If you’re an office professional, it’s very possible that you were one of the many people who suddenly found themselves working from home due to the pandemic of 2020. If so, you not only had a change to your normal workplace, but you added a few words to your vocabulary along the way.
Words like Zoom, Teams, Meet, RingCental are a few words that have risen in popularity due to their collaborative qualities and wide scale use.
Businesses found themselves scrambling to get their employees set up to do video conferencing, and that meant finding the right, and available hardware to keep everyone connected. Webcams were flying off the shelves as were headsets and other needed tech tools in order to keep the flow of business, and communications moving.
In this blog I’m going to introduce you to a new, and interesting, product from Poly. As you may know, Plantronics and Polycom became one company and was renamed Poly.
This merger seems to make sense given that Plantronics is a global leader in communication headsets, and Polycom a global leader in audio and video technology.
With that in mind, I’d like to provide my review on one of the new products to come out of this newly formed company, the Poly Studio P21, all in one monitor, HD webcam and speakerphone.
This product truly makes sense given both companies' areas of expertise, combined with the needs of the market for audio and video devices.
Before I begin though, I did want to mention that I recorded a Youtube video review of the Studio P21. If you’d rather watch this video review rather than reading it, you can find it immediately below.
Still with me? Great! Let’s see what this new Poly Studio P21 is all about shall we?
First off, let’s see what comes in the box
- 21.5 inch, 1080P monitor
- Monitor stand
- AC Power Adapter and cord
- USB-C to USB-C (with USB-A converter included) cable, about 5 feet in length That’s it. Nice and simple, and who doesn’t like nice and simple, right?
Something to know before using
Before you use the Poly Studio P21 for the first time, you need to know something. Before you can begin using it, you must download two things:
- Poly Lens software
- Display Linked Graphic software
The Poly Lens software allows you to make many different types of adjustments right from your computer. And, if you don’t download the Display Linked Graphic Software, you won’t have any images on your monitor, just a dark screen. Needless to say, you’ll want to get these applications downloaded so you can take advantage of all the great features this new product offers.
The Poly Studio P21 comes with a 21.5 inch, 1080P resolution monitor. It not only gives you HD video quality, but it provides an 89 degree viewing angle.
The camera that comes with the Studio P21 is 1080P with a 4X electronic zoom and a privacy shutter. In our tests, we found the camera to work great even in low to no light conditions. When I turned on the ambient lighting located on the sides of the monitor, it
really worked well to provide the right amount of light to light up the face, but not so much that it looked unnatural. It worked surprisingly well even without the ambient lights on. Overall, in varying light conditions (no light, overhead fluorescent lighting, ambient light, etc.), the camera performed very well. Certainly far better than the camera that comes with most laptops for sure.
The features of pan, tilt and zoom can all be controlled through the Poly Lens software which is one of the many things Lens can do.
The Studio P21 comes with a built-in speakerphone that contains a single uni-directional microphone for focused pickup, and unwanted noise suppression.
It comes with dual stereo speakers that operate at 10w per channel. In my test, I compared it to what you get in a typical laptop. Though the laptop output was acceptable, the Poly Studio P21 was notably superior.
In particular, in the low ranges, where bass is normally non-existent with many devices, including laptops. The Poly Studio P21 sounded rich with nice bass tones. Something I didn’t really expect from a product like this, so it was a pleasant surprise.
On the lower portion of the face of the monitor, you have some buttons. One is the Microsoft Teams button that, when pressed, launches Teams automatically which is a nice convenience and a shortcut to the application.
As with most devices, you have control over the volume, with volume up, volume down and of course the all important mute button. Once muted on the Poly Studio P21, you’ll see a long, horizontal red light that illuminates. This is to alert you that your microphone
is muted. Once unmuted, the red light goes out. It’s very hard to miss that light given it spans nearly the entire width of the monitor. Not knowing you’re on mute would be hard too given the prominence of this red mute light.
You’ll also find a button on the front of the monitor that looks like a rocket. Once pressed, you can go into your Lens app and make a series of adjustments to the P21. Managing your system is simple and menu driven for ease and simplicity.
Built-in wireless phone charger
The Poly Studio P21 has a built-in wireless phone charger in the stand. Simply place your phone on the stand base and your mobile phone gets charged. I don’t know about you, but I think that’s a pretty cool added feature. After all, how many of us find a regular need to charge our phones? So having this conveniently located on our desk is very useful.
Built-in USB Hub
On the back of the Poly Studio P21, you’ll find USB A ports that can be used for a wireless headset adapter or other peripherals you use. No need to take up additional ports on your computer when they’re conveniently located on the rear of the P21 monitor. Another attention to detail on the P21 that helps to make it a truly all in one device.
You can use the monitor as your main monitor for your video calls, but when you’re not busy on meetings, your monitor won’t need to sit idle. You can use it as a second monitor which is a nice added bonus.
Anyone who’s gone from using a single monitor to two can appreciate the value here. When you need to jump on a video call, you’ll be all set and ready to go. When you aren’t busy on calls, you’ll still be able to use the monitor for your other daily tasks.
The Poly Studio P21 is priced at $815.00. I think this is a good value for everything you get. A good quality monitor - a good quality camera - a good quality speaker & mics - spare USB ports - wireless phone charger, and a product that not only looks and sounds great, but one that sets up easily too.
The new video conferencing system comes with a 2-year warranty. However, you can opt to extend that to 3-years for around $330.00. This is referred to as Poly+ enhanced support which gives you advanced hardware replacements and support available to you 24/7/365.
Would I recommend a Poly Studio P21 for an at home worker, or other office professional? Absolutely.
This product is priced right, and is compact, all-inclusive and delivers on great visual and audio quality. Anyone who uses applications such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, Skype or many of the other available video apps will find tremendous value in the Studio P21.
One of the many benefits is the fact that using it results in less clutter on your desk, because it’s essentially a monitor that has everything built into it. That’s unusual when compared to other, more traditional home video solutions.
And, the ambient lighting feature is not only unusual, but useful and just a cool added touch. Activate the ambient light, and you suddenly look like you’re broadcasting from a professional studio.
Anyone who has struggled with lighting while on a video call will certainly appreciate this handy feature.
The fact that this is an easy to set up device, combined with it’s affordability and high quality components leaves me wondering why wouldn’t you want to deploy this in your office, whether at home or elsewhere? To me, this is an easy decision.
Buy one, and make your video online life easy. No need to have multiple devices taking up all your USB ports when only one is needed. Lastly, having that wireless phone charger is like frosting on the cake.
So, if you feel like an upgrade in your video set up is needed, you seriously need to consider the new Poly Studio P21 all in one videoconferencing solution. This is one of those safe decisions you can make that won’t end up weighing you down with regret after taking delivery. Two thumbs up Poly, job well done!