skype, allows you to IM with your phone, and even control your PC to some extent (so that, for example, you can use your phone as an iTunes remote). Of course, all of this doesn't come cheap; the M34 will set you back about $129, and the cheapest compatible handset is $65. But if you're facing hefty landline bills, it could end up paying for itself pretty quickly.

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