|Ease of Use:|
- LCD Size: 242 x 55 pixels
- 3 lines, 2 SIP accounts
- Ethernet Ports: 1 - 10/100
- Power over Ethernet (Class 2)
- Very good sound quality
- Noticeably reduced feature set
- Small LCD display
- No backlight
Note: The KX-UT113 has since been discontinued.
In the past we've looked at additional offerings from Panasonic's line of SIP phones for the hosted and open source market and found that while they started off shaky, through firmware updates and listening to the suggestions of their users they were able to bring the Panasonic phones more in line with the market standards.
Previously in the lab we've tested the KX-TGP 500 DECT phone, the KX-UT670 Android phone and the KX-UT136 executive phone. This is our first experience with the entry level KX-UT113, which retails for around $100 online.
The KX-UT113 is in the same family of phones as the UT136, although this device is decidedly not intended for power users and would be best placed as a guest phone or on the desks of employees who may not be making a lot of phone calls.
The KX-UT113 has a three line LCD screen and while the screen is sharp enough to be read clearly, there are times when the screen will feel cramped as one of those lines is usually taken up by context sensitive soft-keys. For example, when a call is incoming, you will only see "Incoming call" and the caller ID of that caller. To see the phone number from which the call is coming, you will have to press the right arrow on the directional keypad. A minor annoyance to be certain, but a constant one due to the lack of screen real estate. The LCD screen is also not backlit which may make the smaller screen even more difficult to navigate in darker offices.
Another small annoyance is the lack of a switch port on the back of the phone. For many SIP desk phones you will typically have two ethernet jacks on the device; one is intended for the phone to plug into the LAN, the other is for a desktop computer to plug into the phone. This is crucial for an office environment which may have limited datajacks available for their networked devices.
Also lacking is the sidecar of programmable buttons. The KX-UT136 has an additional 24 feature keys while the KX-UT113 has none. This is not typically a deal breaker, but is certainly something of which to be aware.
In the same category of reduced feature sets, the KX-UT113's phonebook only supports 100 entries to the rest of the UT1XX line's 500.
Click here for setup instructions using the OnSIP boot server.
At OnSIP, we put each of the phones we use through a multi-step interoperability test in which we apply ~30 test cases. An example of a test case would be the following:
Test phone calls phone B
B picks up
B puts Test phone on hold
B calls phone C
C picks up
B transfers test phone to C
Call must be transferred correctly to C. B must be released correctly after the transfer. When C picks up, audio must work in both ways between test phone and C. When test phone is on hold, there is no audio between it and phone B.
We tested the KX-UT113 using firmware 1.113, the most recent firmware available to the public, and it succeeded admirably with our standard interoperability tests. If you are an OnSIP user, you'll find that your phone will be upgraded to 1.113 automatically when you first register using our boot server. If you are not an OnSIP user, it is easy enough to download the firmware from Panasonic's website and do a manual upload. Check the phone administrator's guide for more information.
Where the KX-UT113 succeeds is where it actually matters: voice quality. The speaker phone is nice and crisp. It renders both speech and IVR menus quite well. It's no Sennheiser, but it's leagues ahead of the execrable speaker that came with our pre-production UT136. The distortion control kept everything smooth sailing even when we blasted music through one phone line to try to overdrive the phone's speaker.
Ease of Use
The KX-UT113 is a small phone designed for infrequent use and is an entry level phone in to a fairly well stacked and full featured field. With that criteria in mind, the phone isn't horrible, but it's not great. Phones like the Grandstream GXP series are less expensive but feel cheaper in build quality. The KX-UT113 feels hollow to be sure, but the plastic parts are all fairly thick and could probably stand up to being dropped off a desk.
Many of the decisions for the phone make sense ( smaller screen, no backlight ) yet some of the cost cutting measures ( like the lack of a switch port for your desktop PC ) aren't as easily understood especially when you realize the phone still costs about $100 online.
Navigation on the screen is slightly difficult (which is to be expected with the size and amount of text crammed onto the screen) so it can make going through call logs a bit more difficult than with the other phones in the same line.
The sound quality, as noted, is very good. Highs are crisp without any sibilant hiss or frequency bleed, intense sudden bass noises didn't distort when pushing the phone's volume to its highest settings. You won't be blasting your music through the phone, but for typical conversations you should be absolutely satisfied.
If you absolutely want to try out a Panasonic phone but don't want the additional features of the KX-UT136, the mobility of the TGP500 DECT phone system, and you can't find a need for the ostentatious KX-UT670's Android powered device in your life, then the UT-113 should be your best bet.