UPDATE: Interphone F5 Review Now Posted!
February 19, 2012 - Just a quick note to let you know that Interphone is back in the U.S.A.
The Interphone F4 (review) was/is one of my favorite intercom systems, only because it's simple and easy to use and I've used it enough to know how to work it without a second thought.
Whenever Burn and I need to quickly connect while we're out for a gear evaluation ride, the Interphone F4's do the job.
They're what you might call the "beater" go-to intercom set.
We don't need fancy features like GPS or MP3 compatibility, multiple connections or anything more than a hundred meters or so of talk distance. The F4 will do all that and more and although the other intercoms are excellent in their own way, we just keep grabbing for the F4.
I met with Interphone at the EICMA show in Milan last fall and they sent over a pair of the new Interphone F5 units. We've been evaluating them for the last month or so and I hope to have a report posted within a couple of weeks. The F5's use Bluetooth 3.0, which all of the intercom manufacturers are moving to.
Bluetooth 3.0 apparently transfers more data at higher speeds with less power and it allows a point-to-point connectivity, so multiple F5 users can form a sort of communications "net", greatly extending the range because each unit acts as a bridge to the next unit. So the rider in the lead can talk to the tail end rider even if he or she is a great distance away.
We don't have all of the options worked out yet -- one of the problems with modern intercom systems is that they're getting so complex that it's impossible to describe every instance of connectivity, how it works and when it fails. And since we only use an intercom for simple rider-to-passenger or bike-to-bike comms only, I'll have to pass the set on to H.B.C. to do a follow-up for all complicated stuff.
Anyway, the good news is that Interphone will be distributed and sold in the U.S. once again. The brand was distributed and supported by BlueAnt, but BlueAnt really isn't a motorcycle-focused organization and things sort of fell apart. When I received the set from Italy, there were no U.S. distributors so the appearance of a new distribution chain is something very recent -- like only a couple of weeks old.
Hopefully, by time Burn and I get ready to post the review, we'll know more. Stay tuned, this is a very nice intercom system and I can say that it has an outstanding ability to reject extraneous noise, like wind, engine noise, etc. At any speed, all we hear is the voice without the normal background wind, chatter and interference. I'll have more in the upcoming review.
The Interphone F5 is also IP67 waterproof. Here's a photo of the display at the Dealer Expo:
NEW! Interphone F5 Review Now Posted!
Publication Date: February 19, 2012