* Prices may differ from that shown
I bought this device for my laptop quite a few months ago and it cost me £12 from Maplins store in Hereford, you can now buy it on Amazon for £3 which is not only a bargain but its a give away price.
The Belkin Bluetooth USB Adapter is very easy to use it comes with a CD software to load ontop your computer and you plug it in at the USB port. Set up is easy just follow the on screen guide when installation has finished click and there will be a logo of the device installed onto your desktop or taskbar.
You can then access the device from clicking the logo. It's that easy.
It will detect any bluetooth devices within its range which is up to 100m like phones and other computers or laptops around the house saving connection through wires and will allow you to connect the bluetooth devices to the computer.
I like the ease of setting this up and once installed you can add things via the logo by clicking on the devices tab and clicking add. If not inbuilt into your system, this adapter can connect your mobile phone, keyboard, mouse, printer or any other Bluetooth device to your computer. You can then transfer photo's and other data and musdic through the device.
Add music to your phone or poto's onto your laptop and lots more.
I have had this a few months and although I paid a little more for it int he shop than online, Ihave found it to be a useful gadget. I like to transfer music to my phone and onto my laptop and with this is just a case of downloading then moving the music file to wherever I want it to go.
Transfer rate - 723 Kbps
100 metre range
Compliant standards - Bluetooth 1.2
Plug and Play
Windows 98SE / ME / 2000 or XP compatible
Apple MacOS X 10.3 or later
I cant fault it.
To the uninitiated, Bluetooth sounds like some sort of horrible disease that might afflict, say, a cow. In reality, it's a useful tool which allows electronic devices (such as mobile phones and computers) to share information with each other without actually being physically connected.
The problem is that if you have an older computer, it may not have Bluetooth built in. This is where this handy little gadget comes in. It sits in an available USB port and gives your PC Bluetooth.
I essentially wanted to use Bluetooth to swap things like photos and other small files between my phone and my PC. Like any piece of computer equipment, the price and functionality of Bluetooth adapters varies greatly. Since I only needed basic compatibility, I plumped for a low-cost, low spec solution, rather than paying extra for features I would never use. The most basic adapter in the Belkin range costs around £10 new and should be enough for low level users.
Theoretically, the adapter has a range of 10 metres, meaning it can detect any Bluetooth devices within that radius. In reality, I've found it is greater than that. Certainly, with Bluetooth turned on, I have been able to detect mobile phones several houses up the street, so if you do need a greater range, don't automatically discount this one on the basis of the official specification.
Set-up and installation
Apparently, the adapter should be easy to set up. According to the instructions you insert the CD-ROM, install the drivers and support software, plug in the adapter when told and you're off. I did this and a small Bluetooth icon appeared in my system tray, which looked promising. Then I tried to send a file from my phone to my PC to be told "No Bluetooth devices in range". This happened several times and ended with me manically pointing my phone in the direction of the computer and shouting "It's there, you stupid phone." I tried fiddling around with some of the more promising looking settings on the phone and the PC, with no success. No matter what I tried, the phone stubbornly refused to accept that my PC existed.
Falling back on the old favourite, I uninstalled and reinstalled the software in case the files had become corrupted first time around. The only effect this had was to send my blood pressure rising further when it still failed to work.
I returned to the support software that came on the disk to try and track down the problem. This suggested it wasn't working properly because of a known compatibility problem and suggested I download the latest drivers from the Belkin site, which I did. I uninstalled the drivers for the second time and reinstalled the new ones, looking forward to a blissful Bluetooth bonanza by the end.
At last! Something changed... just not for the better! This time, the PC refused to even acknowledge that Bluetooth existed, let alone that Mr Phone wanted to use it to have a little chat. The only thing turning blue was the air.
