Aver VC520 review
A keenly priced professional video conferencing solution with a quality camera that’s ideal for big meeting rooms
AVer's VC520 is ideal for SMBs that want the big picture for their video conferences. Centre stage for this all-in-one kit is AVer's mighty pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) camera, which delivers an HD 1080p resolution teamed up with an impressive 12X optical zoom and low-light friendly f1.8 maximum aperture.
Designed to be permanently installed in a large conference room, everything about the VC520 kit is big. The camera weighs in at a hefty 1.5kgs and comes with a sturdy metal bracket, allowing it to be firmly fixed to a desk, wall or ceiling.
Next up is the solid speakerphone which adds another kilogram to the package and incorporates triple directional mikes, claiming a 360 degree coverage over a 9-metre diameter. Along with noise suppression and echo cancellation, it has a 10W internal speaker which we found capable of really pumping the sound out, making it a great choice for large rooms.
If that isn't enough, you can add a second optional speakerphone to extend the range even further. The only drawback is connection is made over a cumbersome 8-pin mini-DIN cable - Bluetooth or DECT support would have been neater.
Everything is brought together by a small powered hub which provides two mini-DIN sockets for the camera and speakerphone, plus a USB port for host connection. Each component can be spread out over a wide area as AVer includes generous five-metre mini-DIN and USB cables.
We installed the kit in our 6.5-metre long conference room, which took less than 10 minutes and was helped along nicely by the colour-coded mini-DIN plugs. Use the supplied Velcro pad to secure the hub, as the camera cable only needs to pop out slightly to lose its connection.
Prior to connecting hub to host, we installed AVer's PTZApp utility which provides firmware update facilities and a Skype plug-in that enables the call accept and end buttons on the remote control handset. Running from the System Tray, it also offers tools to modify camera settings and run diagnostics.
The rest is easy; after plugging the USB cable into our Windows 10 host, all drivers were loaded automatically and the PTZApp offered an immediate firmware upgrade. It was the same story on our MacBook running macOS Sierra and the camera and speakerphone were picked up as soon as we connected the cable.
The VC520 excelled during our Skype and Cisco WebEx tests, with the camera delivering a pin-sharp image quality with great contrast and colour balance. The speakerphone impressed our participants with its clear sound quality although in our modest meeting room, we had to crank the volume down as it's ridiculously loud on the maximum setting.
Volume can also be controlled using touch buttons on the base and the mic can be muted from here as well.The mics also worked very well as callers said they could hear us clearly even when we moved up to 5 metres from the base.
The 12X optical zoom is excessive for small rooms, but it does work exceedingly well and retains clarity and focus even at the maximum setting. Up to ten PTZ preset positions can also be programmed into the remote by positioning the camera and choosing the button number you want assigned to each one.
AVer has also speeded up the camera's PTZ functions. Older models took 22 seconds to complete a full 260-degree pan whereas the new model on review achieved this in 10 seconds.
The VC520 offers SMBs an affordable, professional VC solution that's easy to deploy and use. Video and audio quality are exceptional making it a top choice for big conference rooms.
This review originally appeared in PC Pro issue 275
The VC520 offers SMBs an affordable, professional VC solution that’s easy to deploy and use. Video and audio quality are exceptional making it a top choice for big conference rooms.
Motorized PTZ camera f1.8-f2.8 lens, 1080p 12X optical zoom Speakerphone with 3 directional mikes/10W speaker H.264 Hub with camera/base/USB2 input ports, external PSU 5 metre camera/speakerphone/USB cables Remote control 3yr RTB warranty
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