At long last I’ve purchased a Polycom VVX-500 for my desk. A year ago I participated in the beta program for this outstanding desk phone. A such I’ve had one to use well before they launched in October 2011.
However, Polycom devices involved in a beta program ship with a boot loader that will only load beta firmware. Once the device was officially shipping and release firmware available I could not longer update the VVX in my possession. This wasn’t initially an issue, but when OnSIP started to support Polycom UC v4.0+ firmware with their provisioning server I thought it would be good to more completely integrate my desk phone with our OnSIP account.
I might like to review the VVX-500, but that seems a little weird. As I was involved in the beta program I was bound by the companies standard non-disclosure agreement during the period of the beta. Once the device launched various other people reviewed it. I’m not sure that it’s worth my time to commit to a full length review, but there are some items worth noting about the VVX-500. I can certainly point these out from time to time.
The VVX-500 is completely unlike it’s older brother, the VVX-1500. It’s much more compact. It retains the color touch-screen interface, which is a real treat to use. It makes setting up a single phone very simple indeed.
The VVX-500 has two USB ports; one under a plastic cover pointing up and another pointing to the rear. The first is intended to service a yet-to-be-released camera module, giving the VVX-500 video calling capability on part with the VVX-1500. The second USB port can be used for a USB memory stick, in which case call recordings becomes a possibility.
Alternatively, the second USB port can accommodate a USB attached headset. As I’ve noted previously, Polycom supports a handful of Bluetooth wireless headsets including the Plantronics Voyager Pro UC.
With this new VVX-500 on my desk and a Plantronics Voyager Pro HD in my bag, I could not help myself but try the pair together. Please recall that some time ago I had a Voyager Pro UC but it suffered some abuse from one of my canine friends.
I eventually replaced that headset with a Voyager Pro HD, but I still had the BT300 Bluetooth dongle from the UC model. Plantronics lists the BT300 as an optional accessory to the Voyager Pro HD. This lead me to expect that the VVX and the VP HD would be natural partners.
I began my little experiment by using my desktop PC to pair the BT300 and the headset. This was easily done. Once paired I confirmed that I could make a Skype call with wideband audio.
Then I moved the BT300 dongle to the USB port on the back of the VVX-500. When inserted the VVX responded with an on-screen announcement of “Digital Headset Connected.” That’s certainly a good sign.
There’s a menu option in the VVX firmware for headset mode. This defined how the phone will handle hook switch control. I set the VVX-500 for “Plantronics” mode. From that point on tapping the headset button on the phone routed call audio to the Voyager Pro HD. Further, the call audio was plainly in HDVoice.
The ability to use the same headset on-the-road and at my desk certainly seems appealing. The fact that it can be done without spending money on an EHS cable just enhances that appeal. I think that the VVX-500 and Voyager Pro series headset are an excellent combination.
That’s all for now, but I’ll no doubt have more to say about the VVX-500 over time.