capsule review

Callpod Dragon Bluetooth Headset

At a Glance
  • Callpod Dragon Bluetooth 2.0 Headset

    TechHive Rating

The $85 (as of February 14, 2008) Callpod Dragon Bluetooth Headset shows flashes of being an awesome product, but it needs some work. This affordable device offers the extensive range of Bluetooth Class 1, syncs to your Bluetooth-connected PC, comes with lots of charging options, and is comfortable to wear once you manage to slip the tight earhook on. All that's missing is better audio quality.

At 1.5 inches in diameter without earpiece, the circular black-and-silver device is slightly bulkier and heavier than many other headsets. But I didn't mind, because its earhook securely held the Dragon in place--once I got it on, that is. I chose the smaller of the two earhooks that Callpod provides and attached it to the base of the earbud; but it kept detaching as I attempted to slip it behind my ear, so I had to hold it in place carefully while slipping it over the back of my ear. The two main buttons are well situated on the device. The on-and-off switch also toggles left and right for volume. The multifunction call button requires some effort to press, and it doesn't give much tactile feedback.

The Dragon is a Bluetooth Class 1 device, so it theoretically has a range of 300 feet. Most Bluetooth headsets fall under the Bluetooth Class 2 category with a range that maxes out at 30 feet. Unfortunately, even at short distances, the Dragon's audio quality was only fair. I tested the Dragon with two phones: a Motorola Razr2 V9 standard phone and a Nokia E62 smart phone. Audio quality was slightly better on the Razr2, but even when the phone was sitting next to me, I could hear a low background hiss. The person I was calling said I sounded "funky," not like myself. I also noticed a few seconds of delay between when I pressed the call button and when I heard the call recipient's voice.

Since this is a Bluetooth Class 1 headset, I tested the Dragon for range. Audio quality became extremely garbled at about 75 feet (with a wall in between the phone and me), and at 90 feet (with a second intervening wall) it wouldn't connect at all.

The Dragon can sync simultaneously to a Bluetooth-connected phone and to a Bluetooth-connected PC. On a Lenovo ThinkPad X61, I made a Skype call while playing music on Windows Media Player and hearing the audio (in mono not stereo) through the Dragon. The Dragon will interrupt one device connection to let you know that someone is calling you on the other line, and it will resume the original connection after you hang up. Callpod says that two Dragons can find and communicate with each other--headset to headset--but I did not test this feature.

The Dragon's stated talk time is 8 hours, and I never ran out of juice--most likely because of the multiple ways Callpod gives you to recharge the device. The Dragon comes with a USB cable that can plug into either an AC charger or a car charger. You also get a shorter mini-USB-to-USB adapter.

The Dragon is convenient, long-range, and comfortable, but it won't win any fashion points. Ultimately, poor call quality--especially at longer distances--blemishes all the good stuff.

This story, "Callpod Dragon Bluetooth Headset" was originally published by PCWorld.

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At a Glance
  • TechHive Rating

    Long-range Bluetooth headset can connect to a laptop but has poor audio quality.

    Pros

    • Lots of bundled goodies
    • Works with a Bluetooth PC

    Cons

    • Poor audio quality
    • Hard to put on
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