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Callpod Dragon V2 review: Callpod Dragon V2

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When we first tried the Callpod Dragon last year, we mentioned that it had a remarkably snug and comfortable fit, perhaps the most snug of all the Bluetooth headsets we've tried. Well, Callpod wanted to improve upon that by introducing the Callpod Dragon V2, which has the same circular design but a definitely different ear loop designed for a more secure fit. While we disagree somewhat that it's more secure, we do agree that it's still quite comfortable. Otherwise, the Dragon V2 has about the same features as the original, such as the range of about 330 feet, walkie-talkie functionality with other Dragon headsets, as well as multidevice pairing. Callpod also thankfully addressed the outgoing sound issue in the previous model. The Callpod Dragon V2 costs about $100, but for what you get out of it, it's certainly bang for your buck.

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7.7

Callpod Dragon V2

The Good

The Callpod Dragon V2 Bluetooth headset has a comfortable fit, simple controls, and a wide connection range of up to 100 meters. It features multidevice pairing as well as walkie-talkie functionality with other Dragon V2s.

The Bad

The Callpod Dragon V2 is a bit less snug than the original, and we found the power/volume control wheel sometimes rubbed against the ear. You need to align the two microphones exactly in a straight line with the mouth or outgoing sound quality will be terrible.

The Bottom Line

The Callpod Dragon V2 is a Bluetooth headset with a unique array of features as well as a form-fitting design, but it takes awhile to wear it properly.

Maintaining the same circular disc shape as the original, the Dragon V2 appears more like a tiny hockey puck than a Bluetooth headset. Measuring 1.25 inches by 2.16 inches by 2.25 inches, the Dragon weighs only about 0.9 ounce and won't weigh down your ear. The multifunction button can't be missed; it's the large round button placed right in the middle of the headset. As on the previous model, the volume rocker on top of the headset also acts as the power button when pressed. We found both buttons easy to use, though we did find that the power button/volume rocker often rubbed against our outer ear. Right above the multifunction button are two LED indicator lights, and underneath it are two microphones lined up in a row. When wearing the headset, it's important to align the two microphones to form a straight line with the mouth to fully make use of the noise suppression.

Turn the Dragon V2 around and you'll find a tiny earbud similar to the one on the original. The ear hook, however, is completely different. Instead of a large hook that looked as if it was carved out of a block of plastic, the Dragon V2's ear hook is much more elegant and adjustable. Made out of rubber and metal, the ear hook is slightly reminiscent of the ear loop on the first Jawbone. It wraps securely around the ear, and we did find it a bit more flexible than the original's. According to Callpod, the new design is more secure, but we didn't think that was the case--in fact, it felt slightly less snug. Not that we're complaining too much, since it still fits fine and is indeed more flexible. This is quite good because it's easier to align the two microphones in a straight line with your mouth, as mentioned above.

However, having to align the microphones each time you slip on the headset is quite troublesome. We had to use a mirror to make sure it was placed correctly. Considering most people don't always have mirrors around when they want to use a headset, we don't think this is entirely practical. We did manage to align the two microphones by just feeling around, but it was a trial-and-error process that took too long.

Features on the Dragon V2 are the same as the original. It's a Class 1 Bluetooth headset, which gives it an amazing range of about 330 feet, plus it has very cool walkie-talkie functionality when paired with other Dragon headsets. Other features are fairly standard, like the capability to answer, end, and reject calls, call mute, last number redial, and voice command support. It even supports multidevice pairing, meaning you can have it connected to two Bluetooth devices at once. Another nice bonus is the capability to upgrade the firmware of the V2 with the help of the included USB cable.

We tested the Callpod Dragon V2 with the Apple iPhone 3G and the Verizon Wireless Blitz. Like on the original, the headset goes automatically into pairing mode when it's first turned on, which helps in getting you started. We found incoming call quality to be quite good, even when in a noisy restaurant. Outgoing sound quality was all right, our listeners said, but only when we had the headset aligned properly. When it was askew, the call quality deteriorated significantly, resulting in sounds of mumbling and static. Again, this is all right if you have the time to wear it properly the first time, but not when you're in a hurry.

We won't belabor too much on the range of the Dragon V2 and the walkie-talkie functionality as that was already covered in the review of the original. Suffice to say that it works as well as the first Dragon headset. We tried the walkie-talkie feature with another Dragon V2 headset, and indeed, we were able to chat with someone who was all the way outside the CNET building.

The Callpod Dragon V2 comes with an AC adapter, a USB cable, and a car charger. It has a rated battery life of 8 hours talk time and 12.5 days standby time.

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7.7

Callpod Dragon V2

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 9Performance 7