After a long wait and roughly a year after other brands like Yealink brought Microsoft Teams certified phones to the market, Poly “formerly Polycom” finally joined the party with the release of their CCX line of Microsoft Teams certified devices and I finally got my hands on one, the CCX 500.

CCX 500 with the optional handset and the interface set to dark mode.

The Good

  • The clean lines and elegant style make the CCX 500 fit in nicely to the aesthetics of a modern office.
  • The 5 inch touch screen is sharp, easy to read, and refreshingly fast and responsive compared to some of the other Teams certified devices I’ve tried.
  • I like the fact that it has actual buttons for the speakerphone, headset, mute, and volume, and there is a also a “Teams” button to be enabled with a future software update.
  • The handset and speakerphone are both clear and get plenty loud.
  • The inclusion of both USB A as well as a USB C port provide both current and future support of Teams certified headsets and accessories.
  • Built in Bluetooth for pairing Bluetooth headsets directly to the phone.
  • Wi-Fi can be added via USB dongle
  • On the top right there is a red light that blinks to notify you of voicemails.
With the clean lines and elegant look the CCX 500 would look good in any modern office.
CCX 500 USB Ports
With a USB A and USB C port the CCX 500 should support both current and future Teams certified headsets and accessories.
All the standard desk phone ports on the back, power input, POE Ethernet in, Ethernet out, RJ9 Legacy headset port, and the handset port.

The Not so Good

  • My biggest complaint isn’t against the CCX 500 specifically so much as the entire line of Poly Teams phones. Why is there not a single model with a physical dial pad, if a user doesn’t want to use a soft phone client and wants a desk phone instead, that user is probably also the type that wants to punch phone numbers into old fashioned physical buttons on a phone. I know a Dialpad isn’t not fancy, modern, or good looking, but I believe physical buttons “especially for the dial pad” is what users want.

The Cost-effective Phone for Microsoft Teams

Yealink T55A Microsoft Teams Edition – Front

As a Microsoft UC consultant recently I have been busy talking to customers about moving to Microsoft Teams, however one of the major blockers in making the move from a legacy PBX solution to Teams has been the lack of cost effective and future proof desk phones with modern Teams functionality.

But now all that has changed, behold the Yealink T55A Teams Edition desk phone for only $219 “MSRP”. That’s $70 cheaper than any other Microsoft Teams certified desk phone on the market at the time of writing.

So now we know the price is good, but is the phone any good?

First thing you will notice is the sleek clean lines and easily identifiable buttons, yes actual physical tactile buttons, not some buttons on a screen that you need to look at to know if they are still there. No, these buttons will always be there just waiting for you to blindly reach over and push them without even having to think about what you’re pushing or even needing to look at the phone. Now don’t take me wrong, I am a huge proponent of modern technology and UC soft clients, but if a customer is asking for a desk phone they probably want physical buttons and not just another screen. So yes, it looks good and it has buttons, we are off to a good start!

The second thing you will notice is the 4.3 inch touch screen. The user interface on the screen is quite response and gives you access to call history, searching for contacts, visual voicemail, and all the normal calling features you would expect from a Teams edition desk phone. But the screen itself has a resolution of only 480 x 272 which means it isn’t the sharpest but it is still easy to read and gets plenty bright. I would consider it adequate and about what I would expect in this price range, just don’t expect it to blow you away in the crispness department.

The handset is of the standard Yealink HD variety so no complaints here, good volume and a quality microphone. The phones built in HD speakerphone is great as well.

On the back of the phone we have all the standard ports you would expect, A gigabit ethernet port in, and another out, a plug for the handset as well as for a traditional headset, power “for those that don’t have POE switches”, and a regular USB Type A port. And I really do love that USB port, plug in any Teams Certified Headset and it just works, answer and hang up buttons, volume control and everything, amazing! I tested this with a handful of different headsets some wired and some wireless including my Plantronics Voyager Focus UC, Plantronics Blackwire, and just because it was laying on my desk at the time, a Sennheiser SP20 Speakerphone “completely unnecessary due to the phones built in speakerphone, but hey I was curious :)” This is so much better than the headset connectivity of yesteryear “remember handset lifters?”

So what’s the catch?

I think the hardware is great and I don’t see any deal breakers here. However on the software side there is a few issues, none that I would consider deal breakers but I think you should be aware of them. Providing some user training in these areas should prevent too many complaints. Here is a list of the problems I noticed and I will try to keep the list up to date as the phone continues to receive firmware updates.

  • When the phone is sitting idle and you start pushing the number buttons to dial a number without waiting for the dialing screen to load it can skip the first about 2 or 3 digits till the dialing screen loads. – Solution: Train users to pick up handset first “this loads the dialing screen” then key in the phone number. – Fixed
  • When making an outbound PSTN call there is no ring-back, but on internal calls there is, this can be confusing to new users. -Fixed

“From GoDaddy Manged Exchange Online”

Recently I had a customer with Exchange online that was purchased through GoDaddy “I never recommend this”. GoDaddy offers a very limited set of licensing and features and the customer now wanted to deploy Teams as well as some of the other services not available through GoDaddy such as Azure AD Connect. I managed to do this migration with only about 20 minutes of email service downtime “I thought this was pretty good considering the situation”

Preliminary Setup

  1. Create a new Office 365 Tenant.
  2. Export users from old tenant, modify the UPN to match the new tenants “CompanyName.onMicrosoft.com” domain and import the users into the new Tenant.
  3. Start adding the organization’s domain name to the new tenant, and add the TXT DNS record awhile. “Note: it will not actually verify in Office 365 until the domain is removed from the old tenant” but at least it will be propagated ahead of time.
  4. Set TTL “Time to Live” as short as possible on all DNS records relating to Exchange Online “MX, autodiscover, SPF”.

Performing the Migration

  1. I Then started the migration using BitTitan to do a “Pre-Stage” migration to copy all mail older than 60 Days to the new tenant “You may want to do 30 days if you have a lot of mail so the full Migration later goes faster”.
    NOTE: The next series of step should be done in rapid succession.
  2. Change your primary MX record from the old tenant to a domain that is not reachable, i.e. “unreachable.example.com”. Most mail servers attempting to deliver new mail will queue the mail and attempt redelivery for 24 hours.
  3. As soon as the MX record changes propagate across the internet start the Full Migration using BitTitan.
  4. Once the BitTitan Mail sync is completed call GoDaddy and have them delete the old tenant. “Recommend having them on the phone ahead of time”
  5. Soon after the old tenant is deleted by GoDaddy you can verify the domain in the new tenant.
  6. Change all the users UPN’s from the .onmicrosoft.com domain to the organization’s domain name you just added to the tenant.
  7. Configure the DNS / MX records to point to the new tenant.
  8. Now that mail is flowing again “whew” sit back, relax, and reconnect all the users mail clients while they pace anxiously around the office wondering what they are missing out on. Note: This can be done using multiple different types of tools, I would recommend checking out BitTitan’s option for Outlook.