Just a few short years ago, many people weren’t all that familiar with video conferencing. The pandemic of 2020 changed all that. Today, Zoom is now being used to reference video conferencing, like Kleenex is used to reference a tissue.
We all now know what a Meet, Zoom or Team meeting is, and the technology has proven itself to be not all that scary or intimidating. Like with many things, we adapt as we go.
Following the Pandemic timeline, many technology equipment manufacturers have released products to help us all communicate better when working remotely. Some of these new releases include personal speakerphones, group speakerphones, wired and wireless headsets and video conferencing products among others.
In this blog, I’d like to share some information, and offer my opinions on a brand new videobar video conferencing unit by Bose. Yes, Bose. The people that make those great audio products.
Bose recently added this new video product into their UC portfolio that’s designed to make video conferencing for you or your team, easy and with the quality that you’ve come to expect in a Bose product.
Specifically, I’ll be reviewing the Bose Videobar VB1 all-in-one video conferencing unit.
Let’s see what this Bose VB1 is all about.
Besides the name, what makes the VB1 a product worth your time to consider? There are a number of things, and I’ll be covering several of them. In the end, I think you may come away with a sense of appreciation for this new video conferencing unit.
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Designed For You & Your Group
The Bose Videobar VB1 is designed for small to medium size meeting rooms, huddle rooms, or for individuals, or small teams who work remotely. The VB1 can accommodate a group of up to about 10 people.
Classic Bose Design
Anyone familiar with Bose products, knows that they create products that have nice design touches. The Bose VB1 is no different. It has a sleek, modern design that would elegantly fit into any business environment. The fit and finish is what you’d expect from a Bose product too.
The 8 mp camera is located in the center of the unit, with the microphones being located on each end. The unit measures 27 inches wide and 3 inches deep. As you can see, this unit is compact, but don’t let the size fool you. It’s full of high quality features that are nicely packaged into this compact, portable video unit.
The Bose Videobar VB1 connects in a variety of ways.
- USB-C to computer (USB-A to USB-C adapter included)
- Wirelessly via Bluetooth
- Wired via RJ45
- HDMI (to display from host computer)
- Wirelessly via Wi-Fi (802.11)
- 3.5mm analog audio input
- 2-pin Euroblock general purpose input
As you can see there are a variety of ways you can use the Bose VB1.
Not only do you have several connection options with the Bose VB1, but you have a few different ways you can mount it. For example:
- Table stand with Kensington lock slot and mounting hardware (included) 2. Wall mount bracket with mounting hardware (included)
- Display mounting kit (optional)
- Mud Ring (optional)
So whether you want to place the Bose VB1 on a table, mount it to a wall or near a display, you have options. Where you might want to place it today, could be different from where you might want to locate it later on. Everyone likes options, and that’s what you get with the VB1 when it comes to mounting the unit; you have choices.
The Bose Videobar VB1 comes with a compact wireless infrared remote. This allows you to adjust several things such as:
- Change view of video feed
- Volume up
- Volume down
- Zoom in
- Zoom out
- And more
It’s always nice to have a remote control unit so that you can conveniently make adjustments from one location or while you move around. The remote control unit requires 2 AAA batteries, which are included.
Simple, Single Cable Connection
Connecting the Videobar VB1 is clean and simple because it only takes one cable to get it connected to your computer. This makes for an easier setup, and also for a cleaner look because you won’t have a bunch of cables to manage and see.
Beam Steering Microphones
In order to help optimize the sound quality of the Videobar VB1, it uses six microphones that beam steer to focus on the speaker, while minimizing distrative background noise. This helps to establish and maintain the best possible sound. You can even manually select zones where you don’t want sound to be picked up; exclusion zones.
The camera used on the VB1 is 4K and ultra HD. It’s designed to provide you with the sharpest, clearest video image available in a portable, compact video conferencing unit. It also has autoframing to help make sure everything is in the picture, with nothing being left out.
