Like any gadget, a good spy earpiece needs to be well engineered and yet adaptable to your specific needs. It should be hardwearing and reliable, especially when you need it most. It also needs to be able to put up with a lot of punishment (it will likely end up under your shirt, down your trousers and stuffed in your ear, after all) and it will probably be operating for very little in the way of thanks (although, you really ought to clean it regularly). In short, a good spy earpiece - or any kind of gadget for that matter - should be, all things considered, a colleague, an instrument and a friend.
OK, weâre laying it on a bit thick there. I mean, you donât see the engineers on Star Trek cradling their tricorders lovingly and singing lullabies to them, do you? So what else are you looking for when you buy a spy earpiece?
Firstly, the size (and shape) is an important issue. The very smallest spy earpieces are practically invisible, but the sound quality isnât generally up to much. When choosing an earpiece, you need to be able to wear it comfortably and to operate it in relatively noisy areas, if necessary. Keep this in mind at all times when choosing your earpiece.
Secondly, you will want to choose a colour that matches your skin hue. Its no good being a hulking 6ft 6in black guy with what looks like a miniature jar of Hellmanâs Blue Label sticking out of your left lughole, now is it?
Thirdly, youâll want a spy earpiece to generate the least amount of background noise possible. If you can find an earpiece that resists electromagnetic interference better than most, then youâll definitely be on the right path. Most of them will emit a low hum, which youâll find you get used to in time, but if it is too loud, the âhumâ can scupper your whole operation (and annoy you - a lot).
Finally, you will probably also want to make sure that you buy your earpiece from a reputable manufacturer or trader. There are a lot of charlatans out there, so it pays to be extra careful. You want to ensure that you buy an ultra high quality product, without getting stiffed on price. It is possible and you can do it, but youâll probably need to shop around a bit first.
Spy earpieces, like two-way radios, smart TVs, tablet PCs, iPod docks and other consumer electronics, are likely to be in regular use either at work or at home and, as such, it is important that you are comfortable with your choice.
Therefore, it is useful to see if you can try out a friendâs earpiece first. Even if you donât like it, you will at least get a taste of what you are (or are not â" as the case may be) looking for.
You could even see if a salesperson will let you try one in your local electronics store (although frankly, I doubt it). Maybe if you just smile really nicely and appeal to the kid in them by giving them a nostalgia-inducing test phrase to use on the device. Something like, oh, I donât know,
âSecond star to the right...And straight on until morningâ.
That should do it.