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
The 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 PolycomSoundpoint 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.
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.
#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.
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.
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.
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.
Grandstream 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.
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.
“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)
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?