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Review of the Linksys SPA942

The SPA942 has been discontinued by the manufacturer.

The SPA-942, a SIP-based IP phone aimed at the business user, is an upgraded version of the older SPA-941. Many of the complaints about the older SPA- 941 were addressed with this newer model, including the handset weight, the display, the buttons, and the sound quality. Linksys also took into consideration customer feedback about the lack of a backlit display, the single Ethernet port, and lack of power-over-Ethernet when building this newer phone.

The SPA-942 we have in our office came with four-line call appearance, although we understand that it comes standard with two. It also features two Ethernet ports, full duplex speakerphone, and power over Ethernet capability.

The phone’s backlit, hi-resolution 128 x 48 line display allows users to access other business communications features such as call transfer, do-not-disturb, conferencing and call forwarding.

First Impressions

The phone looks and feels good. The buttons depress just the right amount, the handset is just the right weight, and the grey and blue coloring work well together. The large, high quality, high-resolution display caught our attention immediately, as did the colorful line keys, which change from green to red when the phone is in use. At first glance, the SPA-942 just feels like it was well made.

You will notice quickly that some of the buttons use icons instead of words. For example, "hold" is a hand and "settings" is a page with a crease at the top. We would imagine that this is to reduce manufacturing costs for a product that will sell to international customers. The icons are not intuitive at first (it took us a couple of seconds to figure out how to access the settings), but it’s nothing users can’t get used to.

Phone Configuration

Configuring the SPA-942 was very simple and easy using Linksys’ own built-in web interface. Instructions for how to configure the phone can be found in the OnSIP Knowledgebase. The phone takes about 10-15 seconds to reboot when the initial proxy, registration and subscriber information are set. The OnSIP team definitely appreciated the short wait. 

OnSIP Interoperability Test

At OnSIP, we put each of the phones we use through a multi-step interoperability test in which we put the phones through 30 test cases. An example of a test case would be the following:

Test phone calls phone B B picks up Test phone puts B on hold B puts test phone on hold Test phone retrieves B B retrieves Test phone While being on hold, there must not be audio between the parties. After the parties have retrieved each other, there must be audio both ways.

The OnSIP team is pleased to announce that the SPA-942 completed each of our test cases with no issues.

Voice Quality

The voice quality of the SPA-942 is very good; better than what you might expect from a SIP-based IP business phone in this price range. If you’re looking for a Linksys phone that supports HD voice, however, you might be out of luck. As far as we know, even the highest-end Linksys model, the SPA-962, does not feature wideband audio. However, we can assure you that the audio quality you do get with the SPA-492 is anything but disappointing.

Speakerphone

The speakerphone feature is not this phone’s strongest feature. Users will probably have to speak directly at the phone for the person on the other end of the line to clearly hear them. They will also have to be louder/closer than they would need to be if they were using the speakerphone feature on a Polycom. 

Ease of Use

This phone is very easy to use. Most of the important features and functions are quickly accessible using the context sensitive soft keys or the dedicated hard keys. There is a dedicated voicemail button (a small envelope), which many other business VoIP phones don’t have. The dedicated settings button leads to 18 selections, but because the display is big enough so that you can see 4 selections at once, it does not feel like a hassle looking for what you need. The display itself is very high quality and the accompanying backlight, which lights up each time you press a button or pick up the handset, is one of the best backlights we’ve ever seen on a monochrome LCD. We like how easy it is to access the directory, which can hold up to 100 numbers, and how easy it is to change entries and customize ring tones for different numbers so users know who’s calling before even looking. We also really like the large voicemail indicator, a large light at the top of the phone that turns bright red when you have a message.

Since we’re suckers for anything with an easy-to-use LCD display, we were especially pleased with this particular phone. What impressed us even more is that a backlit display of this quality is a feature we have come to expect from only the more expensive executive business phones on the market.

To put it simply, we like using this phone.

Final Thoughts

If you do a quick search on this phone, you’ll find several glowing reviews of this phone and for good reason. We thoroughly enjoyed testing the SPA-942 in our office, and would recommend it wholeheartedly to any business looking for great cubicle/desk phones at an affordable price. Although the speakerphone did not deliver, the sound quality, the backlit display, and all the other great features won us over.


 

See our top business VoIP phone recommendations for 2017

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