I ventured back on line to see if anyone else had experienced similar problems. The Belkin website was useless, and told me nothing other than download the latest drivers - which I'd already done. Eventually, I came across a user review (on Amazon of all places) that told me exactly what I needed to do. It turns out that lots of people have had problems getting the device to work. The reason is that the CD-ROM installs two sets of drivers. One works and one doesn't. In true computer fashion, guess which one the PC chooses to use? Thankfully, the Amazon entry included step-by-step instructions on removing one driver and selecting the other. As soon as I had done this, my computer and my phone immediately became best buddies. Success!... No thanks to Belkin.
According to the instructions, you should be up and running within five minutes of opening the box. Belkin clearly have a strange concept of time: it took me closer to 2 hours. I'm a reasonably technically literate person and am quite happy tinkering with settings to try and make things work, so I'm not a complete novice. Yet, had it not been for the Amazon review, I don't think I would ever have got it working. Anyone who is a nervous about computers should steer clear of this piece of kit.
Using the Adapter
Once you've got over the headache of installation, the adapter works perfectly. You can either leave it in permanently, so Bluetooth is available each time you switch your PC on, or you can plug it in when you actually want to use it. If you do plug the adapter in only when needed, the PC thankfully remembers it has used the device before, so you don't have to go through the rigmarole of setting it up each time!
Once installed, you simply instruct the PC to find other Bluetooth. Each time you add a new device (such as a phone), you are asked to assign a security code to it for security reasons. This makes sure not unauthorised devices get access to your PC. Entering the relevant security code on your phone then means you can swap files between the connected devices. This part of the operation really is straightforward and reliable. I have only experienced a few occasions when the connection has dropped and it was pretty easy to re-establish it.
I have no idea if my Bluetooth connection is fast or slow, and no idea how to measure it. Nor do I care. Speed is not an issue for me, as I don't use it often enough to matter. However, sending a photo from my phone to my PC usually takes a couple of seconds, which should give you some idea. If you're a heavy user of Bluetooth, you might want to consider an upgraded model which offers greater control over settings and faster speeds. As on occasional user, though, this model is more than adequate.
The biggest downside to this device - and the reason it gets three stars - is the installation process. Why Belkin can't make a product that installs without any fuss, I don't know.
Once you get it running, the adapter runs pretty smoothly and unobtrusively in the background. If your computer doesn't have Bluetooth, this device offers a cheap and effective method of adding it. Just bear in mind that novice users might find it too complicated to set up, whilst heavy Bluetooth users might prefer to invest in a more advanced model.
I was asked to get a Bluetooth dongle for use with my PC at work and found this product. Being a purchase for work I was asked to buy the cheapest I could find and at £9.99 this seemed a bargain. I wasn't expecting much for that kind of money, but was pleasantly suprised. The Belkin Bluetooth Adaptor was relatively quick and easy to set up and I was using it within half an hour or so of unpacking it and it was at this point I hit the only snag I've had.
When transferring photos from a mobile phone to the PC, the Belkin Adaptor recognised the device as everything but a phone. Even manually selecting a mobile as the device didn't seem to work. A few minutes of tinkering and a quick scan of the help articles did the trick but it wasn't that easy to sort out. So much for Plug-and-Play but never mind.
After this initial set back all seems fine and I've used it a couple of times with my phone, remembering what settings to use before I send items and so far no problems. I can't say much more as I've only tried sending from my phone but when I use other devices I will add more.
The Belkin Bluetooth USB Adapter is very useful technology which you simply plug into your USB slot. I actually got this about 2 years ago because I wanted to transfer photos and videos from my mobile phone to my PC and I didn't have a mobile phone cable to connect to the PC. So this was ideal rather than purchasing a cable which would have cost the same, but with this I can use it for other Bluetooth enabled devices such as my PDA or Laptop.
- Bluetooth connection capability via USB
- Works with any device which is Bluetooth enabled
- Has built in security using 128-bit encryption and authentication, allowing you to securely access any Bluetooth device without wires
- Easy installation with Plug-and-Play convenience
- Allows you to connect at a range of up to 100 meters
The Bluetooth adapter is well designed; it's even smaller than a USB memory stick. You simply plug it in via USB and windows will detect it. It has a small blue LED on it witch flashes when your transferring data.
