Bluesonic Bluetooth Speakers

Bluetooth is simply radio transmission technology. But instead of sending voices as radio has for the last century, it sends data. It’s a bridge between operating systems that don’t know how to talk to each other.

If you’ve had any experience with Bluetooth before now, it’s probably been to send your contact and calendar files from your computer to your phone to save entering them all again. But Blue Ant Wireless, a company specialising in Bluetooth technologies, is helping plough the road into the mainstream consumer market with the Bluesonic portable speakers.

It’s an attractive and compact device that looks like a miniature stereo in itself and should be a welcome and unobtrusive addition to your work space.

Setting the Bluesonic up took a little work and if you’re a completely green computer user it might be befuddling. But that says more about the trickery involved in getting two unrelated machines to talk to each other than it does about any limitation on the part of the manufacturer.

Bluetooth works by the transmitting device finding a compatible receiver, a process called pairing. Whether connected to your computer or your phone, you have to begin by discovering the Bluesonic and pairing with it.

It’s theoretically simple from a mobile, a little more involved from a PC — and yes, Blue Ant Wireless also ignores Macs.

Just press a key on the speakers to put it into pairing mode and your phone will show it up straight away. For your PC to find it, you have to plug in the Bluetooth dongle — a small device like a flash memory disk — into a spare USB port. The Bluesonic comes with pairing software that makes set-up easy and you should be up and running within a few minutes.

In fact doing so will show you the true magic of Bluetooth. After loading up the software and attempting to pair with the Bluesonic, three more devices around our desk appeared in the window too — connected via Bluetooth and ready for data transfer.

Being a set of speakers, the Bluesonic is about sound, not connectivity.

It promises 10 hours of talk time when paired to your mobile and five hours playing music at full volume and contains very clever-sounding technologies like Echo Suppression and Noise Cancellation when you’re using it for voice communication.

You might be the sort of person who hates mobiles or fears their health effects but you have no choice but to own one. Or you might be a salesperson who can’t let driving a car stop you from taking calls.

Either way, the thought of mounting the Bluesonic on the dash or desk so you never have to hold a mobile to your ear again is worth the price alone.

But what about when it comes to music, games or DVDs on your computer? At about 20cm long, you’re not going to get the effect you would from the 25cm speakers of your home stereo, but anything would be an improvement on most laptop speakers, and the Bluesonic certainly is.

It’s not X-ray vision and needs direct line of sight to work, and under the right conditions the signal did travel more than the 10 metres Blue Ant Wireless says it will. The signal can be a little temperamental and tends to work better when it has been connected a few times. The first test — playing a DVD on a laptop — resulted in the sound jolting in and out, but after reconnecting the problem disappeared.

Compatible with about 100 mobile phone models from the major manufacturers and virtually any late model PC laptop, the Bluesonic lives up to expectations.

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