Bluetooth is one of those terms that we use every day but we are not very sure about its meaning. So what is it and how does Bluetooth work? We know that it is something that we can connect and disconnect at will and that some devices need to function, but almost nothing else.
Let’s start by saying that Bluetooth is an industrial standard for connecting wireless devices (for a short distance) for voice and data transmission. This implies that the signal between devices is not sent by cable but through radio frequency waves in the 2.4 GHz band.
For example, right now I am writing this note on my tablet, we already know how unproductive the keyboard of a tablet can be, then I use the keyboard of my Mac, the connection between keyboard and tablet is not made using a cable but by activating the Bluetooth option and voila, the tablet recognizes the external keyboard.
According to Wikipedia, the main objectives that are intended to be achieved with this standard are:
- Facilitate communications between mobile devices.
- Remove the cables and connectors between them.
- Offer the possibility of creating small wireless networks and facilitate data synchronization between personal computers.
A Bluetooth connection usually works in a radius of up to 100 meters, depending on the device class, since there are up to 3 classes that have a range of 1 m for those of class 3, 5 to 10 m for those of class 2 and up to 100 m for those of class 1.
In order for two devices to connect to each other, they both have to have the right chips that fortunately are very economical, then we have to enable the connection (Bluetooth on) and finally we have to channel (in English pair) the device that you want to connect with what remains the connection between both. Our tablet or smartphone devices become masters (master) and channeled the device is called a slave.
Once a device (keyboard, printer, headphones, modem, stylus, etc.) has been channeled for the first time, when the master device is turned on, the slave is enabled, as long as the Bluetooth is on of course it is clear.
Last week we talked about the Wi-Fi router, and we might think that Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are the same but it isn’t.
Wi-Fi is similar to the traditional Ethernet network and for this reason before establishing a communication you need a previous configuration. It uses the same frequency spectrum as Bluetooth but with a higher output power that leads to stronger connections. Wi-Fi is best suited for general purpose networks: it allows faster connections, a greater range of distances and better security mechanisms.
In contrast, Bluetooth is ideal when two or more devices are required to be connected in a small area and without greater bandwidth needs.
Connect your car with Bluetooth speaker
If you have an older car, it is quite likely that you not only do not have the great advantage of an on-board computer, hands-free or standard GPS, but you may even have to settle for listening to music using the radio, CDs or even cassettes. Incredible as it may seem in the times of streaming music, our vehicle leads us to outdated and much more uncomfortable technologies.
Although you can always change the radio, there are other more affordable options such as Bluetooth receivers. And is that updating the car is simpler than we think: in the market we can find parking sensor kits or reversing cameras that for very little money can bring our old car to the 21st century. If you have a smartphone and want to hear the music you have stored or through streaming with services like Spotify or Apple Music you have it very easy: you only need a Bluetooth receiver.
Why a Bluetooth receiver?
When you have an old car, it is more annoying to invest money in it – especially if you have already had breakdowns – and perhaps you might think that it is cheaper to buy an adapter that uses your vehicle’s radio jack connection with your phone. But there are two problems: more and more manufacturers eradicate this port from their phones and also operate without cable is much more comfortable. Bluetooth handsfree car speaker kits are an ideal technology for vehicles because they offers wireless connectivity without complications over short distances. Thus, it is often found not only in audio equipment, but also in hands-free.
We can find Bluetooth receivers for a very low price – for just over 10 euros we already find interesting models -, so much so that it is worth making that small investment. In addition, the sound quality is quite acceptable.
How do Bluetooth receivers work?
As we have previously mentioned, Bluetooth is a wireless technology that works over short distances. It is often found in gadgets such as headphones, speakers, mobiles, computers, activity wristbands … We just have to pair them, a configuration process that we will only have to do the first time two devices are in contact.
Once you have done so, as soon as they are within the Bluetooth range of action, they will be detected in a matter of seconds and data transmission will begin. And it is that after pairing, you will only need those two devices to be turned on and in the range of this technology.
In the specific case of a Bluetooth receiver and your mobile, you just have to connect the receiver to your device’s radio and then go to the Bluetooth section of your phone. Search for nearby devices and you will find a new one, probably with a name similar to the brand or model of the receiver. Press and the process will be finished.
Be careful, it is important not to confuse a Bluetooth receiver with a Bluetooth car transmitter. The latter connects to the cigarette lighter and serves to provide Bluetooth to a device that originally does not have it, such as a USB stick. Imagine that the radio of your old car only has a cassette, but you want to play the contents of a memory through the sound equipment of your vehicle: then you would have to connect the USB memory to the Bluetooth transmitter and then use a Bluetooth receiver like those of this article to be able to do it.
What to keep in mind when buying a Bluetooth receiver
We already know how a Bluetooth receiver works, but which one to buy? It seems to be a device without too many mysteries, however there are factors that can be decisive when doing so.
These small gadgets can come in various shapes and colors. In general, this device is intended for vehicles and old TVs, so taking into account that they will be located on the front of the vehicle, it is appreciated that they are compact and lightweight given the spatial limitations of the cabin. Likewise, the length of the cable, the accessories or the location of the classic blue light of the Bluetooth are also aesthetic factors to be assessed.
The Bluetooth receivers that we find in the market bring Bluetooth 4.0 or higher – usually 4.1 or 4.2 -, with which the theoretical maximum range could be 100 meters. In reality, the manufacturer will specify how far it could go, being 20 meters a maximum distance quite frequent in receivers.
However, it should be borne in mind that obstacles and traffic can reduce that radius. In a car we are talking about distances ranging from 0.5 meters to a couple of meters maximum, so it will be enough to cover them with solvency.
An interesting option is that it allows you to synchronize more than one device at the same time , so that you can switch between one phone and another – for example, that of a passenger – or a tablet. It is also interesting that it integrates other types of technologies, such as the NFC to listen to music simply by posing the device.
We talk about Bluetooth receivers, but there are several Bluetooth versions with different reach, energy consumption and profiles. In the market we find Bluetooth 4.0 and later receivers , so as already mentioned the range is more than enough and they are the most energy efficient speaking .
Focusing exclusively on Bluetooth audio profiles, these will determine their functions and sound quality. Regarding sound, the main Bluetooth profiles are:
- A2DP, is the most popular, is used to transmit audio.
- AVRCP, intended for remote control of different audio playback functions.
- HFP, required to use a device as hands-free and make / receive calls from our smartphone.
- HSP, used to receive audio content in headphones.
- APTx, is the newest and is available in high-end Bluetooth speakers and equipment. Play with CD quality improving latency.
Charge and play time
The efficiency of the device comes into play here. It is essential to acquire a Bluetooth receiver that charges quickly and provides reasonable autonomy of use, or if not, that at least allows its operation while charging. Similarly, it is interesting that we can charge the receiver in the vehicle itself.
The manufacturers usually provide the loading time and / or the indicative reproduction time, although it will be the user experience that determines it accurately.
Some featured models
This model of the Mpow brand costs is its biggest claim and the secret of its success in Amazon: offer much for very little. Although the plastic finish is somewhat rough, it is a truly compact receiver with 3 buttons to skip songs, change the volume or change the function that connects directly to the jack jack of the car, allowing both to listen to music and use it hands-free.
The design of the UGREEN Bluetooth receiver is truly compact and minimalist, with a single button to switch from music playback to hands-free use. It is specified that it must be powered with a voltage of 5V, so it is not compatible with fast charging.
The TP-Link HA100 receiver has a discreet design with a blue light on the front to inform its operation, although it integrates a cable from the receiver to the socket.