Poly has been creating home and office communications solutions for many years but they are always surprising the market with cool new products. The latest I had the chance to play with is their new personal, USB/Bluetooth smart speakerphone the Poly Sync 20+.
This is the smallest model in a series with three versions - this one just the right combination of size, weight and features to be your personal speakerphone of choice - great to running that online meeting via Teams and Zoom, taking phone calls from a smartphone or just listening to some music from your favourite streaming service.
The Poly Sync 20+ measures 34 x95 x 182 mm and weighs only 360 g. It comes with a fashionable pouch, a lanyard and a USB Bluetooth adapter - more on this later. The body is made of plastic but quite nice to touch. On top you find some flush control buttons, a thin LED bar and a fabric cover that protects the speaker 40 mm speaker. On one side there's the power button, a pairing button and a USB-A port that can be used to charge your phone if needed on an emergency. The bottom has a 71 cm USB cable - in my case, it came with a USB-A type plug but there's an option for USB-C as well.
The buttons on top have some common functions - answer/end call, volume up and down, mute/unmute - plus a special "rocket" button that can be configured by software from your PC and a purple Teams button that helps you interact with Microsoft teams - and give some information about it too.
You can connect the Poly Sync 20+ to a computer in multiple ways: via Bluetooth, USB or using the Bluetooth USB that comes in the box - just be mindful the Poly Sync 20 mode differs from the Poly Sync 20+ as in the "+" means it comes with the Bluetooth USB adapter. You can also connect the Poly Sync 20+ with other Bluetooth sources such as a smartphone for meetings and voice calls or with other devices for sound only - the Poly Sync 20+ can be used as a music speaker too.
When using the Poly Sync 20+ you will get voice feedback for most functions. For example, when you turn it on a voice will tell you the battery status ("Battery high") and if push the pairing button the same voice will let you know when it enters pairing mode, when it pairs or when it connects to another device. You will also get feedback from the LED bar, which will change colour depending on the current connection status (or turn red when you mute the speakerphone for example).
The best quality was achieved when connecting the Poly Sync 20+ via USB. It was immediately recognised by Windows and ready to use in seconds. It will automatically configure as a full-blown Windows speaker - in addition to being used for communication, it will play system sounds, music and audio from videos as well.
The second best quality was achieved when using the dedicated USB adapter provided. The devices come paired out of the box so you should have no problem again, as it is a simple plug-and-play adapter. Since In case you need to pair these devices again, simply push the pairing button on the speakerphone and push a pin into a small hole on the side of the wireless adapter. They will be connected in a second or two.
Connecting via Bluetooth was easy but the quality wasn't as good as the previous two methods. Again, push the pairing button on the speakerphone and on your computer open Bluetooth settings and let it search for available devices.
The Teams integration is pretty neat. Providing you have the Poly Sync 20+ connected via USB or using its own wireless adapter the Teams button will turn purple to indicate Teams is running on your computer. It will blink to let you know a new instant message or voice message has arrived. You can push it to instantly open Teams or to join a meeting in your calendar.
The "rocket" button comes configured as Play/Pause by default but you can download an app to configure its actions with a few options available including current status, clean previously paired devices and play/pause.
Some functionality will only be available if connected via USB or using the included Bluetooth adapter - so you might miss out if using your computer's native Bluetooth connection - for example the dedicated Teams button won't work and I found the configuration app won't find the speakerphone at all so you can't change the "rocket" button, update software or change the language used for the user interface messages.
The same USB cable used to connect to a computer can be used to charge its 3200 mAh internal battery. A charger is not supplied but any good wall charger or even a computer USB port will charge it. A full charge will take about four hours and the specifications say it should last for 20 hours - although I didn't manage to use a whole charge during my tests. Obviously, if you use it as a smartphone emergency charger then you will need to recharge it sooner rather than later.
As a speakerphone, it really shines. The sound is clear and powerful. Three directional microphones ensure good coverage and capture the sound of your voice from any direction - while at the same time applying background noise cancellation so you get some clear conversations going. As a music speaker, I wasn't so impressed as I didn't find the sound quality good enough to replace a dedicated speaker. But it works well and providing you don't want to fill a huge room with music you can have it as a good background music speaker while you work - the recommended room size for this speakerphone is listed as 4 m x 4 m.
The biggest thing about using the provided USB Bluetooth adapter (and to a minor extend using your computer's native Bluetooth connection) is the complete mobility you get, being able to move the speakerphone around with you if you need to move a bit further than the two metres range the microphone array gives you.
The other models I mentioned (but have not tested) are basically larger versions with more microphones and always-on power (Poly Sync 60) or have two LED bars and an optional charger stand and desk mount (Poly Sync 40). Otherwise, they have the same functionality.