Some Thoughts About Grandstream

In VUC625: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly I offered Grandstream as an example of a company going in a good direction. I didn’t start out feeling this way. This post describes my history with their products, and the evolution of my opinion about the company.

Voice: The Early Impression

grandstreamBT-101The very first Grandstream product I even held in my hands was the infamous BT-101. It was possibly the very first affordable SIP hard phone, which is why a friend bought one. Beyond merely affordable, it was cheap. Everything about it was cheap, which tainted my view of the company.

To be fair, there were a lot of really bad SIP desk phones at that time. Grandstream’s strategy was to own the entry level space, which they did, handily.

As a result of that initial experience with the BT-101, I actually bought a snom 200.

It wasn’t long before I was gifted (yes, gifted!) a Polycom Soundpoint IP600. That device won me over completely. It was superior in every way. It lived on my desk for years, not displaced until the Soundpoint IP650 brought HDVoice to my attention.

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A trio of conference phone reviews are forthcoming

There’s quite a list of items here queued for review. It only just occurred to me that there are three different conference phones that have accumulated; the Konftel 55W, Grandstream’s Android-powered GAC2500 and the Revo Labs FLX UC 1000.

Trio of other conference phones

Some of these have been in-house for quite some time. As a lone-wolf in a home-office my requirement for conference phones is considerably less than in years past. Although I have been deploying a number of conference phone in support of ZipDX activities.

There has been something of a shakeup in the conference phone space. For a long while Cisco sold an OEM version of the Polycom’s SoundStation IP7000. That model, now quite vintage, has been my benchmark for many years. In 2013 Cisco replaced the IP7000 with something from Revo Labs, who are a subsidiary of Yamaha Corporation. Their FLX Series has been growing steadily.

Grandstream‘s GAC2500 is their first conference phone offering. I participated in their beta program last fall, prior to the launch of the product. OnSIP have written a glowing review of the device, which tempered my own sense of urgency.

It may be that one of these newer models has a chance at taking the crown.

Behind The Scenes At VUC561 With Grandstream

gvc3200-right-300#VUC561 about the Grandstream GVC3200 was yet another example of bringing my broadcast video production background into the realm of vodcasting. In the pre-call walk-through Randy took a screen-shot of what he was seeing. It seemed a little busy. There was certainly a lot to look at.

Just for fun I thought I’d make note of what was actually there, and how it was being used.

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Grandstream Launched A New SMB/Residential NVR

We’re very happy with the combination of a Grandstream GVR3550 Network Video Recorder (NVR) and GXV3672 IP surveillance cameras. That combination provide a reliable, affordable solution to monitoring events hereabouts. The GVR3550 accommodates a up to four, 3.5” hard drive providing up to 16 TB of space, and capable of recording up to 36(!) camera streams. 000108

This week the company launched a smaller version, the GVR3552. The half-rack-width form-factor accommodates two 2.5” hard drives, up to 4 TB in total. The storage can be arranged in RAID0 or RAID1. Two drives has bandwidth to record 16 streams at 720p or 8 streams at 1080p.

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The device has an HDMI output that allows real-time monitoring of up to 4 cameras. That’s exactly right-sized for many homes and small businesses.

The list price for the GVR3552 is just $149, without hard drives, making it quite a bargain. I think it’s especially suitable for the DIY crowd, like myself.

New Gear: Grandstream GXV3275

Grandstream-gxv3275-right-300pxGrandstream recently released a new model of desk phone, the GXV3275 Multimedia IP Phone for Android. A logical successor to their GXV3175 model, it’s been updated in a variety of ways. Most interestingly, it runs Android 4.2, aka Jelly Bean. This is most recent release of Android that I’ve encountered running on a dedicated desk phone.

My enthusiasm for smart desk phones arises at least in part from a desire to see telephones play a larger role in home automation. This desire I have expressed at various times over the years, although Dave Michels perhaps has gone further with respect to acting upon a similar desire.

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Grandstream Network’s New GXP-1400: HDVoice On The Cheap

Not too long ago the only phones truly capable of delivering an HDVoice experience were in the upper end of the pricing spectrum for common desktop SIP phones, typically well over $200 each. Early in 2010 the situation improved when Polycom released the Soundpoint IP335 priced at around $130.

Grandstream Network’s recently dropped the cost of entry another notch in releasing their new GXP1400 & GXP1405 models. According to their press release:

“The GXP1400/1405 delivers superior wideband HD audio quality, high performance full duplex speakerphone with advanced acoustic echo cancellation…”

With list pricing in the range of $59 and 65 USD they’re certainly on the affordable side of things.

For that price you might expect very little, but they seem to have a reasonable compliment of features, including;

  • 2 line keys with dual-color LED
  • one SIP registration
  • 128×40 pixel graphical LCD display
  • 3 XML programmable context-sensitive soft keys
  • dual network ports
  • integrated PoE (GXP1405 only)
  • 3-way conferencing

I’ve not laid hands on these new models myself, but I can certainly see they may appeal to a more cost conscious uSMB or SOHO user.

While I have no doubt that you get what you pay for, I’m also keenly aware that everyone’s sense of what has value is a little different. If you were holding off exploring the benefits of HDVoice purely because of cost, perhaps the GXP140x models could get you started down that path in a most affordable manner?