Polycom VVX201 IP Phone Review – Entry Level IP Phone with Enterprise Quality
Polycom VVX201 Review
Polycom’s journey as a telecoms product manufacturer has followed a similar trajectory to many of the most successful names in the industry. Starting out 25 years ago in a basement in San Francisco producing speakerphones, Polycom has evolved into a global leader in UC and collaboration. Nowadays it is better known for its video conferencing solutions and Microsoft software tie ins than it is for its telephones.
However, that does not mean the company has forgotten its roots. Producing desktop IP telephones may no longer be cutting edge, but it remains a staple of the telecoms market. After all, nearly every business still needs a telephone, right? And that is exactly what Polycom is going for with the VVX201 – a straightforward, no gimmicks Everyman of IP telephony intended to sit as comfortably on the desks of a large office as that of a sole trader.
In this review, we will ask what sort of value this entry priced unit offers to businesses. Please remember, the opinions expressed in this review are solely those of the reviewer and are intended only to offer readers honest, independent advice when it comes to their telecoms purchases. UC Today is not affiliated with any business or organisation and does not endorse, market or play any role in the sale of any product.
How Does It Look?
The Polycom VVX201 harks back to the old school of desktop telephones, with a dial pad larger than the display screen and a minimalist approach to function buttons.
The all black unit looks sleek and professional and feels sturdily built. The screen is a 2.5” graphical backlit LCD supporting Unicode UTF-8 characters, and sits above four context sensitive soft keys. To the left of the screen are two red and green LED line keys and indicators.
The bottom two thirds of the control panel are dominated by the large numerical keys, with smaller volume adjust buttons located discretely below. The right hand margin of the unit features a ‘Home’ button, a four way navigation key, plus headset, speaker and mute buttons.
What Can It Do?
The VVX201 is a two line phone allowing for a maximum of two SIP accounts per unit. This means businesses are able to configure each phone to receive calls to two different numbers, for example it is common to programme a ‘general’ office line plus a direct ‘personal’ line to a specific user.
As you would expect from a company which first made its name in speakerphones, audio quality is outstanding. It makes full use of Polycom’s own HD Voice and Acoustic Fence technology to deliver natural sounding, echo and noise free sound. This applies to audio through the handset, optional headphones and to speakerphone mode, which is Type 1 full duplex compliant.
The VVX201 delivers all of the call management features you would expect from a business class product, such as voicemail, shared call/bridged line appearance, call waiting, hold, transfer and missed call notification. It also allows for local three way voice conferencing.
Deployment and maintenance of the system is as simple as it can be for IP business phones. Web based configuration and support for Polycom’s cloud based Zero Touch Provisioning means that even large networks can be set up and administered remotely without having to have specialist technicians on site. This offers a great low cost ‘out of the box’ option to end users, but also gives hosted providers a means to add value to their service.
What do we like?
You really cannot go wrong with the VVX201 if you are looking for good quality, reliable, old fashioned no frills telephony. There are no concerns about new users getting lost in any labyrinthine feature menus, or requiring training on how to use the management platform – everything is about ease and simplicity, even extending to the remote configuration and provisioning.
The fact that the VVX201 is also designed to be compatible with a huge range of IP PBX and SIP systems is also a big bonus, as it means new customers can easily deploy the phones within their existing networks. And for the price point, audio quality is outstanding.
What could be improved?
Lack of support for an inbuilt directory is a slight oversight. However if you know how to connect up your corporate directory using LDAP then this is a good work-around and offers all users access to global directory.
Who is it for?
Although the remote configuration and provisioning options make large scale deployment and management straightforward, the VVX201 is most likely to appeal to small to medium sized businesses who want a telephone to be a telephone.
What is it compatible with?
The VVX201 can be bundled with Polycom UC plug ins such as Corporate Directory Access and Visual Conference Management, and also supports Polycom Apps SDK and API for third party applications. It is certified as interoperable with a wide range of PBX systems and SIP platforms.
How much does it cost?
A quick search on the net tells us the UK RRP is £104.00 + VAT.
UC Today Opinion
The Polycom VVX201 is a throwback to the times when IP telephones were still first and foremost telephones, and will appeal to users looking for simple and reliable voice connectivity in any part of their business.
The three things which really stand out about the VVX201 are firstly the quality of the audio, which raises it a step above most IP business phones in the entry level category and makes it great value at its price point. Secondly, the ease of deployment and interoperability with other PBX and SIP systems makes it hugely versatile – wherever you want to add another phone, extend a team or add a new network, the VVX201 can do it.
Finally, the web based configuration and cloud provisioning model provides real value to resellers and hosted service providers, who in turn can offer customers simple, out the box deployment and low cost, no hassle system management.
Have you used the Polycom VVX201? We would love to hear what you think. Do you agree with our review, or do you have your own perspective? Whatever your opinion, please feel free to share in the comments section below. And when you have done, why not share this article with friends and colleagues and invite them to join in the discussion.