The folks at Junction Networks / OnSIP have recently posted a review of the Aastra 6730i, a recent entry-level offering in the Aastra lineup.
The entire 67xx series features Aastra’s Hi-Q technology. Hi-Q includes the combination of the G.722 wideband codec and software based compensation for the physical properties of the transducers on the device.
You might think of Hi-Q like equalization in a traditional stereo system. If you know the frequency response curve of the hardware you can extend its capabilities by using frequency dependent gain to compensate for the natural roll-off at the ends of the devices capabilities.
Since the phone is DSP based anyway it has the requisite processing capability to perform the EQ function. Thus Hi-Q leverages the phones existing processing hardware to enhance it’s capabilities. It’s literally a case of brains over brawn.
Of course, there are very real limits to this approach. The OnSIP review finds that a Polycom IP550 still sounds better, but they do feel that the 6730i still offers a dramatic improvement in audio quality.
From some angles Hi-Q is a clever move. Unlike simply building a better handset Hi-Q doesn’t add significantly to the cost of the device. The 6730i is offered for under $70 making it easily the least expensive HDVoice capable phone around, at least for the moment.
Aastra’s approach with their Hi-Q technology is an interesting interim strategy. It get’s them into the HDVoice business without a hardware redesign, and that keeps the cost down. It’s a bold move that’s bound to make the 67xx series popular in corporate & SOHO settings.