I had the opportunity to test out Poly’s Sync 20 -speakerphone for Teams for couple of months now. Previously I have taken a look at Poly Calisto 5300 in late 2020, so I was really interested to try Sync 20 out. Of course since this too is certified for Microsoft Teams, and optionally comes with a dongle, it made a lots of sense to give it a good testing.
First of all some specs from Poly’s site.
- Battery life for 20 hours
- Echo & noise reduction
- You can use it to charge your devices (works as a portable battery pack too)
- Connect via Bluetooth v5.1 and using BT600 adapter
- Three microphones
- You can get one with USB-A or USB-C cable
I really like the looks of the device. While Calisto 5300 was traditionally designed Sync 20 looks a lot different. But what is more important: it also works better! Size is also a bit larger but I think the shape is much more modern than on “old tech looking” Calisto. When going on a road I thought I would grab Calisto with me in case I would expect landing on a meeting room in a hybrid call. Or so I thought, but read on!
The version I got for testing didn’t come with a dongle and that was the small bump I had. I paired the device with my computer using Bluetooth but with that – it would not be Teams certified truly. I did learn that you can take a existing Poly dongle and press that very little button there to reset it and to put it to pairing mode. After that it was a breeze and I have now the device paired to my computer twice: Bluetooth and Dongle. This means I can use it even when I don’t have the dongle on. The drawback: pay really attention when choosing Teams device that one doesn’t choose Bluetooth but the dedicated dongle connection. At first I had some issues with that (didn’t pay attention enough) but later on that has become a habit for me to check. I could remove the BT connection to my computer of course.
The interface is quite simple on the end: Bluetooth pairing button, USB-A to use Sync 20 as a battery pack and the power button.
On top you can easily use Teams-button just like on any other Teams Certified device, volume control, mute and hang-up. I really enjoy that part. There is also a rocket-button you can define using Poly Lens application to do a single quick-action. I really didn’t use that one, but I did configure it to hold the call.
When changing volume with +/- the light bar shows the level but there is also a sound that is higher in tone when you add volume and lower when you decrease it.
What you want to do, is that you install Poly Lens application that lets you update and configure the device.
You can also use it to set various options to Sync 20.
My experiences & verdict
This would not be a review without my experiences. Overall I am quite happy with Sync 20. Yes, that was the short version.
The longer version is that Sync 20 has replaced my other BT speaker I used to play music while working. The audio is good enough for me (in fact is sounds fantastic to me) – but I am not a audiophile. I play music from Spotify or other streaming services. It just sounds superb good and wide so I am really happy to use it for playing music.
In Teams calls it works without flaws. To be honest I had couple of issues with audio, but I figured it out later that those were the times I was using accidentally BT connection to my computer (moving the speakerphone away from me made the sound better since it also moved it close to Bluetooth antennas on my desktop computer, under the table). I started checking on my settings after the second time – when I figured what it was.
The microphone audio could be better. I have done some evaluation and asked from others when I switched between microphones that Sync 20 has a bit of metallic sound profile. It doesn’t matter in normal calls or even in webinars/online sessions for most parts. However since I have the option to use Blue Yeti X microphone I sometimes take it because my voice sounds a lot closer to my own with that (in good and bad). Other participants audio is perfect to my ears. Sync 20 does have noise reduction – Blue Yeti X does not. This is a another factor why I very often preferred to use Sync 20 in my calls, despite my audio profile having that metallic transformation. The other factor that made me choose Sync 20 over a big mic is the ease of use. Just connect, check audio settings and go – and you can move the Sync around in the table if you have to.
Noise reduction (from surroundings) works well enough. It is not in the level of a headset, especially with a boom mic, but it does take away some of the background noise. Combined with Teams noise cancellation it is a good match. How this works in the office – I don’t know since there hasn’t been the opportunity to have a hybrid meeting at the office yet.
Battery on this device won’t last 20 hours. No way. I generally deplete it during the day more or less. I didn’t do real measuring, but instead I just used the device like in work usually. I saw at one point Poly Lens showing the battery at 75% after 3-4 hours. That would mean about 12-15 hours of real use time. On a speakerphone it is ok – unless I am at the desk I don’t have it on all the time. If it lasts for a long day (12 hours) it is ok. Just don’t use it as a battery pack if you know you face a really long day in meetings.
What is very important that Sync 20 just works with Teams. I experienced no issues with connectivity nor crashes during these two months. For it’s price range (roughly 150€) it is a really nice device for hybrid work – when you don’t have the rest of the family home. It is also a very lightweight, works as a battery pack and has great audio so it would be my choice of speakerphone to take along with me when traveling to the office and customers resumes again. Why would I take a speakerphone with me? Because earlier (pre-covid) I ended up in lots of hybrid meetings where the meeting room wasn’t properly equipped.
I got this device from Poly for testing.