I’ve had this phone for a few weeks now and have really had a chance to play with it. The Grandstream GXV3275 is effectively a 7″ (1024×600 capacitive (5 points) touch screen TFT LCD) Android tablet turned desk phone. This phone took me a while to review because it’s really unlike any Lync phone I’ve come across. Unlike other Lync phones, this doesn’t run Microsoft Lync Phone Edition firmware or a customized firmware specifically for Lync, this runs a specialized version of Android which can host other VoIP apps including the Lync Mobile app.
Clearly, the first thing you’ll notice about this phone is the touch screen, it’s big, it’s bright, it’s amazing. But you’ll also notice the built in video camera above, there’s a toggle on the back that lets you adjust and position it so it’s pointing directly at you. Yes, this camera works very well with Microsoft Lync 2013!
This phone is limitless in it’s customization. It’s simple to set any background you want, select from a million screen savers, swipe to another screen and install approved apps from the built in GS Market store, or go cutting edge by pulling apps directly from the Google Play store. The giant screen and customization has made this the single most asked about phone in my LCS/OCS/Lync tenure. That’s saying a lot, this is the 10th phone sitting on my desk at the moment.
The next feature that really stuck out to me was the networking. This has the same gigabit port on the back with passthrough as you’d expect with any VoIP phone, this will run on PoE as you’d expect with any VoIP phone, but this can also run WiFi. That makes it the perfect phone for use in my home office. The other reason this is the perfect phone for my home office? It supports up to six lines. It doesn’t just run Lync, there’s a world of VoIP apps for Android out there that you can run. In the photo below, I only have one line loaded up, but making a call from a different line is as simple as touching the line on the left side of the screen and dialing the numbers.
The full experience you’d get with the Lync mobile app can be found here as well, which I expect if you’re reading my blog you’re fully aware of.
What has my head spinning is the possibilities of the tablet experience. With apps right on your phone, you have the ability to keep data at your fingertips. Access to Salesforce or other critical software can be referenced while on a comfortable desk phone.
So, that’s a lot of positive, now for the negative. The phone is built very well, but it’s greatest strength is also a weakness. It’s running the Lync Mobile client. That means that there are some serious limitations in functionality. The biggest may be support for emergency notification services (911 if you’re in the US) and Lync’s LIS services just isn’t there. There are limitations around response group participation. Before you consider this phone, you might want to check out this TechNet article: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh691004.aspx
With all that said, none of the shortcomings are necessarily GrandStream’s shortcomings and they’re working very close with Microsoft to help develop the integration further. Personally, I’d love to see all the functionality of Lync Phone Edition (LPE) brought into the mobile client, making LPE fully obsolete. Until then, this phone will be a perfect fit for some scenarios, but might not work for some others.
One last thing, the price. This phone is very competitively priced. I was told list was about $315, but I haven’t seen it sold anywhere above $300, in fact I’ve seen it quite a bit lower than this. It’s a great unit at that price point.
You can find more information on this phone directly at GrandStream’s site: http://www.grandstream.com/index.php/products/ip-video-telephony/gxv3275