After recently moving to a Sony VAIO without IrD I needed a Bluetooth adapter to be able to continue synchronising my mobile phone and being able to access the Internet on the move.
An USB adapter is an elegant solution due to its small form factor. It will let you communicate with your Bluetooth device securely and without any wires.
I chose the Belkin device because:
- Cheap but not cheapest
- I have had other Belkin devices that have served me well
- I could not find any negative comments or reviews about it
One important thing with an USB adapter is what protocols it supports. The more protocols it supports, the more devices you will be able to communicate with and the more functions you will be able to use. When connecting a laptop to a mobile phone the key features you might want are dial-up, file transfer, synchronisation and serial port. Below are the protocols that the Belkin device supports:
- File transfer: browse public folders on a remote device or transfer arbitrary files to it, e.g. pictures or ring tones.
- Dial-up networking: connect to the Internet using a BT modem (mobile)
- Network access: will let a device access a network through the adapter. Good when you want to surf the net from your PocketPC
- Voice gateway: establish an audio connection with a BT mobile phone. When done, the computer speaker and microphone will be used instead of the phones, making the computer “hands-free”
- Head-Set: the remote device will replace the computers speakers and microphone
- PIM Item transfer: transfer business cards and calendar items
- Serial port: lets you communicate with your mobile phone on a “lower” level resulting in you being able to use the mobile as a remote control or send SMS from your laptop.
The range of the device is 10m. While some other USB adaptors offer 100m you have to see what your devices support. Most PDAs and mobile phones are 10m devices. Belkin has also a little bit more expensive and bulkier model, the Belkin F8T001, which is a 100m device.
The installation was a breeze. Just make sure to install the CD before plugging in the USB adaptor. Once the adaptor is plugged in, Windows will install the drivers and you are set.
Immediately you can search for discoverable devices in range, pair them up and define what services you would like to use with them. Use a mobile phone for dial-up networking, synchronise with your PocketPC or use your BT hands-free to chat over MSN messenger.