A great range of handsets, often boasting good video and audio quality.
Small form factor
Bright, clear visuals and Teams integration
Not the cheapest
No physical dialpad on the CCX range
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Not many manufacturers of VoIP handsets can claim quite as rich and interesting a history as Poly. The current company is an amalgamation of sorts between Polycom, a US multinational firm started in 1990, and Plantronics, an electronics company that was founded all the way back in 1961.
This is our all-in-one roundup reviewing two of Poly's flagship ranges of VoIP devices for 2021. On this page, after our brief intro, you’ll find
(a) a full evaluation of the Poly CCX 400 device, and what features are included with this entry-level desk phone
(b) a review of the Poly CCX 500, complete with its five-inch color touchscreen
(c) our take on the Poly CCX 600 and its award-winning Poly audio technology,
d) a review of the Poly CCX 700, targeted at managers and executives, and
e) our assessment of the Poly VVX range, and the variety of handsets on offer,
f) a closer look at the Poly VVX601 handset.
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.
Among several noteworthy company landmarks, Plantronics was commissioned to design the headsets used during NASA’s historic Apollo missions to the moon. Those iconic words uttered by Neil Armstrong back in 1969: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” came via a Platronics headset.
Now rebranded as Poly, the company continues to push the boundaries of communication technology with its range of business VoIP phones. These come in two distinct offerings, the CCX series and the VVX series. The CCX range comes with touchscreen functionality and is designed specifically to work with Microsoft Teams, while VVX devices cater to a broader spectrum of office workers, coming with all the standard hardware-driven features you would expect from a VoIP phone.
In the post-pandemic world, Poly's handsets also take hygiene extremely seriously. Partnering with Microban, a world leader in antimicrobial technology, Poly devices are made from materials that reduce the growth of bacteria. This antimicrobial protection is added into Poly devices during the manufacturing stage, so it can't be washed off. So whether you opt for the CCX or VVX series of phones, you'll not only receive a great VoIP handset - you'll also receive one that contributes to a clean workplace.
Poly CCX 400
The entry-level offering within the CCX range, the CCX 400, comes with a five-inch multi-touch LCD display, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, and one Type A USB port for connecting with an external headset. The device represents a great choice for companies that want a simple, accessible and reliable desk phone. The inclusion of Poly HD voice also means that users can remove distracting background noise using Poly Acoustic Fencing.
Other features that come with the CCX 400 include a native Microsoft Teams experience, full-duplex speakerphone functionality, and high-level security features. The handset is also wall-mountable, which will give office managers added flexibility in terms of where and how they set up their phones.
Setup is straightforward and can all be managed from the Microsoft Teams Device Portal. An optional Wi-Fi accessory also lets you deploy the CCX 400 anywhere that has access to an electrical outlet, so there’s no need to worry if you lack a nearby Ethernet port. When users first receive their CCX 400, they’ll find the console, handset with handset cord, a network (LAN) cable, a desk stand, and a setup sheet to help with any potential troubleshooting issues.
A frequent criticism of the CCX series is the fact that it does not come with any physical buttons. Although this leaves the handset with a crisp, clean design, it does mean that the login experience is not always as straightforward as it could be - particularly when trying to gain access to Microsoft Teams. Overall, however, the CCX 400 represents a great entry point for businesses that need a VoIP phone with touch-screen capabilities.
Poly CCX 500
The CCX 500 is a mid-range VoIP phone that, like the CCX 400, comes with a five-inch color touchscreen. Unlike the CCX 400, however, this device supports a more powerful chipset, meaning that next-generation features like NoiseBlock AI are included. This phone also comes with Bluetooth compatibility and two USB ports (one Type A, one Type C).
One other notable addition to the CCX 500 is the inclusion of a dedicated Microsoft Teams button. Microsoft Teams has seen its user base skyrocket as businesses have been forced to enable remote working as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The fact that this handset, and others in the CCX range, are geared towards this particular video collaboration platform makes them an obvious choice for businesses that frequently use Teams to conduct remote meetings. On the other hand, if organizations use other digital tools like Zoom or Google Meet, they may want to consider alternative VoIP handsets.
The same great audio quality that users have come to expect from other Poly handsets is on show here, with Poly HD Voice and Poly Acoustic Clarity both included. For ease of use, a red light blinks on and off to inform individuals if they have any voicemails, and there are also physical buttons to activate the speakerphone, add a headset, mute the phone and control the ringing volume
The additional features when compared with the CCX 400 are likely to be appreciated by businesses that handle slightly higher call volumes and the device comes with the same great sound quality.
Poly CCX 600
Sometimes, having a slightly larger screen can make all the difference - or that’s certainly what Poly is angling for with its CCX 600 handset. Boasting a seven-inch screen to appeal to managers, executives, or anyone that requires a little more screen real estate in which to carry out their everyday tasks.
