Yealink VC Series Video Conferencing System
Our technicians here at TriTech have taken a look at the brand new Yealink VC Series video conferencing system. This is Yealink’s first move into the realm of video conferencing, after having established themselves as a major player in the VoIP phone market. The series has two products for now: the VC400 system for head office and VC120 endpoints for branches and point-to-point communication.
Yealink claims they’re focusing on quality, functionality, and interoperability. But the question you’re asking is: Is it any good? Here’s what we thought.
The codec is the only real difference between the VC400 and VC120. The VC400 integrates multipoint unit control, while the VC120 acts as an endpoint or as one point in point-to-point communication. This means that the VC400 is the hub for your conferences, and you’ll be able to bring in up to four parties using VC120 endpoints into the conversation, all in 1080P HD quality. You can include 1080P content, too, if you have the bandwidth, with dual-screen display. Soon they’ll be expanding it to support 8 sites at 720P, which will make for even more collaboration in your business.
Best of all, there are no extra licenses to buy for all this multipoint control. It’s a simple system. It all supports H.323 and SIP networks standards, so it’s flexible if you want to integrate video conferencing devices from other companies. Even better, the system can connect with tablets, smartphones, and other devices like that. Yealink really does believe in interoperability—a real plus.
The codec also comes with call or screenshot recording built in. You can save directly to a USB flash drive which plugs into the back. There’s a button on the remote to start and stop recording. Again, it’s very simple.
HD PTZ VCC18 Camera
Simplicity is the stand-out quality for us.
Both VC400 and VC120 come with a VCC18 1080P camera with 18x optical zoom. The video resolution is 1920×1080 at 30 frames per second. The video is compressed using the H.264 High format, meaning you keep the excellent picture quality without using nearly as much bandwidth. You pan and tilt using the remote control, and we had no problems at all finding our subjects and zooming in on them. The picture quality is bright and clear at all levels. When you shut the system off, it turns to protect the lens, so it’s pointed down and to the side. When you turn it back on, it goes to the last setting. You can preset 10 positions. It works very smoothly.
When you look at the screen, besides the video, you see a grey bar on top giving the time, site, and so on. At the bottom are three buttons—red, yellow, and blue—which correspond with buttons on the remote for Menu, Call, and Preset. Calling is as easy as dialing a phone. The menus are, you guessed it, simple. It’s easy to find what you’re looking for. There’s nothing stunningly original about the layout of the menus, but in a lot of ways that’s a bonus.
Anybody could go through the small, provided booklet with its easy to understand diagrams and instructions to set up the system. Just so you know, when you’re working with the Advanced settings, which you’ll need to do to set up a static IP address for the VC400, the default admin password you’re looking for is “0000”. (That’s four zeroes.) It’s in the booklet, but you could miss it.
The third major component is the phone. It’s a VCP40 phone with 360° 10ft pickup through an internal 3-microphone array. You can get 2 additional microphones to expand the range to 15ft, but those are extra. This one phone, though, should be enough for most purposes. We found the 20KHz CD level audio quality to be perfectly fine.
The package, by the way, comes with a bracket that works for both hanging the camera on your TV or for mounting it on the wall. This is a nice touch, meaning that if you have a dedicated office for video conferencing, you can place it exactly where you want it to go. On the other hand, the system is also very portable, we think, so if space is constrained or if your company is traveling, it wouldn’t be difficult to pack up the whole system and store it or move it.
Yealink has made a high quality product for their first entry in the video conferencing world. Our technicians were impressed by its simplicity and functionality, and the picture quality is great.
The look of the components, frankly, won’t blow you away. They have a certain grey utility about them—nice, but nothing to write home about. The three main components don’t really have a strong, unified look.
That said, there’s nothing bad about a company focusing on utility. The VC series is not meant for a mantel or a museum. It’s meant for an office.
And it’ll work for an office. We think that it should be particularly attractive to a small or medium sized business, as it’s relatively affordable, very interoperable, and simple to set up. It took us about five to ten minutes to plug everything in and get it going. We dialed up the demo room Yealink has set up for you to test the system, and it worked beautifully right out of the box. We see no reason why you won’t have just as positive an experience as we did.