Aastra 9133i

The most prominent feature of this phone is the screen. Although it's relatively low resolution, it is adjustable for angle and is back-lit, coming a close second place to the Grandstream.

On the downside, the build quality of the buttons is questionable. They’re the usual plastic affairs and look smart and businesslike, but they rattle around too much. Aastra could do with making the buttons and the holes they go into a better fit for one another. The receiver is a good quality unit however, and the rest of the phone feels well constructed. Only the travel of the buttons lets the side down, but the majority of people will be able to forgive the phone that failing.

The call quality is for the most part indistinguishable from the rest of the phones on this test. Without listening really closely to a high quality pre-recorded message over and over again, you wouldn’t be able to tell any of these phones apart and the Aastra doesn’t disappoint in that area.

Though the setup of this phone is simplicity itself the phone’s built in menu system and the web interface are limited to a small subset of the options available. If you want to control more advanced features of the phone such as setting the SIP and RTP ports, then you either have to update the firmware of the phone via a TFTP server or make configuration files similar to an INI file found on a PC, or a *Nix configuration file. These are much more readable than the XML files the Polycom uses.

The phone supports up to an amazing nine SIP accounts and assuming you’ve updated to the latest firmware, you can enter all the account details via the web interface. When first using the phone, it was using the original firmware, which is highly limited in its abilities. The web interface was limited to a single account and lets you change just about nothing. Also excluded was the ability to enter STUN server information, (STUN servers are a nice way around NAT issues), either into the phone directly or through the configuration file via TFTP. Therefore, if you intend to buy this phone and don’t know how to set up your own TFTP server, then you’ll need to insist on the vendor upgrading the phone for you.

The phone’s choice of codecs is limited to the two flavours of G711 (ULAW and ALAW) and the G729 codec, which could be problematic if your ITSP doesn’t support G729 and you don’t have enough bandwidth to support G711.

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