Connect to current network
The Bose Videobar VB1 is able to connect to your existing network. This allows for faster setups, quicker troubleshooting, as well as being able to manage and monitor the system remotely. This allows your IT staff the ability to respond to you faster without the need to be onsite.
Bose offers software for the Videobar VB1 that aids with configurations and allows to make a number of adjustments such as:
- Firmware updates
- Make adjustments to the camera
- Make adjustments to the audio
- Network connectivity monitoring
- Mute microphone
- Zoom camera
- Pan/Tilt camera
- Auto frame
- Low light compensation
- Backlight adjustments
- Brightness adjustment
- Bridge Bluetooth call
- And more. . .
The bottom line is this is a well designed, thoughtfully constructed, high quality video conferencing system that’s within the financial reach of just about anyone. Yes, it’s not your typical webcam, but it’s not supposed to be.
It’s supposed to be several clicks up the video food chain not only in features and audio/video quality, but pricing too. It costs more than a webcam, but it does so much more than a webcam.
In fact, it shouldn’t be mentioned in the same breath honestly. After all, it’s a Bose, and referencing it in the same breath as a webcam is surely illegal somewhere.
Rating by category
I’ve rated the Bose Videobar VB1 by category, and these numeric ratings can be found below. The rating system I’m using is on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest, and best possible score.
Design - 10
Based on the elegant design of the VB1,I feel it’s what you would expect from a Bose product. The fit and finish, quality materials and overall appearance led me to give it the highest possible rating.
Ease of use - 8
Based on the VB1’s simplicity and ease of connection and use, I felt that this area deserved the rating of 8. The last thing people want or need when it comes to
technology is technology that’s complicated and hard to figure out. That can cause a lot of frustration and end up involving other people in order to get the product connected and figure out how to use it. The Bose Videobar VB1 does a very good job to make it easy for the user to get things connected and up and running.
Picture Quality - 8
Once again, the Videobar VB1 gets a high mark. Bose paid careful attention not only to the quality of the audio, but to the video quality as well. Bose has a great reputation, and having poor video quality would surely tarnish that reputation. They avoided that tarnish by incorporating that HD, 4K camera to give you truly lifelike imaging at 30 fps.
Audio quality - 8
It’s a Bose. How can it possibly get a poor rating in the audio area? Well, I guess it is possible, but no doubt heads at Bose would be rolling if it did happen. The Videobar VB1 comes with the kind of quality you’d expect from a Bose product. Could it be better? A pinch perhaps, which is why it didn’t get the full 10 rating, but it’s clearly knocking on the door.
Microphone quality - 9
I opted to up the score on the microphone one click over the audio quality because of the versatility the microphone offers. The flexibility to designate noise exclusion zones, and the static and adaptive beam-forming, stereo and acoustic echo cancellation and the digital noise suppression all add up to having a microphone that’s clearly a cut above.
Price - 8
With a suggested selling price of $1,199.00, the Videobar VB1 represents a great value considering the quality of the construction and the great features that come with it. Additionally, with the Bose Work Configuration software, it extends the versatility even further. All in all, a video conferencing unit like this, that’s portable, versatile, and can be used for yourself or a group of up to around 10 people, it’s a bargain.
The Bose Videobar VB1 receives a rating of 52 out of a possible 60 points making it a highly rated video conferencing unit in my opinion.
If you’re doing some information gathering, or, if you’re in the market for a new portable video conferencing system, this is one that you should really be considering seriously.
If you like good quality products that are built well, easy to set up, and easy to use, this is one video conferencing unit that you should really be considering seriously.
If you like options on where you can place a video conferencing unit (desktop, wall mounted etc), this is a conferencing unit you should really be considering seriously.
If you want something that’s easy to get set up and working, right out of the box, and a device that doesn’t require a PHD in computer science to understand how to operate it, then this is a video conferencing unit you should really be considering seriously.
You have a number of choices for video conferencing products today. In fact, more options are available today than ever before. But, you can’t discount the fact that this is a Bose product, and along with that name association comes quality that’s hard to find in other video units. If you have questions about the VB1, don’t hesitate to reach out to us, and we’ll be happy to help.