A good selection of VoIP devices - but users have complained of less-than-adequate customer support.
Good audio quality
Calls can unexpectedly drop
Complaints about customer support
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Canadian telecommunications firm Mitel was founded all the way back in 1973 - initially with a plan to manufacture lawnmowers. However, when its early products encountered a few hurdles, the company quickly switched to producing a telephony tone receiver. From that point on, Mitel has remained committed to delivering top-quality business communication tools.
This is our all-in-one roundup reviewing four of Mitel's most impressive VoIP devices for 2021. On this page, after our brief intro, you’ll find
(a) a full evaluation of the Mitel MiVoice 5304 IP Phone, along with our assessment of the essential features modern businesses depend on
(b) a review of the MiVoice 5380 Operator,
(c) our take on the MiVoice 5340E IP Phone, with its large backlit display, and
(d) an examination of the MiVoice 6910 IP Phone
(e) our assessment of the MiVoice 6940 IP Phone, which comes with mobile device integration.
You can jump to the reviews of those individual products by clicking on the links in the bar at the top of this page, but bear in mind that this article is really designed to be read all the way through, as the features of businesses will benefit from assessing all three phone ranges before deciding which one best suits their needs.
The company experienced success almost immediately and had achieved annual revenue of $100 million by 1981. Splits, acquisitions, and IPOs have all followed but today the company has largely kept its ethos the same - understanding the importance of mobility, reliability, and clear communication.
In recent times, Mitel has shown an awareness of emerging technology trends and as a result, has embraced cloud computing wholeheartedly. Mitel has been ranked as the market leader in cloud communications since the inception of the Synergy report in 2012. Today, the company’s public, private, and hybrid cloud solutions have made them the choice of nearly 4.7 million business users worldwide.
The company’s IP phones provide another demonstration of its willingness to evolve and adopt new technologies. The company offers a wide range of handsets, from entry-level devices to cutting-edge telephony products that offer touch-screen functionality, mobile device integration, and next-generation features.
Some of the most exciting VoIP releases on offer from Mitel are part of its MiVoice range, which encompasses a variety of handsets to suit every business, regardless of whether they require basic or more advanced VoIP features.
Unfortunately, although the MiVoice range looks the part and comes with an impressive list of features, Mitel has faced a number of complaints regarding its customer support, which prevents these VoIP handsets from receiving a higher ranking.
MiVoice 5304 IP Phone
Although the MiVoice 5304 phone may be one of the simplest devices that Mitel offers its customers, they should not be too hasty to dismiss this entry-level device. In particular, businesses are likely to be impressed with its very small footprint. The fact that this handset measures just 26.5 cm x 10 cm, means that it is perfect for organizations where space is at a premium. In fact, the device has proved popular with hotel guest rooms and educational classrooms for this very reason.
Other features of the 5304 that are sure to appeal to businesses are its affordability and ease of use. A two-line, dual-port IP phone with a 40-character backlit display, the MiVoice 5304 supports both SIP and MiNet protocols and easily integrates with several Mitel platforms.
Other technical specifications concerning the 5304 that businesses will want to be aware of are the inclusion of seven programmable keys, a 12-button numeric keypad, and separate volume controls. There is also a visual indication of incoming calls, a message waiting indicator, and the capability of sending and receiving pages. The 5304 also comes with the option of being wall-mounted, which provides added flexibility for organizations with limited space.
Of course, the small size of the 5304 does come at a cost. The handset does not have the space for some of the flashier buttons and dials that are included with higher-end VoIP phones but for companies that simply need a large deployment of reliable, straightforward VoIP handsets, the 5304 fits the bill.
MiVoice 5380 Operator
One thing that is likley to be immediately apparent regarding the MiVoice 5380 Operator is that it is a little bit different from the kind of VoIP phone that would be used by an individual office worker. Instead, the 5380 is designed to meet the needs of switchboard operators, enabling them to manage a large volume of calls.
The MiVoice 5380 Operator comes with a large display, as well as the option of an extension display module to make call management even clearer. Every incoming call is clearly displayed in detail on the large extension display module - if in use- and as soon as the call is accepted, details about the caller are made available on the large telephone display.
In addition, team keys can be allocated on the extension display module, with integrated LEDs indicating whether the specific employee is currently busy or free, or whether he/she has an incoming call. The 5380 also makes it easy to differentiate between external calls and internal calls, with the former represented by a red LED and the latter by a green one.
As companies welcome more employees back into the office, following the widespread adoption of remote working policies in response to the COVID-19 crisis, the ability to gain a clear overview of the availability of your workforce and connect them to incoming calls is likely to prove essential. Obviously, call centres represent the clearest example of this but any organization with a sales department is also likely to find that the 5380’s switchboard functionality comes in very useful.
The MiVoice 5380 should also appeal to companies that share a building. The handset can function with a common attendant switchboard and incoming calls are displayed in such a way that it is clear which company is being contacted. For organizations that have a common secretary, for example, this flexibility can result in significant efficiencies and cost savings.