Once again, Poly Acoustic Fence is available to eliminate background noise. Although many offices have remained quieter than usual during the COVID-19 pandemic, more organizations are gearing up for a return to the workplace - so the ability to shut out distractions is likely to come in handy. On the other hand, for businesses that will continue to promote remote or hybrid working, the ability to ignore washing machines or nagging children is likely to be much appreciated.
The handset also comes with integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, giving businesses plenty of options regarding how they have their phones set up. There’s no need to position your staff near to an Ethernet port and, if they’d rather use a Bluetooth headset, that’s easy to facilitate.
Full duplex speakerphone support adds to the audio clarity on offer here and the device is hearing aid compatible for individuals that are hard of hearing. Furthermore, separate models supporting either Open SIP or native Microsoft Teams integration are available, giving businesses a fuller range of options.
Poly CCX 700
Video calling has taken on added significance in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and as a result, more and more firms are requiring telephony solutions that go beyond offering simple audio calling. The Poly CCX 700 is one such phone, providing a native video calling experience due to an integrated four-megapixel camera and a seven-inch color multi-touch LCD display.
Although acoustic clarity has not been sacrificed on this model in favor of its video capabilities, it does also come with autofocus and autoexposure built-in, so you’ll not only sound crystal clear but also look your best too.
A dedicated applications button also means that employees can jumpstart their productivity straight away. Customization is a priority for the CCX 700, with multiple headset options available, as well as the choice of using a standard handset. What’s more, the device is also designed to be easy to set up for IT personnel and it comes with robust provisioning and management of telephony deployment and support.
Poly VVX Series
Moving away from the CCX range, the VVX series of devices from Poly covers a broad spectrum of business needs. The VVX D230, for example, is a cordless IP phone that works very well for teams that are always on the move. At the other end of the scale is the VVX 601, which is a premium touchscreen desk phone aimed at managers and executives. And in between, there are numerous other handsets that businesses may want to consider.
The VVX 301/311, for example, is a powerful six-line phone system that comes equipped with a 12-key dialpad, Power over Ethernet (PoE), a do-not-disturb option, remote missed call notifications, and an RJ-9 headset jack. In addition, the VVX 401/411 provides similar capabilities, plus an impressive 12 SIP accounts and a color screen. When these are factored in, it will be difficult for businesses to find a better mid-range VoIP handset.
Looking at the top-end device within the VVX range, the VVX 601 sets out to deliver a best-in-class experience. The optional Polycom VVX Camera can be installed in just seconds and enables users to connect to video conferences directly from their desk without requiring a costly, dedicated videoconference room.
The 601 also comes with 16 line keys to support both your lines and autodial or contact keys. Four soft keys are context-sensitive, making it easy to access features like transfer, conference, and call park if you are currently on a call. Also, the handset comes with a multilingual user interface supporting Chinese, Dutch, English, French, German, and a host of other languages.
If you feel as though you are unlikely to require a large touchscreen with your VoIP handset, then the VVX series could be right for you. It still offers the same great audio that Poly users have come to expect but there is a lot more variety in terms of the price and features on offer.
Poly VVX 601
As one of Poly’s advanced VoIP phones, the VVX 601 is likely to appeal to high-powered business executives that need access to a range of advanced features. In terms of its user interface, the handset comes with a 4.3-inch LCD display that boasts gesture-based multi-touch capacitive touch-screen capabilities. There’s also a built-in screen saver, as well as an on-screen virtual keyboard.
The VVX 601 also comes with an impressive range of call handling features, including 16 lines, local three-way audio conferencing, in addition to all the usual features like call waiting, transfer and one-touch speed dial. The handset also offers a remote missed call notification so you’ll instantly be made aware of any important communications you may have missed when away from your desk.
In terms of appearance, the VVX 601 certainly looks the part. The first thing users will notice is the snazzy touch-screen display, which would look good on any executive’s desk. The other eye-catching aspect of this device is its metallic appearance - a quality finish for business users who care about the aesthetics of their VoIP handset.
Overall, like many other devices in the Poly product range, the VVX 601 is not the most affordable. However, it certainly performs well in terms of audio clarity and delivering a classy appearance. In practical terms, it also ticks a lot of boxes. It has multiple language support (including Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, and many others), comes with a range of security features, and boasts dual USB ports to support a headset connection. If you’re willing to pay a little more for a premium-looking phone, then the VVX 601 is worth looking into.
Our overall verdict
Unsurprisingly given the number of years Poly has been in the telecommunications sector, the company certainly knows what it is doing when it comes to business handsets. The CCX series makes a great option for firms that frequently rely on Microsoft Teams or that need a touchscreen offering, while the VVX range has a number of fantastic business desk phones to choose from. It’s true that there have been a few complaints about the lack of a physical dialpad with the CCX range, but given that most individuals are more than happy to use touchscreen devices in their daily lives, this is unlikely to be much of an issue.
- Want to compare Poly 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.