We are cynical about new products with new IP Phones and equipment being released all of the time just to be this years model. So we were amazed when the GAC2500 from Grandstream landed on our desks.
THE GAC2500 FROM GRANDSTREAM IS A BUSINESS BASED CONFERENCE UNIT
It is rare that a unit makes a significant leap in functionality and at the same time reduces the price point for the genre. The GAC2500 really is good enough to do just that.
The GAC2500 is thinner than we expected, but the construction feels solid. It features wrap around metal speaker grills which gives it a solid feel The unit has 3 LED indicators inlaid into the circular edge of the device which glow pleasantly when a conference is in progress. The rest of the casing is matt hard black plastic that feels solid.
The audio quality both in the microphones and in the speakers is excellent. It makes a near perfect job of avoiding feedback.
The unit is controlled by a touch screen full colour capacitive display with menus familiar to Android users. It's brilliance can be altered. Even if you are not familiar with Android we found the menus to be usable without too many errors. They are certainly a huge step up from the usual way that you have to configure VoIP devices - using a browser and menus. You can switch this on and configure it without going near a computer or browser.
It gives WiFi for wireless calling/conferencing. Usually we recommend connecting units like this with a wired Ethernet connection but with a good WiFi signal this unit doesn’t miss a beat. It is set up from the menus on the screen.
It supports up to 6 lines and 6 SIP accounts. This means that you can configure a conference with 6 people calling in, or by the unit calling 6 people or any combination thereof. Or to put it another way you get a 7-way conference bridge. You can set up a group of people to call and the unit will call them automatically in one go. When they answer they are in the conference automatically. There are no PINS needed. You don’t get a synthesised voice saying “John has just joined the conference”. It just works intuitively. Previously setting up conferences on conference units has been the stuff of nightmares but here it just works.
Once the conference is under way the sound quality is governed by the quality of the incoming calls - so if someone phones from a mobile in Siberia then that is the quality you will get. The conference recording is a piece of cake and the sound is brilliant.
The built in web browser gives access to the Google Play Store in order to hold conferences through Skype and Google Hangouts. If you prefer you can download your favourite apps and games to play on the responsive colour touch screen.
The unit offers daisy chain support, which allows two or more GAC2500s to be daisy chained together in larger rooms or multiple rooms making the possibilities almost unlimited. So you could have two rooms with two teams in the same building talking to another 6 teams across the globe but with only one internet connection in the 2 rooms. It all gets pretty mind blowing.
The GAC2500 also features full HD audio, Gigabit ports, PoE, a built-in call scheduler and web browser.
This is one amazing piece of equipment. It is difficult to think of anything that you might want to change. OK - the menus could be a bit more intuitive. It would be nice to have a battery included in the unit and then it would have been truly portable being cordless anywhere. However, this is really nit picking. If you want to have an audio only conference then at this point in time - and at this price point the Grandstream GAC2500 should be your choice. Full stop.
6 lines, 6 SIP accounts, 7-way voice conferencing
Runs Android 4.4 and offers full access to the Google Play Store and all Android apps, such as Skype, Google Hangouts and more
Bluetooth to support syncing of headsets and mobile devices
Built-in 7-way conference bridge
4.3" (800x480) capacitive touch screen for easy use
Auto-sensing Gigabit port, built-in PoE support
Built-in WiFi support offers mobility and network flexibility
Full HD audio support to maximize voice quality
Daisy-chain support to combine two GAC2500 together
TLS and SRTP security encryption
HD quality audio via 3 cardioid microphone
Pickup range of up to 12 feet
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