Polycom VVX-1500 Keeps On Truckin

The other day I had to stage a little test that required a few SIP end points. For a lark, I powered up a Polycom VVX 1500 that has lived on my credenza for quite some time. It’s been idle for a long while, basically since the VVX 600 took the prime spot on my desk and became my daily driver.

vvx-1500 frontal

It happens that we don’t have POE everywhere I’d like, so the elder VVX had been powered off for a bit. Applying power, it began to boot, which is a process that can take some time. On this particular occasion, a considerable time, as it seems the device found a firmware update and automatically began to install it. I had forgotten that the VVX 1500 had been configured to use boot.onsip.com as its boot server.

While it fetched and loaded new firmware I had some time to lookup the current state of software offered for the VVX 1500. I was amazed to find that the old VVX 1500 is still actively supported! The latest firmware is 5.9.1.0615 released in January 2019. The OnSIP provisioning server offered 5.8.3.2414 which appears to be from Q4-2018.

that’s impressive for a device over ten years old. This one came my way when Small Net Builder asked me to review a pair. That review was published in September 2009. The folks at OnSIP did their own review in 2011.

While its video capabilities now seem dated (CIF resolution) the VVX 1500 remains the single best sounding phone I’ve ever used. It’s impressive that Polycom is still able to offer firmware updates for the mighty beast. Such longevity is testament to a very forward looking hardware design.

Other products I’ve used, Gigasets for example, are so hardware constrained that software support tends to be limited. The device has just enough memory to function. Over time, as the firmware invariably grows in size, it will be left behind.

I see that other iconic Polycom, the SoundStation IP7000, is currently sporting 4.0.14 firmware released in December 2018. It is also a remarkably long-lived product. We were still buying them for ZipDX projects in June 2017. In truth, it has well and truly been superseded by the Trio 8000 Series, which are dramatically more flexible.

My sit/stand desk has a little more space since I switched from a dual-monitor arrangement to a single 4K display. Maybe it’s time to take the burly VVX 1500 for a spin as my daily desktop phone once again. It sounds so great, and those metal buttons are just so…polished.

Searching For The Perfect Cordless Headset

Let there be no doubt, I’m manic. I find myself on something of a quest to find the perfect cordless headset. Over the past year or two I’ve tried a number of different makes & models. Some have been very good indeed, but none have been ideal.

As I transition my desktop phone from a Polycom Soundpoint IP650 to a VVX-1500 I find myself wanting something more. To be more specific, I would like support for very high-quality wideband audio, even beyond G.722. The VVX-1500 supports Siren14 and G.719 so let’s actually hear the difference, right?

To be fair, nothing that I’ve tried thus far was designed to support use with a hard phone. In using the headset with the VVX-1500 I need support for an “electronic hook switch” (a.k.a. EHS) connection. That allows the phone to go off-hook from the headset so that I could answer or hand up a call while distant from my desk.

Oh, and by the way, by “distant” I mean to achieve some serious range, ok? I suspect that means DECT over Bluetooth, but class 1 Bluetooth might work, too. Remember, the coffee machine is some 70 feet away…and my personal productivity is definitely influenced by my coffee intake.

So, a while ago I began asking around, speaking to people that I know use of this type of hardware. I asked for specific recommendations.

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Junction Network Phone Labs Reviews The Polycom VVX-1500

This past week Junction Networks phone lab posted a review of the Polycom VVX-1500 Business Media Phone. They make note of the devices’ many fine qualities. The VVX is truly a joy to use. It’s build quality is outstanding, and you simply won’t find a better sounding phone anywhere.

That said, I remain curious about the use of one-on-one video calling. It’s remains unclear to what extent companies are making use of desktop video calling. It’s not the kind of this that springs up organically since one must first seed the organisation with a number of suitably capable phones.

I wonder if this tends to happen within companies that are already making use of traditional video conference installations? Do the Business Media Phones merely extend the reach of such facilities to to the desktop or SOHO users? Or are desktop video phones something completely different?

If you make use of such devices please leave a comment about your experience.

Deal Alert: San Disk Cruzer Micro 4GB $8.95 @ BUY.COM

I can hear you now. “What! Why would Graves be recommending a plain vanilla USB memory stick? Not especially cheap nor especially large? He must be mad!” That may well be true, but it remains comfortably beside the point.

As you may know we do like our Polycom SoundPoint desktop phones around here. In fact, the IP650 has perched upon my desktop longer than another other single device. One of it’s great conveniences is the software option called the Polycom Productivity Suite, which I purchased for all my IP650s.

This software includes the ability to record calls locally on the phone with just one or two button presses. This has been tremendously useful for podcasting, technical and normal business applications.

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Review: Polycom VVX-1500 Business Media Phone

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Originally published September 24, 2009 at Small Net Builder

A little over a year ago, I was offered the daunting task of reviewing the Polycom Soundpoint IP550 & IP650 desk phones. It was a considerable challenge being tasked with the review of these top-of-the-line products from a company that is considered by many to be a market-leader in enterprise VoIP.

Well, that review was easy compared to my current task of evaluating one of their newest offerings; the VVX-1500 Business Media Phones. I almost wish that I hadn’t agreed to undertake the project, because these devices have a wealth of features. But here I am, having had the phones for a couple of months. So I thought I’d best make good on my promise to describe these beasties in some detail.

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