BT-Sync, by Macally
Posted: 23-Jan-2005

4 1/2 out of 5 Mice

Vendor: Macally Type: COMMERCIAL

Reviewer: Bill Catambay Class: HARDWARE

Description
Have you started looking at all those cool Bluetooth devices, but bought your Mac before Bluetooth was an option? Or perhaps you have a new Mac but did not include Bluetooth because you thought that you'd never use it. Whether syncing to a wireless mouse or wireless keyboard, or even to your cell phone, Bluetooth is really coming into its own now. Bluetooth devices are getting smarter, more ergonomic, and battery life is improving. With all of the wireless products available, right now is a great time to go wireless. The only question left is how to get your Mac to support Bluetooth. You could purchase a Bluetooth adapter to install in your Mac, but that may be costly, more hassle than its worth, and depending upon your Mac model, it may not even be an option. There is an easier way to add Bluetooth capabilities to your USB Mac running Mac OS X. Simply buy a USB Bluetooth adapter that plugs into your Mac's USB port, and your Mac instantly has Bluetooth capabilities.

One such device is Macally's BT-Sync Bluetooth USB Adapter. The BT-SYNC enables you to transfer and synchronize data between your computer, PDA, cell phone, printer, headset, or any other bluetooth equipped devices.

Pricing
The Macally Bluetooth USB Adapter retails for $39. Adding an internal Bluetooth module to an iMac costs $50 when ordering a new iMac, so the adapter is not only easier, it's cheaper. Shop around, and you'll find even a better price. I've seen it priced as low as $28 on the internet.

Features

  • The most advanced wireless Bluetooth technology
  • Supports any device which complies with Bluetooth v1.1
  • Working distance up to approximately 100 ft
  • Easy installation
  • Blue LED activity indicator
  • Compact size for portability

Requirements

    Any Mac running Mac OS X (10.2.8 or higher) with a USB port.


In Use
The Macally BT-Sync adapter is the smallest Bluetooth adapter that I have seen. Plugged into your USB port, this adapter extends to only 1 3/8" from your port, very low profile. The adapter is a silver gray in color, in a rectangular shape with rounded edges, and sporting the Macally logo. There is a small LED light on the adapter that lights up when it is plugged into a live USB port. The adapter emits two flashing blue pulses at all times (whether a Bluetooth device is detected or not). When the adapter is paired with another device (such as a mouse) and the device is in use, the pulsating blue light changes to a steady blue light (and then goes back to the double pulse when activity stops). The light may seem cool at first, but during periods when you simply aren't using a Bluetooth device, the pulsating light can grow annoying. I would prefer if the light only activated when it was paired with an active device, and stayed off otherwise.

Using the adapter is incredibly simple. Assuming you are running under Mac OS X, 10.2.8 or higher, all you have to do is plug this into your USB port, and you immediately have Bluetooth support on your Mac. Activate any Bluetooth device within range, go under the OS X Bluetooth menu (or the Bluetooth preferences) and you can immediately sync the device with your Mac and begin using it wirelessly. I tested this adapter with several Bluetooth mice, and they all were paired without any problems. I never lost connectivity in hours of testing, so this is a very reliable and inexpensive alternative to having a built-in Bluetooth module. The only downside versus the built-in module is that the adapter will use up one of your precious USB ports. However, USB hubs are very inexpensive these days, and given the number of USB devices available for Mac OS X, it is likely that you will need (if you don't alread have) a USB hub anyway. I tested this USB adapter in my USB hub, and it runs just as well in the hub as it did in the native USB port. In comparison tests between the internal Bluetooth adapter in my Powerbook versus the add-on Bluetooth adapter on my iMac, I could not find any difference between the two in terms of stability and reliability.

Summary
The Macally BT-Sync adapter is a USB Bluetooth adapter that adds Bluetooth wireless technology to any Mac running Mac OS X. It is less expensive than the Apple Bluetooth module, and provides the exact same functionality; albeit, it does take up a USB port. If you are looking to use wireless devices with your Mac such as cell phones, mice, keyboards, and PDAs, this device is an easy and inexpensive way to get there. On the Mac, it requires no software installation at all. The only thing that I didn't particularly care for is the pulsating blue "sensing" light that is on whenever your Mac is on (if it's behind your Mac, this is not an issue). The Macally BT-Sync adapter is made by a company that Mac users have come to trust for their Mac peripherals. Further, the BT-Sync is the smallest adapter I've seen. Whether you are looking to add Bluetooth technology to your existing Mac, or are wondering whether you should purchase the Bluetooth module with your new Mac, the Macally BT-Sync adapter provides a stable and robust Bluetooth interface and is definitely worth considering.


Pros

  • Reliable Bluetooth support for wireless devices
  • Inexpensive alternative to built-in Bluetooth module
  • Stylish and very low profile
  • Strong and stable signal

Cons

  • Annoying pulsating light even when no device is paired
  • Uses up a USB port


Overall Rating

4 1/2 out of 5 Mice