Some time ago the folks at Gigaset showed me their DE380-IP-R desk phone. It was about the time that they were just starting to ship their SIP/DECT products to the US. When they sent me some sample gear for evaluation a lone sample of this little desk phone came along for the ride.
I tried the DE380-IP-R for a short while but never really put it into service. I used it just long enough to confirm that it was truly wideband capable, supporting G.722.
The simple truth is that I found the phone to be just a little too quirky for my tastes. There are things about it that seem too Euro-centric in their design or implementation. Further, with a retail price of around $140 they were simply too odd when compared to the newly released Polycom Soundpoint IP335, which is also wideband capable.
It remained on a shelf until much later, when I used it to prove out a little idea about using wideband SIP phones in support of a community radio station. The DE380-IP-R has dual 3.5mm audio jacks for use with a PC style headset. I saw that as an opportunity to provide a convenient interface to a traditional audio mixer.
Another curious thing about the DE380-IP-R is that it has a dual network jacks. OK, that’s not at all uncommon. In its most basic form the DE380-IP-R can function as a two-port switch. More curiously, the DE380-IP-R can also function as a router supporting PPPoE. One presumes that with it acting as your router matters of QoS for the VoIP traffic would transparently handled. Issues of NAT should be easily conquered as well.
Just recently VUC sponsor E4Technologies has come into possession of a number of these desk phones. Evidently they didn’t make the splash that Gigaset might have hoped in the US. E4 Technologies is selling these off for $30 each! That’s 79% off the suggest list price.
This offer on the DE380-IP-R might just make them the cheapest real, HDVoice capable hard phone I’ve yet encountered. However, there is a condition of sale. At this price E4 Technologies is not providing any technical support beyond a simple sheet of setup instructions.
I doubt that this will be a problem for a lot of folks. The phone has a nice, fairly intuitive, web-based setup menu, not unlike the Gigaset SIP/DECT phones. And of course, the manual is available should find yourself in desperate straights.
So there you have it, at holiday time, when money is tight for everyone, the cheapest HDVoice plaything that you’ve ever seen. An affordable way to kill some of the time you’ll have after the turkey is done and dishes cleared away.
Update: On December 24th I took a few minutes to install the latest firmware into the D380IP-R. I noted that installing the firmware via the web GUI doesn’t worth from within Chrome, but worked fine in Firefox.
I also noted that the DE380IP-R does not work well with the ZipDX conference bridge. There’s a quirk in its G.722 implementation that results in unusable audio. I’m in the process of alerting Gigaset about this, with details provided by David Frankel of ZipDX.
It’s also worth noting that there are no interop problems with with any other HDVoice capable phone that I have tried, including Polycom, Cisco, Yealink, snom, Eyebeam, Blink & Acrobits.
Finally, E4 has offered up a couple of these little DE380s to be given away to VUC attendees. We gave away two last week, and have another one to give away later today.