In the wide-open field of videoconferencing tools spawned by the pandemic, the Poly Studio P5 professional webcam should be high on 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. The removable upper lens barrel is tripod ready.
Its cover hides a built-in USB-A port to connect a wireless adapter for a headset or other accessories. An impressive cylindrical design in the shape of an eye has a rotating band around the front edge to open or close the lens to prevent accidental viewing, which is a handy feature.
When you turn the dial clockwise, a three-piece red cover closes off the lens chamber. Turning the dial counterclockwise pulls the cover off the lens. In addition, an LED at the top of the lens barrel changes color from red to green as a further safety indicator.
Poly Studio P5 professional webcam (Image Credit: Poly)
The Poly Studio P5 is one of the more intriguing videoconference tools offered by the manufacturer formerly known as Polycom/Plantronics. 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 add it 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 the Poly camera.
I especially like the ease with which I can move this webcam from one computer to another without installing or reconfiguring anything. This ability comes in handy in your home or company office has multiple computers.
Even with first-time connections, all that is needed is to plug in the USB cable and select the Poly cam in whatever conferencing application you use. No driver downloads are required.
Poly does provide a free downloadable Poly Lens Desktop App for custom controls. The app offers unique tools for adjusting camera settings and other features.
The desktop apps are available for Windows and Apple computers. Though unless you have specific needs that involve networking devices or special configurations, the computer apps are unnecessary.
Poly’s 1080p (Full HD) / 720P (HD) compatible hardware provides 30 FPS (frames per second) with 80-degree diagonal field of view (DFOV) performance. It has a bevy of built-in features that automatically improve video performance.
For instance, autofocus with 4x zoom / EPTZ is included, as is a single directional microphone optimized for personal workspaces. It provides 50 Hz to 16 kHz frequency response.
I had no trouble using the Poly P5 in various lighting conditions. The lens apparatus automatically adjusts for dim or bright lighting environments.
The low-light quality and true color image technology are certified by Zoom and Microsoft Teams. The P5 is compatible with any application that supports USB/UVC standards.
Wide Range of Compatibility
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 you are also in luck if you have Linux or Chromebook computers, although nothing in Poly’s documentation indicates that the P5 is compatible with either of these operating systems. Nor do the company’s download servers refer to a desktop application 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 in the USB cable to both the Linux and Chromebook computers expecting to see no second camera available. As with Windows and Mac gear, the webcam instantly lit up with no configuring needed — and the performance was better than what it replaced.
Since I have no use for the desktop application video tool for adjusting the P5, I was ahead on all counts.
The P5 is a close-to-perfect solution for meeting your personal and business needs. Although it does have a few issues, none of them are severe enough to become a deal breaker.
For instance, the built-in microphone is mediocre in its sound production. Despite the directional microphone, the audio output is noisier and more muffled than I prefer.
The audio issue is minor, provided your computer has a plug-in or built-in microphone. If not, the spare port under cover in the P5 comes in handy as a workaround.
Another example is the four-foot USB cable. If you attach the P5 to a laptop, you have no problem reaching the port. However, a desktop console that is not close to the monitor may pose a plug-in problem.
That situation has a relatively easy fix: just get a USB extension cable to add length.
Poly Studio P5 Dimensions, Weights, Warranty
Camera body only:
- 1.5 W x 1.3 H x 2.4 D (Inches)
- 37.7 W x 34 H x 62 D (MM)
- 2.4oz / 68g
Camera with monitor clamp:
- 2.4 D x 1.7 H x 2.7 D (Inches)
- 60 W x 43 H x 68 D (MM)
- 3.3oz / 98g
- A two-year limited warranty is included.
In most cases, the Poly Studio P5 professional webcam can outperform your built-in computer camera, and it works out of the box with no setup required.
This handy device, with its free desktop applications, provide enhancement capabilities. Together they give you what their name implies — premium quality performance. Just add a better microphone if you do video presentations for work.
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