Review: Poly Elara 60 for Microsoft Teams

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I’ve been using the Poly Elara 60 as my daily driver for a little over a month now – making mobile calls, Teams calls and even joining Teams meetings. I’m pretty impressed with the device i have to say, and can see mobile workers finding it very useful – the only catch is that its pretty pricey.

Video Overview

Rather watch than read? Check out the video review of the Poly Elara 60 instead:

So what is the Elara?

The Poly Elara is a new category of device for Microsoft Teams that provides a top end UC experience for mobile workers who live on their mobile phone. It essentially takes your mobile and turns it into a desk-phone. There are currently two headset options:
1. Poly Voyager 5200
2. Poly Voyager Focus

 

Both of these device are rock stars of the headset world. I have owned both for a number of years and they are by far by favourites in their categories (and part of the reason the overall device is expensive). Speaking of price (as at Jan 2020):
Poly Elara 60 WS for Voyager Focus UC (Headset not included) AU$735.95 / US$506.52
Poly Elara 60 WS for Voyager Focus UC (Headset included) AU$1,165.95 / US$802.47
Poly Elara 60 WS for Voyager 5200 (Headset not included) AU$805.95 / US$554.70
Poly Elara 60 WS for Voyager 5200 (Headset included) AU$1,017.95 / US$700.61
The headset fits in a charging cradle at the top of the device. Depending on the headset you choose you will get a different cradle – the cradle is interchangeable and will be able to be purchased separately very soon – so if you change your mind you can purchase a new cradle to support this. Your phone sits on a cradle of its own which supports wireless charging for those that have a phone which supports the same – This makes it super simple to throw on and forget. For those that don’t have wireless charging there is a USB port on the back and a cutout for the cable. When the phone is detected it will connect to the Elara base station via Bluetooth. You can also pair your phone to the headset directly, and doing so allows you to walk away from the base station and have the audio seamlessly transfer to the headset – pretty cool if you’re on the move a lot.
The Elara has a non-touch screen which had me confused pressing at it at first – silly me! Instead, you navigate the screen with the buttons below it. Most of what you can do on-screen is also available via the Elara companion app – so if you want touch, you can do it that way. The companion app also allows you to push firmware updates to the Elara and the headset.
The Elara is designed with Microsoft Teams in mind and sports a dedicated Microsoft Teams button. Pressing the button simply opens the Teams app; however, it doesn’t turn on/unlock your phone – I was testing using my Android phone which thankfully has a trusted device feature that allows me to keep it unlocked when connected to the Elara – This makes things a little easier to get going, but its a little clunky having to interact with the phones power button while docked. It would be nice if a trusted device could turn the phones screen on too (but that’s likely an phone feature and not the Elara).
The Elara’s key pad allows you to quickly initiate a call without touching your phone. After you dial a number you have the option to place the call via your mobile phone or the Microsoft Teams app. The screen provides caller ID for incoming and connected calls. The key pad also allows you to mute the call and switch between headset and speaker phone (yes, the Elara is also a speaker phone!).
Not an Elara feature, but worth commenting – using a mobile phone for Teams calls and meetings actually works really well for audio and video. The Elara’s adjustable angle cradle makes it even more practical. For screen sharing I typically use the desktop client and the mobile app’s “companion” feature so you can be connected to A/V on mobile and screen sharing on desktop if you choose.

Summary

With over a month of active use I have been impressed with the Elara and I’ll definitely continue to use it in conjunction with my desktop. Where it will really shine is if you are a mobile worker who is always on the go – with features like wireless charging, speaker phone and seamless transition to headset when you pickup your phone and go – I’m sure it will impress. The only real downside is the price point which may put it out of reach for some, but where it makes sense it could really improve a mobile workers productivity while they are at their desk.

Pro:

  • Great headset options
  • Wireless charging
  • Seamlessly call transfer from Elara to the headset

Con:

  • Expensive
  • Dial pad not back-lit
  • Teams button doesn’t turn on/unlock the phone – likely a phone limitation but would be nice to see this a possibility

 

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