Posted on 29-Jun-2010 15:51 by Steve Biddle.
Filed under: Reviews
Iíve played with a large number of IP phones over the last few years and have always been impressed by Polycomís range of IP phones. Polycom have dominated the audio and video conferencing market for a number of years due to their high quality products and have established a huge following in the VoIP market in recent years.
The IP335 is Polycomís newest IP phone. The IP300 series is Polycomís entry level range and the styling of this handset is similar to that of existing 300 series phones, except it has two significant new features Ė a backlit LCD screen, and support for the G.722 wideband audio codec, a feature Polycom call HD voice.
While G.722 support has featured on midrange and highend Polycom handsets for some time, it is the first level entry handset to feature this, and now means their entire range of handsets supports this HD voice codec. The G.722 codec samples audio at 16 kHz which offers significantly better voice quality than even a regular phone on the PSTN network.
The back of the phone features a RJ45 LAN and PC ports (the phone features a passthru mode if data ports are lacking), an RJ14 connector for the handset, a DC power connector if you are not using Power over Ethernet (PoE) and an RJ11 connector for connecting an external headset. Also included (but not show in the photo) is a stand which clips onto the bottom of the phone for use on a desk, and when flipped around acts as a wall mount.
The front of the phone features a 102x33 pixel backlit LCD with an auto dim feature, a well laid out keypad, dedicated buttons for mute, hold, headset, speakerphone, volume Ė and +. The two line buttons can be programmed for the same SIP extension or two different extensions.
Also included in the packaging is a voicemail button that can be swapped out with one of the Line buttons if single button access to voicemail is required. The Menu button takes you to the phone menu which is navigated using the arrow buttons located in the middle of the phone and the three black buttons below the LCD screen act as soft keys that perform various functions depending on whether a call is in progress or not.
The phone features a red LED on the top right hand side which is used for voicemail notifications, along with an envelope icon on the LCD. All Polycom phones have good support for the SIP NOFITY feature and will show the number of new voicemail messages on the phone LCD on a supported PBX such as Asterisk. The Message Centre menu option also gives a visual indication of the number of urgent, new and old message in your voicemail box. Pressing the Connct button will connect you directly to your voicemail system
Call control is brilliant on these phones and the implementation of the soft keys has been very well thought out. During an incoming call you have the ability to answer or ignore a call which will silence the ringer and divert it to voicemail (if active). The phone also features 3 way conferencing which is also very simple to use.
Call transfer is also very simple Ė press the Trans button and either enter an extension or phone number for an attended transfer, or press the Blind button and then enter the extension or phone number for a blind (unattended) transfer
While the phone itself only has two line buttons it supports up to 8 simultaneous calls. These are handled by scrolling up and down using the arrow keys. The soft key options dynamically change allowing you to Resume a parked call, start a new call, or Transfer, initiate a Conference call or End the currently active call.
Polycomís SIP phones all have fantastic auto provisioning support which can simplify the process of installing the phones on a PBX. Assuming you have a PBX or router supporting Option 66 for DHCP you can place your XML based configuration files and phone firmware files on a server or your PBX and the phone will automatically access these using FTP, TFTP, HTTP or HTTPS. If you opt for the more conventional approach of manually configuring the phone from the web interface youíll find the interface is well laid out but there are features that can only be set using XML configuration files.
Like all Polycom phones the phone features a XML browser which can be used for viewing XML webpages or applications. The size of the screen limits the usefulness of this browser but itís still perfectly suitable for such things as an agent login/logoff application.
Audio quality was fantastic with no noticeable distortion at maximum volume from either the handpiece or speakerphone. Speakerphone levels were more than adequate for a small office but the phone is certainly not a replacement for a dedicated conference phone. I had the opportunity to test G.722 calling (HD voice) with my Siemens Gigaset DECT handset I have here at home and found the quality to be superb.
Overall there was very little to dislike about this phone. It is a very good entry level handset that is packed with features and supports G.722 HD voice. Iíd consider it in direct competition to the new Linksys SPA500 handsets and Yealink range which all offer similar features and are roughly the same price. Iím hoping to be able to test all three side by side in coming weeks and will update this with my thoughts.
ē Fantastic audio quality
ē G722 support
ē Great auto provisioning
ē No dedicated DND button. This is very easy to activate from the phone menu however.
Polycom phones are distributed by Asnet Technologies 0800 POLYCOM and are available from a number of VoIP resellers including www.nicegear.co.nz