Yealink EXP50 Teams Expansion Module / Sidecar For T56A/T58A/MP56/MP58 Yealink Teams Desk Phones

Yealink T58a with EXP50 Expansion Module / Sidecar

The Yealink EXP50 sidecar for Teams desk phones gives a user an efficient way to reach out to frequently used contacts using their phone. A user can select and pin any contact group on the phone to the screen of the sidecar. This allows the user to quickly speed dial a contact with one click, more efficiently transfer calls, and know a contact’s presence at a glance.

Yealink phones support connecting up to 3 sidecars, each sidecar supports up to 3 pages of contacts, and each page holds up to 20 contacts for a total of 180 contacts.

Current Bugs

I will try to keep this list up to date as updated firmware becomes available.

  • When updating Favorites on other Teams clients the sidecar did not live update like all other clients including on the phones main screen. I needed to restart the phone to update the list on the sidecar. However if favorites were added on the phone it auto updated.
  • From certain screens including settings, and randomly while in a call the sidecar screen acts like it signed out, but still shows presence indicators on the buttons.

After a long wait and roughly a year after other brands like Yealink brought Microsoft Teams certified phones to the market, Poly “formerly Polycom” finally joined the party with the release of their CCX line of Microsoft Teams certified devices and I finally got my hands on one, the CCX 500.

CCX 500 with the optional handset and the interface set to dark mode.

The Good

  • The clean lines and elegant style make the CCX 500 fit in nicely to the aesthetics of a modern office.
  • The 5 inch touch screen is sharp, easy to read, and refreshingly fast and responsive compared to some of the other Teams certified devices I’ve tried.
  • I like the fact that it has actual buttons for the speakerphone, headset, mute, and volume, and there is a also a “Teams” button to be enabled with a future software update.
  • The handset and speakerphone are both clear and get plenty loud.
  • The inclusion of both USB A as well as a USB C port provide both current and future support of Teams certified headsets and accessories.
  • Built in Bluetooth for pairing Bluetooth headsets directly to the phone.
  • Wi-Fi can be added via USB dongle
  • On the top right there is a red light that blinks to notify you of voicemails.
With the clean lines and elegant look the CCX 500 would look good in any modern office.
CCX 500 USB Ports
With a USB A and USB C port the CCX 500 should support both current and future Teams certified headsets and accessories.
All the standard desk phone ports on the back, power input, POE Ethernet in, Ethernet out, RJ9 Legacy headset port, and the handset port.

The Not so Good

  • My biggest complaint isn’t against the CCX 500 specifically so much as the entire line of Poly Teams phones. Why is there not a single model with a physical dial pad, if a user doesn’t want to use a soft phone client and wants a desk phone instead, that user is probably also the type that wants to punch phone numbers into old fashioned physical buttons on a phone. I know a Dialpad isn’t not fancy, modern, or good looking, but I believe physical buttons “especially for the dial pad” is what users want.

The Cost-effective Phone for Microsoft Teams

Yealink T55A Microsoft Teams Edition – Front

As a Microsoft UC consultant recently I have been busy talking to customers about moving to Microsoft Teams, however one of the major blockers in making the move from a legacy PBX solution to Teams has been the lack of cost effective and future proof desk phones with modern Teams functionality.

But now all that has changed, behold the Yealink T55A Teams Edition desk phone for only $219 “MSRP”. That’s $70 cheaper than any other Microsoft Teams certified desk phone on the market at the time of writing.

So now we know the price is good, but is the phone any good?

First thing you will notice is the sleek clean lines and easily identifiable buttons, yes actual physical tactile buttons, not some buttons on a screen that you need to look at to know if they are still there. No, these buttons will always be there just waiting for you to blindly reach over and push them without even having to think about what you’re pushing or even needing to look at the phone. Now don’t take me wrong, I am a huge proponent of modern technology and UC soft clients, but if a customer is asking for a desk phone they probably want physical buttons and not just another screen. So yes, it looks good and it has buttons, we are off to a good start!

The second thing you will notice is the 4.3 inch touch screen. The user interface on the screen is quite response and gives you access to call history, searching for contacts, visual voicemail, and all the normal calling features you would expect from a Teams edition desk phone. But the screen itself has a resolution of only 480 x 272 which means it isn’t the sharpest but it is still easy to read and gets plenty bright. I would consider it adequate and about what I would expect in this price range, just don’t expect it to blow you away in the crispness department.

The handset is of the standard Yealink HD variety so no complaints here, good volume and a quality microphone. The phones built in HD speakerphone is great as well.

On the back of the phone we have all the standard ports you would expect, A gigabit ethernet port in, and another out, a plug for the handset as well as for a traditional headset, power “for those that don’t have POE switches”, and a regular USB Type A port. And I really do love that USB port, plug in any Teams Certified Headset and it just works, answer and hang up buttons, volume control and everything, amazing! I tested this with a handful of different headsets some wired and some wireless including my Plantronics Voyager Focus UC, Plantronics Blackwire, and just because it was laying on my desk at the time, a Sennheiser SP20 Speakerphone “completely unnecessary due to the phones built in speakerphone, but hey I was curious :)” This is so much better than the headset connectivity of yesteryear “remember handset lifters?”

So what’s the catch?

I think the hardware is great and I don’t see any deal breakers here. However on the software side there is a few issues, none that I would consider deal breakers but I think you should be aware of them. Providing some user training in these areas should prevent too many complaints. Here is a list of the problems I noticed and I will try to keep the list up to date as the phone continues to receive firmware updates.

  • When the phone is sitting idle and you start pushing the number buttons to dial a number without waiting for the dialing screen to load it can skip the first about 2 or 3 digits till the dialing screen loads. – Solution: Train users to pick up handset first “this loads the dialing screen” then key in the phone number. – Fixed
  • When making an outbound PSTN call there is no ring-back, but on internal calls there is, this can be confusing to new users. -Fixed

Teams edition phones have been available for a few weeks now so lets take a look and see what they are all about. At the time of writing Yealink has the only two Teams edition phones that are generally available, however Audio Codes and Crestron have announced devices that should be available in the near future and I hope to review those soon.

Lets start with the 7 inch touch screen featured on both models, at 1024×600 resolution it is crisp, the text is easy to read, and it has plenty of brightness for a well lit office environment, however the glossy screen is a little more reflective than I would prefer it to be.

One of the advantages of the T58a is that the display is tilt adjustable unlike the T56a. The adjustable display is a big help in mitigating reflections by allowing you to tilt it to a position that doesn’t reflect the light. Here you can see how far you can tilt the display on the T58a in comparison to the T56a.

One of the things I really like about these phones is the USB port on the back that supports a USB headset. This isn’t something I have seen on many other desk phones and I think it’s a really nice feature to have. I tested it with a Plantronics Blackwire headset and I even plugged in the BT600 Bluetooth dongle for my Plantronics Focus UC headset and everything worked including all the call controls, answer / hangup, volume, mute, etc. I also tested the Bluetooth support by pairing my Focus uc directly to the phones built in Bluetooth and once again everything worked as expected.

The USB port on the back with a USB dongle plugged in.

There aren’t a lot of differences, so here is a quick list of features the T58a has that the T56a is missing.

  • Adjustable Display
  • 2 USB ports vs 1
  • WiFi
  • USB Camera support*

*to be enabled with future firmware updates.

Don’t forget to subscribe to see my upcoming Microsoft Teams Admin Center Device management overview.