Bluetooth has become the most common way of connecting wireless peripherals and mobile devices to a PC or laptop. In the world of the Bluetooth dongles arms race it has always been about miniaturisation, without compromising on features and functionality. That’s where the Atomic Pico Bluetooth dongle comes in, rightly claiming the title of smallest USB Bluetooth dongle in the world. With its tiny design it is dwarfed by even the next closes competitor, the Nano. The question is, should you consider picking one up for yourself?
Aesthetically there is very little to comment on because of the Atomic Pico’s small size. It will fit into a USB port and remain virtually flush with the edge of your PC or laptop while it is in use. The main benefits of this unobtrusive operation is that it will be impossible to knock, damage or snap off when in use. This makes it extremely suitable for users who take their laptops and Bluetooth dongles with them and use them whilst out and about. It is not the most attractive device ever conceived, but it is designed for covert operation rather than as a flashy accessory.
The Functionality and Technical Specifications
The Atomic Pico may be small but it packs in all of the capabilities that you would expect from a modern Bluetooth dongle. It uses the advancements of Bluetooth v2.0+ in order to transfer data at a maximum rate of 3Mbps. Additionally you can connect up to six different Bluetooth devices to your PC at the same time using a single Atomic Pico dongle and it can broadcast in stereo for those with advanced Bluetooth headsets. It is also backwards compatible with devices operating with older Bluetooth standards. The Atomic Pico can be used for simple drag and drop file transfer between mobile devices wirelessly, but it is also compatible with top mobile phone software suites for more complete control. The manufacturers state that it has a 10 meter coverage range, which is adequate if you are going to be sitting near your computer whilst you utilise the Bluetooth connectivity. However, for connecting to devices in adjacent rooms, such as printers or networked drives, you may have more trouble. However, since the most common use of a Bluetooth dongle is for data transfer between a mobile phone or PDA and a computer this will not affect a majority of Atomic Pico customers.
Like most modern USB Bluetooth dongles the Atomic Pico is a plug and play device. That means you can slot it into a spare USB port and in a matter of moments it will have installed all of the drivers that you will need to begin using it. It is also compatible with Windows XP, Vista and 7 so it will work with future as well as past operating systems. Mac users running OSX can also enjoy the Atomic Pico dongle. There is even the option to install BlueSoliel software for free which will give you access to advanced connectivity options, although for standard use the device will function well without this. Because of the frequencies which this device uses the manufacturers claim you will experience less interference with wireless networks that you would with other Bluetooth dongles. However this will of course depend on the specific calibration of your own wireless network.
Though on the surface the Atomic Pico Bluetooth dongle is ideal, there are a couple of problems that could surface through prolonged use. The first issue is that because of its small size it is very easy to misplace if not stored safely. On the flip side the manufacturers suggest that because of its small size, low power consumption and unobtrusive installation you could leave it plugged in to your laptop at all times. The problem with permanent use is that you will always have one of your precious USB ports taken up by the Atomic Pico. This issue goes hand in hand with the next problem. Bluetooth connectivity is now fairly common in mid range laptops, but the inexpensive netbooks with which this device will be most commonly used will also have fewer USB ports available. This may result in a Catch 22 situation, so you will have to weigh up the convenience of such a small device against the potential downsides.
There is simply no smaller Bluetooth dongle solution available at the moment, so if you have a laptop or PC without built in Bluetooth then this product should be a serious consideration. You could use this single dongle to connect a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, a mobile phone and a headset while still keeping the ability to connect more devices should you need to. This product is available exclusively from the mobile fun website.