Saturday, February 13, 2010

Polycom CX300

The Polycom CX300 USB phone for OCS started shipping a few weeks ago and I was one of the early adopters, happily replacing the old CX200 "Catalina" model that I had been using.

The good:
  • The handset has a much more natural shape and is much less bulky than the triangular mouthpiece featured in the CX200 and CX700 models.
  • The display shows the user name, presence, time, and date. When I receive a call, it shows the name and title of the caller.
  • The quality of the speakerphone is much improved over the previous models.
  • When I get a new voicemail, there is a small red light that turns on
  • There is a number pad and buttons to hold and redial
  • The price is right, $135 now at Amazon

The bad:
  • I've noticed some quirky behavior with normalization and dialing from the number pad
  • It's a USB phone, so call quality could be an issue if I am heavily utilizing my PC and of course I can't reboot during a call


This is the first time that I have felt comfortable recommending an OCS desk phone to my customers. Previous models had some serious deficiencies - the CX200 did not have a number pad and the CX700 was too expensive with a lackluster touch screen.

The CX300 is ideal for a home office, since it works fine for remote users and does not require a VPN. It also works great for users that frequently travel for long stretches and want to set up a basic office on the road.

One of the big drawbacks with recommending OCS as a PBX replacement has been the lack decent options for a desk phone. While a headset and keyboard are fine for technical users, the vast majority of the population expects to have something resembling a traditional phone on their desk. Finally there is a solid option for OCS at a great price point.