Poly Studio P15: A high-quality videoconferencing bar that's small enough to clip onto your monitor
A strong choice for home workers wanting to look their best, though the price may be a discouragement
Every laptop these days comes with a built-in webcam that can be used for online meetings, but Poly’s Studio P15 is aimed at those that wanting to project a more professional image. It takes many of the features found in Poly’s meeting-room solutions and presents them in a compact bar that clips neatly to the top of your monitor.
Those include a 4K UHD camera with a mechanical privacy shutter, an 8W internal speaker and a beamforming triple-microphone array. The latter is used to provide the same type of speaker-tracking as found in conference-room setups, taking advantage of the camera’s decent 90° field of view and 4x digital zoom, which means the Studio P15 could also work for a small huddle room. With Poly’s custom audio-processing technologies on hand to detect and remove unwanted sounds, background noise shouldn’t be a problem, either.
At the rear you’ll find a connector for the external power supply and a USB Type-C port for connection to a host computer. There are also two USB Type-A ports, which allow the P15 to function as a USB hub.
The installation process is almost nonexistent. The provided clamp affixed the Studio P15 firmly to our 27in Full HD monitor, and as soon as we connected the USB cable to our Windows 10 Pro workstation, the various audiovisual components were picked up and made available to our VC apps. Poly’s free Lens Desktop app for Windows and macOS provides tools for manually configuring the camera’s video and audio feeds, changing the tracking speed and upgrading firmware.
When speaker-tracking is disabled, you can also use the app to control the digital pan, tilt and zoom functions – and to help stave off meeting fatigue the app can remind you at custom intervals to rest your eyes and take hydration breaks. It can even play soothing background soundscapes when not in use.
The desktop app links to the Poly Lens cloud service too, which makes it possible to remotely manage a whole fleet of Studio P15 units. An inventory view shows where in the world each user is located, and camera settings can be remotely configured from the portal.
Image quality is generally good; the focus on the default setting was a little soft for our liking, but the Lens app let us improve matters by dialling up the sharpness setting. The backlight compensation setting works well with moderate light levels, but doesn’t cope with bright sunlight.
The single speaker is fine, too. It delivered clear sound with a warm bass, and we found a volume level of 50% was more than loud enough when we were sitting right in front of the computer. Our remote meeting participants were happy with the microphone quality, reporting that they could hear us clearly even when we wandered around the room.
On that note, we were pleased to see that the speaker-tracking did a good job of framing us at the start of the meeting, and following us around when we felt the need to stretch our legs. If we quickly stepped outside the current field of view, however, it took three or four seconds to work out where we were and snap the view around to the right position.
The Poly Studio P15 is a lot pricier than a consumer webcam, but it offers a high–quality, simple-to-use conferencing solution for home workers and small huddle rooms. Audio quality is good, speaker-tracking works well and the remote management option will be attractive to businesses of all sizes.
Poly Studio P15 specifications
4K UHD camera, 90º field of view, 4x digital zoom
3x beamforming microphones
USB-C 3, 2 x USB-A 2
425 x 78 x 65mm (WDH)
2yr limited warranty
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