MiVoice 5340E IP Phone
This enterprise-ready phone offers a host of features for businesses to enjoy. The MiVoice 5340E IP Phone includes a large graphical display, embedded gigabit support, and 48 self-labeling keys that can be programmed as speed dial keys, line keys, or feature access keys.
The device also comes with 13 fixed-function keys that provide convenient one-touch access to some commonly used telephony features, as well as navigation keys, menus, and customizable user settings. The inclusion of six contextual softkeys makes it even easier for users to navigate through the handset’s telephony functions.
The 5340E comes with several key benefits - particularly in terms of customization. For example, users can utilize the Mitel HTML Desktop Toolkit to quickly launch an application, create screen savers, or display database information. Impressive wideband audio also delivers excellent acoustics, and users also have the option of using a full-duplex hands-free speakerphone if they’d prefer.
Notable technical specifications worth knowing include the number of telephony features, including Call History, Call Forwarding, Conference Unit Application, Contacts, Settings, Help, Call Info, and Visual Voicemail. The phone also comes with the support of four Mitel applications, including Mitel Live Directory, MiCollab Client, Mitel Unified Communicator Express and Mitel Live Content Suite.
Users of the 5340E have praised its user-friendliness and its reliability, but have questioned the length of time it takes to install the DECT module. If businesses plan to use a large number of digital modules, then they might be better off selecting a different VoIP handset.
MiVoice 6910 IP Phone
Catering for users that require standard communication features, the MiVoice 6910 IP Phone foregoes large graphical displays and colour screens in favor of a simpler approach. It comes with a 3.4-inch LCD display with soft white backlighting and large fonts, which should ensure the screen is easy to read even when lighting is poor. The 6910 also boasts dual gigabit Ethernet ports and support for eight SIP lines.
The 6910 also comes with excellent audio quality for a standard-level VoIP phone. Functionality like Voice Mail, Caller ID, Call Waiting, Call Forwarding, Call Hold, and Message Waiting Capability are also all included, as are more advanced features like three-way conference calling. If you’d rather go hands-free, a high-quality two-way speakerphone also comes built-in and there’s the option of purchasing an accessory to plug into the dedicated analog headset port.
Although the 6910 may not look like much, the handset is affordable and includes all the necessary features you would look for in an IP phone. The device is compact so it doesn’t take up much desk real estate and is wall-mountable, as long as users purchase the optional Mitel 6900 Series Wall Mount Kit. It doesn’t come with Bluetooth capabilities or USB ports, however, which may come as a disappointment - particularly if individuals are used to having those options on their other business tools.
Overall, though, the 6910 is a very respectable entry-level VoIP phone. It comes with enough call management features to ensure all the necessary functionality is available and boasts a nice, clean build that would suit any office. Of course, if you’re an executive in need of more advanced features (or a more glamorous device), then there are other options within the Mitel MiVoice range that will be better suited to your needs.
MiVoice 6940 IP Phone
Representing the top-end of the VoIP market, the Mitel MiVoice 6940 is bound to appeal to high-powered executives and c-suite individuals working for major firms. The 6940 promises seamless mobile device integration that grants easy access to your mobile audio and contact information within the 6940. This means that calls to your mobile can benefit from the excellent audio quality provided by this VoIP handset. Plus, for added convenience, a powered USB port allows individuals to charge their mobile phone directly from the 6940.
Additional benefits that come with this model are the clarity of the seven-inch color LCD display and the eight programmable keys, which makes call management fast and efficient. The option of adding an accessory expansion module gives users additional configuration options by providing access to a further 70 programmable keys.
Users of the 6940 will also enjoy the freedom of not being tethered to their desks. This device is wireless by default, with embedded Bluetooth 4.1 giving individuals greater range and sound quality when using the optimized cordless headset. In addition, with video calls now becoming an essential part of the business ecosystem, the 6940 comes equipped with a PCLink feature that transforms the phone into a high-quality audio device for PC-based video collaboration.
It’s also worth commenting on the 6940's elegant design. This is a phone that would not look out of place even in the most upmarket of offices. The ability to access mobile apps natively from within the handset's touch screen adds another level of class, which is bound to impress your visitors.
One possible drawback of the 6940 is the cost - a phone this flashy does not come cheap. So organizations that do not strictly need some of the features on offer here (like a grand total of 96 programmable keys) may decide that there are other handsets that better fit their budget.
Our overall verdict
On the surface, Mitel’s handsets look like a decent choice for businesses looking for their next VoIP phone. However, there have been a number of concerning complaints about poor quality customer support, a lack of reliability, and contractual difficulties when businesses try to switch VoIP providers.
All in all, these represent some serious red flags that companies will certainly want to consider. Nevertheless, Mitel does make some seriously impressive-looking phones, complete with all the features you would expect, so these handsets may still represent a gamble worth taking.
- Want to compare Mitel to its rivals? Check out our guide to the best VoIP handsets available
Barclay has been writing about technology for a decade, starting out as a freelancer with ITProPortal covering everything from London’s start-up scene to comparisons of the best cloud storage services. After that, he spent some time as the managing editor of an online outlet focusing on cloud computing, furthering his interest in virtualization, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.