There’s a whole new way of working gaining steam in which huddle rooms form a key part, and devices like the Logitech Connect are rising to fill the niche. That’s why you can’t really get a proper understanding of the Connect without working in a team environment.
Instead of fitting out entire boardrooms with expensive video conferencing hardware and paying for its maintenance and operation, businesses arebeginning to use all-in-one units that can be grabbed and brought into a smaller, more versatile room for a quick,fuss-free video conference. These new multi-purpose rooms have been termed huddle rooms, and there are lots of companies now experimenting with huddle room technology.
I’ve been using a Connect for a few weeks now as a solo video caller (I telecommute to work for an online company), but I know I’m not the type of person Logitech had in mind when it designed the Connect. That’s become clear as I’ve used the cam. This is not a piece of equipment for a single user, and I’ve kept that in mind while writing this Logitech ConferenceCam Connect review.
Within the right environment though, Connect is a clear winner.
Conference Cam with the Mobility of a Smartphone
The first thing you notice about the Connect is just how easy it is to transport and setup. It’s no bigger than a thermos and easier to carry around than a laptop–it’ll even fit snugly into your bag. That’s essential for a device intended to be moved in and out of small rooms quickly.
You do have to charge the battery on initial setup, but there’s a power adapter on hand to get you going straight away. Once charged, the battery will give you 3 hours of video power, and 15 in audio-only mode.
The unit comes with Logitech’s nowstandard plug n’ play automatic setup that gathers all the necessary drivers and whatnot without you lifting a finger. As a bonus, the Connect features Bluetooth connectivity that made getting started on my Acer laptop and smartphone a breeze. Connecting to your phone is a handy trick, as it allows you go hands-free, although I have heard iPhone users sometimes have trouble making a connection.
The only thing you are tethered to when using the Connect is an appropriate screen. I used my laptop, but if you’re in an office setting and want to gather around one screen you’ll need something compatible to receive the incoming images. With that in place–and most every meeting room nowadays has a flat screen attached to the wall–you just drop the Connect into the middle of a table and gather around for a quick chat.
Quality Audio and Visuals
I must say it does take some trial and error to get everything aligned on the Connect. There’s a healthy 90-degree field of view with a quality autofocus feature, but unlike screen-mounted cams, the Connect and the screen you’re using are separate, which means they need to be placed where you can easily face both at the same time. That’s what rules it out as a solo device. With the cam sitting next to my laptop I found myself facing and talking to my screen, presenting my colleagues with my face in profile.
In a huddle room setting with a wall-mounted TV, you’d have to place the Connect centered beneath the screen and look down at the cam to appear as though you were meeting their gaze. But, it’s worth taking the time to get that positioning right, since both the audio and visuals on the Connect are first class.
To try out the cam, I made a group conference call to some distant colleagues and was delighted with the audio. Compared with the quality of my Acer’s built-in speakers, this came across like surround sound, and no one had to raise their voice at all. It made the experience far more enjoyable than usual, and even slight adjustments to the volume made a big difference. I tried it in a couple of different rooms, and picked up only a slight echo in the largest, but generally my voice came through true even when I was around six feet from the microphone.
The visuals were just as strong. I got full 1080p HD without any issues, and didn’t experience any lag in the stream. That was probably helped by the fact that I was using Zoom and Skype, two of Logitech’s key partners.
The Connect’s strength is more about field of view than zoom. The 4x digital zoom will get the job done for a group of up to six video callers, and the autofocus works well when in range, but it can’t really compete with the optical zoom of rival room cams. Of course, the trade-off is that the Connect comes at half the price of something like the Aver CAM530, and of course Logitech would argue they’re catering to a smaller crowd.
Logitech ConferenceCam Connect Review Verdict: A Great Huddle Room Device
I really loved the easy setup and performance of the Connect. In truth, a solo video caller like me is much better suited to a smaller cam that can perch above the laptop screen to keep the incoming/outgoing stream dynamic easier to manage.
But for a small team working in a brick-and-mortar office, you’ll be hard-pressed to find such an efficient setup at a similar price, unless you want to head into a more permanent Microsoft Skype Room Systems sort arrangement–which of course robs you of your mobility. The bottom line is that if you and your team want to remain mobile and hands-free, and still get high-quality audio and visuals, then I can definitely recommend the Connect. It’s a well-designed product that is perfectly suited to serve its purpose. Just don’t bother if you’re a solo video caller.
Note that while this site is sponsored by Logitech, reviews contain the writer’s own opinions and are not influenced by the views of our sponsor.