No one likes to detangle the chaotic, intertwined mess created by the cables. This is why the world is going the wireless way. Most modern laptops and branded computers offer built-in Bluetooth capability. However, there are plenty of computers that need to use Bluetooth wireless connectivity but are not Bluetooth-enabled. This is where the Bluetooth adapters come into the picture. They are compact USB devices that make your computer Bluetooth-enabled in an instant. In the following text, we will learn more about Bluetooth adapters followed by a quick review of top 5 adapters you can buy.
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THINGS TO CONSIDER WHILE BUYING BLUETOOTH ADAPTER
You can find a variety of Bluetooth adapters in the market. So, how do you make a choice? Here are some of the factors to keep in mind before buying a Bluetooth adapter.
Bluetooth Compatibility: An average computer user uses only a limited number of peripherals and accessories. Therefore, it only makes sense to evaluate the compatibility and support before buying the adapter. What use will you have of the adapter? Do you have devices that support Bluetooth connectivity? Is there a special device you wish to connect using Bluetooth? There are probably some of the questions you may ask yourself. But, the Bluetooth adapters are fairly inexpensive. So, you may still want to go ahead and buy them regardless.
Speaking of compatibility, make sure you buy the adapter which is compatible with the computer system you are using. Some adapters are meant only for specific devices or computers. You would not want to end up buying an incompatible adapter.
Bluetooth Technology: While buying the Bluetooth adapter for PC, it would be wise to consider the Bluetooth technology as well. Bluetooth 5.0 is the latest technology in this field. It offers wider connectivity range and faster transfer. But, since the technology is fairly new, 5.0 adapters are not abundantly available. Also, they are pretty expensive too. For most users, Bluetooth 4.0 is good enough; anything lower than that may not go well with the modern computer systems. 4.0 offers decent speed and acceptable range.
Class: Currently, there are two options available: Class 1 and Class 2 adapters. Class 1 Bluetooth adapters are more advanced, offer faster connection and wider range. They are more suited for industrial or commercial purposes. Class 2, on the other hand, are cheaper, offer lesser speed and lower range. But, they are good enough for most consumers, home devices.
Range: Although we have briefly touched upon ‘range’, it merits a special mention as it is one of the most important factors to consider while buying a Bluetooth adapter. These devices come in a wide variety of ranges from as low as 10m to as high as 100m and more. Most consumer users do not need a high range device as they need to operate within the boundaries of their home. This is why the majority of consumer adapters offer a range of 10-30m. On the other hand, industrial applications may demand a higher range of 100m or more.
Purpose: There is a wide range of choices available. It is important to identify your purpose before buying the Bluetooth adapter. There are different adapters for different needs.
Here are some of the top reasons why you would like to buy a Bluetooth adapter:
- Freedom from the hassles of the wires: One of the biggest benefits of Bluetooth adapters is that they allow wireless connectivity with the other Bluetooth devices (and most of the devices we used everyday support Bluetooth). This lets you sidestep the hassles associated with connecting the device repeatedly to the computer using USB cable. You need to pair the device once and later you can connect it to your computer instantly.
- They are inexpensive: Another reason why you would like to use a Bluetooth adapter is that they offer cost-effective connectivity solution. Some of these adapters cost as low as $2. You can buy a good quality Bluetooth adapter for $4-$5. However, if you are looking for high-end, Bluetooth 4.0 adapters, they can cost you as high as $30-40.
- Line of sight not required: The problem with the infrared remote sensors is that you need to be in the line of sight and point the connecting device at the sensor or else you will not be able to establish a connection. This clearly isn’t the case with Bluetooth for as long as you are within the connectivity range, you could be anywhere, even behind a wall.
- Connectivity Range: Bluetooth adapters offer a long connectivity range. Even the cheapest adapters have a range of 10m. The high-end adapters can offer more than 100m range. You don’t need to be in the close proximity to connect the devices.
- Ease of Use: These adapters are incredibly easy to use. All you need to do is plug them into a USB port. Your computer will automatically detect the device and install the necessary drivers. In simple words, they are plug and play devices. Once they are set up on the computer, you can quickly pair any Bluetooth device.
- Power efficient: Energy consumption is a big concern especially for the laptop users. Thankfully, Bluetooth adapters are designed in such a way that they use less power and are easy on the laptop battery. You don’t also need to charge the adapters separately. In fact, they don’t require any charging at all. You just need to keep them plugged into the USB Port.
- Data Security: It is a good idea to make your computer Bluetooth capable as the data transfer through this mode is completely safe. In order to share data between devices, you need to pair them first with each other. No one can get the data from your computer unless you have allowed the connection.
Well, not everything is great about Bluetooth. In fact, with Wi-Fi direct emerging in the digital landscape, Bluetooth technology is rapidly becoming outdated. Here are some of the disadvantages and limitations of Bluetooth adapters (or Bluetooth in general):
- Speed: Bluetooth allows you to transfer the data wirelessly and was once the go to technology. But, with Wi-Fi direct connectivity offering speed many times more, Bluetooth has become redundant to a certain extent. Even if your computer does not support Wi-Fi, you can buy a wireless adapter and use the Wi-Fi direct services. Applications like SHAREit that use Wi-Fi direct for data transfer are now available on computers and offer transfer up to 30 times faster than Bluetooth.
- Fewer Bluetooth Devices: Most of the computer peripherals today either use infrared or Wi-Fi to connect to your computer wirelessly. This is why you will need to buy a special edition of the devices with Bluetooth support. Keyboards, mice, and even modern printers usually do not have Bluetooth compatibility.
