BEST BLUETOOTH ADAPTERS
BEST BLUETOOTH ADAPTERS | OCTOBER 2019
The majority of consumer electronic devices nowadays come with Bluetooth functionality built-in, but this wasn’t always the case. If you own a car, computer, or pair of headphones that was manufactured more than five to seven years ago, chances are you’ll need a Bluetooth adapter for it. This will allow you to do everything from pairing wireless keyboards and mice to controlling the device remotely using your phone. There are many options out there to choose from, which is why our team has conducted extensive research on different features and use cases to give you a clearer picture of which Bluetooth adapter is right for you.
Just because your device is communicating wirelessly with a Bluetooth adapter does not mean you can go wherever you want. Every adapter has a “class,” which describes how powerful its antenna is, and the maximum distance you can be from the adapter before the signal becomes too weak or is dropped completely. High-end Class 1 Bluetooth adapters have a range of 100 m (330 ft.), Class 2 adapters – the most common – work up to 10 m (30 ft.), and Class 3 has a range of about 1 m (3 ft.).
Depending on the use case for a Bluetooth adapter, it may be battery-powered or require connection to an electrical outlet. Portable Bluetooth adapters for things such as headphones and car stereos tend to have rechargeable internal batteries, while more heavy-duty adapters for Hi-Fi stereos and professional serial data connections need a wired power source to operate effectively.
Multiple Device Connectivity
Some Bluetooth adapters are only able to accept one input source at a time, while others can accept inputs from multiple sources. This normally corresponds with the adapter’s class, or the size and power of its Bluetooth antenna. Adapters for PCs should be able to support both a keyboard and a mouse; certain stereo adapters can handle inputs from multiple audio sources at once.
Some Bluetooth adapters can be easier to set up and connect to than others. Using a Bluetooth device once it is connected is easy enough, but there are times when you may have to navigate through multiple levels of settings before the devices are finally paired. This can be difficult for users who are not that savvy with technology, especially if required to download and update device drivers.
With Bluetooth adapters, price points can vary quite a bit. However, the average is around the $20 mark for a standard adapter with decent audio quality and a range of about 30 feet. Slightly more expensive models will increase both range and audio quality, but the core technology remains essentially the same. Serial Bluetooth adapters tend to be a bit more expensive – around $50 for a typical serial adapter. However, this increase in price also increases reliability and effective range, which is close to 330 feet for a Class 1 Bluetooth adapter.
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