This might be the shortest review ever! I reviewed a pair of Cirago USB Micro Bluetooth 3.0 Adapters – the BTA6310, a class 1 device rated up to 330ft of range, and the BTA3310, a class 2 device good for the more typical 33 foot range for Bluetooth. They come in nearly identical packaging, and other than the range and slight size difference, they perform identically.
Just for completeness, this is the class two device in its packaging:
Included in the blister pack is a small CD with the drivers for Windows, or you can download them directly from the cirago support site. I also inserted one into my Linux box, and MacOS 10.4.7 mini, and it was detected and started working as expected. For testing, I installed the drivers under a Windows XP and Windows 7 machine, and then had them talk to teach other.
Bluetooth 3.0, but not THAT Bluetooth 3.0
You might be confused into thinking that Bluetooth 3.0 is going to give you some advantage over 2.0. What you’re getting here isn’t the faster speed (+HS) Bluetooth 3.0 – you’re getting the better security, lower power consumption (+EDR) Bluetooth 3.0. You’ll see less power drain when compared to a Bluetooth 2.0 USB dongle, and if both devices are USB 3.0, the link will use an improved encryption algorithm. If not, you’ll fall back to whatever the other side does have.
Use, Range, Speed
I probably should have asked for a pair of the class 1 devices, since range is limited by whichever radio is lower powered, but I was able to test the class 1 device by tossing it on a netbook and putting it about 150′ away (any further and it would be in the street!) At that distance a laptop using its onboard Bluetooth could see the other device’s broadcast. When I swapped the class 1 for the class 2 dongle, it no longer was visible at that range. If you need the range, be sure to get a pair of the class 1 dongles.
Beyond the extra range of the class 1 device, and the support for better encryption, these devices aren’t much of an upgrade from the ubiquitous Bluetooth 2.0 built in to most mobile devices. If you’re adding Bluetooth to a desktop machine there’s no reason not to go for the Bluetooth 3.0 support these offer – but unless you have a need for point to point connections and get a pair of the class 1 devices they also offer little benefit over the less expensive class 2 version