I remember when I first walked through the doors of VoIP Supply.
The industry was in its infancy and VoIP phone choices were made for you rather than having to decide on what you wanted due to the limited number of manufacturers and offerings at that time.
Today, the market is very different.You have the “pick of the litter” with so many choices ranging from Polycom, Cisco (Linksys), Aastra, Snom, Grandstream, Yealink, Siemens (told you there were a lot out there) you really have to think what functions and features you need when settling on the phone of your choice.
Sometimes I wish there wasn’t so many choices because sometimes too much choice makes it difficult to decide on which VoIP phone to go with. So I understand the position you are in when it comes to making a purchase decision.
Luck for you this is where I come in.
Here’s when all of those years of trainings, traveling to conventions and vendor visits bears fruit and allows me to demystify today’s business VoIP Phones to the common public.
But rather than spend the next seven hours demystifying and explaing all of the choice, I though I’d take you through my favorite business VoIP phone options. Now I probably will get some feedback, both negative and positive, from various sources but this is my humble opinion on what I think would be the best option for your business needs.
Before we get to my top choices, I first wanted to share a quick note that will help you make a better purchase decision.
Before you buy a business VoIP phone
When talking about Business VoIP Phones, there are a lot of questions that you need to be answered before you can make an educated decision on which phone is right for your business. Here are the most important questions I ask. Keep these in mind as you consider your VoIP phone purchase.
- What phone system or VoIP Provider are you planning on using? In today’s VoIP arena, most Service Providers support almost any SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) device. Even though they might offer only a few handsets, they allow you to bring your own device (BYOD) with limited support. Before deciding on the phone, I implore you contact the service provider and confirm the phone works with their network. If you are planning on building your IP/PBX or buying a “prefabed” unit, they should almost always support any phone available today. Again, please check with the software developer and confirm the phone is supported.
- Who will be using the phone? Being employed at VoIP Supply, they have given me the ability to use a variety of phones and I’ll tell you in that time I’ve used a lot of VoIP phones. Depending on the needs of the person using the phone, what are the requirements they have. Is this person going to be on the phone all day or are they using it sparingly? Does this person need use of a speakerphone or perhaps they would like to make a video call. Again, here we are with the questions but trust me. When you have answered all of this, you will know that you’ve done your homework and the decision you make is the right choice.
Now remember there are other questions you should answer beforing making a final decision. A full list of steps to purchasing a VoIP phone can be found here.
On to my favorite business VoIP phones:
My favorite business VoIP phones
Polycom IP 670 – Polycom is an industry leader when it comes VoIP phones and has some of the nicest ones around. With HD Voice, outstanding speakerphones and compatibilty with almost all VoIP software and services, you really can’t go wrong with any model.
To me the one phone that really stands out is the Polycom IP 670. Here are some of the reasons why:
- Backlit 320 x 160 pixel color display delivers a rich visual experience
- Unparalleled voice quality and clarity that makes every call efficient and productive
- Integrated GigE support that future-proofs your network infrastructure investment
- PoE Support as well as having Dual Ethernets Ports for sharing your existing network with the phone and computer
- A color interface platform for accessing applications, such as the Polycom Productivity Suite and third-party applications
- Advanced SIP functionality, including shared lines, busy lamp field, and presence
- Broad and robust interoperability with a broad array of SIP call control platforms for open choices and simplified provisioning and support
Cisco SPA525G – Cisco (Linksys) is another industry leader that makes some of the most popular VoIP phones on the market. I’m not going to get into the Cisco CP-79xx phones due to the licensing requirements for using them with SIP based systems. That leaves Cisco’s Small Business line of VoIP phones and the leader in that pack is the SPA525G. Here are the main reasons the SPA525G is one of my favorties:
- Full-featured and stylish 5-line business IP phone supporting up to two SPA932 ( 32 button) attendant consoles
- Enhanced connectivity, with Power over Ethernet, 802.11g wi-fi client mode, and Bluetooth headset support
- Graphic-rich, high-resolution 3.2-inch QVGA 320 x 240 color screen
- Simple, easy, and highly secure wireless setup with industry-standard push-button WPS and quick provisioning capabilities for mass-scale service provider activation
- Support for multimedia functions, such as playing MP3′s, displaying digital photos, and viewing RSS feeds
- Multi feature support, such as caller ID, call forwarding, call transfer, 3-way conferencing, call parking, call history, phonebook, and built-in full-duplex speakerphone
- Supports both SIP with SPA9000 or leading third party call control platforms and SPCP Protocols with Cisco Unified Communication 500 Series
snom 870 – Yes they made it to my list of my of favorites. Although they are not very well known here in the states, they have a huge fan base in Europe. I remember talking with a friend I have that lives in Europe and it seems things happen there first before they trickle to us. But, the Snom 870 can stand toe to toe with any of the aforementioned phones. Here are some of the 870′s main selling points
- TFT Touch screen with 24 bit color depth; 10,9cm (4,3 “)
- Intuitive user interface
- Gigabit Ethernet Switch
- 5-way conferencing (bridge on phone)
- 2 x type A USB – WLAN ready
- Wideband Audio
- Power over Ethernet
- SIP RFC3261
- Security: SIPS/SRTP, TLS
- STUN, ENUM, NAT, ICE
- National Language Support
- XML Mini Browser
Aastra 6739i – The last, but certainly not least, VoIP phone to make my favorites list is the Aastra 6739I. Here’s what I love about this well designed phone:
- Large 5.7” Full VGA (640×480) Color Touch Screen LCD
- Integrated Gigabit Ethernet and Bluetooth support
- Built-in USB port
- Intuitive graphical user interface and navigation menus
- On screen keyboard for easy input and editing
- XML support for productivity enhancing applications
- Up to 9 lines with call appearances
- Multi-proxy support
- Up to 55 programmable softkeys
- Distinctive ringing, priority alerting
- Personal directory and Redial list with Picture support
- Call forward, Call transfer, Call waiting, Call timer
- Caller and Calling Line information
- Callers list, Missed Call Notification
- Built-in Local 3-way Conference support
- Intercom and Paging with auto answer
- One-touch call transfer, conference or call park
- Busy Lamp Field (BLF) support
- Shared call and bridged line appearances (SCA, BLA)
- Aastra Hi-Q™ Audio Technology
As I stated earlier, there are a lot of choices out there when deciding what phone is best for your needs. The phones that I mentioned above are what I consider to my favorites because they are the cream of the crop when it comes to Business VoIP Phones. But, if your budget doesn’t include one of these phones, please feel free to call me @ 716-250-3403 and I would be happy to discuss some other options that fit the budget.