With the Bluetooth adapter you get drivers and software for your PC. These don't take much space around 10-15MB. One thing I should mention is if you have Windows XP, service pack 2 it may not recognise it straight away. So just be patient and retry it by simply reconnecting the adapter a few times. Or you could check for new software update located on the Belkin website and that will fix the issue. Though the new adapters may already have the updated software as I bought this 2 years ago. I thought id mention it just encase you manage to purchase it second hand or get the same version as mine.
Overall the Belkin Bluetooth USB Adapter is a useful device for transferring data from other Bluetooth enabled devices. Such as I do with my mobile phone, PDA and laptop. I got this adapter brand new for around £10 from Ebay.
I am not the most technically minded person in the world. Yet I had heard of Bluetooth, how it allows electrical things to talk to each other without the need for wires. As with a lot of new tech stuff, I thought it sounded good, but could not see a time when it would be of benefit to me.
Then came Christmas, I received a great present in the form of a mobile phone, being a bit of a Billy no mates, I dont get that many calls, hmmmmm ok no calls. But the phone does so much more, it is an mp3 player, downloads games, pictures, videos, internet and a whole host of other things, that belong in a different review. The reason for mentioning this phone is it also has Bluetooth connectivity (I think that is the proper term).
Anyway whilst using the phones online capability, I looked at the things I could download to my phone. Yep games cost between £2.50 and £5 each, music tracks again vary in cost, but can be £3 each. I faced a choice, either not use the phone as I wanted (for entertainment) or spend a fortune with online downloads directly to the phone. To be honest I am not one of the wealthiest people around, so decided there must be a better way.
With the phone came a lead and software to allow me to connect directly to my PC (windows98se). After three frustrating weeks of trying, I realised that although the phone and pc should be able to talk to each other through the cable, it was not going to happen. Two reasons for this 98se is now old, as is the pc, then there is the little matter of my malady known as nogoodattechystuff.
As you can probably imagine, me and my Christmas prezzie were now only just on speaking terms. I was still scratching my head as to a way of getting my pc and phone on speaking terms. When I saw the Argos catalogue and decided to buy the Belkin Bluetooth USB Adapter, this was a last ditch effort on my part, and in truth this was still the cheapest option I could think of, the other choice was upgrade the pc. I also chose the Belkin one as I have other Belkin products from them that are attached to my PC and all work fine and I had no problems installing them.
So after a short trip to Argos and spending of £15.99 I returned home with my new toy. Thankfully I have now thrown away the packaging so cannot tell you what that looked like, although it was in a small plastic Argos carrier bag.
The way I work with new things is, make cup of coffee, then read all the instructions thoroughly before proceeding. The instructions were very minimal but I did note DO NOT INSERT BLUETOOTH ADAPTER UNTIL PROMPTED. For those of you who do decide to get one of these for yourselves please do take note of the above warning. I thought I did it correctly but mucked up along the way.
So ready to install, I placed the CD into my PCs drive and followed the installation wizards instructions, very slowly and very carefully. It was a very slow process, the wizard searched and deleted any old Bluetooth software it could find. I had to put my windows 98se disc in twice during the process. Then the wizard said it could not detect any Bluetooth devices. Quandary time is that an instruction asking me to insert the adapter or not? After much pondering time I decided that it was not an instruction. I continued with the installation process finishing with the nearly always obligatory reboot.
After the PC came back to life, I placed the Bluetooth adapter into my USB hub, the light on it came on, then I clicked on the new Bluetooth icon on my desktop. After a couple of minutes I got the message No Bluetooth device detected (or words to that effect), followed by nothing apart from a frozen PC. I followed this with a frustrating series of reboots, trying to get my new toy working, reboot with device in hub, tried it without the hub, by attaching directly to the PCs USB. Tried without the adapter connected and clicking on the icon first. All with the same result nothing.
