Lync Device Showdown

October 25, 2012

So we have run into a rash of recent issues where users are comparing feature to feature of the phones from their legacy PBX to Lync and wondering where this feature or that feature went to. Anyone who uses Lync knows that the selling point of Lync is its easy to use, flexible infrastructure, easy conferencing and more – but sometimes you run into that one person who simply will not give up their old phone or don’t want to embrace the Lync client to accomplish some of these tasks.

So the below table is our attempt to do a fair side-by-side analysis of the available phones. If you have more features you want to know about or another phone device to compare just let us know. We will continue to update this post as phones/software come available.

Updated 1/8/2014 – Added additional Polycom and Snom information.

Updated 7/1/2013 – Added Polycom 5.x series information.

Updated 10/23/2012 – Added SNOM 821 Information

Updated: 10/22/2012 – Initial Post. Will clean up order in a bit.

Lync 2013 Client
Aries Phone
Polycom VVX500
SNOM 821
Pin AuthN/AYesYesYes
Click To CallYesYes (USB)Yes (BToE)Yes (Beta)
Blind TransferYesYesYesYes
Consult than TransferYesYesYesYes
Direct Transfer to VMYesYesNoYes 1
Park CallYesYesYesYes
Retrieve Parked CallYesYesYesYes
Multiple Line AppearanceNoNoNoYes
Supports Early Media/No RGS DelayYesNoYesNo
Music On-HoldYesYesYesYes
Visual VoicemailYesYesYes 1
Click/Push to Join MeetingYesYesYes 2
Displays Delegate/RGS Call InfoYesYesYesYes
Manage Call Forwarding to VMYesYesYesYes
Manage Call Forwarding to UserYesYesYesYes
Manage Sim RingYesYesNoNo
Set Presence/DNDYesYesYesNo 2
Message Waiting IndicatorYesYesYesYes
Speed DialYesKindaYesYes
Merge Active CallsYesNoYes 3Yes 3
GAL SearchYesYesYesYes
Lync Server Managed (Updates)YesYesYesYes
Phone Lock (via In-Band)YesYesNoYes
Phone to Phone PagingN/ANoYesYes

Supports Early Media – When calls come from the Response Groups it takes a few seconds (beeps) for the call to connect. This is due to early media support. The VVX doesn’t appear to have such a large amount of delay as the Aries phones do. Less, but not gone.

Displays Delegate/RGS Call Info – When a call comes in for a delegate, team or response group the top of the Lync client displays the name of that delegate/team/RGS call. Not all devices do that.

Speed Dial – In the Lync Client you can pin frequent contacts to the contact list. The Aries phones kinda work but there appears to be a bug in pinned frequent contacts from displaying correctly on the phone. Sometimes there is a phone number sometimes only an e-mail address. Polycom has contacts on the phone.

SNOM Appendix

1 – Answer Call, Click Transfer, Softkey Directory, Lookup Contact, Open Contact Card by Information Softkey, Transfer to Voicemail, Click Green Checkmark

2 – There is a physical DND button but clicking it did not change the Lync user presence to DND, only on the phone.

3 – Merging calls is done on the device itself and not creating a Lync Conference. That means if the user who hit the merge calls hangs up, it drops all participants from the call.

Polycom Appendix

1 – The Polycom Phone will display the total number of voicemail messages. But doesn’t allow you to see/select them. Must dial into subscriber access.

2 – There is an option to see your Exchange Calendar and see the meeting. Additionally, it has the option to dial the number but when we did this we simply got dead air. Might just be a config issue.

3 – Merging calls is done on the device itself and not creating a Lync Conference. In testing, if we added another user from one of the other numbers (i.e. tried to create a conference call from one of the phones who didn’t merge the call) the conference failed and dropped the user.

? = We just haven’t gotten around to testing/verifying it.

Testing Scenario is with a Polycom CX600, HP 4120, SNOM 821 and Polycom VVX500.


Written by Richard Richard is an Office Apps & Services MVP (Teams / Skype) who lives in Minneapolis, MN. Microsoft Certified Solutions Master (MCSM) and MCSM Instructor - when those were a thing long ago. When not writing code, breaking teams - debate coach and avid golfer.
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