In the wide open field of videoconferencing tools created by the pandemic, the Poly Studio P5 professional webcam should be at the top of your list of candidates for home or office use.
This USB 2.0 plug-and-play camera comes with an integrated Type A cable, privacy shutter, and an adjustable monitor clamp that doubles as a desktop base. Removable upper lens barrel is tripod ready.
Its cover hides a built-in USB-A port for connecting wireless adapters to headsets or other accessories. The eye shape features a rotating band around the front edge to open or close the lens to prevent accidental viewing in an impressive cylindrical design, which is a handy feature.
When you turn the dial clockwise, the three-piece red cover closes the lens chamber. Turning the dial counterclockwise removes the cover from the lens. In addition, an LED on the top of the lens barrel changes color from red to green as another safety indicator.
Poly Studio P5 Professional Webcam (Image Credit: Poly)
Poly Studio P5, formerly Polycom/Plantronics, is one of the more interesting videoconferencing tools offered by the manufacturer. It has a solid feature set for an attractive price of $78.95.
flexible use cases
You can use the P5 as a desktop webcam or hook it up to a laptop computer without a built-in camera. Even better, you can plug this webcam into a laptop with an existing camera and quickly select a poly camera.
I especially like the ease with which I can transfer this webcam from one computer to another without having to install or reconfigure anything. This capability comes in handy in your home or company office with multiple computers.
Even with a first-time connection, all you have to do is plug in the USB cable and select Poly Cam in whatever conferencing application you use. No driver download is required.
Poly offers a free downloadable Poly Lens desktop app for custom controls. The app provides unique tools to adjust camera settings and other features.
Desktop apps are available for Windows and Apple computers. However unless you have specific needs, which include networking devices or special configurations, computer apps are unnecessary.
Poly’s 1080p (Full HD) / 720P (HD) compatible hardware delivers 30 FPS (frames per second) with 80-degree diagonal field of view (DFOV) display. It has many built-in features that automatically improve video performance.
For example, autofocus with 4x zoom/EPTZ is included, as is a single directional microphone optimized for individual workstations. It provides 50 Hz to 16 kHz frequency response.
I had no trouble using the Poly P5 in various lighting conditions. The lens device automatically adjusts for dim or bright lighting environments.
Low-light quality and true color image technology are certified by Zoom and Microsoft Teams. The P5 is compatible with any application that supports the USB/UVC standards.
wide range of compatibility
The system requirements listed on the P5 data sheet are:
- Windows version 8.1, 10, or later
- Mac OS X version 10.7 or later
- USB 2.0 Port
But if you have Linux or Chromebook computers you’re also in luck, although there’s nothing in Pauli’s documentation that indicates the P5 is compatible with any of these operating systems. Nor do the company’s download servers mention desktop applications or camera drivers for Linux or ChromeOS devices.
Since I use all those configurations, I was hoping for a one-size-fits-all videoconferencing solution. Chromebook cameras are notorious for their low-quality vidcams.
To my great surprise, the P5 did not disappoint. I plugged the USB cable into both the Linux and Chromebook computers, hoping that there was no second camera available. With Windows and Mac gear, the webcam lit up immediately with no configuration required—and performance was better than it was instead.
Since I have no use of the desktop application Video Tools to adjust the P5, I was ahead in all matters.
P5 is the perfect solution to meet your personal and business needs. Although it has some issues, none of them are serious enough to be a deal breaker.
For example, the built-in microphone is mediocre in its sound output. Despite the directional microphone, the audio output is noisier and more muffled than I’d like.
The audio problem is minor, provided your computer has a plug-in or built-in microphone. If not, the additional port under the covers in the P5 comes in handy as a workaround.
Another example is a four-foot USB cable. If you connect the P5 to a laptop, you should have no problem accessing the port. However, on a desktop console that is not near a monitor, plug-ins can cause problems.
There’s a relatively easy fix in that case: just get a USB extension cable to add length.
Poly Studio P5 Dimensions, Weight, Warranty
Camera body only:
- 1.5 W x 1.3 H x 2.4 D (inch)
- 37.7 W x 34 H x 62 D (mm)
- 2.4oz / 68g
Camera with Monitor Clamp:
- 2.4D x 1.7H x 2.7D (inch)
- 60 W x 43 H x 68 D (mm)
- 3.3oz / 98g
- Includes two year limited warranty.
In most cases, the Poly Studio P5 Professional Webcam can outperform your built-in computer camera, and it works out of the box without any setup.
This handy tool, along with its free desktop applications, offers enhancement capabilities. Together they give you what their name implies – premium quality performance. If you do video presentations for work just add a better microphone.
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