So back in the packaging (that I cannot remember what it looked like) went the adapter and the CD, gently lobbed into the back of a drawer. Yep I had a sulk on. This sulk lasted well over a week
Now not wanting to be beaten and with my newly acquired determination head on (a buy it now bargain from ebay), I decided to try again. The first thing I did this time was put the CD in again, the wizard this time said it was going to reinstall the software. This was an even longer process than the first time as it first uninstalled itself. As before I followed the instructions (including inserting the 98se disc when required). When I got to the point of it saying, it could not detect any Bluetooth devices I decided to put the adapter into the USB hub and see what happened. Well it detected it, oh did I feel smug.
The satisfied feeling was however short-lived, I tried clicking on the icon and the PC froze again.
I knew that I had got further this time and really wanted to get this working. This time when I rebooted the PC I had the adapter in the hub. I clicked on the icon and the software burst into life. Unlike the installation, using the Bluetooth to transfer is simplicity itself.
From PC to mobile..
Select the file (picture, mp3, video etc) that you want, right click on the mouse, you can then choose to copy/send via Bluetooth, then its a question of making sure the device (phone) has its connectivity switched on and is discoverable. Follow the on screen instructions, to bond you need to put in the same password on both devices (four numbers), this bonds the two Bluetooth devices to each other. Then its send on PC and then accept on the phone. As if by magic the file is transferred.
From mobile to PC..
This depends on your mobile, the normal way is again select the file on your phone and copy using Bluetooth.
You can also do this through your PC, this is where the software comes into its own, click on the software and once open, get the software to look at the contents of your phone and then its drag onto the PC.
Now this is all being done on a 500meg P3, running windows 98SE, so I would guess that those of you using newer and/or faster PCs would have no problems.
Despite the initial teething problems I cannot recommend this highly enough, all I have is a subtle little bit of plastic sticking out of my hub, with a little blue light. The adapter has already saved me more than the cost of it. To put music onto my phone all I do now is pick the music I want, place the CD in my PC, save it as mp3 then transfer it to my phone. I can save photos I have taken with the phone to my PC. I know that this is only the beginning of the things that I will be able to use this adapter for. I will in time be able to send/receive files from other PC/laptops, send to a printer all without the need for extra leads. I have as yet only scratched the surface. I am amazed that something so small can be so useful.
Just to keep those of you happy who like tech details I will give you a couple (please dont ask me what they mean though) My adapter uses V1.2 and is backwards compatible with V1.1, max indoor range of 10m (100m range is available for a little extra cost, but I did not need that)
Operating system requirements W98SE, ME, 2000,XP.
Min processor 200MHz
Min RAM 64 MB
And it needs a USB port to plug it into, (I am using mine through a hub without problems).
----What do you mean no Bluetooth?!----
I had purchased a new Nokia phone which had the fantastic added feature of Bluetooth technology. However, I realized that Bluetooth was not one of the features that come with my laptop. The way to get round this was to buy a separate Bluetooth adapter which could be plugged into my pc and left there getting as close to a Bluetooth enabled computer as possible. When I went to get an adapter there was a fairly reasonable collection available but I thought to stick with a name that I know best and that was Belkin.
----Appearance and packaging----
The packaging was quite simple and a reasonable size for the Bluetooth adapter. The things included in the package were the Bluetooth adapter itself and a CD containing the most important files of setup and a manual in PDF form. Some people much prefer a manual with the product rather than on the CD and I have to agree with this. It does make it somewhat easier to be able to have the manual in front of you and setting up at the same time rather than changing windows on your computer.
A standard and simple installation, pop in the CD and the auto run works its magic! Simply click next on the screen you are presented with, accept the terms and conditions (providing you agree!), choose where you want the software to be installed and click Install. The installation takes about 5 minutes, during which you will probably be told that it does not pass the windows test.
