Torspoal PenDragon Review


Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £79.00

Anyone who knows me is aware that I’m a big fan of wireless networking. In fact I believe that it will be the catalyst for the eventual convergence of consumer electronics and IT products.

I’m therefore very glad to see Wi-Fi appearing as standard in a number of products, most notably Intel Centrino based notebook computers. However, there are still a great deal of notebooks that are not Centrino based, not to mention all the non Wi-Fi notebook computers that are already in the field and not due for replacement for a couple of years.

The most obvious solution for a notebook that doesn’t support Wi-Fi as standard has been a PC Card Wi-Fi adapter. This is a perfectly acceptable solution until the moment comes when you want to plug your Wi-Fi adapter into another notebook and find that you haven’t got the driver disc with you, or for that matter if you ever want to get a desktop PC attached to your wireless network quickly and easily.

This is where the Torspoal PenDragon comes in and on paper it looks like the ultimate plug-in Wi-Fi solution. The PenDragon combines a USB Wi-Fi adapter with a 128MB flash memory module. The beauty of this configuration is that you can store the drivers for the Wi-Fi adapter on the flash memory, so you’ll never have to worry about carrying a driver disc around with you. So no matter where you are and no matter what PC you need to get attached to a wireless network, you can carry everything you need in your pocket.

Considering that having the drivers integrated into the unit is such a strong unique selling point for the PenDragon, I was very disappointed to find that the drivers aren’t loaded into the flash memory at purchase. Instead you have to copy them from the supplied CD-ROM, which will be particularly annoying for those users who don’t have an integrated optical drive in their notebook. That said, once you’ve copied the drivers to the PenDragon it’s done and you won’t have to worry about it again no matter how many machines you plug it into.

Installation is pretty simple, especially if the drivers are on the PenDragon. Simply plug the PenDragon into a USB port and run the setup utility. After being prompted for a reboot Windows will then load the device drivers and your computer will have wireless connectivity.

The PenDragon is quite large for a USB flash memory module, but pretty small when you take the Wi-Fi functionality into account. There’s a clear plastic cover that protects the integrated USB connector. This cover slides backwards to allow the USB connector to be inserted into a USB port on your PC/notebook. There’s a single indicator light that flashes when Wi-Fi is active.

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