It's rare that we find a type of tech that we've never reviewed before...
The Poly Elara 60 is a desktop, mobile phone station that aims to transform your mobile phone into an office-oriented desk phone while simultaneously making a headset work with all your office devices at once. It’s not a product type we’ve seen before but it didn’t take us long to establish how useful it could be.
It looks like an office phone but has a reclinable phone/tablet rest to the side. This provides wireless charging although you can also make use of the rear-mounted USB port to charge using a cable too.
It connects to your mobile phone using BlueTooth and works in conjunction with an App. Once connected you can sync all your contacts and use the Elara’s keypad in the manner of a desktop phone that works over your mobile phone's network. There’s even a dedicated Teams button which will launch the app via your phone. The reclining phone holder makes it easier to angle your phone’s camera for video calls.
If this all sounds like a having completely unnecessary middleman – in many instances you wouldn’t be wrong. What really makes the device worthwhile is its partnership with the excellent Poly Focus UC headset which, despite launching in 2016, is still our favourite office headset in terms of quality, comfort, intuitiveness and useful features. Here’s the official video that quickly runs through those features and how they work.
The headset comes with a USB dongle that can be plugged into a laptop or PC for an instant, effortless connection. However, you can have it connected to everything at once… the station and your PC. This means you can make calls using the station, or play media using the station and do likewise with your computer without having to swap headsets or headset connections. It won’t play from multiple sources at once but if, say, you load up a video on your computer it will play in preference to any media that was already playing from your phone and then resume your phone's media playback when the video on the PC is finished. Meanwhile all computer notifications and phone calls will cut into whatever you’re listening to without you having to remove your headset or swap connections.
The station can be paired with up to eight devices which are selectable with the soft button. When you are away from the station you can prod the Disconnect button so that people can't access your calls and contacts. You then quickly reconnect using the app.
Of course, it's less helpful if you’ve got a landline (that's not connected to your headset) that you frequently need to answer as well (we auto forward our office calls to our mobile by default). However, if you’ve no landline at all – which will be the case for tenant offices and many home offices – this is a great choice.
A significant wrinkle is price. At $264 it's quite reasonable, but if you don't already have the headset you're looking at $799 for a combo package. That second price is a little odd as you can buy the headset on it's own for around $350 so it's best to buy separately. However, considering you need the headset to make the most of the Elara, you're suddenly looking at a combined outlay of over $600 which is an overly hefty investment for such a set-up. To this end, unless you've got crazy deep pockets, it's best to think of the Poly Elara 60 W as a device to augment an existing Poly-based setup.
Ultimately, if you need to wear a headset for work for much of the day and if your communications and media come in through multiple sources - AND if you've already got a Poly Bluetooth headset - it's a great option to have everything come through to one headset. That makes for a very niche (but significant) audience and if you're part of it, you'll get a lot out of the Poly Elara 60 W mobile phone station.