Polycom’s VVX-500 Finds A Home On My Desk

polycom-vvx500-300px 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.

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The Questionable Economics Of EHS Cables & Lifters

If you spend a lot of time on the phone then I believe that you need a proper headset. Many headsets require some form of interface hardware to connect to a desk phone. Many IP phones, like my Polycom Soundpoint IP series, require the use of an “Electronic Hook-Switch” (aka EHS) cable or a mechanical lifter.

A mechanical lifter is a Flintstone-like approach to hook switch control by purely mechanical means. It literally lifts the handset to take the phone off-hook, replacing it down again to hang up the call. To me this is essentially a kind of telephony steam punk.

Moving to 21st century methods, an EHS cable allows some aspect of the headset to control the hook state of the phone electrically. That is, it allows you to answer or hang up a call using switching that’s built into the headset. This may be true with both wired and wireless headsets.

To be blunt, lifters and EHS cables just aren’t cheap. The few times that I’ve had to buy an EHS cable it cost in the $50 – $80 range. That’s a considerable price when compared to the cost of the headset or the desk phone itself.

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New Gear: Plantronics Voyager Pro HD

You may recall that in the spring of 2011 I reviewed the Plantronics Voyager Pro UC Bluetooth cordless headset. Even after it was replaced around the office by the Sennheiser DW Pro2 this little Bluetooth headset was a welcome travelling companion. That is, until our younger Labrador chewed it to bits a few months back.

At the time of the unfortunate incident I wasn’t exactly flush with cash so I decided to make due with the wired headset that came with my Galaxy Nexus. That headset has proven irksome. Last week I was compelled to order a new Plantronics Voyager Pro HD .

Occasionally manufacturers will provide sample gear for evaluation. While I might write a positive review about such a device, nothing underscores that opinion like spending from my own pocket to replace the when it’s lost. Such is the case with this headset.

Hopefully, in the coming week or two I can find some time to setup the Gigaset DX800A and find out if the VP HD handles HDVoice calls as well as the VP UC.

Deal Alert: Plantronics Voyager Pro UC for $52.99

Plantronics Voyager Pro UC BUA200 This mornings email deluge reveals that BUY.COM is offering the Plantronics Voyager Pro UC Bluetooth headset for a rather modest $52.99. The variant that they offer is the v1 version that started my review about a year ago.

This version comes with the BUA200 USB BT dongle. It’s capable of HDVoice when used with the built-in BT radio on a similarly capable host. I was not able to get it to pass HDVoice to the BUA200 connected to a desktop. It also lacks A2DP, which means it’s great for voice calls but you cannot use it to listen to music or podcasts via your cell phone.

Even so, this is good price on a high-quality, HDVoice-capable BT headset that commanded $120+ not so long ago.

I Miss The Voice In My Head

voyagerpro_uc_standard-250 This post is about the recent loss of a not-so-old friend and travelling companion. It’s sad when we lose a friend, especially when they’re still young and in their prime.

This past week I’ve been lamenting the loss of my Plantronics Voyager Pro UC V2 Bluetooth headset. After a year of steady use it recently met its demise by canine misadventure.

Yes teacher, my dog ate my headset. I swear its true. She chewed it up good!

It serves me right for leaving the little faux leather pouch within her reach.

It is a pity because I really liked that headset.

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Experimenting With The Plantronics MDA200 & Various Cordless Headsets

A few people have commented offline about my recent review of the Sennheiser DW Pro2 DECT headset. The major thrust of opinion seems to be that the DW Pro2 is simply unreasonably expensive. As I said in the review, that’s your call to make dear reader. However, such commentary has driven me to consider an alternative.

For the past week I’ve had a Plantronics MDA200 in-house. I’ve had some time over the holiday break to try it with the various headsets that I have on-hand. It happens that I currently have a Plantronics Voyager PRO UC v1, Voyager Pro UC v2, Savi Go and Savi W430 hereabouts. This assortment seems a reasonable basis for experimenting with the MDA200.

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