VarioUltra FAQ

Version 6, Published May 11, 2016

If you have a question that is not covered in this document, please send your question to us at varioultra@baumusa.com. In addition to answering your question, we may include it in a future version of this document. Newest questions appear first. 

1.     Can I use a QWERTY keyboard with VarioUltra?
We have had some success using a basic, external USB QWERTY keyboard with VarioUltra. While it’s good for typing into a document in the Word Processor application, there is no ability at present to enter commands from the QWERTY keyboard. We’ve had less success with advanced or high-end keyboards that feature programmable keys and things like that. The cheapest USB QWERTY keyboard usually works best. We found one in a local Staples store that is compatible.

2.     Can I charge VarioUltra using an external battery pack? Can I charge VarioUltra through a car’s 12V adaptor?
Yes. Charging of VarioUltra takes place whenever you connect the micro USB cable to VarioUltra, and connect the standard USB end of the cable into a computer, USB plug or adaptor for connecting to a car charger (cigarette lighter connection), or to portable battery packs. While we encourage you to shop around, we have seen 20,000 mAh portable chargers on Amazon.com for less than $40.

3.     Is VarioUltra water resistant or waterproof?
Mixing water with electronics never ends well, and the same is true with VarioUltra. Keep it clear of liquids, and take special care when traveling outside where rain storms might cause the unit to get wet. In the unfortunate event that your VarioUltra becomes wet, do not under any circumstances attempt to power it on, or worse, connect it to power. Besides the obvious risk of electric shock, you might cause VarioUltra to short circuit and damage internal components.

4.     Is VarioUltra a braille display or a braille notetaker?
VarioUltra is both, which is one of the reasons it is described as a smart braille display. There is a switch on the left side of VarioUltra that allows you to switch between Braille Display Mode and Braille Notetaker Mode. The Braille Display Mode is what you select when you want to use VarioUltra with your computer or a mobile device. The Braille Notetaker Mode is what you select to access a suite of productivity applications in VarioUltra, including a word processor, a spreadsheet viewer, a PDF document viewer, and a scientific calculator.

5.     What types of devices can VarioUltra connect with?
VarioUltra is compatible with Windows and Macintosh computers, with mobile devices running iOS or Android operating system, and with Linux.

6.     How many devices can I connect to VarioUltra?
VarioUltra supports simultaneous connectivity with up to 5 devices. Connections are possible via a single USB connection, or via four channels of Bluetooth. If using Bluetooth, pairing is accomplished via the Settings in Braille Notetaker Mode. Thereafter, connections are activated inside the Braille Display Mode. Switching between connected devices is achieved through the press of a button on the braille keyboard while in Braille Display Mode.

7.     What screen reading programs are supported?
VarioUltra is compatible with all popular screen reading applications, including COBRA, WindowEyes, VoiceOver, NVDA, and JAWS.

8.     Does VarioUltra have speech output?
No, there is no speech output option with VarioUltra; it is a braille-only device. While there is a tone option for alarms and confirmation sounds, there is a user-selectable Vibrate feature for quieter operation, and/or for use by people who are deaf and blind.

9.     Can I play MP3 audio files on VarioUltra?
No, the playback of audio files is not supported on VarioUltra.

10.  How do I transfer files to and from VarioUltra?
There are two options for copying files to and from VarioUltra.
The first option is to connect a standard USB memory stick. When this is done, you will see “Stick” listed as a save or open location.
The second option is to connect VarioUltra to a Windows computer using the supplied micro USB to standard USB cable. Once connected and recognized, VarioUltra will appear as an external storage device in Windows Explorer. You can then copy and paste documents and folders to and from VarioUltra.

11.  How much internal storage space does VarioUltra have?
VarioUltra includes 32 GB of flash storage.

12.  Does VarioUltra have an SD card slot?
No, there is no SD card slot in VarioUltra. You can access SD cards by using a commercially available SD card to USB adaptor. There are many options available for purchase online that cost around $10.

