Nowadays, a lot of people have a laptop, tablet or smartphone available. Those devices usually have an integrated webcam, microphone and have sufficient performance to enjoy a quality video meeting.
If you are looking to invest in new hardware, this is the article you should read.
All hardware listed here is compatible with Vectera AND other meeting software. This means you will not be locked in with a closed combination of hardware/software.
Disclaimer: we are in no way affiliated with any of the companies that make these devices. We're here to help you with an even better meeting experience!
- People generally compare laptops based on RAM, CPU, disk size and not on audio quality or webcam image quality. If possible, try the camera too. In general, Apple and Microsoft are not cutting corners here.
- A decent screen size is important. 13"-14" is not too small, but not too big either if you're on the go.
- Don't cheap on RAM memory. 8GB is a good start.
- Battery capacity is important, mostly indicated by the amount of maximum hours. Go for 8 hours or higher! Video meetings require quite a lot of CPU (multiple video streams to encode/decode) so best to have some margin there too.
- Operating system (OS) (Mac, Windows, Linux, ...) is a personal preference! Unix - based systems (Linux and Mac) are still the most stable. Windows users won't see the infamous blue-screen-of-death (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjZQGRATlwA) that often anymore, but a restart is more often required when the system gets clogged up.
Our laptop suggestions:
We highly recommend to choose a laptop with touchscreen or combine a Macbook with iPad (you can use both devices simultaneously during a meeting)
- Lenovo Yoga series - especially the X1 because of the built quality and the integrated pen.
- Microsoft Surface Pro
- Apple MacBook Air or Apple MacBook Pro series - certainly if you have an iPad too. The Apple Pencil is expensive, but the writing experience is the closest you can get to pen & paper.
- There are many tablets available that approximate laptop specifications. Tablets with a screen size > 10" are a good start.
- If you want to use your tablet as your main device for work, do check the available storage. 128GB is a minimum for sufficient flexibility.
- Battery capacity is very important.
- Android and Windows currently take the crown in the suggested OS for tablets. iOS is a bit more limited in possibilities when using Vectera (eg. you can't share your screen)
Our tablet suggestions:
- Samsung Galaxy Tab series
- Microsoft Surface series
- iPad (Pro) series, but only if used alongside a laptop
While laptops and tablets have a built-in microphone, using a good headset will drastically increase your meeting comfort.
- Look for a headset that offers noise cancelling. Even in busier places, this will allow you (and your participants!) to have a quality meeting.
- Although wireless technology (eg. Bluetooth) has come a long way, audio conversations are not always that reliable. When you have a lot of meetings, we suggest a headset with a USB connector. This also saves you from a drained battery!
Our headset suggestions:
- Jabra Evolve 40 (wired)
- Jabra Evolve 80 (wired, active noise cancellation)
Meeting room Hardware
1) Your budget < $200 per meeting room
The first and most important component for meeting hardware is a decent speaker/microphone.
We highly recommend the Jabra Speak 510 and the Sennheiser SP20
These devices have an integrated 360° microphone and speaker. These devices are layed down in the centre of the meeting table and allow up to 8 people (we've done 12 too:) to join the meeting. Bonus: It naturally forces all participants to speak into the microphone - which makes your remote invitees more involved in the meeting. These retail for approx $150.
Even better is a device with camera, microphone and speaker integrated in one solution such as the Logitech BCC950. Retails for approx $200. One cable to connect everything to your PC. Max 6 participants.
These devices are portable, so you can bring them to other meeting rooms and
connect them to pc's, tablets or in some cases fixed meeting hardware.
2) $200 < Your budget per meeting room < $1000
Invest in a decent flat screen, attach a wide angle camera webcam with at least 90° degree view and use the above mentioned Jabra Speak 510 or Sennheiser SP20 microphone/speaker.
Connect your PC to the flatscreen, camera & microphone.
You can join the meeting on your iPad or touchscreen enabled PC and make annotations on whiteboards - it will be shared with everyone locally and remote!
3) $1000 < your budget per meeting room < $10000
You can go full wireless with a dedicated pc in the meeting room. The dedicated PC is connected to the microphone, speaker and camera. You can connect wireless to the Vectera meeting which is running on the PC. Use a wireless keyboard with integrated trackpad to control the PC.
For the best meeting experience, add a touchscreen in your setup. It makes the whole experience much more enjoyable. You can stand up and make your point on the digital whiteboard. Everyone, both locally and remote, will be able to follow.
We recommend Clevertouch and I3 technologies. Get in touch with a meeting room specialist at one of our preferred partners.
We know that's not all - there is a lot of amazing hardware out there that can help you achieve a great meeting experience.
Is there a product you can recommend? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org!