Cisco Unified IP Phone 6900 Series Review: Proven by Time
Over the years, Cisco has significantly expanded its telephony offerings, with recyclable materials, video support, and cutting-edge connectivity
In many ways, Cisco is synonymous with business telephony hardware and software applications. The Cisco Unified IP Phone 6900 Series is among its oldest offerings, introduced back in 2009. After over a decade, the Series is still going strong with new updates and features added regularly. In 2018, Cisco even introduced its lineup of entry-level headsets, further reaffirming its commitment to innovation in business telephony. Let’s review the Cisco Unified IP Phone 6900 Series in more detail.
Inside the Cisco Unified IP Phone 6900 Series
The Cisco Unified IP Phone 6900 Series is billed as a “user-friendly, cost-effective” solution for voice communication. Looking under the hood, you’ll find six variants in this series: 690x, 691x, 692x, 694x, and 696x. Here are the features you can expect:
- Cisco Unified IP Phone 6901 – This variant is meant for locations that have occasional voice requirements, such as lobbies, elevators, hotel bathrooms, etc. it supports up to two incoming calls at once, with fixed keys for hold, redial, and call waiting
On the audio quality side, Cisco has included comfort-noise generation and voice-activity-detection (VAD) programming. We liked that even this basic variant is available in white or charcoal colours, meeting the overall aesthetic of your office or hotel. You can also embed the company logo onto the phone at the time of ordering.
- Cisco Unified IP Phone 6911 – The 6911 model can support slightly heavier communications requirements, such as classrooms, manufacturing floors, or cubicle seated employees
Apart from the basic features available in 6901, there is also a speakerphone, an ethernet port, and a backlit mute key. The embedded web server records configurations and performance statistics for enhanced serviceability. All told, this device is a good balance between occasional and regular usage.
- Cisco Unified IP Phone 6921 – This is a major upgrade on the 6901, as it comes with a full-duplex speakerphone as well as video communication support
Unlike 6901, 6921 also has a screen, making it more personalisable. The Cisco Unified IP Phone 6921 is designed for more regular usage with voicemail indicators, deep sleep options, a backlit hold key, an ethernet switch, and the VTIII camera for video. We also liked that 6921 is hearing-aid compatible, in line with the American Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations.
- Cisco Unified IP Phone 6945 – The 6945 equips companies with robust connectivity options, given that it is a Gigabit Ethernet enhanced business IP phone. It supports Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) Class 1 to help save energy in high-usage scenarios
The phone’s headset comes with wideband audio for clarity of sound. And both the hold key and the menu key are backlit. The 6945 has seven ringtones for you to choose from, and there is video enablement using the Cisco VT Camera III.
- Cisco Unified IP Phone 6961 – The 6961 is the most advanced offering in the Cisco Unified IP Phone 6900 Series, and also the newest. It supports 12 simultaneous lines, a full-duplex speakerphone, and a deep sleep mode for power savings. It’s the small details that set the 6961 apart – for example, you can set the language presentation from right to left in line with your language localisation needs
The phone uses recyclable and reground plastics to lower your carbon footprint, and like some of the other phones in this series, you can use the device as an endpoint for video communications through a PC monitor.
Why the Cisco Unified IP Phone 6900 Series Makes a Difference
There is no denying it: the Cisco Unified IP Phone 6900 Series has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking at occasional usage, or contact centre-level frequency, whether you need a wall-mounted or a desk-based phone, Cisco has a solution for you. The personalisation capabilities of more advanced features are particularly impressive, and the usage of recycled materials is a nice touch.
What We Think
Cisco is a recognised leader in the IP phones segment. The entry-level option is perfect for lighter scenarios, helping you meet business requirements without investing in a full-feature IP phone. All phones consume up to 50% less power – clearly, Cisco has made carbon footprint reduction a priority with this series. The option to co-brand your phone right out of the box is sure to come in handy, reducing installation times dramatically.
Finally, Cisco’s foray into headsets since 2018 expands its business telephony capabilities like never before. We think that an affordable business phone like the 6921, combined with Ciscos’ entry-level 500 Series headsets is a competitive combination for any business.