Sunday, 10 April 2022 17:36

The Poly Studio P21 makes your online calls a cinch, looking good and sounding good


The Poly Studio P21 is an elegant all-in-one display, camera, microphone, speakers, and lighting unit which helps you look good, sound good, and switch effortlessly from working on screen to all the different forms of video and audio conferencing in use today.

Fundamentally, the Poly Studio P21 is a 21" HD 1920x1080 monitor that plugs into power and connects to your computer, laptop, tablet, or whatever via USB-C and USB-A provided it supports DisplayLink. Your computing device recognises it now has an external display, speakers, microphone, and a camera all available for use.

In simplest terms, you can use the display like you would any additional monitor; drag your apps over to it and they appear there. If you use Microsoft Teams, Zoom, GoToMeeting, Google Meet, AWS Chime, WebEx, or any other such thing you can use the device’s built-in camera and microphone.

However, it’s more than a monitor, more than a videoconferencing device; it’s a lifestyle device that enhances productivity in a way that is greater than the sum of its parts.

To start with, the device includes smart lighting. Start a videoconferencing app and lights down both sides of the screen switch on automatically, illuminating your face. Or, adjust the volume and under-screen lighting gives visual feedback indicating the volume via brightness. Mute your microphone - either from inside the app itself or by pressing the mute button on the Poly P21 and the under-screen lighting switches to red so you can tell at a glance.

The lighting adds to the display’s bezel, making it a thicker border than most modern monitors, but it’s a decent tradeoff; to achieve the same with a standalone monitor you’d need separate lighting and invariably you would have to control it manually.

The base also includes a wireless charger to set your phone on, allowing it to charge while you work.

The Poly Studio P21 has many nice touches like this that all combine to help you look good, sound good, and be all-around productive. You can see an example in this iTWireTV interview which I conducted via Zoom using the Poly Studio P21’s camera and microphone. No headphones or headset was required, the audio was crisp and sharp on both sides of the call, and the imagery was sharp with vibrant colours.

Then, in between calls, I played music and podcasts through the Poly P21 speaker. It brings an impressive soundstage and delivers impressive volume.

In fact, while I first approached the Poly Studio P21 as being a videoconferencing unit like many others I soon found it is more than this. It’s simple to explain what it is - a monitor with speakers, microphone and lights built-in - but there is an almost indescribable quality about how Poly has put it together and imbued it with seamless simplicity of operation and smart touches that make it far more than what you’d achieve by sticking a webcam on a monitor yourself.

It also offers two USB ports and a headphone jack for expansion. The headphone option means you can use the Poly P21 equally well with the speaker turned on in your own home or office and with headphones in an open-plan room. The camera has a privacy shutter so you can physically block the camera when you don’t want to appear on-screen.

Additionally, IT departments can manage the device remotely via Poly Lens cloud management.

To get started you only need to install Poly Lens, DisplayLink drivers, and plug it in. Then away you work. And work you do, switching from email to conference calls to music, in and out of documents and calls as you need. The Poly P21 makes it effortless and even, dare I say, enjoyable. There’s none of this “can you hear me” business. No wondering if you’re on mute or how to get yourself off it. No fiddling with Bluetooth. It works easily, works simply, and works every time.

It's won awards like the 2021 UC Awards “Best work from home product” and it’s easy to see why.

Poly products are sold within Australia via resellers and distributors and you can reach out to them for pricing. Give it a look. If you find yourself in and out of meetings, the Poly P21 can help bring back control, peace of mind, and sanity to your schedule.

poly studio p21 front vibrant display on call


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David M Williams

David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. David subsequently worked as a UNIX Systems Manager, Asia-Pacific technical specialist for an international software company, Business Analyst, IT Manager, and other roles. David has been the Chief Information Officer for national public companies since 2007, delivering IT knowledge and business acumen, seeking to transform the industries within which he works. David is also involved in the user group community, the Australian Computer Society technical advisory boards, and education.

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