ASUS AiGuru SV1T Skype VideoPhone - Worst consumer electronics product of 2011 (and 2010 and maybe 2009) by jgn on Wednesday, December 14, 2011 in Technology and Reviews

But it seemed like such a good idea at the time, such a very very good idea at the time.

-- The Darkness

I've used a lot of awful consumer electronics products, but the ASUS AiGuru SV1T wins the "Worst Consumer Electronics Product of 2011" Award. Oh, wait, you could buy one in 2010; maybe even in 2009. So it sweeps the award for three years running.

This is supposed to be an "appliance" Skype VideoPhone that makes it easy to make a call. We were told in the movie 2001 that this would be implemented in payphones by now. So payphones are obsolete, but we're still waiting for a no-brainer video phone that your grandma can use.


We acquired this for office use, and found it lacking. I took it home and tried to dump it on Craig's List - no takers. Then it languished in my home office, and just recently I decided to give it another assessment. It still sucks.

Before I begin, let me say that this is a prime example of a product that should be a one-button interface: Call my favorite number. Would that be asking too much?

But everything about this product is wrong.

When I tap the green "phone" icon, it does what? Suggests that I enter a phone number. Hello! I want to use Skype! Remember? Phone numbers are great, but secondary. Please let me just browse my Skype contacts. To be sure, I can tap the right arrow to get to my contacts, but then I have to select that user, then tap "Video call." Tap tap tap. This is wrong.

Call quality: Terrible. The video is always grainy and the updates are slow. Additionally, I have this thing plugged in with an Ethernet cable to avoid the vagaries of wireless. It constantly (really: always) tells me that the network connection is lost and/or that the network connection has "changed" (no it hasn't), and I lose my call or have to interact with the machine.

There are no options in the "Advanced" settings to probe connection quality, insist that the Ethernet connection be favored over wireless (or used alone).

Finally: The greatest sin: Some of these issues could be fixed with updated software. As of this writing (14-Dec-2011) I have the latest software, dated . . . well, I'd like to tell you, but to do that, the phone has to connect, and as of right now it's "attempting" to connect. But not succeeding. Sheesh. Anyway, the date of last update was October, 2010. There is nothing I can find at ASUS Support with guidelines for troubleshooting, etc.

It is hard for me to imagine how ASUS screwed this up as badly as it did. All this thing is, is a repackaged laptop. The user interface gaffes I can forgive if the performance was great. But it isn't.

Do not buy this product.

Meanwhile, someone should introduce an awesome Skype VideoPhone. I am sure you are saying: Use an iPad. But there are great use cases for a dedicated device, the chief one being that you want to use your iPad while on a call, or you want to share the call with others. Perhaps you'll tell me just to buy a 2nd iPad. Yeah, I could do that, but where's my "call my most frequently used number" button? And so on.

comments powered by Disqus