As a web worker, it’s useful having access to such communication tools as instant messaging, video conferencing and social media. But I still spend a lot of time on the phone, both with my colleagues in other locations and with clients. I’ve spent the last few weeks trying out the Konnect office phone system, which the manufacturer kindly lent to me.
Physically, the phone is similar in size to the Polycom SoundPoint IP 450 that I’ve been using. You can program the buttons on the right of the phone to meet your needs, and Konnect provides a template so that you can print your own labels for the buttons.
The phone has a speakerphone, which generally sounded pretty good to me, but sometimes callers complained that I didn’t sound as good as I do when speaking on the Polycom. If you prefer to use a headset, the phone includes an RJ-10 headset jack.
One feature that I really like, which I haven’t seen elsewhere, is that the phone includes an RJ-11 jack that can be used to connect a standard landline, in addition to the VoIP connections.
Konnect provides a couple of videos to get you started, one for basic setup, and one for programming the phone. If (like me) you don’t like video instructions, there’s also well-written documentation available.
The Konnect web portal lets you manage your account and set up some simple forwarding rules, but doesn’t provide for the sorts of fancy forwarding, grouping and answering rules offered by some of the VoIP services we’ve looked at in the past, including OnSIP and RingCentral.
You can buy outgoing call minutes directly from Konnect (rates vary; its service is currently priced at 3.9 cents/minute to the U.S. and Canada). But the phone can also be set up to use many different VoIP providers.
We found the phone to work very well as an intercom between colleagues. The quality of outside calls, however, varied significantly: sometimes calls were very clear, but at other times there was a lot of breakup in the connection. We tried two different VoIP providers, and had similar issues, but I couldn’t really figure out whether the problems were due to the phone, my Internet connection, or to the VoIP services we were using.
Have you used Konnect phones? What equipment do you use for VoIP calling?
Related content from GigaOM Pro (sub. req.):
- Report: Google’s Voice Possibilities
- Report: Web Worker Survey 2010
- Could Skype in Your Pocket Beat the iPod Touch?