Orange has given its mobile broadband service a bit of an overhaul with the introduction of a new dongle that's available in a range of colours, so we thought it was time to give the service a once over and see how it performs.
The new mobile broadband pack is supplied in a retail-friendly box with a plastic window on the front through which you can clearly see the new dongle. We had the black version, but the dongle is also available in white and pink. We can see the benefits of the white version, as it'll better match many of the netbooks around at the moment, but even the members of the fairer sex we asked thought the pink one looked a bit tacky. Surely red would have been a better option, but there's no accounting for taste.
Inside the box you'll also find the printed quick start manual and a USB extension cable, which is handy when using the dongle with a desktop PC or with laptops or netbooks that have awkwardly placed USB ports.
There's not usually much to get excited about when talking about the design of a USB dongle, but we have to admit that Orange has gone to some lengths to give this one pretty smart styling. It's got pleasingly rounded edges and the plastic casing has a slightly rubberised feel to it which makes it nice to handle. No matter which colour you opt for you'll find that all three have an orange stripe down one edge plus three orange lines on the main body just to remind you who you're getting your mobile broadband service from.
Getting the service up and running is very straightforward. All you have to do is place the Orange SIM card into a pull-out holder which slides back into a recess behind the USB connector. Because the dongle has some built-in memory, which is used to store the drivers and set up software, it's a piece of cake to set up with your computer (both PCs and Macs are supported). All you have to do is plug it into a spare USB port and once it's recognised by your system the installation wizard will appear to guide you through the rest of the setup process including the installation of the drivers and other relevant software.