Review: Grandstream GXP2200

The Grandstream GXP2200 is a unique IP phone that blends great functionality with flexibility. The standout feature of this phone is that it runs on Android and includes a touch screen display which elevates this device above most phones due to the added functionality and media capabilities that this offers. However that is not to say the GXP2200 is without fault, for instance the  lack of a built in webcam is a puzzling omission, and the inclusion of this feature would further expand it’s usability to allow not just SIP to SIP video calls, but Skype, Google+ and other popular video chatting applications. But even that aside there are many things to admire about this phone which would convince most potential buyers that it is worth the surprisingly low price of entry for this type of hardware.

APPEARANCE

The packaging for the GXP2200 is now quite familiar if you read our review of the GXV3140. A simple yet stylish white box with high quality images of the device, so you can clearly see what you are buying.

box

You’ll notice that both the model number and the Android symbol are prominently displayed towards the top of the box with the Grandstream logo on the bottom corner. While e don’t want to belabor the point, we do appreciate the effort made to make it easy to know at a glance what you are actually buying.

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Again the packaging is simple, but it works. When you open the box you’ll see the handset and phone with other accessories beneath.

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We found the GXP2200 to be visually quite pleasing. The device has a good weight to it that makes it feel more expensive. In addition the matte black and silver with curved edges is modern without being too bold. It will fit right in easily with most setups. The handset that it comes with also has a good weight to it and easily fits in the main unit. We’re happy to note that the GXP2200 handset fit well and never slipped; either in our hands or from the main phone unit itself.

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The most noticeable feature is the 480×272 touchscreen LCD. By modern smartphone standards this display would not be considered high end, however it is far nicer than most you will find in other IP phones; being very responsive and capacitive rather than resistive. You’ll find the standard Android search, home, menu, and back buttons in their familiar locations directly below the screen, with an additional phonebook button to make it easy to find contacts without navigating through too many menu’s.

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FEATURES AND USABILITY

The GXP2200 has the basic features that you would expect and a few that you wouldn’t. For a detailed breakdown of the functionality included in this device we recommend that you read through Grandstream’s official product page here. In this review we’d rather discuss the stand-out features and how they affect your day to day usage of the device.

The version of Android the GXP2200 ships with is 2.3.5 Gingerbread. While it doesn’t come with the Google Play Store pre-installed by default, the official Grandstream Market does allow you to install it. While it may seem like the fact that this phone runs Android is superfluous, it definitely isn’t. The ability to have real calendar apps that sync with Google calendar, more robust news and RSS, e-mail, to-do lists, calculators and even media and games make this phone far more useful.

Once you get into the habit of using real apps on your phone you’ll find that you naturally integrate it into your daily habits and may even miss it when it’s gone . Most people who would purchase this device would probably have a computer on the same desk, and maybe even a smartphone, and it’s true that both of these would do many of these functions better. However having summary information at your fingertips is still useful and a nice touch for something that would already be sitting on your desk anyway. You will also find that you have many other options like being able to play a quick game, or view a remote camera you have set up, etc. The more you think about it the more you can think of to do, for work that is.

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Like the other IP phones in Grandstream’s new line, the GXP2200 offers excellent above average speaker and handset sound quality. We’ve been continuously impressed how even their lower end GXP1450, and of course the GXP2200 both, have truly great audio quality that is better than any DECT phone or IP phone that we have ever tested. Kudos to Grandstream for keeping their eye on what makes a phone truly great and putting in great speakers.

In terms of functionality there are two major features that are missing:

  1. The ability to block direct SIP calls that do not come from you registered proxy
  2. A camera. for video calling 

We are very security conscious here at Callcentric so we of course put the GXP2200 through it’s paces. We found the phone holds up well while under attack, it will accept hundreds of calls and recover on it’s own. However we found that unlike with previous devices we could not block these calls. Strangely, Grandstream did not include the option to only accept calls from your SIP proxy, or a way to block direct SIP to SIP calls. Luckily this is something that can be easily remedied in a firmware update.

