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Option XYFI: Hands-on with the world’s smallest 3G and Wi-Fi dongle

Option XYFI, the world’s smallest 3G and Wi-Fi dongle. Measuring 80 x 29 x 13 mm and weighing just 30 grams, the Belgian manufacturer certainly has a case for its bold claim.

Whether the Guinness will enter the Option XYFI into its Book of Records for 2012 remains to be seen, but it almost doesn’t matter; the point is that the XYFI (pronounced ‘X Y Fi’) is a nifty and powerful device.

Though it looks like a simple plug and play USB dongle (which to some extent, it is) it’s also a portable Mi-Fi wireless hotspot that can support up to eight other connections.

When you plug your XFYI into a laptop (XP, Vista, Windows 7 and Mac OS 10.6 or later are supported) a web-based connection manager control panel will spring into life after the set up process. This works in most browsers (Chrome, Firefox and Safari all support it) and lets you easily designate passwords and control who can access the hotspot.

There’s also a microSD slot – an almost standard feature of Mi-Fi-type devices – meaning you can load a card filled with pictures and share these files between the connected devices and vice versa.

Option XYFI: Support up to 8 connections at once

When plugged in, the Option XYFI will draw power from your laptop as it has no battery of its own; the price you pay for its slimness and lightness. There is however a separate charger with a 4000 mAh battery that the XYFI plugs into, should you need to free up a USB port on your laptop.

You can also use the XYFI to connect to another Wi-Fi point if there’s a faster one available and then share this out to 8 devices, something which could come in handy if an AP has a limited/single user restriction on it, sometimes the case in hotels.

It won’t however be compatible with 4G when it rolls out in the UK sadly but the ablity to connect to other Wi-Fi ports somewhat makes up for this – transitions to 3G and Wi-Fi are also seamless – when connected to a Wi-Fi spot with the XYFI, we didn’t notice any connections dropping when we moved out of range and hopped back on the cellular.

Available to order now for £150, we love the simplicity and ease of use that you get with the Option XYFI and the ability to share connections with friends and colleagues – world’s smallest or not.

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