Callpod announces the Fueltank Uno emergency device charger

This morning, Callpod announced the newest addition to their product lineup. If you haven’t been paying attention to my product reviews, you’ll have missed that Callpod make some of the best portable charging gear on the market.

Their Chargepod can charge six of your devices at the same time. The Chargepod V2 takes that to the next level by adding laptop charging. And back in November of last year, they announced the Fueltank, a portable battery pack that can charge 2 devices simultaneously.

Today, they are adding the Fueltank Uno to that lineup. The Uno is an emergency device charger with more than 4 times the battery capacity of your mobile phone battery. The device supports the power adapter tips used on the other Callpod products, which means it supports over 3,000 different phones, game consoles, PDA’s and more.

It’ll be on shelves starting this Sunday at Best Buy stores nationwide and retails for $39.95. Included with your purchase is a voucher for a free device tip, which can be ordered on the Callpod site. Click here to learn more about this handy product.

Gadling Gear Review – Callpod Drone Bluetooth adapter

In this product review I’m going to introduce you to another product from the clever people at Callpod. Previously, I reviewed their excellent Chargepod charger and the Dragon V2 Bluetooth headset.

The Drone is a USB Bluetooth adapter. At $49.95 it is quite a bit pricier than most other Bluetooth adapters on the market, but the Drone is an adapter with a twist.

In fact, the Drone has several twists that make it well worth the price in my opinion. For starters – the Callpod Drone actually works as an audio adapter when first installed. This may not mean much to you, but if you just need a Bluetooth adapter to use for a (stereo) headset, then why bother installing a large package of software when you only need a tiny portion of it?
Another advantage of not having to deal with software is quite simple – not all computers allow it. Many work laptops are locked down against installations, and most public Internet terminals may have open USB ports, but also have software installs blocked. In many cases, the Drone can simply bypass this.

When you plug the Drone into your computer, it installs in seconds, and shows up in your device manager as a standard USB audio device. USB audio support has been built into all Windows versions since XP, so no drivers or other settings are required.

To use a Bluetooth headset with the Drone, you simply place it in “pairing mode” by pressing its only button, and you instantly have a Bluetooth audio connection with your PC. This is of course ideal for Skype or any other voice application, but it also works very well if you pair it with a stereo headset.

The Drone also offers a much larger range than most other Bluetooth adapters. In my not-so-scientific trials, I was able to reach twice as far in my house using the Drone than I normally can with the built in Bluetooth on my computer. The manufacturer rated range for the Drone is 100 meters, which I can confirm is accurate.

When you pair the Drone with the Callpod Dragon Bluetooth headset, you get to take advantage of the extended range in both devices. This combination let me walk out to the end of my back yard without a single crackle or drop in the Bluetooth connection.

Users who still want to use the adapter as a regular Bluetooth device, can switch it to “software mode” by holding down the button on the device. Of course, this also means you’ll need to install the 60MB software package, offered for free by Callpod on their site. Vista and Windows 7 users won’t need the software – Bluetooth support is built into their operating system.

All in all a very nice little device that finally makes Bluetooth hassle free. At $49.95 it may seem overpriced when compared to other Bluetooth adapters, but its additional features make it well worth the price if you often find yourself in need of no-fuss Bluetooth audio or an extended range Bluetooth signal.
The Callpod Drone is available directly from Callpod ($49.95) or from Amazon ($33.07).

Product review – Callpod Dragon V2 Bluetooth headset

Welcome to my review of the Dragon V2 Bluetooth headset.

When looking for products to review, I’ll usually stay clear from Bluetooth headsets. There are simply too many of them, and rarely does a headset do anything special. The Dragon V2 is different, and has a long list of features not found on most other headsets.

The Dragon V2 promises a couple of things that made me pay some extra attention to it; amazing battery life, huge range, the ability to connect to other Dragon headsets and use it as a Walkie-talkie, and the ability to pair to multiple Bluetooth devices at the same time. I’ll go over each of these features one at a time.

Battery life

One of the main reasons I’ve never been a big Bluetooth headset fan has always been the lack of endurance from their batteries.

A headset becomes pretty useless on a trip if you need to recharge it every 8 hours. The Dragon V2 has a manufacturer specified battery life of 8 days standby or 300 hours talk time.

Since I wasn’t willing to devote a full week to talking on the phone, I simply left the Dragon paired to my phone in the on position for over a week. After 7 days it was still able to make a phone call for me.

