True to their promise Polycom has introduced a new low-end model in the SoundPoint range, the IP335. A sample unit arrived here just before the Christmas holidays and I’ve been using it as my principle desk phone for about a week.
The primary raison d’etre for this new model is extending the reach of their HDVoice offering into the lower-priced, entry level models. Yes, the IP335 is HDVoice capable, supporting the G.722 wideband codec.
Let me get a few things clearly stated at the outset; I’ve not used any of the SoundPoint 300 series phone previously. Many of my comments are likely to be generally applicable to this low-end range, and not just specifically about the IP335. Within my operation we make considerable use of the middle-of-the-range models, especially IP430s & IP450s, while a few of us enjoy using the higher-end IP601s & IP650s.
It’s not easy giving up my IP650 for an entry-level phone. However, it’s been cold here the past few weeks, and my office doesn’t stay as comfortable as the house, so I’ve setup a temporary workspace on our dining room table..including the IP335. I’ll try to give this little phone a fair shake, but it is something of a demotion from my regular ride.
The SoundPoint IP335 is a two-line phone. It’s major features carry forward from the prior IP33x models but have been extended. It has a smallish LCD graphical display that’s backlit like the larger models. Immediately below the LCD you find three soft buttons. Looking further down the face of the phone there are four hard keys arrayed around a five way navigation button.
The five way button works as follows:
- Right arrow invokes the placed calls list
- Down arrow invokes the received calls list
- Up arrow invokes a speed dials list
- Left arrow exits whatever menu you are presently in
A little graphical widget in the upper left corner of the LCD offers guidance as to which arrow keys are appropriate at each position as you navigate through menus using the five way button.
Compared to its larger brethren navigating the menus on the IP335 is tedious and more confusing. The combination of the limited number of keys and limited screen size takes its toll. However, at a position where it’s not someone’s main desk phone, for example in a public lobby, this inconvenience won’t matter in the least.
All the requisite hard keys are obviously placed on the phone including; hold, headset, speakerphone, volume up/down and a big red mic mute button. What you won’t find is a dedicated button for retrieving voicemail. I suspect that this betrays the phones intended purpose as described previously, not someone’s primary desk phone. You can reprogram one of the line keys to be a speed dial for VM retrieval, but then you’ve lost one of the only two line keys.
In so far as being my temporary desktop is concerned the IP335 is actually handy. It’s footprint is considerably smaller than the more up-market models. That can be useful in some situations. It has a two port switch on the back, allowing me to pass network access from the phone to my PC, with only one network run back to the switch in the wiring closet.
It’s power-over-ethernet capable although I’m not using it that way. I have it plugged into a standard Polycom switching supply producing 24 vdc. If you’re ordering these phones remember that very often the power supply is not provided in order to keep the street price down. You need to be sure to order it with the AC adapter if you won’t be using power-over-ethernet.
The IP335 has a rear-mounted RJ-9 type headset connector, so you’re going to need to buy a professional style headset if you need such a thing. Unlike the larger models, the snap-on stand can be mounted two ways, accommodating either desktop or wall-mount installation. Very handy indeed.
The sound quality of the IP335 is excellent, just what you would expect from Polycom. The handset looks, feels and sounds just like the one on my IP650…even on wideband / HDVoice / G.722 calls. Yes, it’s very good. The speakerphone seems comparable as well, although I’ll admit that I haven’t use it much as yet.
With limited hard keys available many common calling features like transfer, conference and the contact directory are available only via the soft keys just under the LCD display. For the less demanding locations where you still need a phone, like the lunch room, it’s occasionally nice to have access to things like conference capability, even if it isn’t immediately available on a hard key.
Like the rest of the SoundPoint family, the IP335 supports dialing by SIP URI by way of the phones contact list. Contacts can be entered in SIP URI format, which overcomes the inconvenience of not having access to a full alpha-numeric keyboard. The contact list can be provisioned from afar, just as the phones firmware and core configuration can be provided by a remote provisioning server.