Poly is getting personal, and I like it!

The video quality of the P15 is unmatched

A review by Michael J. Levesque
CEO, Resolve Collaboration Services.

I was excited to review the Poly P15 this week. It is one of the new products in Poly’s new P-Series aimed at the Work from Home and personal collaboration device market. It is a crowded space but Poly is certainly working to make a place for themselves amongst the established device makers in this industry. Poly is building their audio and video magic into really good hardware for an unbeatable combination. 

The P15 looks like the cute little sibling to the X-50. Poly describes it as a “...personal video bar gives you everything you need in one sleek device to look and sound your best on video calls and they are not lying the P15 delivers on its promise. 

Here are the top things I like about the P15

VIDEO QUALITY UNMATCHED

First up, the video quality of the P15 is unmatched. I did 4 back-to-back test calls with my colleagues that see and meet with me everyday by video and everyones first reaction was Wow! I am not sure if it was because they could now clearly see how badly I need a haircut after 6 months of being in lockdown or just the overall incredible picture quality that the 4k camera provides, but regardless the video quality is a game changer for personal video devices. 

LOOKS IMPRESSIVE WITHOUT BEING OVERBEARING

Out of the box

The P15 looks impressive without being overbearing, now granted I have a 32” monitor on my desk so there is plenty of room for the 17”/43cm wide P15. If you were trying to hang this on a small 15” laptop, you’d want to use something like a mini tripod instead. The P15 has a standard camera mount attachment on its base so it should easily attach to any tripod mount. The included monitor mount is sturdy and is adjustable from front to back to accommodate everything from thin monitors to wider TV’s. 

POLY LENS APP

Favourite feature is the Lens App

The P15 is nicely managed from the Poly Lens app, which I forgot for a moment when I opened the old Poly Companion app and could not figure out why it was not detecting! I am looking forward to the day when Poly has one unified application for all their products. My favourite feature with P15 in the Lens app was the ability to turn on the camera preview and adjust my settings while not in a video call. I was also happy to discover that you can continue to use the Lens app to adjust features while in a live call, so if you have the speaker tracking turned on and decide you want off you can easily change it in Lens and it because effective immediately in your live call. 

Poly Lens App

USB PORTS

Now on my computer USB ports are at a premium and each time I get a new device it’s like an episode of tribal council on Survivor to see which device gets voted off of USB island. Fortunately, the P15 has a USB passthrough so I was able to plug my old EagleEye Mini into the P15 USB passthrough so both devices are available to my computer. So now my meeting participants can see how badly I need a hair cut from two angles. 

Teams noticed the new device right away brought up a setup wizard with some tips. Unfortunately, I clicked on a chat notification and it disappeared and I haven’t been able to find it again.  

Lastly, the P15 packs in the advanced audio features the Poly does so well, Acoustic Fence and NoiseBlock. It’s great to see these technologies work their way into the Work From Home solutions where they are often needed the most. 

SOME DRAWBACKS

Backlight compensation

There is a lot to like in the new P15 but I did notice a few drawbacks. First off it could not handle the bright window behind me. Even toggling backlight compensation on and off in the Lens app didn’t fix it. I had to manually increase the brightness setting to get the iris to adjust. Once set the picture was crisp and clear and better than any other camera I have. 

Audio quality

The other noticeable difference for me was the audio quality. It is not as good as the Sync20, but that may also not be a fair comparison. The P15 is built to enhance meeting experiences whereas the Sync20 is a personal audio device intended for a wide range of uses including listening to music.  

External power supply

The last piece I did not love was that the P15 requires an external power supply, so this added to the cabling and connections to my already crowded desktop. 

SUMMARY

After a week of using the P15 it certainly did live up to its intended purpose of improving the meeting experience. I found that having the speaker directly in front of me next to the camera lead to a more natural feeling meeting than when the audio comes from the Sync20 beside me. There was just something that felt more natural about hearing the audio come from the same direction as the person speaking. My video quality could not have been better and the P15 real is top of line for video quality. 

The P15 definitely has a new permanent home in my office.

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