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The Polycom SoundPoint IP 500 was one of the first high quality "affordable" SIP based VoIP phones on the market. It supports a wide range of features. Configuration is done using an XML based template system that allows you to reconfigure virtually every aspect of the phone. From what buttons do what to how information is displayed on the screen to how the phone reacts to events, it can all be configured. The build quality is solid and the phone has a nice refined feel to it. Sound quality is excellent as is the display. There were a rash of bad 500/501s that made it to market and all died about a year later. Both older and newer phones seem to be fine though. The default user interface is quite intuitive and friendly.

There are now quite a number of phones all based off of this model.
  • 300 / 400 series - Cheaper but the smaller screens really make these phones a pain to use
  • 500 series - Basically just updates to the IP 500 - All quite good
  • 600 series - These have more lines and are able to accept add on modules to display even more lines - These are aimed squarely at receptionists
    The original 600 had issues with only being able to monitor 7 lines or something which really made them kind of useless.
    Polycom did eventually address this issue in a later firmware update.
Polycom support is not great. They seem to suffer from too many levels of management and tend to get their signals crossed. They also tend to take forever to fix bugs in their firmware. Luckily these days their firmware seems to be quite good making these some of the best phones on the market from both a feature and price standpoint. DSC04926.JPG
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