This does fill you with a little uncertainty but on clicking continue anyway it will complete the installation and you will see the device works fine. I have encountered a few of the not passed windows test messages when installing very well known and established products which seems odd to me whether this is a product fault or windows is unknown but in this case I guarantee it should have passed with flying colours!
After the installation is complete you merely click finish and all that you need from your Bluetooth device is set up and ready to go. You should now see a new logo in your taskbar which looks like a B in a blue egg shape.
Once the Bluetooth is installed and the logo features in your taskbar you can begin to set up the device as required. If you double click on the logo you get a 4 tabs; Devices, Options, Com Ports and Hardware.
This enables you to set up any of the devices which are available through this device. To name a few, these include, phones, PDAs Printers and any other v1.2 certified devices (put simply this is most!). Simply options of Add remove and properties are available which are self explanatory in there procedures.
This is simply to set up the connection between devices. It enables you to choose whether you want the computer to detect any Bluetooth devices and also whether or not you want devices to be allowed to be connected to the computer. Choosing these features can make life a lot easier but could cause some security problem if there is someone that could connect to your computer in close vicinity. There is also the choice to restore default settings.
This allows you to search for co ports installed and available through the computer and also gives you the option to add or remove com ports. There is also an option to learn more about co ports if you are not too sure about their meaning and purpose.
This enables you to view the Bluetooth devices installed (the USB stick) and change its properties or troubleshoot on certain problems you may encounter. The properties window appears the same as most driver property windows when selected through control panel, telling you the driver name, version and whether or not it is working properly.
So now you have configured the Bluetooth USB port you can start adding devices. The easiest way to do this is to click on the logo in the taskbar, click on the devices tab and click on add. You will be presented with a wizard and once you set up your device (i.e. turned on Bluetooth) you tick the relevant box and click next. The computer searches for the required device and hopefully it should show the devices which are Bluetooth enabled within 100metres. Once you have chosen the device you can set a pass code which will be required every time you try and connect your laptop and the device.
The easiest way that I have found to transfer data is through the right click method that most will be familiar with through general computer use. If for example you wish to transfer music file to your phone simply find the file, right click and choose send to Bluetooth device and this will begin the transfer once you select where you want the file to go (e.g. which folder in the phone). If you have set up a pass code then you will be asked to enter it in both devices and then the transfer will commence. Once the transfer is done a box will appear letting you know it is done and you are finished for that file.
Transfer rate - 723 Kbps
100 metre range
Compliant standards - Bluetooth 1.1
Plug and Play
Windows 98SE / ME / 2000 or XP compatible
Apple MacOS X 10.3 or later
2 Years Warranty
Available for under £20 from most good retailers
This product is fantastic for two main reasons. It can enable computers which dont feature Bluetooth technology to transfer by Bluetooth means. It also saves on cluttering of wires around you computer. This is because up to 7 devices can be connected at once by Bluetooth and that saves a lot of wires! Also the 100m range is fantastic because devices can be in different places in the house but they can still be used to transfer and connect to the computer without moving (providing you dont set a pass code!). Also the fact that it is compatible with all Bluetooth devices of 1.1 classifications and above means that most devices will work with this adapter.
I have not encountered any problems yet and I have had the device for over a year. I would recommend this product if you need a Bluetooth device of any sort connecting with your laptop. There is a device that covers only a 10 metre range for a little cheaper which is useful if you just use one device which is always close by. My main device I have used this with is my phone (Nokia 6230) and the transfers are quick and easy and save a lot of hassle of using either infra red or a cable bought for similar price to this device. I would not think twice about recommending this product ad it can be bought from most good electrical and computer retailers.
The only thing that I would recommend before buying this product is to look at the latest Belkin products. There are some Bluetooth adapters which are smaller, agile and more advanced for a similar if not cheaper price. It is possible that these have been replaced because of this fact but either are great, as I have used both! Good Luck!