Unpacking: The Base and Handset
The basic m3 package consists of one base, one cordless handset, and one charging stand, as seen in Figure 1. For the purposes of my review, I added an extra cordless handset so that I could have one in my home office and another in my home. Each extra handset includes its own charging stand. The system supports up to eight handsets, although one base can only handle three simultaneous calls.
Figure 1: Basic m3 package: base, handset, and charging stand
The base station is an attractive, flat, 7" square-ish device with chrome trim. It has only two connections: an RJ-45 jack for Ethernet, and a socket for the AC adapter. On its front edge, there are four status LEDs indicating power, network connectivity, SIP registration, and call activity.
The bottom of the base has holes for mounting vertically on a wall if desired. Since the base has an internal antenna, mounting it high on a wall could be helpful in increasing the useful range of the system. Given that there are literally no adjustments made on the base, it can be mounted with greater regard for RF performance than ease of access.
The handsets are about the same size and weight as a common cell phone. They sport a 1.75" color LCD display, 2.5mm headset jack, and speakerphone capability. The design is simple, attractive, and elegant.
The handset case is plastic, with the exception of some chrome trim near the earpiece. They appear to be more at home in an office space than on a factory floor. Even so, the phone feels solid, and in a month of heavy use, a handset has bounced off a carpeted floor at least once without breaking. A flat stubby antenna sticks up ¾" from the top of the handset.
The belt clip betrays the care taken in the design of the handset. It clips firmly onto the handset, and stays hooked onto a belt or pocket, even while I was actively mounting heavy servers while on a call.
The headset jack is also a welcome feature. I frequently attend long conference calls, during which I need my hands free. To accommodate this, I prefer to have the handset clipped to my belt and wear a wired headset.
The m3 comes with a small but reasonably complete printed manual. Greater detail can be found at the snom wiki, a link to which is included on the web interface. The wiki includes the provisioning documentation necessary to roll out the m3 in a corporate enterprise environment. The m3 is a brand new product, so some areas of the wiki have not been completed.
Installation and Setup
The initial configuration was startlingly simple and quick. From applying power to making the first phone call was less than five minutes.
On power-up, the phones seek out and automatically establish connections to the base station. If the base is rebooted, the handsets quickly reestablish their connections once the base is back online. This process is fast and completely automatic.
By default, the base station gets an IP address from your local DHCP service. From the handset, you can determine the IP address assigned to the base by pressing volume up once. This brings up a status display on the handset that tells you the system’s MAC address, IP address, and software version. Once you know the IP address of the base, you can access its web-based management portal to go through the system configuration.
The management portal is password protected. The very first thing that you should do when you log in is visit the Advanced Settings page (Figure 2) and change the default login and password to something suitably secure.
Figure 2: Advanced settings page on the web interface
For those who prefer not to use a computer, it’s possible to make all the initial settings on the handset itself. However, it can be a bit tricky entering SIP account details, passwords, etc. I prefer using the web interface, but it’s good to have another option.