Poly kindly sent me a new piece of hardware to review – the Poly Studio P15. It’s on of the devices in their ‘Poly Studio P Series‘ which only came out early in 2021. These devices are personal video devices, but aimed at the higher end of the market. It includes the Poly Studio P5 Webcam (or kits that include the webcam and a headset or speaker), the Poly Studio P21 Personal Meeting Display, and this Poly Studio P15.
Although you could call the Poly Studio P15 a webcam, Poly calls it a Video Bar. Which I think is fair enough – it’s 42.5cm long (17 inches). On a standard 24″ monitor it extends above a lot of the screen, but luckily on my 43″ it is quite a good fit. The mechanism that balances the device on top of the monitor is quite adaptable – with both an adjustable kicker, as well as being able to slide the base forward or backward means that I could get it quite stable, without getting in the way of my actual display area.
Out of the box, beyond the video bar and kickstand, is a USB-C cable, and a power pack. The lens itself can be rotated to open/close the lens cap. Once plugged in to power and the compuer via USB-C, that’s all that’s needed for the camera to show up in Windows 10; no extra software is required to make it function, but if you want to change settings or run updates, you’ll need the Poly Lens app.
The Poly Studio P15 specifications are below.
• Ultra HD (4K 16:9, 2160p), Full HD (1080p), HD (720p)
• 90° DFOV
• Personal conference view with auto-framing
• True color and low light compensation
• Electronic zoom up to 4x
• Manual pan, tilt and zoom control through Poly Lens Desktop App
• Poly Acoustic Clarity technology provides full-duplex conversations, acoustic echo cancellation and background noise suppression
• Poly NoiseBlockAI technology
• Poly Acoustic Fence technology
• Microphones: 3-element beamforming microphone array
• 50 Hz to 14 kHz frequency response
• 100 Hz to 20 KhZ frequency response
• Output: 80 dBA @ 1000 Hz @ 1 meter at maximum volume
• 1x USB 3.0 Type-C port (with USB 2.0 compatibility)
• 2x USB 2.0 Type-A ports
• Power connector
• Kensington security lock
• External DC power supply: 12V/3A
• Windows 8.1, 10
• Mac OS 10.10 or higher
• USB 3.0 required for 4K video
DEVICE DRIVER SUPPORT
• USB 2.0/3.0/3.1
• UVC/UAC Plug and Play Compatible
• Certified for Microsoft Teams and Zoom applications
• Compatible with any application that supports standard USB/UVC standards
• Cloud: Poly Lens service
• Local (Windows/Mac): Poly Lens
• Desktop App
• Integrated privacy shutter
• Adjustable monitor clamp
• Tripod ready
• USB-A ports built-in for wireless headset adapter or other peripherals as USB hub
• Status LED indicates calling and mute state
With monitor clamp:
• 17 W x 3 H x 3 D (Inches)
• 425 W x 70 H x 78 D (MM))
Without monitor clamp:
• 17 W x 2.5 H x 3 D (Inches)
• 425 W x 65 H x 78 D (MM)
• Temperature: 0° C to +40° C
• Relative humidity: 5% to 95% relative humidity, non-condensing
• Altitude: Up to 10,000 ft
• Poly Studio P15 USB video bar
• Removable monitor clamp
• Power supply
• Power cord
• USB-C cable (separate adapter required to connect to USB-A port on PC/Mac, not included)
• Setup sheet
• 2-year limited warranty included
• Poly+ enhanced support available
Due to the camera’s 4K resolution, it can use digital zoom to still produce a high quality 1080p result. Below I’ve taken a screenshot of the auto-framing to my face, vs turning the tracking mode off to show the full field of view the camera can pick up. Again, this works out of the box without the app which is nice.
To be able to change these settings however, you’ll need the Poly Lens app, which is a free download. It doesn’t need you to sign in, but will provide firmware updates to your Poly devices, along with configuration options around back light compensation, zoom, camera movement, tracking speed and frame size. These settings let you fine tune how the video bar acts with it’s automatic controls.
Other settings worth noting are the Poly Acoustic Fence which creates a virtual bubble around the device, and sounds outside the bubble aren’t heard. I’ve liked a Poly video below around this. There’s also the NoiseBlockAI option which block sounds like typing – which I can confirm nobody could hear me typing on my mechanical keyboard while on an audio call, which was nice rather than wearing a headset for once.
The audio quality that comes out of the video bar I thought was really clear – you can also adjust the bass and treble levels to your liking.
One little bonus I saw in the Poly Lens app was the Soundscaping option – if you want the background noises of the gentle ocean, a babbling brook or a mountain ranch (which sadly isn’t cowboys and cowgirls saying ‘howdy partner!’ with horses neighing, just more water running):
Anyway, the Poly Studio P15 is really a high end device for the home professional that doesn’t want to muck around with trying to get the right angles, or worrying about being out of shot. The videobar sorts all this out for you, while being configurable enough to give some controls around those smarts. It also doubles up as just a really good speaker, and for an environment particularly at home where you might have outside noises or unwanted visitors, turning on the Poly Acoustic Fence can save the people you’re talking to from interruptions and distractions. There’s also two USB 2.0 ports on the back, in case you have other devices to plug in like headset USB dongles.
A really cool solution with some extra bells and whistles to justify upgrading from an average webcam.