- Large number of buttons
- high feature count
- backlit LCD
- Uninspiring design
- complex setup
- no soft keys around the display
The Aastra 9133i is distinctly uninspiring to look at: it's finished in a matt dark charcoal, with a few of its buttons highlighted in red, orange and pale green. On the other hand, this phone is extremely rich in functionality for its class.
Although the clip-on plastic wedge stand only raises the Aastra 9133i to a modest 20 degrees, visibility of the status display can be improved because the status panel itself is hinged and will swivel, to bring it up to a 45-degree angle with the desktop. The stand can be reversed for wall mounting. All of the connections are on the underside on this phone and, with the desk stand clipped in place, are hard to access.
The reasonably sized (11.5mm), square keypad buttons, are flanked on the right by a vertical row of eight narrow function keys. The lower four of these are coloured a light green and have a red LED indicator next to them. The bottom of these green buttons selects between handset, speakerphone or headset operation and the other three are line/account selectors. Above these are four grey buttons for redial, transfer, conference and received calls list.
Above the keypad there’s a red call hold button and an orange call end /operation cancel button. Below the keypad there is a horizontal rocker bar for general volume adjustments of the handset, headset, ringer and loudspeaker.
A row of twelve small buttons along the right edge of the phone also have associated red LED indicators. A thin cardboard insert (plus two spares) with a separate plastic cover is supplied, to clip into a recess alongside them. The top four of these buttons are labelled; Options, Directory, Save and Delete. The next seven of these buttons are programmable and can be assigned either as speed dial buttons, as extra line selects, or as one of a range of other functions, such as flash or do-not-disturb. The last of the twelve is a mute button. A diamond of four keys below the LCD panel allows for navigation through the setup menu or internal number directory. All the buttons on this phone have a soft, squashy, feel.
Configuration requires entering permutations of the same basic four pieces of information into a minimum of twelve boxes, but at least the boxes are all on the same Web page.
In our tests, the Aastra 9133i proved to be extremely difficult to set up and the Web configuration had to be repeated several times before the phone would accept the settings. We have not been able to explain why this happened, although another Aastra model, the 9112i proved just as temperamental, while dozens of other VoIP phones have been configured and operated with exactly the same equipment without any problems.
Given the setup problems we had and the rather dull looks of the Aastra 9133i, it’s hard to recommend this phone. However, it does offer a lot of functionality with support for up to ten VoIP accounts, POE (Power over Ethernet) support and a backlit, tilting, status display.