Call quality is excellent, with a decent list of codecs: G711 (listed as PCMU and PCMA) G729, G723 and GSM. The phone lets you choose which order it tries to use codecs, that list being eight entries long. Strangely, this phone only actually has five codecs suggesting that Grandstream intends on including more at a later date.
The phone has seven speed-dial buttons that can be programmed via the web interface. You get to assign not just a number, but the personâ€™s name, and the account to use when dialling that person. The first four speed dial buttons are likely to be set up to be voicemail retrieval buttons on most phones, although there's a button specifically for dialling voicemail labelled â€œMSGâ€. A large LED light to the right of the screen flashes when you have voicemail, although these work best when connected to a single central PBX like the one we used during testing. Things can get confusing if you have four voicemail accounts, all with different ITSPâ€™s, which makes it easier to have separate voicemail buttons for each account.
The phone supports POE with a generic CAT5 cable, so should work with just about any 802.3af switch to provide a central locale for powering the phones. The phone has a 3.5mm jack for a headset, and supports configuration downloading from a TFTP server in the same way as the Polycom.
As with the Sipura, the speakerphone is not one we would recommend for anything more taxing than on-hook dialling or checking your voicemail. The speakerphone seems to cut out the remote side of the conversation when youâ€™re speaking, so unless you feel like conversing walkie-talkie style, youâ€™re better off using the handset.
In summation, I would say that this ugly duckling needs grey buttons and the missing codecs implemented, but frankly those are minor points that donâ€™t come anywhere near stopping this phone from being the best value phone on the test. Its call quality when not using G711 isnâ€™t quite up there with the Polycom, but it's still superior to any software phone Iâ€™ve used.
At Â£88.11, this phone is excellent value with features you wouldnâ€™t it expect to see at this price range. If it was our money we were spending it would be on this.