Ubiquiti UNIFI UVP Review

When I first saw this phone’s picture I had to get one. Finally, a company who got it. A modern, fresh design, all screen - with smart functionality. But in the end a disappointment.

The Phone

I have been a proponent of moving to VOIP but maintaining the traditional phone on the desk (Polycom, Yealink, Cisco etc) as from a user’s perspective - it just works. Softphones are great, but a lot of users have problems with them, or the computer is not quite up to the job. Plonk a dedicated device onto a user’s desk and it just works.

The move from mobile phone to mobile smart phone is massive, so why hasn’t it happened yet on the corporate desk? The Unify phone represents that move and at an attractive price.

So, last November I ordered one. The moment it arrived getting it working became my most important job! When I took it out of its box (which is also very nice), the physical device is a very nice design. The base is aluminium with a very nice speaker grill at the front, this base also gives a nice bit of weight so it doesn’t start sliding around the desk.

Attached to that is your traditional Android powered smartphone with a handset to its left. Plugging it into my network powered it immediately and away I went. Because it is an Android device it does make it more of a personal device as, like all Android devices, it does need a Google account to start it up. But then it also it has a price, which I think for what it is is very good, but would still be on the boss’s desk and maybe a few others only.

The screen is basic, but good enough. We have been spoilt in the last few years with Quad HD screens on our mobile phones, but this phone is a fraction of the price and offers more functionality than other VOIP phones. It only works in the portrait mode (a physical limitation - it is welded that way up) so forget installing Clash of Clans, or other favourite games which need landscape. But it does run all my other favourite Android apps that I play around with.

I quickly had my podcast player installed and it became my source of entertainment at my desk. But, we are now in April. On my desk the UNIFY UVP and my Polycom 321. Why. Because it is an Android phone, the phone itself is just an Android application. Whilst the hardware is nice, the application is not really there. The is one big problem, it’s a little technical so I will try to explain.

The problem

When you browse the Internet, in your Web browser you put in the name of the place you want to go to, for example www.google.com. On a computer network computers have addresses like phone numbers like 125.33.55.99 or in the modern IPV6 world like 2001:0DB8:AC10:FE01:0000:0000:0000:0000. In both cases, not so easy to remember as www.google.com.The system which converts www.google.com into 125.33.55.99 is called DNS - Domain Name System.

Email uses DNS in a slightly different but similar way. It is called MX records (part of DNS). So if I am sending an email to info@babblevoice.com, my computer has to find out what address is responsible for handling email for babblevoice.com. With VOIP DNS uses SRV records. SRV records allow phones to register to servers, sending calls to correct locations etc. All phones (Polycom, Yealink, Cisco etc) support SRV records.

Ubiquiti UNIFY doesn’t. I started the phone app entered all the details. It didn’t work. I looked in settings nothing there (in fact not many settings). So I opened a case with support. I was told if I installed UNIFI Controller software the setting would be in there - and download the setting to the phone.

I installed the Controller software, it couldn’t detect the phone. Ater much mooching around I found a way to manually update the software (not via Google Play like all the other applications on the phone) and the Controller finally found the phone. So I looked at the Controller’s settings. After all of that, there was no setting and I was no further forward.

As it is simply an Android device I installed other softphones I know work with babblevoice. They worked. But, because there is a handset and speakerphone there was no nice integration with these parts of the hardware - i.e. I pick up the handset and it pops the UNIFI software not the softphone.

Please fix it!

So sadly, Ubiquiti UNIFI UVP phones are not ready to play with the big boys. The phone you will be able to get working on smaller networks which do not have this requirement. But until this setting is built into the phone it will remain my desktop podcast player. It won;t take much for you to add it to the software - you are using a SIP stack which support it, you just need to enable it.

The babblevoice team

By Nick Knight, Apr 15, 2016  

#Administrator  #User  #Reseller  #Technical