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Bluetooth is here to stay….at least for now. Bluetooth phones, PDA’s, peripherals, Car Kits and GPS devices are all taking advantage of this short range wireless technology. Adding Bluetooth connectivity to your PC can open a world of file sharing, software updating and the like. Mr Hands Free has introduced their new Bluetooth Dongle (yes, that is what it is called,) see if this might be your ticket into the world of Bluetooth. I have been writing about and reviewing all kinds of Bluetooth peripherals for a few years. I have grown fond of Bluetooth headsets and GPS units and actually rely on this technology almost daily. My primary Notebook PC, however, was not Bluetooth enabled until I installed the Bluetooth dongle from Mr. hands Free.

Mr. Handsfree, with headquarters in Belgium, has become market leader in several European countries, offering a wide range of handsfree solutions from plug and drive, universal carkits, to Bluetooth(r) applications, headsets and built-in carkits.

The Specs of this unit are:

* Wireless connection between PC/notebook and Bluetooth(r) enabled devices
* Suitable for wireless chatting, online gaming and (free) VOIP calling on PC/notebook
* Supports data and voice communication * Bluetooth(r) V1.2
* Full speed USB V1.1 Interface
* 25 meter range * Suitable for Windows 2000/ Windows XP/ MAC OS 10.2 or higher
* Supports A2DP profile

Design:

The Bluetooth Dongle is a very small unit which attaches to any USB port. It is small enough to carry with you and transfer from one computer to another with ease. The build quality seems quite good – it is sturdy and definitely not flimsy. There is a green LED that blinks once it is set up and installed.


Installation:

The Blue Dongle ships with a mini-CD which has a user manual and the necessary drivers for installation. Mr. Handsfree recommends installing the software before plugging in the Dongle.

The software installation went as expected; first drivers were installed, then a virtual Bluetooth serial port (for communication and file transfer) and then the Bluetooth Modem driver is installed. After installation you need to restart and then plug in the Dongle and you are set to go.

Ease of Use:

Using the Dongle could not be easier. From the Bluetooth icon in the taskbar you can add Bluetooth devices, show Bluetooth devices, transfer files join a PAN or open the Bluetooth settings.

I found that I used the Bluetooth dongle to allow me to sync my Treo and my Windows Mobile Device wirelessly with my PC. I can’t say enough how nice it is to not have to plug to Sync. The downside, however, is that it is noticeably slower to Sync via Bluetooth. I didn’t mind the wait for the sake of convenience.

VoIP Dialing:

One thing I didn’t get to test – but was very impressed to find out, was that the Blue Dongle (when used with Mr. Hands Free Blue Butterfly or any other Bluetooth Headset) is capable of making phone calls using Skype or other VoIP program. Just one more possibility for this little device.


Overall Conclusions:

This is a great little piece of hardware. The software and manual are top-notch and the build quality is up to the Mr. Hands Free standards I have come to expect. It simply does what it says and opens up the PC to the world of Bluetooth with the greatest of ease.

Final Grade: A

Pros: Easy to set up, great size, wirelessly Syncing is very nice

Cons: None to speak of

You can purchase the Bluetooth Dongle at www.mrhandsfree.com or www.mobileplanet.com for $29.95

Written by Gary