For the past 10 years or so I've never had any real reason to use a Bluetooth connection on the various portable laptop based machines that I've had the fortune of using except for maybe connecting a mobile phone every once is a while. So I generally just remove the internal Bluetooth devices where I can. You might ask why? Well maybe possibly unwarranted paranoia if not for actual better system performance when using my computer for things that needed a high degree of reliability without causing the system to stutter when using it, say for audio applications. I used to run a HP tablet some time ago and at the time I was trying to figure out why it would still stutter despite having stripped the running host OS of anything that was not essential to running the core of audio applications I was using as well as removing all device drivers and deactivating all such unnecessary devices within the "device manager" menu system. This obviously also included the internal Bluetooth device. I'm not even sure why but I eventually got round to physically removing the internal Bluetooth module from the machine too but low 'n' behold it actually helped to reduce the amount of system stutter when using the machine as a dedicated DAW. So evidently simply removing the system drivers and deactivating it from within the device manager does little to stop it from being active as long as it remained in the system with power flowing to it. As it turns out physically removing  the internal WI-FI card on that particular machine also further improved the performance and overall smooth running stability of the machine whilst using it as a DAW.



The problem was that from time to time whilst booted into my more regular general use Windows host OS and not my DAW optimized instance I occasionally needed to actually use Bluetooth for syncing my phone and you could probably also imagine the decreased convenience of having to use an Ethernet cable to get network access when there was a wireless router to use. Constantly having to physically open the laptop machine by unscrewing all the screws of its enclosure to then have to close it all back up again just to get Bluetooth and WI-FI functionality to then later have to do it all over again in order to remove them again when using it as a DAW, it was just too much of a chore to say the very least.


 
But then it occurred to me, why not just use an external USB Bluetooth device since it would only use up 3mbps of the 480mbps bandwidth potential of the USB 2.0 bus ports. So it wouldn't really cause any great impact on overall USB bus speed performance of the bandwidth hogging variety. So I managed to get hold of a Belkin USB 2.0 Bluetooth dongle and with such a trusted IT brand name what could possibly go wrong? Well for starters for it to actually fully work properly in terms of all its features you had to use the heavier proprietary software that came with it. Simply just using the base core Windows drivers that automatic install when harnessing the Windows plug and play feature when plugging it in for the first time tended to leave half of its feature none functional or in a state that it wouldn't work correctly.  Eventually it got half inched and after much searching to no success I just gave up and decided to buy a generic replacement Bluetooth dongle that used the generic Cambridge Bluetooth radio chip off eBay.  Again this suffered the same kind of problem. Using the windows plug and play features to install it left nearly half of its features inaccessible or in a semi functional state. However this time round the software that came supplied with it in order to make the Bluetooth dongle fully functional was actually shareware, wtf?! For all those that don't know, shareware software means you can use the software in a fully featured way for limited trial period but after that it will either stop working ok possibly still work but with reduced functionality until you pay to fully purchase the software at a premium price. The Bluetooth dongle  never got used after the trial period ran out. 




Some kind of generic none branded USB 2.0 Bluetooth dongle that works perfectly
 

 
Four years on and it seems I once again needed some kind of means for connecting Bluetooth devices to my computer again for device testing purposes as well as for using the voice calling features of the 3.5G modem that I'd recently acquired via some sort of Bluetooth headset (when I get round to it). More notably external Bluetooth USB 2.0 dongles are now crazy small with them now being roughly the size of my thumbnail instead of my whole index finger. There was no claim to the manufacturing of this thing of any kind as from the packaging there was no sign of any type of brand name which did make me a little dubious of it, but from what it was promising in terms of features with true plug and play capability at the low price point I thought I'd give it a go anyway. 


With no kind of brand name to go on all I can tell you about it is that it was another generic Cambridge Chipset based USB 2.0 Bluetooth device. Specifications also included:

- USB 2.0 and 1.2 compliancy

- Up to 3 mbps data transfer rate when used with USB 2.0 ports

- Connectivity profiles supported: Networking via Dial-up and LAN access. Fax communication and Bluetooth headset/audio streaming

- 0 to 100 meter signal range


 
Truly was plug 'n' play

With testing no additional software or downloaded system drivers from the MS servers were required to fully access all the features as described on its packaging.  It was immediately recognised and installed under a host instance of Windows 7 64-bit and a VM instance of Windows 7 64-bit during testing. However according to blurb on the packaging it would also be the case if you were using it with XP and Vista too, but I reckon it might actually need to download the drivers from the MS servers under XP.

Yet another made in China device to pass, although it would have helped if there was a manufacturer associated with it so people knew exactly what to buy with certainty that they would be getting a product that worked without any issue. The only quibble I might have with it is that some of the English blurb on it was a little dicey although perfectly possible to understand. However they might want to consult someone more fluent in English to edit it for them for that added touch of professionalism to entice more people to buy and be less dubious of what seems to be a piece of equipment that does exactly what its supposed to do with no seeming issues. 




Mentions

They're not paying me for this but I thought it only appropriate that I give GOLDEN ONE a mention who have been catering for much of my general IT needs at very reasonable prices as far as hardware upgrades and accessories went whilst out here in Cambodia.  It's often the case that after doing extensive pricing research they usually offer the best set prices and sometimes even with room for negotiation. Its not a huge store front outlet but the prices there are very reasonable and the staff are very friendly. It also seems that they've only just had a fresh refit of their store too. 

Usually I access their offers and current prices via iKnow but I just checked their website for the first time ever and apparently they also offer a free delivery service?! WTF?! That’s actually quite accommodating, I think I might be using that in future.



 
GOLD ONE

Website: www.goldenonecomputer.com

Tel:

- 023 6666 088 
- 012 909 878

Address:  # 405Eo, Kampuchea Krom Blvd, (St. 128), Phnom Penh.