Bose Videobar VB1 review: Premium audio and video for small meeting spaces Review

Bose is greatest recognised for its substantial-good quality speakers and amplifiers, but the enterprise is also energetic in sign processing and networking, application, PA devices and conferencing answers. It is really the latter that concerns us here, in the condition of the Videobar VB1, an all-in-a single USB device comprising a camera, microphones and speakers, aimed at huddle spaces and compact meeting rooms accommodating up to about 10 persons. 

The Videobar VB1 integrates with the usual conferencing application suspects, together with Microsoft Teams, Google Meet up with and Zoom, and can make a wired or wi-fi connection to the enterprise community for IT management entry. It is really a quality product costing $one,199. But how great is it? 

The $one,199 Videobar VB1 combines a 4K PTZ camera, six beam-steering mics and a pair of stereo speakers.


Picture: Bose

Design 

The Videobar VB1 is a smooth matte-black cuboid with a camera entrance and centre, flanked by grilles covering the speakers and microphone array. It steps 686mm vast by 96mm deep by 48mm substantial and weighs two.5kg — that is 27in. by 3.8in. by one.9in. and five.6lbs for US audience (and Brexit diehards in the United kingdom). 

The VB1 arrives with a table stand (together with a Kensington lock slot) and a wall-mount bracket. Options involve a display mounting kit for attaching the videobar to a meeting place display (42in. – 85in.) and a Mud ring. 

You can use the Videobar VB1 with just power and USB-C Personal computer connections, although other ports, together with RJ-45 and HDMI-out, are also available.


Picture: Charles McLellan / ZDNet

Connections at the back again, from left to suitable are: community (RJ-45), power (spherical pin), audio in (3.5mm jack), CTRL Input (two-pin Euroblock), USB-C and HDMI out. The furnished USB-C cable is five metres (sixteen.5ft) in duration if you need to have a for a longer time connection to a Personal computer, be certain to check out Bose’s list of recommended 3rd-bash USB extenders. 

Microphone mute and Bluetooth pairing buttons on the conclude of the VB1.


Picture: Bose

There are a pair of buttons on the suitable side of the online video bar (as you glance at the camera): a single mutes the microphones and the other engages Bluetooth pairing manner (each of these capabilities, and more, can be accessed through the provided remote regulate and the Bose Operate mobile app, which is available for iOS and Android). 

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In the box you get the Videobar VB1 by itself, USB-C (5m/sixteen.5ft) and HDMI (one.5m/4.9ft) cables, an infrared remote with two AAA batteries, a wall-mount bracket and table stand, a power adapter, a cable management package, a camera privateness go over, a USB-C to USB-A adapter, a two-pin Euroblock connector, plus a printed quick-begin tutorial and other setup directions. 

Features 

The Videobar VB1 camera is an 8MP PTZ (pan-tilt-zoom) unit with 115° horizontal, 81° vertical and 123° diagonal discipline of view, and up to 5x digital (not optical) zoom. Beneath it is an LED strip that glows diverse with colors and widths to supply status information. Indicator lights for microphone mute and Bluetooth pairing also clearly show here. For the stability-acutely aware, there is certainly a detachable privateness go over provided in the box.  

The VB1’s 4K PTZ camera has a 115° horizontal and 81° vertical discipline of view, and can use autoframing to retain meeting individuals in view.


Picture: Bose

The camera supports online video resolutions up to 2160p (4K) at 30fps, which presents some headroom as most online video conferencing providers run at 1080p (FHD) — Lifesize being the exception. Autoframing, selectable through a button on the infrared remote, adjusts the pan, tilt and zoom to retain all meeting individuals in-body — there is certainly no help (still) for tracking person speakers. You can also specify PTZ configurations for the remote’s household button and two presets, through the desktop Bose Operate Configuration app (available for Windows and MacOS). 

There are six dynamic beam-steering microphones, three on possibly side of the camera, which hone in on voices and reject extraneous sounds. If there is certainly a persistent resource of sounds from a single direction (the hum of an air-con unit, for case in point), you can specify an ‘exclusion zone’ in the Operate Configuration app, which will bring about mic beams pointing there to be suppressed.  

The stereo speakers supply 20W for every channel with a frequency response of eighty five-20,000Hz and a maximum seem tension amount (SPL) of 89dB at 1m length. 

As very well as the Bose Operate mobile app and Operate Configuration desktop app, which are consumer-oriented, there is certainly Bose Operate Management, a Windows app that IT admins can use to deploy and regulate several community-connected Videobar VB1s across an organisation.  

Efficiency & consumer experience 

The Videobar VB1 is impressively uncomplicated to established up and configure, although I didn’t discover the community connection and Operate Management application side of items. To set up a one unit, you mount it on a table or wall (we used the table mount), plug in power and a USB-C Personal computer connection at the back again, attach your meeting place exhibit through the HDMI-out port if required, pick out the Videobar VB1 as your camera, mic and speakers in your online video conferencing application, and off you go.  

If you are using a Personal computer that is set up in a meeting place (a Teams Room or Zoom Room installation, for case in point), you would not need to have the HDMI connection from the VB1, which demands DisplayLink drivers and desires to be turned on in the Operate Configuration app. 

The infrared remote control’s capabilities are replicated on the Bose Operate app (Android or iOS).


Picture: Charles McLellan / ZDNet

Controls around pan-tilt-zoom and presets, quantity and autoframing, plus mic muting and Bluetooth pairing, are all available through the helpful infrared remote or the mobile Bose Operate app. 

Placing an audio ‘exclusion zone’ in the desktop Bose Operate Configuration app, to block out an extraneous sounds resource.


Picture: Charles McLellan / ZDNet

The 4K-capable camera provides a substantial-good quality impression, with controls available in the Operate Configuration app for low mild and backlight payment, anti-flicker/powerline frequency, brightness, contrast, saturation, sharpness and white balance. Autoframing functions competently, zooming in and out to guarantee that all meeting individuals are in the image. You can adjust the autoframing pan-tilt-zoom pace in the Operate Configuration app way too. 

As you would hope presented Bose’s heritage, audio good quality is outstanding — in point, in the course of tests I regularly used the Videobar VB1 to participate in tunes from Spotify on my smartphone around a Bluetooth connection. Back in online video conferencing-land, you have great regulate around the meeting room’s audio-scape. We have described the ‘exclusion zone’ function that allows you blank out extraneous sounds from a certain direction. This is available when the mic beams are in dynamic manner alternatively, you can placement the beams how you want them in static manner. Also in the Operate Configuration app, you can toggle microphone mute entry and acoustic echo cancellation, and adjust the quantity of any input getting into through the 3.5mm audio-in jack to match that from the host Personal computer. 

Conclusions 

The Bose Videobar VB1 is a trim but sturdy camera/mic/speaker combo developed to provider meeting rooms with place for up to about 10 persons. If you are delighted with the quality $one,199 price, you can expect to get a extremely capable and configurable product.

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