As SIP phones go the Yealink T21P-E2 is considered an entry-level phone. With a price of less than £50, what can we expect, after all, £50 is not a lot of money for something you expect to get years of service from. Let us take a quick look at this phone and see ifs worth buying.
I have to admit I have a bit of a soft spot for this phone. It was my first experience of using a Yealink, its predecessor, in fact, has set a precedent to this day.
Picking up the handset you can really feel the quality, No cheap lightweight plastic here. It feels like a quality phone, the handset is just the right weight, the buttons have a pleasing tactile feel, the 132x64-pixel graphical LCD with backlight is clear and functional.... hang on this is a £50 phone right ?
Connecting it up to the network with an Ethernet Cable you have a choice of using a POE (Power over Ethernet) or using the common barrel jack plug. It's great to have the choice. POE is a bonus if your router supports it but it is not essential here.
My telephone system uses the superb 3CX SIP Phone System. The Yealink T21P-E2 is well supported in 3CX, as are all Yealink phones to be fair so I was expecting an easy setup and it was. I followed the TP21 instructions from the 3CX website, it recommended using the custom T21P-E2 3CX firmware so I downloaded it to my PC. Then I pressed the menu button on the phone and selected the status. This gave me the IP address of the phone, which I entered into my web browser. It displayed a Yealink login screen and was prompted to enter a username and password, which was a default password for the phone. The 3CX website instructions guided me to a screen where I selected the phone firmware and clicked update, this updated the phone and it rebooted.
The phone appeared in my 3CX phone list as an "unprovisioned phone" so I added it to an extension and after 30 seconds or so the phone displayed the extension number and we were up and running.
I used the Yealink T21P as my main phone over the following few days. The Handsfree speaker is of decent quality in both directions and is used by pressing the speaker icon button. For those who need hands free without everyone in the office hearing then the headset jack allows you to connect the headset of your choice.
I personally prefer a headset, they can be had for £25 and sounds great. Generally the call quality is every bit as good as my daily driver, a Yealink T48. The sound is crisp and clear and if the remote phone also supports HD calling the sound quality is by far better than a traditional landline phone.
This phone will do exactly what you want it to do, "it is what it is" as they say. It is easy to provision, calls sound good enough to eat and the build quality is second to none. Transferring calls using 3CX you get the option of announced transfer or blind transfer. The attended transfer allows you to talk to the person you are transferring to before completing the transfer. Blind transfer, on the other hand, put the call straight through to the chosen extension, whether they are there to pick up or not. All basic functions work well and are easy to perform after a short learning curve.
So would you buy this phone, well it depends who you are, what you do and if you were going to be using it yourself. No doubt about it this phone ticks boxes for functionality, call and build quality. If you had to buy phones for small offices on a budget, call centers, sales desks and general office work the Yealink T21p-E2 is an Entry Level Winner! being well supported by the PBX software brands and will last for years. However, if you want something on a different level completely the Yealink touch screen phone like the T48, T56 which come in Linux and android can't be beaten.
Verdict: Entry Level Winner !!