Bluetooth is now one of the most spoken of technological terms. Though Bluetooth had a slow start, it is now really picking up, with more and more people opting for Bluetooth devices and Bluetooth-enabled computers. Today, we evaluate the X-Micro USB Dongle Class 1.
For those who do not know what's a Bluetooth USB Dongle? It is a USB powered Bluetooth-enabled Transceiver that lets other Bluetooth-enabled devices communicate with the computer to which it is attached.
The X-Micro USB Dongle Class 1 comes in a small square box, which also houses a software CD and a manual. The device itself is small and has a shape identical to a cigarette lighter. The Software CD contained the driver and a popular application known as WIDCOMM Bluetooth software. This application is not only used for configuring the Bluetooth Dongle, but also includes software for using the Bluetooth device.
Windows XP requires you to install Service Pack 1 before you can attach any Bluetooth device. Since it doesn't install any Bluetooth device automatically, the Micro USB Dongle had to be installed manually. The installation took place without much effort. Installing the WIDCOMM Bluetooth software is highly recommended, as it is one of the easiest ways to configure the device. After installing the application, you can start it immediately. Upon starting it up, the configuration wizard pops up, which will guide you step by step to configure the Dongle and the service you want to use with it. The software offers a variety of services like file transfer, Bluetooth LAN, Fax, Headset, etc.
We were able to configure the Dongle to work with a variety of Cell phones, headsets as well as another Bluetooth Dongle. It didn't seem to have any compatibility issue with cell phones like Nokia 3650, 7650, N-Gage and other Series 60 phones like Sony Ericsson T68, P800, P900 and P910. It was able to sync with Pocket PCs and Palmtops having Bluetooth support. It is also attuned to Printers having Bluetooth support like the HP DJ450 CI. Programs such as Nokia PC suite and Oxygen Phone manager also didn't have hiccups with this Bluetooth Dongle.
Since this is a Class 1 Bluetooth Dongle, it is supposed to have a range of 100 meters. But it only works in that range provided there are no obstructions or interferences. It was able to work properly up to 30 meters, but with lot of interference in between. Anything beyond that used to disconnect the Bluetooth device. But then even 30 meters is quite good enough for Bluetooth communication.
To check the transfer speed of the Bluetooth Dongle we transferred a file from a cell phone to a PC. We got an average speed of 25 KBps. Please keep in mind, the transfer speed depends upon a lot of factors such as the cell phones itself, interference, distance and obstruction. For a device such as a cell phone with a maximum memory of nearly 4 MB (Nokia Series 60 Phones), the whole data can be backed up in less than 3 minutes. We also configured the Jabra FreeSpeak BT250 to be used as a headset for the computer. We are able to hear the songs played in Winamp and the sound of being fragged in Quake 3 quite clearly. But again, the sound quality depends upon the factors mentioned above. There used to be a small amount of muting while moving around.
This USB Dongle sells for a street price of Rs. 1,600/- with a one-year warranty. It is quite cheap compared to other Class 1 USB Dongles, which sell for around Rs. 2000. This is a very useful device if you own a Bluetooth cell phone. The only thing which was missing from the package was the extension USB cable, which could have been helpful to people who don't like connecting the device to the back of their computer. Other than that, there is no problem with this Dongle. If you are the type of person who does his work using Bluetooth, then go for it. And if you don't need to be that far away from it, you can opt for Class 2 (20 meters range) or Class 3 (10 meters range) Dongles.
Test Unit Sourced From: SVB International, New Delhi.