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Sometimes it’s the smallest gadgets that make life easier. The MSI Bluetooth Star Hub is not the most ingenious product, but it is very useful little device. As the name suggests, this little device is all about Bluetooth. So if you’re not using any Bluetooth devices, or are not planning on using any, then the Star Hub isn’t for you.
The Star Hub is quite small, measuring 73.5 x 73.5 x 21.5mm (WxDxH), so it doesn’t take up too much space on your desk. It connects to your PC via USB and that’s pretty much as hard as the installation gets. You do of course have to install the driver, which comes on a mini CD in the box.
On top of the Bluetooth functionality the Star Hub also gives you three USB 2.0 ports to which you can connect your peripherals – although you don’t get much benefit from connecting your mouse to a USB 2.0 port, hooking up a card reader, USB key or digital camera will definitely take advantage of the faster transfer rate. Having access to ports on your desk is also far more convenient that rummaging around behind your PC, especially if it’s positioned on the floor.
But it’s really the Bluetooth functionality that’s the main purpose of the Star Hub and I have to say that the user interface on the supplied software is far superior to that seen on earlier MSI Bluetooth dongles. The new software comes from the IVT Corporation and if this application is anything to go by, we can expect to see more from this company.
The software is called BlueSoleil, and it really is a piece of cake to use - set your Bluetooth device to detectable, click on the orange dot in the middle of the application window and the software will search for any devices within range.
Once any suitable devices are found their icons will appear on the BlueSoleil screen circumnavigating the orange dot. There is a row of icons at the top of the screen depicting various functions – when a device is connected, the icons depicting its functionality will light up in yellow.
A signal strength bar also appears next to the connected device to show you how strong the connection is between the Star Hub and the connected device.
The Star Hub offers functionality for Bluetooth PAN (personal area networking), dial-up networking, serial port replacement, LAN access service, file transfer, synchronisation, object push services, printing, faxing, input devices, imaging services, AV services and headsets.