Brando Mini Nova Bluetooth Dongle -Reviewed

Written by Kevin Cheng on . Posted in Accessories

Brando Mini Nova USB BTThe Brando mini NOVA bluetooth adapter must rank as one of the tiniest bluetooth dongles on the market, but does tiny form factor means reduced performance?



First Impressions
The Brando mini NOVA came packaged in one of those ubitquitous blister pack.  I was already steeling myself for some bodily damage when I noticed that this particular one was different.  There was a large perforated section on the back which allows the pack to be opened without the assistance of sharp instruments.  Kudos to Brando for having that!

Being only about 3 mm longer than a USB Type A connector, the Brando mini Nova has a tiny presence in the slightly recessed USB port on my Dell Latitude.

Once inserted into the system my Windows XP installation had no problems detecting the hardware, however, it prompted for a driver.  The package came with an Installation Driver CD-ROM which didn't read on any of the computers that I tried unfortunately.  The Broadcom chipset (BCM2045A) in this dongle is not one that is in the XP driver set and there was no driver available from the Brando website.

Not to be defeated so easily, I modified the bth.inf file to accept the hardware ID.  Windows XP magically picked up the device and installed the default drivers when I reinserted the device.

The dongle claims seven concurrent bluetooth connections.  I connected three devices concurrently and did not encounter any issues talking to any of them.  I did not notice any major speed difference with any of the tasks that I usually run over Bluetooth, and it was noticably more stable than my internal chipset which tends to stop working once I terminate the connection until the next reboot.

  * Connect to most Bluetooth devices
  * Support A2DP up to 10 metres (30 feet)
  * Enables connectivity to 7 Bluetooth devices at one time
  * Enables Wireless Personal Area Network (PAN) connectivity
  * Bluetooth 1.1 compliant
  * Bluetooth class 2, compatible with Bluetooth class 1
  * USB 1.1 compliant
  * Up to 723 Kbps data rate
  * Super mini and slim size, easy to carry
  * Dimension: 14 x 19 x 6mm (approx.)
  * Weight: 2g

  * Notebook or desktop computers, with 500 Mhz CPU or higher, 256 MB RAM or higher, 50 MB of free hard disk space, and one free USB port
  * Mac OS 10.1.4 or later
  * Windows ME, 2000, XP, Vista

Brando Mini Nova USB BT inserted.Gripes
The blurb on the packaging claims the adapter will connect most Bluetooth device with A2DP support up to 30 metres.  This is the same error I picked up on the website.  As a Class 2 Bluetooth device, communication range is up to 10 metres (30 feet) only.

Besides the interchanging of feet and metres in the distance, there are a few grammatical errors in the english on the blurb.  And although I am no expert on the other languages printed on the blurb, there is at least one mistake in French.

Lastly the driver disk did not work for me and the driver was not available from the website.

Minor gripes aside, the Brando mini NOVA bluetooth adapter functions well once it is installed onto the system correctly.  The tiny form factor makes it very discreet and also means you can leave the adapter permanently plugged into your machine which is particularly useful for transporting a notebook.

Available for USD$24.00 from here.



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