...and I have to say that it is a nice little piece of equipment. We'll see how sturdy it is, but it has some real advantages over the old butt sets:
- There is a flashing LED when the line is muted. This is good because while when you go off hook on a line, there is an LED that indicates the polarity, but when you engage the speaker phone that light goes out. Usually when I have the speaker phone on I am either talking to somebody on it (in which case I don't really need an indicator) or I have it muted while on hold or waiting for somebody to get back to me. As anybody who has ever dealt with the telecom industry knows, being on hold is a way of life for us, so it is nice to have that taken into account on the equipment.
- The clip can attach to either the top or the bottom of the set, whereas on my old one the clip was only on the bottom. I have found that it is rather nice to have the clip on the top, which also allows me to see the LEDs I mentioned.
- There is a "flash" button. I'm not sure how useful it will be, but it can't hurt.
- The redial button is more efficient.
- It is violent shade of yellow.
- They have added a stress test to the unit. This is extremely useful when running pairs; we have a stress test on our Sidekicks (which is basically a more elaborate K/S meter), but this makes it easier to do a "quick and dirty" appraisal of your copper situation.
- There are now separate buttons for the speakerphone and the speaker volume. This makes the speakerphone itself a "one touch" function, which is actually quite convenient, no matter how used to the old "one push for low, two pushes for medium, three pushes for high, four pushes for standard handset use" system that the old butt sets incorporated. It also means that you can adjust the sound level without having to lose a second or two. While that sounds trivial, believe me when I tell you that there are times when you're on the phone with a tester or an IEC and that's the second you need to be hearing.
- While it is slightly larger, it is a great deal lighter.
- It is ostensibly RainSafe™ and DropSafe™. The fact that Harris went through all the trouble to trademark those rather common terms tells you something. I think it tells you more about how Corporate America has a throttlehold on the nation's balls than it does anything about the actual butt set, though.
Am I completely sold? Not yet. All of these attributes are advantages, but the rule of thumb I have is that a gadget is just a toy until it survives trial by fire. All of these features are nice to have, but if this phone uses up battery power fast, or the LEDs burn out if you clip on to the wrong pair, or if this butt set has a jealous husband that vows to kill me, then it doesn't pay to have it. I have the option of returning it when one of the standard speakerphone butt sets come back in. At the moment, I am leaning towards keeping this one, but I believe that pragmatism is more important than bells and whistles. We'll see.
One thing is certain, though. There are no major design flaws. While I am very, very used to a different configuration, nothing about this unit is counterintuitive, and so I picked up practical use of it immediately. That's a good sign.