We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,258 News Articles

The 10 best Bluetooth gadgets

Phone, print, present and more - all without wires

These days, almost every conceivable gadget comes with Bluetooth - from your laptop to your mobile phone. Named after 10th-century King Harald Bluetooth, who was temporarily able to unite several warring Scandinavian tribes, Bluetooth is a protocol for short-range wireless communications.

The technology was released in 1999 but was slow to catch on, hampered by high prices and incompatibility problems among the devices that made use of it.

But accessory and radio makers have spent nearly a decade getting Bluetooth devices to play nicely, and the technology is enjoying newfound popularity among the mobile crowd. Casey Holmes, an analyst at VDC Research Group, predicts that sales of Bluetooth accessories could rise from $1.6bn in 2007 to $6.4bn in 2011.

While Version 2.1 is the most recent Bluetooth specification, most of the devices on the market today haven't caught up. Not to worry: Bluetooth 2.0 products will reliably work together with hassle-free setup.

However, if you're like me, then you hardly ever use Bluetooth because other than a clunky headset, you think there's not much to connect to.

While that may have been true in the past, its not now as there's an array of cool and useful Bluetooth devices has appeared on the scene.

To get an idea of what Bluetooth is capable of these days, I tested 10 wireless accessories that help with everything from making hands-free calls and printing mobile phone photos to typing emails and controlling presentations. I used the devices with both a mobile phone and a Bluetooth-enabled laptop.

These gadgets were quick starters - with a couple of exceptions, there was no software to load. And unlike in the past, all the devices were up and running in a matter of minutes, most on the first try. All of which means these accessories can free you from the tyranny of cables with almost no effort on your part.

And if you've got a Bluetooth-less laptop then fear not. There are many USB adaptors that can plug into your laptop and connect it with any of these Bluetooth accessories. Plug-in Bluetooth modules are available from a number of companies including Kensington. In particular we love the MoGo Dapter Bluetooth module.

NEXT PAGE: Logitech diNovo Mini Keyboard

  1. Phone, print, present and more - all without wires
  2. Logitech diNovo Mini Keyboard
  3. Kensington Vo200 Bluetooth internet phone and the BlueAnt Supertooth 3 hands-free speakerphone
  4. Interlink Electronics VP6600 ExpressCard media remote for Bluetooth
  5. Sony Ericsson MBW-150 Classic Edition watch and the Aliph Jawbone earphone
  6. Lego Mindstorms NXT robot kit and the Baracoda D-Fly bar code scanner
  7. Bluetooth safety tips


IDG UK Sites

Best Christmas 2014 UK tech deals, Boxing Day 2014 UK tech deals & January sales 2015 UK tech...

IDG UK Sites

Chromebooks: ready for the prime time (but not for everybody)

IDG UK Sites

Hands-on with Sony's latest smartglasses

IDG UK Sites

Apple TV expert tips: get US Apple TV content, watch Google Play, use multiple Apple IDs and more