Review: BenQ InstaShow VS20
A wireless presentation system that takes on the BYOM challenge.
Review:/ Christopher Holder
As someone once said: ‘No one went broke coming second’. And if you’re going to market with a button-based wireless presentation system, these will be words of wisdom and comfort. After all, ClickShare is hugely popular but surely there must be room in the market for a competitor with similar performance.
The BenQ InstaShow VS20 wireless presentation system is one such contender. It’s a button-based system that connects to a standalone wifi-enabled hub, that itself mediates content presented on your in-room display. It’s a product that looks and feels solid, is well designed and has a unique selling point up its sleeve.
SHARE ’N’ SHARE ALIKE
There’s nothing new about wireless content sharing… everyone does it at home on their TVs via AirPlay or Chrome and Miracast. In fact, you can use the VS20 this way at its bare minimum, but when you introduce the InstaShow buttons, a whole world of flexibility is revealed.
If your laptop has a USB-C port — which takes care of data and power to the dongle — then life’s easy: plug in the button, wait until it lights green and you’re ready to share. Press the InstaShow button and in no time flat you’re sharing your screen in glorious 4K/60 resolution and with full enterprise-grade encryption.
For those without a USB-C port, BenQ has you covered, you just need to do a bit of simple dongle surgery to get started. The two-connector breakout comes included in the box and combines HDMI and USB-A, rather than the single USB-C connection.
Up to four contributors can share at once — each enjoying full HD resolution on a 4K display. It’s a good, solid system.
BRING YOUR OWN
The InstaShow VS20 system does more than wireless screen sharing, it’s also a wireless Bring Your Own Meeting solution — meeting the challenge of allowing visitors to launch a VC on their laptop and seamlessly plumb into the in-room display and USB peripherals. By doing so, everyone in the room and the far end experiences a superior call — certainly much better than huddling around a laptop.
BenQ’s approach requires an Instashare VS Assist app. The app is PC-only and shows you which hub is in your vicinity and available to use for your call. After you’ve joined the VS20 hub’s own wifi network you have access to the USB camera and/or microphone that’s hanging off the hub, and of course the display that’s connected via the hub’s HDMI2.0 connector. Thanks to network pass-thru from the hub, you can now launch your VC.
It’s pretty standard stuff these days to go into the Device Settings of your VC software to access an alternative camera or microphone. In this case, you select the VS20 device option and away you go, you’re running the call through the in-room USB gear.
The VS20 has a secret weapon: an embedded microphone in the dongle. This is a potentially powerful feature, especially for rooms that don’t have tabletop or ceiling-mounted mic arrays. For a larger space or even a classroom or lecture space, the button-based mics could well improve clarity on the call. I didn’t have more than two buttons to test but with up to 32 buttons possible, you’re achieving much greater coverage of the space. Of course, with multiple open-mic buttons in play, you need some decent echo cancellation. BenQ has you covered with AEC inside the dongle. For improved VC hygiene, press the mic button to mute and unmute yourself.
MOVE TO ROOM
When assessing a system such as the InstaShow VS20 it’s worth looking through the lens of someone dropping into a meeting room and confronted by a cradle of Instashow buttons. I can see that the BenQ system will require little coaching to get the screen sharing features instantly happening — especially if your laptop packs USB-C ports.
Clearly, the BYOM features aren’t quite so self explanatory. The VS20 hold-screen does offer instructions but a technical walk through would no doubt be welcome to avoid frustrations. There are plenty of institutions that are PC-only, so the current Mac lockout of the BYOM features is by no means a deal breaker, but may be a source of frustration to visitors from Cupertino wishing to launch their own meeting!
BenQ’s Instashow VS20 is a slick looking system that comes together quickly. Once the components of the system are locked in and recognised, you’ll experience solid performance. And once the users of the systems are au fait with the operation it will most certainly help supercharge your meetings and video calls.
- Driver-free Plug & Play Wireless presentation system
- Touch back
- Router based WiFi
- WiFi Auto channel selection
- Up to 4K/60fps output resolution
- 4 split mode (on/off)
- AES128 Advanced Encryption Standard
- InstaShow Button Microphone
- Up to 32 Button mics with built-in AEC
- Hub Takes Room Camera & additional 2 USB ports
- Up to 867Mbps data rate