Grandstream BudgeTone 101 review
This ugly duckling is a lot bigger than it looks, but when you see what goes on under the hood you’ll know why. Unlike the other two phones tested here, the BudgeTone plugs directly into your router using a wired Ethernet connection, taking an IP address either from there or, as in our case, the DHCP server on our network. The first time it sees an Internet connection, it hunts down the most recent update to its firmware; an operation it repeats every seven days.
We tested it using a sipgate account, and it arrived preconfigured for our particular settings: a nice touch that earns sipgate extra points. Should you need to change anything, the device is accessed through a browser using its IP address and, by setting up port forwarding on our domain, we were able to access it as though it were a named PC on our network. Assuming you have sufficient privileges, this would allow you to remotely administer it from any Internet connection, regardless of how far away you are.
Call quality was good, with transfer rates of up to 100Kb/sec in both directions. Being able to use our SIP-based account when our PC was switched off was also a real boon, making VoIP as accessible as a regular landline phone.
Build quality is excellent and the screen is a bonus, as it allows you to see who is calling before you answer. The screen also allows you to navigate an extensive menu system to manually set up subnet, router and IP addresses or change the ring tone. We consider the ability to convert MP3s into new tones under Linux or Solaris to be little more than a gimmick, but it does showcase the versatility of this piece of kit.
At less than £60, it isn’t a bank breaker and, looks aside, is our top choice for the more serious VoIP subscriber.