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As we mentioned in the beginning of this review, the GXP2200 does not come with a built in camera for video calls. While for some people this might be a non-issue, we can’t help but think about how great it would be to join in to Google+ hangouts, Skype Video calls, SIP to SIP video chats, or the various other Android video based apps available right from your phone. We can only assume that the camera was not included to cut costs, but being that they do not offer a higher end phone that have both Android and a Camera, we do wish it was included in this model as well. Though we should point out that if video calling is important to you then Grandstream still offers the GVX3140 which is a solid device and has a camera

The phone interface is well done and provides you with all necessary information you may need with easy to read text. When you are on a call and you make a second call simultaneously then the phone screen changes the background color depending on which call you are on so it’s easy to identify the active call. Even more intuitive is the call conferencing setup. Instead of having to perform memorized button combinations there is a face button that will quickly open a conference app that shows the four available spots that you can add a call around a table. Adding calls is as simple as tapping the + button on the screen, in addition to easily seeing who you are talking to with a quick glance.

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It’s small touches like this that help to make it easy to use the device so instead of thinking about what you are doing, you are simply doing it.

SETUP

Configuring the GXP2200 is very easy and can be done from within the phone’s Android Advanced Settings menu or the device’s web configuration. For those familiar with configuring SIP based devices there shouldn’t be any surprises here. While in most cases you only need to change a handful of settings for calls to work, Grandstream does include a plethora of additional settings and features within the web configuration.

Unlike with earlier Grandstream devices, when configuring from within the web configuration your options easily break down for each account or profile in to the following categories:

General Settings
Network Settings
SIP Settings
Codec Settings
Call Settings

We find that for less advanced users this will help to keep you away from settings you do not need to touch and also help to keep you from being overwhelmed on any one page.

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In addition to all of these standard options the GXP2200 has many advanced features that most people will not touch, nonetheless it’s great that they are there. Being able to run packet captures and download them will help advanced users debug SIP issues. Also remotely managing the device via SSH and logcats for software debugging are all bonuses that hardcore power users will appreciate.

You may follow our GXP2200 setup guide here to get you easily configured.

PERFORMANCE AND STABILITY

As we mentioned before, the GXP2200 offers amazing call quality. We’re reiterating that because it is an important feature in any phone whose primary purpose is to allow you to talk to people. Both the handset and the speakerphone are very clear and loud without distortion. We found it comfortable to have speakerphone conversations on this device without feeling like we had to speak excessively loud to be heard.

The user interface is responsive, the phone app does not lag, and we were able to play games like Angry Birds for Android on it successfully without any slow down.  Being that the device is running Android 2.3.5 the interface and launcher run like any Android phone which came out 1-2 years ago. Without the vsync and other UI improvements added in the newer Android releases it isn’t quite as responsive as the latest smartphone, but again this is a desktop IP phone and it does run well at a third of the price.

Adding SIP profiles is simple and the changes take effect immediately without the need to reboot the whole unit. In addition the device saves information like your call history even after it’s unplugged; another small but nice touch for when you have to move between locations. In addition in the weeks that we tested the unit there were no crashes or random reboots, no strange humming noises or any other problems. The only time we had real slow downs were when we actively attacked the phone, but even then it recovered without having to reboot itself or any intervention from the user.

CONCLUSION

It’s hard to argue with a package like this that comes in at a price that is less than other phones with competing features. The GXP2200 is solid and feature rich. The design is sleek and modern and fits in many environments easily. The display is touch capable with full color. The inclusion of Android and the official market means you can extend it’s functionality and usability depending on your own needs and wants. We would recommend the GXP2200 for anyone in the market for a great IP Phone for home or business.

Visual Rating
Appearancewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Elegant and modern. The GXP2200 can fit in without standing out unnecessarily.
Featureswww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Android OS means endless apps to extend functionality. Plus advanced logging and SIP tracing for easy debugging
Setupwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Has the ability to setup from both the web interface and the phones touch screen, still recommend using the web interface simply because it’s faster.
Performancewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Never felt like we were waiting for the phone to do what we asked. Solid and smooth, apps run well and great audio quality and device stability.
Overallwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Amazing IP phone that is raising the bar for what we expect from these devices.