capsule review

Callpod Dragon V2 Bluetooth Headset

At a Glance
  • Callpod Dragon V2

    PCWorld Rating

The Callpod Dragon V2 ($100 as of December 1, 2008) looks and feels unlike any other Bluetooth headset we tested in our latest roundup: It's big and round, and to me it felt a bit like an oversize clip-on button earring.

Call me a grumpy old boot, but I get mad if I have to spend more than several seconds, with both hands, adjusting a headset's placement. So I became crabby when I tried to attach the Dragon V2 to my ear. No matter how much I pushed, shoved, and tweaked things, the ear wrap and earbud combo just didn't sit right. I tried the small earbud option, but the overall fit felt loose, and when I moved my head, the V2 tended to flop around. I had another tester with larger ears try out the headset, and they reported that the V2 felt secure--no slippage.

The button layout worked reasonably well. The chunky on/off knob on the side of the V2 is easy to access. During calls, you move this knob up or down to adjust the volume--it's a bit awkward, as the headset is on your ear, but it works. The large multifunction button in the middle of the V2, for answering a call or muting the mic, requires a little more pressure; it doesn't take long to get used to, though.

Call quality was subpar. With most of my calls, recipients reported that I sounded as if I were at the bottom of a well, and a muffling effect predominated. Another time my voice sounded wavy, as if I were calling from a submarine. Some calls echoed, too. And other parties were able to pick up background noises from my end--the sound of loud music and vociferous kids--and thought that these things were distracting. Occasionally calls sounded decent, however. For example, one call in the car came through clearly with minimal background noise (despite my having the stereo going).

Another big disappointment, besides call quality, emerged during my range tests: The V2 is a Bluetooth Class 1 headset, which means that it's supposed to operate up to a limit of 328 feet (100 meters). That was far from my experience. At about 125 feet, my voice started to crackle and break up, and it turned into gibberish at roughly 175 feet. And one test call just dropped at that point. Other times, particularly with more obstacles, like walls, my voice began to garble sooner.

The V2 comes in three color varieties: black/titanium silver, black chrome, and carbon fiber.

(For more on choosing the right headset for you, see our Bluetooth headset buying guide.)

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    I found the Dragon V2's sound quality disappointing, and its advertised working range of 300-plus feet does not hold up.

    Pros

    • Unique design
    • Ear-wear extras, car charger, carrying pouch

    Cons

    • Poor sound quality overall
    • Heavy
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