Thursday, November 26, 2009

Netbook and Bluetooth - integrated vs usb dongle

Bluetooth is a feature that you rarely find in the cheapest netbooks, say below $320 USD.
For example Bluetooth isn't included in most of the Acer Aspire One AOD250 and in many Toshiba Mini NB205. While most of the Samsung netbooks and the Dell Mini 10v and Asus EEE PC 1005HA include Bluetooth.









I personally love Bluetooth you can establish a wireless link to your netbook for example:
  • with a Bluetooth headset: you can listen to music and/or make Skype calls (VoIP)
  • with your mobile phone: to synch data, contacs ot to use the phone as 3G modem for Internet connectivity
My suggestion: Bluetooth support in the netbook shouldn't be a go/not go criteria, you can simply add Bluetooth support using a Bluetooth USB dongle, there are many starting just below $10 (USD) and some of them are so tiny that you even won't see it.
Some USB Bluetooth adapters are so tiny that simply disappears in the USB port of your netbook, so you can plug it once and forget it. You won't notice it! No damage to break it!

Be careful in the choice of the USB dongle, be aware of the fact that some cheap Bluetooth dongles got limitations. Some examples:
  • Many cheap dongle don't support A2DP, necessary to listen stereo music
  • With Windows XP 32-bit you're fine, however please be aware that many dongles got operating system compatibility problems with MAC, Linux, and 64-bit Windows
  • Some Bluetooth dongles got a very limited wireless reach (2-3 meters)
  • Some cheap dongles got buggy/crap software
These two micro USB Bluetooth dongle seem to be very good, according to the user review I read there are no issue at all especially with Windows based netbooks. The IOGear may have problems with Ubuntu 9.04.

Why so many netbooks don't include Bluetooth? Bluetooth is kind of "premium" feature, many people don't neet it. People needing it are supposed to give out few bucks more.
As I said, the average price is falling and the netbook OEMs try to reduce the costs, every cent counts in the netbook market! Netbooks are essentially mini laptops with the absolutely minimum feature set, Bluetooth isn't definetly something everybody needs.

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