This review is part of the 1 Pound Challenge – can you find a decent gadget in a pound shop?
So far, it’s been quite a good hit rate with the products I’ve been reviewing as part of my 1 Pound Challenge – the majority have been rather good. And I’m happy to say that the trend is continuing.
I’ve now been taking a look at the Livewire Bluetooth USB Dongle – a tiny USB dongle that you plug into a PC or laptop to give it Bluetooth capability (in this case Bluetooth 2.0 and supporting voice data). It’s got a 100m range and 3mbps transfer rate. It cost £1 from PoundWorld.
I initially tried this on my wife’s Acer Aspire One and it worked immediately. It installed the appropriate drivers, the Bluetooth icon appeared in the system tray and everything worked as expected. Trying it on any of my other PCs or laptops – all running Windows 7 64-bit – failed, though. To be fair, the packaging does show compatibility with Windows up to (and not including ) Vista. This may be because of the built-in drivers that are part of Windows 7. Or that it’s 64 bit. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t appear to be Windows 7 compatible (and looking on the internet, other people are finding just the same).
The device is a tiny black plastic half circle (this is the bit that sticks out of the USB port) and a metal USB plug. The plastic has a number of ridges on it making it easy to grip for pushing in and pulling out. Unlike other similar products there is no blue flashing light built in (personally I see that as an advantage!)
The packaging shows the product is from ITP Imports, which shares an address with PoundWorld. ITP Imports have been in the news in the past for some suspect pregnancy testing kits and have to withdrawn dangerous items from sale (their “Deadly Dinosaurs” range turning out to be just that).
[review]If you’re not on Windows 7 this is brilliant value for money – it’s a particularly good way to add Bluetooth to a Windows XP netbook. If you have Windows 7 then buy with risk – it may not work.[/review]