Dongles By The Roadside

Published Date
01 - Apr - 2006
| Last Updated
01 - Apr - 2006
Dongles By The Roadside
What is the best one available? Also, please explain the difference between Bluetooth V1.0 and V2.0.
Ami Chaudhari

Since we haven't tested Bluetooth dongles, I would reserve my opinion. There are many makes; I have been using a Billionton Bluetooth dongle for over a year and it hasn't given me any problems. You might want to opt for a Billionton; they come with good applications too. Or else, visit, and ask our readers what they're using. A 100 metre dongle retails at around Rs 500-this was the price the last time I checked; you should be able to get it for less. If you are in Mumbai, try to procure such items from roadside vendors in Lamington Road selling computer accessories-you'll get a good deal.

Version 1 of Bluetooth supported fewer features and lacked certain security features. In version 2, new features were added, and the security issues were resolved.

Laptops: Don't DIY
Q. I am planning to assemble a laptop. Please provide me a complete list of required parts and approximate prices. I wish to configure a P4 Centrino mobile 1.86 GHz or above, 512 MB of RAM, 80 GB HDD, DVD-Writer, and a Sony LCD.

It is certainly possible to assemble a laptop at home, but provided there's a vendor who is ready to sell you the required components-and I don't think any vendor is. In my humble opinion, you should drop the idea, and opt for a decent laptop from a proper brand. Also, the Centrino platform has a Pentium M processor and not a Pentium 4. Try HP laptops-you'll find a good range, and most make decent buys. A laptop with the configuration you've mentioned will set you back by Rs 60,000 or more.

Digicams-For Better Or For Worse
Q. I want to get myself a digital camera and have short-listed two models-Sony's CyberShot DSC-P200 and Nikon's COOLPIX S4. Which is better?
Anil Kumar

We tested the Sony CyberShot P200 last year and found it to be a good camera-a worthy successor to the P150 that won our best digital camera award a year before that. The CyberShot P200 is a good camera when it comes to picture quality, and if you're interested in printing 4 x 6 photographs, it's more than enough. However, like in most 7-megapixel cameras, the sensor tends to introduce noise into the final picture when used at the highest settings.

The Nikon COOLPIX S4 is an ultra-zoom camera with a 10x optical zoom lens. Despite the zoom factor, the S4 is compact and should fit in a jacket pocket. The best thing about the S4 is its swivel body, which allows turning the lens by 270 degrees-great for shooting over people's heads or at awkward angles. We haven't tested this model, so I can't give a clear verdict as far as the picture quality is concerned. But generally, going by Nikon's standards, the camera should be good enough for amateur photography. I would recommend the Sony CyberShot P200 though.   

TV-Tuners: Good And Better
Q. I want to buy an internal TV-Tuner card with FM radio and capture capability. Can you suggest some of the brands available and the best amongst them? My system configuration is a Pentium 4 3 GHz, a 915 Motherboard, and 512 MB of memory.
A Venkata Siva Moorthy

There are lots of brands of TV-Tuners. Mercury, Intex, Enter and others catering to the entry-level segment. Cards from these vendors are generally in the range of Rs 1,500 to 1,800. Pinnacle and Compro are premium brands, and have quality products priced above Rs 2,500. You can think about getting yourself the Pinnacle PCTV 110i internal TV-Tuner card, which retails at around Rs 4,250.

A Storage Conundrum
Q. I want to buy an external storage device, and I'm stuck between a pen drive and a card reader. My budget is Rs 1,500, and I want 256 MB or more of storage.
Before I resolve your dilemma, let me clear the mist for you. A card reader isn't a storage device; it is a reading device needed to read data from cards such as MMC, SD, Memory Stick, etc. An analogy would be that a card reader is similar to a floppy drive, which is required to read data from floppies. As far as pen drives are concerned, you can opt for a 256 MB drive from a good brand such as Transcend, Gigabyte, Kingston, and others. These should fall in the price range of Rs 1,200.

The Middle Path
I get lot of mails asking for a good mid-range PC configuration. Here's a list of components that should go into making a good mid-range PC.

Choose Your Computer
Component Make
CPU  AMD 939-pin Athlon64 3200  
Motherboard ASUS A8N-VM CSM or MSI K8NGM2
RAM 512 MB DDR 400 Hynix
HDD 120 GB SATA WD / Samsung / Seagate
Monitor 17-inch Acer 715 or Samsung DF793
Keyboard Logitech 
Mouse Logitech Optical
Cabinet  Any
Power supply  Antec / VIP 350 W 
Optical Drive Lite-On / Sony DVD-Writer  2,750 
Speakers  Creative Inspire 2.1
Total  34,900 
Graphics Card XFX GeForce 6600 GT12,000 

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