Top critical review
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It works, but it's not always pretty
on February 7, 2013
I once got a MediaLink bluetooth adapter to work for a friend (the same one that currently has 850+ reviews on Amazon), but I really wasn't a fan of the Broadcom driver software, as it produced a BSOD on installation, and then took hours to get working. So when I decided to get a bluetooth adapter for myself, I went with this one instead. To my dismay, it appears to use the same Broadcom chipset and software as the MediaLink adapter.
However, this one was a LITTLE easier to get working than the MediaLink one, but only because I'd done it once before :)Rather than give you a play-by-play of all the troubleshooting I had to do in order to get this thing to work (Windows 7), I'll just give you a few pro-tips:
1. Skip the driver CD and go straight to the manufacturer's website and download the latest Broadcom driver. The current installation file is about 13MB, but when you run it, it downloads more stuff, and installs over 200MB of files to your hard drive. Why a f***ing bluetooth driver needs 200MB+ of files is beyond me.
2. Before doing the installation, go to device manager and see if you have any drivers for any other bluetooth adapters installed, especially if you have a laptop. If there is another bluetooth adapter already present, you could be in a world of hurt trying to install this one. You might have to completely disable the older one before this device will work.
3. If you install the drivers and reboot, and there's not a bluetooth icon in the system tray, check the device manager and see if this adapter is listed undder Bluetooth devices, and if it started. If it couldn't start correctly ('code 10'), and it says the drivers are up to date, see #2 above.
4. Once the drivers are installed and you have paired a device, if you're not sure how to connect to the device, right click on your connected device (under 'devices and printers') and go to Properties, then click the Services tab. A list of bluetooth services that the device supports should be shown. Select the ones you need and click OK. After that, when you right click on the device, you should see more options than were there before.
5. If you're trying to get audio streaming to work and you have a connection with a device but not audio, try to reboot both the PC and the device. This one took the longest for me to figure out :P lol
Anyway, hope this helps somebody. If the above instructions sound too complicated and your eyes glazed over while reading, I would stay far, far away from this device. It is definitely not for the faint of heart. On the other hand, you may get lucky and have it work on the first try. So the question you have to ask yourself is, 'Do I feel lucky?' Well .... do ya? :)
UPDATE: I got a very nice response from the company who makes this adapter. They pointed out a couple of things that I should probably mention here. First, they say that although the drivers on the CD are older than the ones on the website, they should be more than sufficient to run on Windows 7. If you have Windows 8, it'll probably work out of the box without needing the drivers, for most bluetooth tasks. (I haven't had a chance to test this yet.) Their website product page has a detailed comparison of the built-in drivers for Windows 8 and the Broadcom drivers. I can't post the link here though, because Amazon won't allow links in product reviews :P
Also, in regard to the part about possible conflicts with other bluetooth drivers, they say that'll probably happen with any other bluetooth adapter and not just theirs, and they're probably right. I just wasn't very happy about the fact that there wasn't any on-screen indication after I rebooted that something had gone wrong, after the adapter couldn't start. No error dialog or anything, and no BT app in the tray either. In truth, it was a work laptop, so didn't know that another adapter was even present. Thus, I had no idea what was wrong.
So far, I'm impressed with their support, but not so much with the drivers that the chipset requires. I suggested that they add some of this info I have provided to their product page in the FAQ section, and they said that was noted. I guess time will tell if they actually do it.