The Thomson ST2020 IP Phone is a low cost, but nice looking and with great possibilities telephone, for Voice over IP calls.
I have always liked the way the Thomson IP Phones are looking and I have always hated the way they need to be configured. I have no idea why the configuration of these, otherwise excellent phones, is so heavy and illogical.
Like all the standard VoIP phones in nowadays, the ST2020 could be configured in two ways - by using a web interface and from the phone itself. Unlike its bigger brother - the ST2030, the Web Interface of the ST2020 is much better. However, there is still what to demand.
The SAVE button! Why we should always press it before going to another page? Why this always send us to another window, where we have to press a BACK button in order to return to the previous page and then go to the next section? It is awful! With 10 different sections and each one has something you have to change, this makes lots of pressing with the mouse and redirections to the SAVE page (each time with one and the same message) and back. It would be a lot more easier, if the pressing of the SAVE button, does not send you to a different page, but just remember the changes.
And the worst thing – In order to enable the possibility to make changes through the Web Interface, you have to press three buttons on the phone device and then wait for around 30 seconds for the device to go in the so called “Config Mode”. Without this REQUIRED operation you COULD NOT make any configurations through the Web interface. Where is the point?
If I have 100 of these phones I have to go to each one, press the three buttons and wait till it is ready to be configured. In this way I have to spend 1 hour - just to enable the possibility to configure these 100 phones through the Web Interface. This is the first phone I have ever seen which has such a limitation. Why?
And what about the configuration through the phone itself? Absolute rubbish. It is so confusing. Because of the small display, the different configurations are separated into many menus and submenus. There are so many, that you could easily get lost. The section names are not clear enough. Sometimes they are even not correct. For example if you want to change the DISPLAY NAME, you have to go to the submenu called USER or if you want to change you CALLER ID you have to go to the submenu called NAME.
Also, I had some problems with the display. From time to time, it does not show me all the characters. For example if I hang up a call, the phone should display HANGING UP, but I receive just HA. The upgrade with the newest firmware (126.96.36.199), which I found, at the moment of this review, does not solve the problem. I hope that in the future releases the manufacture, http://www.thomsontelecompartner.com/ , will solve the problem.
Apart from the problems described above I really like the ST2020 - mostly, because of the design, the small size and the great keypad. If I have to compare it with the other IP Phones I think that the Thomson possesses the best look, if we exclude the Cisco phones of course.
The quality of the speakerphone is excellent. The handset is compact and comfortable – I like it.
There is a possibility to connect a headset, which I think has to become a standard. The screen is not the best feature of the ST2020. Long enough, but with just two lines. It could write out up to 16 characters string and there is plenty of space for the date, time and Display Name, but when it is used in the configuration process it is insufficient.
Wonderful keypad. I like the design. The keys are smooth and their pressing is a real pleasure.
As for the functions – it has all the standard functions of a normal phone, but nothing extra. Among the functions are five configurable speeddial buttons, adjustable volume levels for the microphone speaker and intercom, possibility to transfer and hold a call. All of them are working, as they have to.
In summary, if I had to buy an IP Phone I would probably get one of the SpeedTouches, because of their price and look. If a need a real business phone I will choose the ST2030 without any doubt, because it will give me more possibilities. If I need a phone with just basic functions for a home usage I will choose the ST2020, but I will arm myself with a lot of patience and time to get it working.