Hybrid and remote work are now unavoidable, so it only makes sense for companies like Google and Zoom to sell dedicated video conferencing hardware. But Google’s latest product, the Series One Desk 27 monitor, shows that the company’s ambitions are disconnected from reality—nobody needs a $2,000 video conferencing screen that’s locked into Google’s ecosystem.
As its name suggests, the Series One Desk 27 is the latest item in Google’s catalog of “Series One” hybrid work products. It was developed alongside Avocor, an enterprise-grade interactive monitor manufacturer, and sports a ton of features to accommodate the Google Meet video conferencing platform. While this is technically an enterprise product, Google advertises it for at-home use in its marketing videos, though neither use-case makes all that much sense.
So what features can you expect from the Series One Desk 27? Well, there’s an integrated 5MP webcam with a 100-degree FOV and software to pan or zoom in on subjects. An eight-microphone array picks up your voice and removes background noise, and a stylus lets you interact with the touchscreen or draw in a whiteboard app. Software-wise, you can use the Series One Desk 27 monitor to start meetings, join meetings, or peek at your Google Calendar.
These features work without an additional device, as the Series One Desk 27 is a standalone product with a built-in Core i5 processor and Google Edge TPU chip. That said, you can connect a laptop to the Series One Desk 27 over USB-C cable to instantly turn it into a regular desktop monitor (with 45-watt charging for your laptop).
But the Series One Desk 27 only works with Google Meet (and Cisco’s Webex, eventually). Even if you want an all-in-one video conferencing device, it’s hard to justify spending $2,000 on one with such limited service support, even if you’re an enterprise customer.
You’d be better off turning a cheap iPad, Chromebook, or all-in-one PC into a video conferencing machine—they can access any service and are very easy to repurpose. The only feature you’ll miss out on is the Series One Desk 27’s noise-canceling microphone array, which you can easily replace with a decent speakerphone, a headset, or a Logi Dock.
Sure, you can plug a laptop into the Series One Desk 27 to unlock services like Zoom. But at that point, you’re just using the Series One Desk 27 as a regular computer monitor. Decent 27-inch computer monitors cost less than $250.
Google and Avocor will start selling the Series One Desk 27 monitor later this year. The companies also plan to sell a larger Series One Board 65 (basically the Desk 27 as a 65-inch whiteboard) in 2022.