Like many geeks, the New York Times' David Pogue watches movies, like the Bourne Supremacy or Mission: Impossible, and yearns for the wireless earpiece tech they use to communicate with their buddies without microphones, headsets or mobile phones. He's right, they're cool, and recently he had the chance to review two consumer versions, the SM100 (SoundID.com, US$86), and the Dragon V2 (CallPod.com, US$100). The final verdict? Both are *really* just average yuppie Bluetooth earpieces like the ones you see stuck in people's ears on the subway. The catch, however, is that with the press of a button, they become "secret-agent two-way radios."
It works exactly the way it works for Tom Cruise: As you climb, work, drive or bike, both your hands remain busy with what they're supposed to be doing. And yet you're also in constant two-way conversation with whoever is wearing the other earpiece. It feels natural and creepy at the same time, as if you have one of those little angels (or devils) sitting on your shoulder feeding advice or wisecracks directly into your head. And it's free forever. No air time, no minutes, no monthly bill.
Unfortunately for the SM100, its standard Bluetooth connection keeps those conversations limited to 10 metres or less. The Dragon, however, is Bluetooth Class 1, and as such got to about 75 metres before the static started to kick in on Pogue and his son.
As a bonus, the Dragon can also pair up with two sources at once (are we sensing the winner yet?). This means you can have your easy listening tracks playing on your PC, and when a call comes in the Dragon switches automatically, and vice versa.
Further boosting the Dragon's spy cred is the accompanying Phoenix device, sold separately for US$300, which sits on a table top and expands your network to up to five earpieces at once. We thin it's a small price to pay for keeping your team of spy guy super geeks connected, informed, and ready to respond to a flamebait blog post at a moment's notice. [New York Times]