When you buy a laptop today, it’s likely to come with Bluetooth. But if you’ve got an older model or just want to add Bluetooth to your desktop, usually it requires that you buy a 3" long dongle that connects to a vacant USB port. Well, with the miniaturization of just about everything, we now have Bluetooth dongles that portrude just 1/4" from the USB socket. The latest from Brando allows you to add Bluetooth to your laptop or desktop in a very inconspicuous way. Read on to learn more about the smallest way to add Bluetooth to your computer!
This thing is very, very small. It’s got a 33 feet range, is Bluetooth 2.0+EDR compatible (and of course backwards compatible with 1.0 and 1.1), and can support speeds up to 728kbps. It weighs just 2 grams (.07 ounces), can connect to seven devices at once, and supports A2DP.
As with any plug and play device, the drivers installed automatically, and, in Windows Vista, I was able to access the Bluetooth console.
The Bluetooth icon will reside in your tray once the dongle is connected.
And from here, you can use the Bluetooth device Wizard to connect a Bluetooth device to your computer.
(all images link to higher resolution)
This is what the packaging looks like.
Nothing much is included – drivers on a mini CD (how fitting!), the dongle, and some instructions.
Did I mention that it was small?
Here is the dongle plugged into my Dell Latitude D620. The metal part of the dongle is actually slightly longer than other standard USB devices, which means that it will protrude slightly more than you’d think, but it’s still very minimal.
My main use for a Bluetooth dongle is for internet sharing with a Windows Mobile phone (though certainly you can use this with any Bluetooth device like a mouse, keyboard, or stereo headphones). After spending a few hours getting beyond the headaches of the multiplicity of steps to set up a Bluetooth Personal Area Network (PAN), I finally got my E-TEN Glofiish X800 and AT&T Tilt to work with internet sharing using the Bluetooth granted by this product, allowing me to use internet almost anywhere. The Tiny USB Bluetooth receiver operates up to speeds of only 723kb/s (which is peculiar because Bluetooth 2.0+EDR speeds should max at 3mb/s), so you can’t browse as HSDPA speeds, just UMTS.
I didn’t have to use the included software or user manual because everything is plug and play. Where you may need some help, though, is it in getting your Windows Mobile phone to connect properly so that you can use it as a Bluetooth modem. A good bet would be to search Google for the model of your phone plus the words "internet sharing" or "wireless modem," as it’s likely that someone has had trouble with it already and have posted steps on how to do it.
This dongle will work with computers running any modern OS (Windows XP/Vista) and Mac OS X.
BUGS AND WISHES
There’s not much that I can wish for here…this product adds Bluetooth to a computer that didn’t have it before, and it does it generally well. My only wish is that it would allow for faster data transfers so that those with HSDPA/HSUPA devices could benefit from the speed increase.
The Tiny USB Bluetooth Adapter can be had for $24.95 over at the Brando website.
- Plug and play
- Reasonable price
Data rate is only 728kb/s
- A choking hazard for small children (*grin*)
If you want to add Bluetooth in an inconspicuous way to your laptop or desktop, this is the best way to do it, unless you require a dongle that supports HSDPA/HSUPA speeds.