$5 USB Bluetooth Dongle for Macs

Do you have Bluetooth devices and an older Mac with USB but without Bluetooth support? Want to add Bluetooth support for a song?

USB Bluetooth dongles are cheap nowadays, but the vast majority only mention support for the usual flavors of Windows – Windows 98 and later, the versions of Windows that support USB. Short of taking a chance and spending your money, how can you know if it will work with your Mac?

That’s where Low End Mac is stepping up to the plate. We’re going to acquire USB Bluetooth dongles one at a time, test them on our G4 Power Macs running Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger and 10.5 Leopard (and earlier versions), and report back to you on this page.

Unbranded USB Bluetooth 2.0 Dongle

USB Bluetooth dongleI suspect we’re going to run into this a lot – unbranded dongles. This one supports Bluetooth 2.0 and is made in China. It’s identified as Tiny USB 2.0 Bluetooth Dongle Adapter for PC Laptop (ID=4911) on my receipt from BudgetGadgets.com (no longer online) in Hong Kong, where it sells for $5.07 – and quantity discounts are available.

I ordered this on October 22 and received it on November 9 via airmail, not an uncommon turnaround time from the Orient. It was packed with a USB keyboard that we plan to review in a few days, and the whole package was well wrapped.

I don’t have a lot of Bluetooth hardware to test at present: my LG phone, my old Motorola phone, and a Plantronics Voyager 510 headset. I was able to pair each of these on my OS X 10.5 Mac, and the LG phone, the only device I tried with it, on my OS X 10.4 machine. I did not try using the phones as a data connection to the Internet, since I don’t want to pay Alltel Verizon for data service.

Since first posting this article, I have also used the dongle with my Blue & White G3 running Mac OS X 10.3 Panther, and it works with my phones. However, the Bluetooth drivers for 10.3 do not support headsets.

I’ll be look into picking up some other Bluetooth gadgets for testing purposes and update this articles as I test them. I’m still planning to test it with OS X 10.2 Jaguar on my Blue & White G3.

BudgetGadgets.com has a host of low cost computer and electronic gadgets available, including several other Bluetooth dongles, mice, keyboards, USB flash drives, hard drive enclosures, USB hubs, memory cards, speakers, and even some netbooks. BudgetGadgets.com is offering Low End Mac readers a 5% discount using the coupon code DM5OFF23.

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