Interphone F5 Bluetooth Helmet Headset Twin-Pack | CR Tested

In a crowded field of Bluetooth communication devices, what exactly makes the Interphone F5 unique? Let's bring you up to speed: As with other products, the premium F5 unit connects to a range of devices and allows you to make and receive calls, listen to music, receive voice cues when paired to a GPS, and use intercom communications. The difference is that the F5 utilizes Bluetooth 3.0, which makes for more efficient data transfer, and it also sports a unique Text To Speech system that can tell you just who's calling you on the phone.

We've been using one for a couple of months now, and so far it's turning out to be a pretty good solution for everyday communications. The "Voice Wizard" prompts easily guide you through the set-up process, and the 5-button navigation is fairly easy to figure out once you get used to the button location. The F5 is simple to charge, waterproof, and it can be fully automated (I know a rider who runs it through his Garmin GPS to tie everything together). The voice-activated dialing feature worked OK on my iPhone, and I've taken hands-free calls without problems (though I'm not a fan of chatting while riding). A better use of the Interphone is streaming music, and the device delivers pretty good sound (though the highs could be more crisp) at the medium setting. There's also an auto volume function that compensates for unwanted background noises exceedingly well.

What's not so great is the size of the Interphone speakers—unless you have cavernous ear cut-outs in your lid, you may have to rearrange the guts pretty seriously to minimize speaker profile and keep them from chafing against your skin. A 3.5mm connector cable (sold separately) lets you to ditch the speakers for earbuds, but to me, those are even less desirable.

Still, everything on the F5 works pretty much as advertised; it's simple to move from helmet to helmet (which I do a lot of), sound quality is decent; battery life is a generous 10 hours and the F5 easily pairs with everything we've tried, it claims to be able to conference in up to six riders, though we found that adding more than two was kind of a hassle.

Interphone F5 Bluetooth Helmet Headset Twin-Pack
Price: $499.99. (3.5 stars.)