13.  Does VarioUltra have Wi-Fi capability?
No, there is no Wi-Fi on VarioUltra. To access the internet or email, you would first connect to a computer or mobile device that has Wi-Fi or cellular access, and use the applications those devices have for accessing web-based information or services.

14.  Can I read Braille files with VarioUltra?
Yes, files saved in BRF and BRL are supported.

15.  What file formats are supported with VarioUltra?
The Word Processor application allows you to open and edit text (TXT), Rich Text Format (RTF) documents, and Word documents, which includes documents with the file extension .DOC, or .DOCX. Note that if you edit Word documents, they can only be saved in Rich Text Format (RTF). PowerPoint files (PPT and PPTX) are also supported for viewing.
When creating documents you get to decide at the beginning whether your document will be a text or braille based document. Text documents are saved as Rich Text Format (RTF) and braille files are saved as Braille Ready Format (BRF).
The Spreadsheet Viewer application allows you to open and read Excel documents, which means documents with the file extension .XLS or .XLSX.
The PDF Document Viewer application allows you to open and read PDF documents.

16.  Does VarioUltra support Unified English Braille (UEB)?
This is on our list of development priorities, and will become available during the course of 2016 as a free update for existing customers. Once available, all new VarioUltra devices sold in the USA will include this braille table.

17.  What is the Device Lock switch for on VarioUltra?
If you are traveling and plan to place VarioUltra in your pocket or a bag, set the Device Lock switch to the Locked position to prevent accidental use of the device.

18.  Is it possible to copy content from one connected device and paste it into another connected device, using VarioUltra?
This is not presently possible, though it is on our list of development priorities. We hope to make such a feature available in the future. With the new version 1.33, it is now possible to copy text from VarioUltra Braille Notetaker, and then paste that content into a Bluetooth connected device such as an iPhone.

19.  I have heard that VarioUltra software updates are free. How are updates installed?
Correct, software and firmware updates for VarioUltra are free of charge. The update is made available as an archived ZIP file, which you download from the support pages of our web site at
www.baumusa.com. Once downloaded, copy the file to the flashdisk of VarioUltra and then enter the keyboard command to activate the update process. The update typically takes 1 to 2 minutes to complete.

20.  Can I print or emboss files that I have open in VarioUltra?
No, printing and embossing from VarioUltra is not supported. It is on our list of development priorities and may become available in the future.

21.  Can the user replace the rechargeable battery?
No, the battery is not designed for removal or access by the end user. If replacement of the battery is required, work should only be performed by a BAUM authorized service technician.

22.  What is the warranty for VarioUltra?
VarioUltra is covered by a 2-year factory warranty, which covers everything including the battery and the included carry case.

23.  Do you offer an extended warranty for VarioUltra?
Yes. An extended warranty is available at a cost of $495 per year for VarioUltra 20 and at a cost of $595 per year for VarioUltra 40. Some restrictions apply in cases where a product is not immediately covered at the conclusion of the factory warranty, including our right to first inspect the device you wish to cover. The extended warranty includes optional cleaning of your braille display and replacement of the battery once every three years. The device needs to be sent to us for either of these two services.

24.  How do I obtain Technical Support?
We provide free technical support between 8:30am and 4:30pm, eastern time, Monday through Friday, excluding national holidays. Technical Support can be reached via toll free telephone (855) 620-7985, and email to
support@baumusa.com.

25.  What do I do if VarioUltra needs to be repaired?
For customers in the USA, all requests for service and support are managed by BAUM USA. The first thing to do is call us toll free at (855) 620-7985 and choose the option for Technical Support. If we’re unable to fix an issue over the phone we may suggest returning the device to BAUM USA. Note that if we determine that your VarioUltra requires repair during the 2-year factory warranty period, or while covered by an Extended Warranty, BAUM USA covers the cost of shipping the device to and from our offices in Massachusetts

26.  What is included with the purchase of VarioUltra?
For customers in the USA, whether you choose the VarioUltra 20 or the VarioUltra 40, your purchase includes:

a.     The VarioUltra device

b.     Micro USB to standard USB cable

c.     USB plug adaptor for USA and other countries

d.     Carry case and strap

e.     Hardcopy braille Quick User Guide

We recommend that you keep the original packing materials in case you ever need to ship VarioUltra back for service or repair.