- Performance and Price: There are plenty of cheap adapters available in the market. But, the low-cost devices often do not perform well. They are slow and sometimes even incompatible with certain Bluetooth devices. If you are looking for reliable Bluetooth connectivity, you will need to spend more.
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TOP 5 BLUETOOTH ADAPTERS
Now that you have made up your mind that you will buy a Bluetooth adapter, you would also like to look at some good options. In the proceeding list, we have briefly reviewed top 5 adapters of today. These adapters are the best among the lot and thus are also relatively costlier.
1. Plugable Bluetooth 4.0 Adapter
It is indeed one of the best Bluetooth adapters you can buy today. It is also one of the best-selling adapters on many eCommerce websites. The consumer rating for this adapter averages at more than 4.0 out of 5 (nearly 4.5). This goes on to tell how popular this adapter is among the users.
Plugable 4.0 is compatible with a wide range of operating systems including Windows 7, 8, and 10. It also works on Linux computers. However, if you are a Mac user, you will need to look for other options as it is not supported on the OS X platform.
This adapter features a sleek design and fits inconspicuously in the USB port. You can connect it to your desktop computer or laptop. It uses an advanced design technology and consumes very less energy. This is why it is a perfect choice for the laptops where power conservation is a great concern. You can keep it plugged in for hours without observing any noticeable effect on battery.
It is easy to install and use. You simply need to plug into your computer and install the drivers from CD that comes shipped in the box.2.
2. Costech 4.0 Adapter
Costech 4.0 is another incredible Bluetooth adapter you can buy for all your Bluetooth connectivity needs. This adapter is based on the class 2 technology. This is why it is perfect for the end consumers. Configuring and using Costech 4.0 is very easy. It also lets you quickly connect your PC to other Bluetooth compatible devices.
The drivers are preinstalled on this USB Bluetooth adapter. When you plug the device into the USB port, the drivers are installed automatically. Within a few seconds, the device is ready to use.
Costech 4.0 adapter offers a good connectivity range. You can connect any Bluetooth device within the 10 m vicinity, which is sufficient for almost all types of users. It can be easily paired with a number of Bluetooth supported devices including headsets, printers, keyboards, mice, printers, and more. You can also connect Bluetooth game controllers.
If you regularly need to transfer files, you will really enjoy the 3 Mbps transfer speed this adapter offers. You can transfer large files within a matter of minutes.
Costech 4.0 is known for power efficiency. Therefore, it is a good choice for those who need Bluetooth capabilities on their laptop. At the same time, it is a great Bluetooth device for PC as well.
3. Avantree Bluetooth 4.0
If you are looking for a high-quality adapter with Bluetooth 4.0 technology and really long connectivity range, Avantree 4.0 is the perfect option for you. With the connectivity radius of 50 m, this device outmatches every other adapter in its class.
Avantree 4.0 offers a pretty decent data transfer speed. Those who love to stream audio on their Bluetooth headsets or speakers will like this adapter for it ensures almost no lag in spite of such a long range. The audio playback is nearly lossless provided you are in the range.
This adapter is supported on various OS platforms, even the older versions such as Windows XP. It is supported on both 32 bit and 64-bit platforms. However, it is also not compatible with Mac OS, which is a major setback for many buyers. There are more Windows users than Mac. This is why Avantree 4.0 is still very popular.
Avantree 4.0 is also very easy to configure and use. It is much like any plug and play device. You just need to insert it into the USB port (preferably USB 3.0) and let the automatic setup take its own course. It connects with a wide range of compatible Bluetooth devices.
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4. Soundbot SB340
Soundbot SB340 is a class 2 Bluetooth adapter that uses the 4.0 technology. Designed for end consumers, this adapter offers high-speed data transfer and reliable connectivity. Not only can you connect all sorts of Bluetooth peripherals using this adapter, you can also listen to your favorite music on the Bluetooth headset or speakers.
The very first thing you will love about SB340 is its looks. The metal area of the adapter is gold-plated lending it an incredible appearance. This attractive looking adapter is also highly functional. Like the other adapters on this list, SB340 consumes less power and hence is suitable for laptops as well as desktops.
SB340 is a compact device and very easy to carry. You can keep it plugged into your computer and it will stay there unobtrusively. It is fast and offers a peak transfer speed of 3Mbps.
5. ORICO Bluetooth 4.0
If your computer doesn’t offer built-in Bluetooth, ORICO 4.0 could be a great choice. ORICO quickly make your computer Bluetooth enabled and lets you connect with a wide range of Bluetooth devices. Whether you wish to connect a Bluetooth printer or a stereo headset, you can easily do it with this adapter. As you may like, it consumes less energy allowing you hours of usage without any difficulty. It is also backward compatible and works well with old Bluetooth devices.
ORICO can be used with many operating systems including various versions of Windows (new and old). But, if you are looking an adapter for Mac, you will be disappointed as ORICO is not supported on this OS.
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Bluetooth adapters make your PC and laptops Bluetooth enabled. There are many devices that require Bluetooth connectivity. Buying an adapter thus becomes a necessity. These adapters too have their own set of pros and cons. With Wi-Fi direct in the picture allowing easy connectivity and faster data transfer, Bluetooth may be inching towards redundancy. But, the truth is that Bluetooth technology keeps evolving and always keeps itself from phasing out. This is why buying a good quality Bluetooth adapter will not be a bad investment at all.