Lots of Bluetooth headsets start to break up unless the paired phone is practically an arm's length away, but not the Callpod Dragon. Though it can't spit fire, the Dragon's range is greater than most headsets, and its ability to communicate with other Dragon headsets walkie-talkie style makes this headset an intriguing option. We just wish it offered better sound quality.
The circular Dragon is the size and shape of a York Peppermint Pattie. With its 2.3 x 2.2 x 1.3-inch size, the headset looks a bit chunky, but at 0.9 ounces it didn't feel to heavy on our ear. The Dragon isn't one of those headsets that you would want to wear all day, though; the included plastic earhook attachment was snug, but it pinched our skin during long wearing stints.
The face of the headset sports a rounded control button that can accept and end calls and redial numbers. Above it are small red and blue lights that indicate pairing and power modes.A small multifunction wheel lies on the top of the device and triples as a power, pairing, and volume control.Pairing the Dragon with our BlackBerry 8830 was simple because the headset automatically goes into pairing mode when powered on. The left side holds a mini-USB connector for charging.
CallPod Dragon Performance
Despite featuring dual-mic noise suppression technology, many of our calls on the Callpod Dragon sounded muddy. When we walked around New York on a mild winter day, callers complained of hearing a windy echo and lots of street noise. Indoors, those on the other end of the line didn't have a problem hearing us over running water. Other callers sounded clear to us, but in many situations we heard a slight echo in the background.
One thing that didn't affect the call quality was moving farther away from our paired phone. We were able to walk 40 feet before calls started to crackle, which is at least 10 feet more than with most Bluetooth headsets.
The Walkie-Talkie Advantage
When connected to another Bluetooth class-1 device (such as another Dragon) the headset's range increases dramatically. After pairing two Dragon headsets to test their walkie-talkie functionality, we were able to communicate from nearly 250 feet away, and with walls in between. That's a bit short of the advertised 328-foot range, but still impressive. Voices came through loud and clear and sounded like a normal cell phone call. We had no problems shifting between calls and talking to the other Dragon headset user.
The Callpod Dragon comes with an array of charging options, including an AC adapter, a USB cable, and a car charger. We initially charged the headset via the AC adapter for 2 hours. During our five days of testing we got 7 hours of talk time, which is just an hour less than the rated talk time. The rated standby time is 12.5 days.
CallPod Dragon Verdict
If you're looking for a noise-canceling headset that can pick up your voice in crowded areas or with the car windows down, the Motorola Motopure H12 is a more appropriate choice, and will cost you $10 less than the Callpod Dragon. However, the Dragon's long range and two-way communication functionality sets it apart from other Bluetooth headsets. If you're looking for a headset that won't require you to have your phone attached to your hip, this is a sound choice.
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