Today I’m reviewing the Yealink SIP-T58A desk phone. Like its little brother (which we reviewed last time), this is a softphone designed for Skype for Business users. I put it through the same paces as the T56, within the same Skype for Business deployment.
Not surprisingly, it had very similar results. But they’re not identical phones…and they aren’t meant for identical uses.
As promised, I’ve included some use cases in this post. Instances where one phone works better than the other. Consider this post as a ‘Part 2’ to the previous post.
Ready? Let’s get to the T58A review!
The Yealink T58A is, like you’d expect, just a slightly more feature-rich iteration. It has the same dimensions as the T56A, the same desk footprint, and the same standardized phone layout with touch screen.
Here they are side-by-side. Can you spot the difference?
Hint: Look at the touch screens.
Design-wise, the only notable difference between the T56 and T58 is that the T58’s screen is adjustable. In nearly every other aspect, they are identical.
Because they’re so similar, I took a little more time with this model. Just in case it had any quirks only prolonged use reveals.
(Impromptu test: I accidentally dropped the handset before I could connect it to the cord. Luckily, nothing bad happened! It didn’t even scratch on our concrete floors.)
I did face the same sign-in challenge on the T58A as I did the T56A. It’s set to accept only Trusted Certificates by default. My contact at Yealink says they do this as a security measure. So it’s not really an issue as I said before…I can certainly envision topologies where this makes sense.
The same change we used last time worked here. Here’s the documentation again: Phone Cannot Get Provisioned with Certificate Error – Yealink Support
Once I flipped that switch, zero problems signing in to Skype for Business.
The Major Difference: Video Call Capability
If the T56 and T58 are so similar, why make two different models?
The answer is on the T58’s back. It has a vertical slot in its back, above the USB port. You can remove the cover over this slot and reveal a second, upward-facing USB port.
From Yealink.com’s page on the T58A:
“You can easily turn your SIP-T58A smart media phone into a video phone ready with an optional removable two-megapixel HD camera CAM50.”
The T56A doesn’t have this slot available. A co-worker commented on the camera slot’s use of USB. It meant you could also plug a USB cable in, moving the camera to a better angle if desired.
It is a USB 2.0 slot, by the way.
Now we know why they made two models. One can take a video expansion module; the other cannot. This makes for a huge difference in use cases. I’ll go over that in a moment.
Please note: This is the SIP-T58A model. That means its camera works with SIP…NOT Skype for Business. Another phone version does that.
That said, let’s go through some testing!
Using Skype for Business on the T58A
Like its brother, the T58A shows favorited Skype contacts on its Home screen. The options, and simplicity of use, are the same too.
I also discovered that both models preserve account details. I disconnected both the T56A and T58A from PoE. Left them idle for a day. Then plugged them both into another PoE cable at a co-worker’s desk.
Both models saved my Skype4B account login. I only had to unlock the phone, and poof, there’s my Presence status & contacts. Nice going on this one Yealink.
Call Quality: Almost an exact mirror to the T56A. One thing I did notice was that the “Noise Proof” technology came through a little better on the T58. That could be due to my listening for it, though.
Voicemail: In a stroke of good luck, I had several voicemails come in succession one day. (Murphy’s Law, you walk away from your desk, and everybody calls…) This gave me a chance to test out the voicemail controls more heavily than before.
You reach voicemail on the T58A through its “Menu” button.
I tried both ways of dialing into voicemail:
- Dial in, then pick up handset
- Pick up handset, then dial in
No trouble either way.
Bluetooth: The Yealink team encouraged me to test out Bluetooth on the phone. I had to update the firmware in order to do this; the version shipped with the phone didn’t have Bluetooth enabled yet.
(NOTE: A new firmware just came out a few days prior to my review. If you buy a Yealink after reading this, your phone’s screen will look different.)
Updating the firmware took 5 minutes. Well, 10, if you count the download time.
Yealink Support – T58A Downloads
Once I’d updated, Bluetooth appeared as a rocker switch in Settings. You can enable Bluetooth and WiFi from the Web admin menu, or directly on the phone.
From there it’s the typical pairing process: Open the Bluetooth screen on the phone, wait for BT devices to show up in the “Available Devices” list, and tap to pair.
I paired my Jabra Motion Office headset. I keep its base wired to my laptop dock. To test, I disconnected the base from my dock, so it couldn’t field calls coming from my laptop.
Shortly afterward, two calls came in. The Jabra started beeping right away, just like it normally does.
I did notice a slightly shorter ‘walking range’ while taking these calls though. When my Jabra takes a call from the laptop, I can walk clear across the office and still have a nice clear call. When my Jabra took the calls through the T58, I got a little crackle of static when I walked about ten feet away.
Nothing huge. All in all, the phone did a good job of working with my Bluetooth headset.
Issues: Security/Hacking Concern
A reader messaged me after the T56 post went up. “Yealink phones get hacked all the time. Don’t use them!”
I checked on this, and did find several reports from people dealing with hacked Yealinks. All older models though. I searched specifically for the T56A and T58A, but didn’t come across hacking reports on them.
That doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Far from it! But the reader’s warning raises an extremely important point, not just about Yealink phones:
Whenever deploying a new VoIP phone, no matter the manufacturer, make sure it’s fully secured before issued to the user.
Default passwords changed. Firewall in place. Logging enabled. Ports closed. It’s another computer on the network…thus, a potential cyberattack vector. Treat it like one.
Use Cases for the T56A and T58A
Given how similar these phones are, it took me a while to determine separate use cases. They’re both solid phones, with an extremely useful Web administrative menu per device.
I did though! Here are some use cases where each of the Yealink T-Series phones would serve well.
- Run-of-the-mill desk workers.
- Compliance-heavy workstations, if regulations prohibit display of certain materials in a video feed. Even accidentally.
- Multiple branch offices, in a bulk deployment (especially if you manage the branch offices’ IT remotely).
- Common Area Phone. Both models have a CAP function in their settings. I prefer the T56 here since it’s a simpler device with no video.
T58A: All of the above, as well as the following.
- Branch Management phones, for frequent conferencing.
- Sales/Marketing team phones, for quick video calls.
- Customer Service phones…in case you really want to embody ‘customer-facing’!
- Small-team conferencing phone (though Yealink does have a series of conferencing phones, called the “CP Series”).
- Non-Skype for Business VoIP deployments. The camera add-on works with SIP video…but this version doesn’t work for Skype for Business video. That’s the Yealink T58A Skype for Business Edition.
Now, what are some use cases where Yealink makes a good choice, as opposed to other SIP phone brands (e.g. Polycom, AudioCodes)?
- You run Skype for Business Server on-prem or hybrid.
- Moving to Teams IS on your radar. Yealink has T56 and T58 models configured for Teams use.
- You have multiple offices, but similar communications needs (which means you can standardize deployment & save time/money).
The Verdict: An Easy-to-Use, Expandable Desk Phone for Power Users
Now that I’ve completed my reviews, I handed the T58A over to the co-worker I mentioned last post. His turn to play. He’ll also put the phone through its interoperability paces, in our own network and at customer sites. It has to work within our security parameters before he’ll sign off on customer use.
I do like the T58A’s video expansion option. But I personally don’t use video much. It’s a nice-to-have for standard users. For power users though, it’s necessary. Which is why I say power users would get more value from the T58A than the T56A.
You can get the Yealink SIP-T58A from Jenne.com.
Does your office use Yealink SIP phones like these? Please share your impressions in the comments.