The Yealink SIP T-38G Gigabit color LCD PoE IP phone is another impressive IP phone following in the steps of the Yealink T-28P that Tom Keating reviewed in 2010. Tom liked the 4-way arrow navigation keypad, which continues on the T-38G, making navigating on the color screen a breeze. The T-38P also features a very similar web admin page as the T-28P and like Tom I had no trouble adding the SIP credentials, configuring the NTP server, adding speed dials, and other various configuration options.
While referencing Tom's T-28P review for comparison to the T-38G, Tom has this noteworthy comment:
The web interface displays a message when the phone is registered so you know immediately if you put the SIP credentials in correctly. I have to say, I really loved how every change I made DOES NOT require a reboot. I've never tested a phone that didn't require a reboot, especially after putting in the SIP settings. Even after putting in the SIP settings on the SIP-T28P, I didn't have to reboot. It auto-registered immediately.I too liked that the T-38G shows if the phone is registered or not and the T-38G reboots very quickly - I timed it at 34s. One minor bug seemed to be the T-38G would sometimes boot up and say "No Network Available" and take you to the Network Setup screen where you can change from DHCP to static, or change other settings. If I left it on DHCP and clicked 'Next', it reboots the phone, tries to acquire an IP address, fails, and then takes me back to Network Setup - an endless loop. When this happened on a reboot I figured out pressing the "Back" button seemed to solve the issue.
I talked to our resident VoIP guru, Tom Keating of course , and Tom theorized the T-38G isn't waiting long enough for the DHCP server to reply, gives up and then pops the Network Unavailable message. Tom also theorized it could have something to do with communication between the Cisco SGE2010P Gigabit PoE switches we used and the T-38G. Tom put a 10/100 PoE switch between the T-38G and the SGE2010P and it never had a problem at boot-up. Score one for Tom's network troubleshooting skills!
In any event, after booting up I made some test calls. The T-38G supports HD via the G.722 wideband codec, so I made a test call to Tom Keating. He logged into our PBX's console to verify the call was HD, but he said we were connected using PCM µ-law. I logged into the T-38G to check the codec preferences and G.722 was at the bottom. Not sure why it doesn't default to the top. In any case, I moved that to the top, made another test call and Tom confirmed we were speaking in HD! A truly glorious thing... Both Tom and I thought the audio sounded excellent.
G.722 Codec For the Win!
- TI Aries chipset and TI voice engine
- Dual-port Gigabit Ethernet (Router & Switch)
- Supports IPV6
- Power over Ethernet
- 4.3” TFT-LCD, 480 x 272 pixel, 16.7M colors
- Color Picture Caller-ID, Screensaver, Wallpaper
- Convenient and intuitive user structure
- Headset, EHS support, LCD Expansion module
- 6 VoIP accounts, Hotline, Emergency call
- Call hold, Call waiting, Call forward, Call return
- Call transfer (blind/semi-attended/attended)
- Caller ID display, Redial, Mute, DND
- Auto-answer, 3-way conferencing
- Speed dial, SMS, Voicemail
- Message Waiting Indication (MWI) LED
- Direct IP call without SIP proxy
- Ring tone selection/import/delete
- Phonebook (1000 entries), Black list
- Call history: dialed/received/missed/forwarded
- Soft keys programmable
I really liked the quality of the hardware. The phone may be manufactured by a Chinese company, but this phone doesn't feel cheap, a common knock against Chinese products. The phone feels rock solid. The handset doesn't feel flimsy and has some solid weight to it making this a perfect choice as an executive IP phone. Similarly, the color screen makes this phone look like an executive phone and you can have nice background images load when the phone is in screensaver / idle mode.
I have had numerous meetings with company execs in Europe and at TMC HQ and they are always sure to point out not only how much the company spends on R&D but on the best-of-the-best components. They believe their phones are on par in terms of build quality and voice quality with competitors charging many times more and I agree.
Importantly, the phone sports dual Gigabit Ethernet ports in bridged mode. What this means is you get FULL gigabit Ethernet speed when your desktop PC or laptop is connected to the T-38P's PC Ethernet port. The speakerphone quality was excellent, with superb echo cancellation and very good volume.
The phone retails for around $166 according to Amazon, making this one of the best value color Gigabit IP phones on the market today.