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).