Transmission range

If you have ever been suckered into buying one of those $10 headsets from the bargain bin at your local drugstore, you’ll probably have some experience with the Bluetooth crackle of death. This is when you start to lose the signal as soon as your phone moves more than 5 inches away from the headset.

Improvements have been made with Bluetooth devices, including a newer version of the technology, and most A-name headset companies have switched to this new system.

The Dragon V2 naturally supports this, but takes it one step further with an even larger range. In my test, I was able to leave my phone in one corner of the house, and walk outside to the mailbox before I started noticing a very slight drop in call quality. This extended range is fantastic if you leave your phone in your jacket, and walk away from your desk to get a cup of coffee.

Dragon to Dragon communications

This feature on the Dragon V2 is one that impressed me the most. To use a Bluetooth device with another Bluetooth compatible device, you need to “pair” them. This involves letting each device know who they are allowed to communicate with. In a normal setup, this would be between the headset and a phone, or a laptop computer.

The Dragon V2 actually allows you to pair with another Dragon headset. By pairing 2 headsets, you instantly turn them into a Bluetooth enabled walkie-talkie! The headsets communicate directly with each other, without the need for a phone.

When you are wearing the headset, you simply press the multifunction button to open a voice channel to the other paired headset. This feature is perfect for at the airport, or anywhere else you don’t want to make an expensive phone call.

Of course, the range is limited to the transmission range of the headset (about 330 feet), so don’t expect to be able to talk from one end of Disneyland to the other. One other advantage, is that Bluetooth is an approved system in almost every country in the world, so you don’t have to worry about the legality.

Multipoint communications

Another benefit from the newer Bluetooth standard is the ability to use a headset with multiple devices at the same time. If you are often on the road, you’ll probably have some kind of VOIP or Internet calling program on your PC (Skype is a prime example).

Using multipoint means you can have the headset connected to your PC and your phone at the same time, and don’t have to worry about connecting or reconnecting each time you need to use either one.

The Dragon V2 in day to day use

If you are used to a tiny headset, then you’ll probably find the Dragon to be a bit of monstrosity. It really is quite a bit larger than most headsets on the market today. That said, it is still about a third the size of my very first Bluetooth headset (the Ericsson HBH-10).

The headset has an easy to adjust ear clip, and once you find the right fit, it actually feels very comfortable, without feeling like it will fall out of your ear at any moment.

The headset has 2 buttons; one is a rocker switch/power button on the side, and the other is the multifunction switch on the front. The rocker switch also controls the volume.

The headset charges using a regular mini-USB charging cable, which in my opinion is absolutely brilliant. Almost anyone on the road will have at least one mini-USB charger in their bag. The headset package includes an AC charger, a DC (car) charger, a USB cable and a mini-USB charger tip for the Callpod Chargepod (recently featured as one of our top 25 travel products of 2008).

Also included in the box is an assortment of ear pieces and a carrying pouch with enough room for the headset and all its chargers.

Audio quality on the Dragon V2 is outstanding, and I found it to be one of just a few headsets that is actually able to produce a good amount of volume. The headset features an active noise cancellation system and dual microphones, and not once did I hear any complaints from people on the other end of my calls.

The Callpod Dragon V2 costs $99, but is available from retailers like for around $67.

Final thoughts

The Callpod Dragon V2 has restored my faith in Bluetooth headsets. Good battery life, excellent range and the ability to charge using a common mini-USB charger make it a winner in my books.

Of course, the one thing no Bluetooth headset will ever change, is the “dork factor”, don’t be one of those people wearing their headset 24/7, and remember that there is no need to yell when you are making a call on your headset.

The new Callpod Fueltank is twice as nice to your gadgets

In a previous review, I introduced you to the Chargepod. The company behind that fantastic 6-in-1 charger has now developed a portable battery pack that looks equally impressive.

The Fueltank can charge 2 devices at the same time and uses the same charger adapters as on the Chargepod.

At just $59.95 it is in line with the price of most portable power packs, but of course has the added benefit of offering twice the power!

The purchase price includes the device itself, an AC/DC wall plug, one Mini USB adapter, a carrying pouch, and a coupon for a free adapter of your choice.

The Fueltank will be available soon, and you can register your interest in this device directly on the Callpod site.

As soon as I can get my hands on one, I’ll get you a full review, but on paper, this look like a real winner.