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Review: Yealink T55A Phone for Microsoft Teams

November 22nd, 2019 No comments

Overview

The Yealink T55A is designed as a mid-level Teams compatible endpoint. It’s unobtrusive 4.3″ 480 x 272 pixel screen paired with simple overall design is a great device for the Teams enabled organization. I recently added one in my home office and have had a chance to put it through its paces during my normal work day. The device itself has a simple key layout, with the typical 11 digit keypad, voicemail, headset, mute, speakerphone and volume buttons.

Setup and login

Nothing complicated about setting up this device. Install the stand, handset & cord, and plug the Ethernet cable into a POE port. No POE? Use a standard power adapter or POE injector. Pretty straightforward. As soon as the device was plugged into my POE switch, it powered right up. We get the typical Teams login prompt. In my case, I also use Cisco’s Duo for 2FA, and the Duo options did show up correctly on the screen. If you’re going to use a headset, there is a USB port for a wired headset, and the device supports Bluetooth as well. A GB network pass-through port is also on the device.

Operation

The T55A has the Company Portal for enrollment via InTune. When I first booted the phone, it went into the Company Portal screen to check for enrollment. As I don’t use InTune, I manually configured any preferences from the screen itself through the intuitive interface.

Updating the firmware was straightforward enough using the device’s built-in web admin feature. But admittedly took a few minutes. The IP address isn’t listed on the network settings screen, where one would first look. It’s listed on the ‘about’ screen (‘Phone Settings>About’, not to be confused with the ‘about’ screen that shows Teams specific version info. Once I found the address, I used a web browser on my PC to access the device’s web interface.

I upgraded the firmware when I first received the device, and then again recently as I noticed a new version (58.15.0.53) available. Recent firmware updates have added support for Hybrid configuration, where the device can be logged into a SIP solution and Teams at the same time. This is useful in migration scenarios. Other features added include dark mode (yay!), support for more phone policies, and importantly, support for use as a Common Area Phone (CAP). When configured as a CAP, voicemail, meetings and locking are not available. Use as a CAP makes this device an even more viable solution for organizations that want a common area phone that’s a bit nicer than some other offerings. While I didn’t need that feature, I always try to run the latest version of any firmware just to be current. Both times I upgraded the firmware were uneventful, and the device updated successfully, then rebooted. The web interface has a considerable number of settings and options, including importing configuration file, Bluetooth, power settings, logging, and security. Power settings were the only real setting that caused me some frustration. The phone has idle timeout settings, which cause the screen to timeout and shut off. I’ve never been a fan of that. I like to have the screen on all the time – otherwise it just looks like a dead phone until you push a button the device, lift the handset, receive a call, or touch the screen. I like to see the time/date on the phone, and the screen saver does move the time and date around the screen while it’s on. There is apparently no set of settings that allow for the screen to always be on. The longest I was able to configure was 4 hours of idle.

The screen size is sufficient for pretty much everything you need to do on a standard Teams phone, including reading the transcription of voicemail messages. The on-screen keyboard is pretty small, but usable even for my big meat hook hands. I was able to enter in passwords and other details with only the occasional backspace required. Other typical options on the main calls screen include parked call pickup, searching, meetings, voicemail.

PROS

Simple to set up and use

Great sound via handset and speakerphone

Web interface offers a plethora of options

CONS

Power Saving feature cannot be disabled – idle timeout maxes to 4 hours

Conclusion

The phone works great. It doesn’t take a lot of desktop real estate and the screen is easy to read. It’s quick and easy to deploy. It’s nothing fancy, but doesn’t look or feel cheap, either. Great HD sound makes it easy to hear others on a call, and easy for them to hear you. As a phone for the average worker, the T55A is a great fit. The fact it supports both the Skype for Business or Teams firmware gives an organization some flexibility about rolling them out during a migration.

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