Yealink T56A: Reliability, Embodied
Yealink’s T56A is a rock-solid desk phone. After undergoing detailed testing, the SIP-T56A demonstrated that ‘enhancing office productivity can go beyond marketing slogans.
Feature-packed, easy-to-navigate large display, flawless audio quality. Surely it has its minor flaws as well, but overall, the T56A is unlikely to let its users down in any major way.
Are you looking to implement the T56A in your workspace?
Below are all the relevant factors and information to consider.
One of the first things to consider about this phone is that there are two variations to it. There is the standard SIP one and the Teams IP one.
With the standard SIP phone, the on-screen interface is identical to the classic Yealink look and navigation. The standard SIP T56A is also a Teams-certified device regardless.
On the other hand, the T56 Teams IP phone is more than just being a Teams-certified device. The Teams IP version functions more as a standalone Teams device. Think of it as a Yealink hard phone box accommodating a Team’s softphone.
The difference is not insignificant and potential buyers are encouraged to pay attention to which version is being purchased.
The different on-screen interfaces will be addressed in the dedicated sections below. For now, let’s focus on hardware utilities, shared by both versions.
Both the standard SIP device and the Teams IP phone are actually Microsoft Teams-certified. The difference is that whereas the SiP ones are optimized for the Teams app in terms of firmware, the Teams-ready devices are more like a hardware extension to the Teams app.
That is, the phone’s entire on-screen navigation is customized in accordance with the app’s features and overall appearance. This is why it’s called ‘a standalone Teams device’.
Appearance & Design
One of the most attractive features of the T56A is its tablet-like display. It is 7-inch large, it delivers rich-color images and it has a capacitive touchscreen. This means that users can do more with their fingers. For example, they can pinch to zoom certain portions of the screen.
Also, there’s a flashing indicator on its upper right side. This is very familiar to the indicator light that smartphones have. Here too, its purpose is to signal call status or notify about any missed messages or calls.
The T56A’s screen remains static. That is, cannot be tilted back and forth.
Another disadvantage to the screen is that it is not anti-glare. This can turn into a serious problem for some users, especially in workspaces that are soaked in sunlight.
Still, overall, the screen is very easy and enjoyable to play with. Also, its smooth colors and video playback capacities set just the right tone for a respectable desk media phone.
The video resolution is 720p at 30 frames per second. With all the advancing video technology around us, this might not seem as much. But when tested, such parameters proved sufficient for video meetings.
Upon unboxing the T56A, users will find that it comes with a stand accessory. The stand has two angles for positioning the phone.
Both the SIP and Teams IP version, run on the Android 5.1.1 operating system. This version is considered dated by some experts, but again – it is all about context. The 5.1.1 version is just what a desk phone needs.
After all, why would users look to run incredibly sophisticated apps on their desk phones?
Speaking of simple apps, the phone comes with a built-in web browser, calendar, and even a recorder.
The T56A is not a video phone per se, although it can be turned into one. This can be done via the two-megapixel HD CAM50. This camera is purchased additionally, as it is not included in the pack.
Read more about the camera in the Hardware Integration section below.
The T56A is wall-mountable, but the wall stand must also be purchased additionally.
The T56A might be a smart media phone, but it still retains its pure telephonic features. The phone can support up to 16 VoIP accounts, it can sustain up to 3-party video conferencing and up to 5-party video/audio mixed conferencing.
The phonebook has the capacity for 1000 contacts – each with a caller ID, phone number, and an image.
The T56A has 27 DSS keys with its SIP module. The DSS keys function as softphone BLF keys. Thus, users can monitor when their colleagues are busy. That, coupled with the intuitive menu, enhances the overall workflow quality.
The DSS rows can be expanded onto the entire screen, which makes it really handy for receptionist workers to perform speed dials.
Yealink has left nothing to chance with its Optima HD audio system, which delivers a superb and crisp sound.
The T56 is further supplied with a full-duplex speakerphone with AEC (Auto-Echo Cancellation). When tested, the AEC did an excellent job of cutting out undesired background noises.
This, coupled with the OPUS codec, help maximize the acoustics of the phone’s handset, headset, and perhaps most notably – of the speakerphone.
Another nice sound-related attribute is the handset’s built-in HAC (Hearing Aid Compatible) feature. It is nice to see that Yealink has thought about how to improve the experience of people with hearing problems.
This is the department in which the T56A lags behind its big brother – the T58A. Whereas the T58A has built-in Bluetooth and WiFi, on top of its 2 USB ports, the T56A has none of those.
The difference between the T56A and the T58A lies in their connectivity/integration capacities.
The T56A has only one USB port. Moreover, this port is specifically intended for the optional camera. As previously mentioned, the two-megapixel CAM50 is an accessory that must be purchased also.
Unlike the screen, the camera itself is fully adjustable. It can be tilted back and forth generously.
The T56A comes with a dual-port Gigabit Ethernet supporting PoE. Thus, the phone can be powered via a network cable.
This is not only an ever-prevalent standard nowadays, but also very handy as it minimizes the number of used cables.
Still, if you prefer using a standard 5.0V AC power adapter, keep in mind that such adapters must be purchased separately.
The SIP-T56A can be paired with up to 3 color-screen EXP50 expansion modules. Currently, this applies only to the SIP version and not the Teams IP one.
One interesting feature of the T56A is the in-built intercom function. This automatically turns the T56A into a two-in-one tool for both business collaboration and door monitoring.
The T56A’s monitoring function is compatible with the major vendors in the security systems market such as 2N, Baudisch, and CyberData.
Set-Up & Configuration
As with all Yealink devices, setting up the T56A for work is easy. Users don’t need to be all that tech-savvy to do it. By simply following the step-by-step guide provided in the user manual, everyone can do it in minutes.
But the best is yet to come with the Teams IP version. Because of it, configuring the phone is now as easy as users inputting their Office365 credentials.
In visual terms, the Teams interface has little to do with the standard Yealink SIP interface. It feels very smooth and intuitive when navigating through it. Naturally, it reminds me of some other collaboration apps such as Skype, Google+, or even something like Slack.
The menu design is very minimalistic. It has a handful of components, all of them just a click away.
Shortcuts to the main directories that users might wish to access are positioned at the bottom of the screen. From our personal experience, it really cannot be any simpler than that. Truly a breeze to use.
Few Teams-specific features to be mentioned:
Users can see their schedule in meetings and then decide to join a meeting with just one click.
The voicemail can actually transcribe the recorded message into text. If you have ever played a voicemail recording 10+ times to get all the important details right – rejoice.
The T56A Teams version supports a hybrid model, which can be utilized in some emergency situations when a Teams server might be down.
When this mode is activated, via the Survivability app, users can switch back their SIP client.
Objectively speaking, the T56A is indeed a reliable solution for your office needs. Yes, it does have its petty shortcomings. But overall, this is a phone that users can count on to make their life a little easier.
Superb sound quality, easy-to-use, future-proof. There isn’t much more that can be asked out of a desk phone.
If you are interested in reading about other devices from Yealink’s T5S series – check our review of the T58A.