27.  What languages are supported with VarioUltra?
VarioUltra includes support for 17 languages. Besides English, support is available for German, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Croatian, Kurdish, Arabic, Russian, Hebrew, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish, Polish, and Eurobraille.

28.  What is the retail price?
In the USA, pricing for VarioUltra 20 is $2,395 and for VarioUltra 40 is $3,995. Note that prices are exclusive of any applicable taxes and shipping. Please contact us at
varioultra@baumusa.com for a quotation, being sure to confirm your city and state of residence.

29.  How do I order?
VarioUltra can be purchased directly through our web store, or by contacting BAUM USA via email or phone to info@baumusa.com and (855) 620-7985.  

30.  My state organization is paying for my VarioUltra. Are you an approved vendor in my state? Is BAUM (USA), Inc. a sole source provider in my state?
BAUM (USA), Inc., is an authorized vendor in most states in the USA. In some cases, we may have an authorized reseller who is an authorized or approved vendor to the state or states where they are authorized to sell BAUM products. In all other states where BAUM (USA) sells directly, we are a sole source vendor. In most cases we are an approved vendor for the state or states in question.

31.  Is VarioUltra water proof or water resistant?
Unlike ducks and fish, VarioUltra does not do well with water. It is best to avoid liquids at all times, so practice common sense when heading out side that it might rain. Best to keep your device safe and secure in a bag. As for drinks, keep those away from VarioUltra too. Note that water damage can be very expensive, and is not covered under warranty. If your unit does become damaged by water or other liquids, do not attempt to switch it on as you may short circuit the device, causing additional damage. If safe to do so, by all means move it out of the way of the source of liquid, and then call us for instructions. 

32.  What are your payment terms, and do you offer extended payment plans?
For individuals and any other organizations, payment is required before a device is shipped to you. For credit card payment, which most customers choose, we generate an invoice using PayPal. The invoice you receive includes a secure link to PayPal.com, where you can enter your credit card number securely and pay the bill. PayPal.com also gives you the option of applying for PayPal Credit. If approved, PayPal Credit provides 6-months financing with 0% interest and zero payments SO LONG AS YOU PAY THE BALANCE IN FULL BY THE 6 MONTH ANNIVERSARY DATE.
For qualifying organizations such as state and federal government, school districts, etc., we accept purchase orders. Terms are 30-days from the date we ship your device.

33.  What is your product return policy?
Full details can be found on our web site at http://www.baumusa.com/support/return-policy.html . We genuinely want you to be happy with your purchase and will do virtually anything to ensure your satisfaction. But in the extremely rare event that we or VarioUltra fail to meet your expectations, you may return the device within 30-days for a refund. Note that the VarioUltra should be returned in “as new” condition, with all accessories and in the original packaging materials. If a device or any of the included accessories are missing or damaged in any way, your refund may be less than the full purchase price to account for any repair or replacement.

34.  Do you accept my older braille device in trade in for a new VarioUltra?
No, we do not accept trade ins. The best thing to do is attempt to sell the older device on the used market.

35.  Do you provide loaner units when my device comes in for service?
Our general policy is not to provide loaner units. Most repairs are done within a matter of days, so the cost associated with first maintaining loaner units and then shipping them back and forth is prohibitive. In the very, very rare instance that a unit needs to be send to BAUM Germany for repair, we might be able to assist with a loan unit, but no promises are made or implied. Note too that completion and/or email acceptance of a loan agreement are required.



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For help, call us toll-free at (855) 620-7985
info@baumusa.com

We are located at 13 Branch Street, Suite 205, Methuen, MA 01844