Review: Polycom SoundPoint IP335 Entry Level HDVoice IP Phone

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.

  • A

    Thanks for the indepth review! Would you mind posting a screenshot of the 450’s LCD display similar to the one you provided for the 335?

    • You’ll find some in the 2008 review of the IP550/650.

      http://www.mgraves.org/voip/2009/02/polycom-soundpoint-ip-550-ip-650-reviewed/

      • The 550/650 review does not have a photo of the 450 screen. Do you have a photo of the 450 screen (in customer use, not from Polycom marketing)?

        • The IP450/550/650 all share the same screen. Looking at my older photos they look a little washed out. That’s not the LCD, that’s something that happened to the photos as they were published. Perhaps too much Photoshop was used, or the PNG files are not being displayed correctly with gamma compensation.

          • Oops! I was mistaken about that. I’m told, from someone who really should know, that the IP450 LCD screen is smaller than the one on an IP650. I’ll take comparative pics of all three when I’m back in my office, just to be very clear.

  • A

    Perfect, thanks.

  • Michael,

    As usual you’ve managed to give us all an excellent intro to a product before we invest! We should talk with you in depth about this on VUC in the next few weeks.

    Randy

  • Great post Michael.. “legendary quality and an attractive price point.” This should become the official tag line for this device-

  • EgoTef

    Still now 802.1x support for Polycom Soundpoint devices. Having that requirement behind, there´s unfortunately no way for us within our new pbx

    • I’ll look into the matter of 802.1x. Which PBX are you using?

  • Leo

    We wrote up a little review of the Aastra 6730i in response to someone’s earlier comment about the phone. Talk about attractive price point! 😛

  • Pradip

    I am a new user of SoundPoint IP 335. The phone is installed and is presently working. My query here is to find out the details of handling the instrument. I am unable to feed in the Speed Dial list, Change the date and time on the screen. Feed in my frequently called numbers in the Directory. 

    Please can you send a mail to me [pradip@globeforex.com] with the details of using the hand set in order to use the keys and set the speed dial, dictionary and clock etc.

    Thanks 
    Pradip

    • mjgraves

      Sorry, but my ability to assist does not go to such lengths. You should be reading the user guide and admin guide for Polycom SoundPoint Series. There you will find all the info necessary to either manually load contacts or automatically provision a contact list from an XML file on a provisioning server.

      You should also check http://www.voip-info.org. I know that there’s some good and relevant info about this on that site. Sadly, it seems to be down at the moment.

  • Sean

    My current employer uses these phones in part of the office and I agree with this review. The LCD screen is too small for any major stuff but it works well enough. I think the speakerphone is very good and the build quality seems very sturdy. 

    • mjgraves

      Thanks for the comment. My experience has been that the IP335s are great for common areas, lobbies, etc. They last well and sound great. There are now cheaper HDVoice capable phones, but not with Polycom sound and build quality.

  • Is it just me, or is the sidetone volume level way too low on this model?

    • mjgraves

      Mike,

      That was not my experience with the IP335. I’ll check and see if I still have one around here somewhere to confirm. You can alter then sidetone level by way of a parameter in the config file. That means using a provisioning server at least for a while to make the change.

    • mjgraves

      Mike,

      Sorry, but I think that the IP335 I once had has found a new home elsewhere.

      • OK, thanks.

        I’m an end user, so I can’t change the setting myself.
        I sent a message to our institutional help desk, and the reply I got was to adjust the volume with the buttons on the phone….

        I don’t think they understood what I was asking for.

        Oh, well. Maybe if enough other people complain, they might figure it out.