Aastra is a great engineering company and they have a really interesting phone — the 57i CT which has a DECT base-station built-in, allowing a second cordless phone to follow you around a 300,000 square foot (27,870 square meter) area, so you don’t miss important phone calls. Lately I have been hearing more and more PBX companies touting Aastra phones and many in the open-source space seem to especially like them.
Tom Keating spent a long while reviewing this phone and the 57i which has no built-in DECT capability. He seems to like them both and gives them two thumbs up.
I should mention I also have had a chance to beat up (the technical term I use when I test a phone repeatedly — in reality I think I am one of the best reviewers around because I seem to naturally find flaws in products without even trying — Tom also seems to have this ability/talent/gift — curse? ) a 57i CT for a number of months and it works very well. The phone is rugged and looks like a serious business device any executive would be proud to have. It also has the bells and whistles you would expect.
What sort of whistles and bells you wonder? An XML browser, 12 programmable keys and even more with expansion modules (increased button counts seem to be coming back in fashion based on many discussions I have with resellers and manufacturers), full-duplex speakerphone and integrated 802.3af PoE so the phone keeps working when your electricity does not.
My room for improvement would be to add bluetooth functionality and if I had to get fancy, how about a color screen, stereo speakers and links to internet radio stations so the device could play some tunes when I am not on the phone. Oh — and of course an iPhone/iPod dock.
I am looking forward to seeing how Aastra improves these phones going forward… For now I concur with both of Tom’s thumbs.