Jadetec – USB to Bluetooth converter review

give your PC local wireless access
Photo of Jadetec – USB to Bluetooth converter
£75 + VAT

Bluetooth has been a long time coming. The wireless connection protocol has been mooted for five years or more, but only now are we seeing viable Bluetooth-equipped peripherals, such as HP’s DeskJet 995c. To make use of this type of device, you need to equip your PC with a Bluetooth transceiver and that’s where Jadetec’s USB to Bluetooth converter comes in.

This tiny little device, smaller than a credit card, though quite a bit thicker, can plug directly into any available USB socket. However, the device comes with an extension lead, in case you need to position it further away from your PC. Two indicator lights, one for power, the other for data transmission, show the unit’s working.

Raise the aerial on the converter’s side and your PC should be able to join your local Bluetooth community. The converter’s accompanying BlueControl+ software handles the connections between your PC and up to seven other Bluetooth-enabled peripherals or PCs. It’s easy to install and runs under Windows 98, Me, 2000 and XP.

You can use two converters to set up a simple wireless network between PCs, though the throughput limitations of Bluetooth mean it will only run at up to 1Mbps, around a tenth the speed of an 802.11b connection. This won’t be a problem with peripherals such as printers, which can work at low throughputs.

Running the Jadetec device with a Bluetooth printer worked well. We could print to it transparently, just as if it had been connected through a USB cable. The advantage, of course, is that we could place the printer in a position where it would have been inconvenient to connect it with a cable. As long as the printer was within a few metres of the converter, we got satisfactory prints. As you get close to the limits of Bluetooth’s range, the printing process gets slower, rather than less accurate, because more wireless packets have to be resent to get the message across.

So what about price? At just under £90 including VAT, it’s similar to several models from other manufacturers, though you can get adapters for less. It’s well-made and does its job well – it’s hard to ask more of this sort of product.

Company: Jadetec

Contact: 0113 2817788


Verdict
An easy-to-use converter which gives your PC Bluetooth access with minimum fuss. While Bluetooth isn't the fastest wireless connection around, it's versatile and can connect to many types of peripheral, so this is useful for upgrading desktop machines that rarely come with Bluetooth adapters built in.