Polycom's RealPresence Trio 8800 Collaboration Kit is a complete voice and video conferencing hub offering everything a business could possibly need. There's no need to cable up and connect cameras and speakerphones to laptops and mobiles as it's all centralised in one package.
At its foundation is the RealPresence Trio 8800 base unit - a sleek black tripod that teams up an intuitive 5in colour touchscreen with triple, studio-quality cardioid mics and a powerful central speaker. Polycom is proud of the Trio's audio quality, claiming it's nothing less than legendary.
The video component comes courtesy of Polycom's Visual+ satellite hub and bundled Logitech C930e 1080p HD USB webcam (no other USB camera is supported). This is the clever bit as the Visual+ is cabled to the LAN and pairs with the Trio over the network thus increasing your deployment options and doing away with messy cables.
Both components require a PoE source and we had no problems powering them via the lab's HPE ProCurve 2626-PWR switch. We connected an HD monitor to the HDMI port on the Visual+ hub and watched it show a progress screen that advised when it had paired with the Trio.
The Trio has integral 11n/a wireless but if you use this to connect it to the network, you'll only get audio services as the Visual+ won't be able to pair with it. Other features are Bluetooth and NFC allowing us to pair our Lumia 640 mobile and iPad to use its audio facilities.
The kit has a sharp focus on Skype for Business (SfB) and also supports Microsoft's Lync and Office 365, Cisco's CUCM and Polycom's RealPresence services. Before buying, make sure you know which platform you want to use as the SfB version has a different SKU.
The Trio's touchscreen menu is very easy to use and provides options for quickly placing calls, viewing your contacts and checking on recent calls. When the Visual+ is paired, you get an extra Content icon which provides instructions on how to remotely share your desktop using Polycom's RealPresence Desktop or Mobile apps.
The standard base unit has multi-coloured icons whereas the SfB model presents a different set in the standard Skype blue. These are used to login to your account, create on-demand or scheduled meetings, select preloaded contacts and search Active Directory.
During testing, we found the kit a pleasure to use and were bowled over by its audio quality with participants unanimously agreeing it was the best they'd ever heard. The Trio's speaker delivers crystal clear sound with a warm bass and was so efficient that anything above 50 percent volume was far too loud for our 6.5 metre meeting room.
The mics are equally impressive with Polycom's nifty NoiseBlock feature cutting out distracting background noises. Video quality was also good although a few participants felt the camera's focus was slightly too soft and lost detail on distant objects.
Along with SfB local screen sharing support, the Trio runs Polycom's People + Content IP (PPCIP) server component. Using the free PPCIP app on a networked Windows 10 laptop, we entered the Trio's IP address in the app's interface, provided the password we'd configured from the Trio's web UI and watched our desktop appear on the monitor where we could also use the app's zoom function to zero-in on an area of interest.
The price may seem high but Polycom is delivering a slick video conferencing solution that has every angle covered. The Visual+ and HD webcam components makes it even more flexible and the Trio 8800 hub won't be beaten for features or audio quality.