2006-08-26

A2DP Roundup

I'm in the market for a Bluetooth A2DP dongle. Specifically, one for my iPod. I finally took the plunge and bought a set of Bluetooth headphones. I'm very pleased with them, but more on that in another post. The thing is, now that I have the headphones, I need something to listen to. For the time being, I'm using an A2DP dongle from work, but I really need to buy my own.

So, what is on the market? Well, there are a lot of offerings, but not a lot of good solutions. Most vendors want you to buy a dongle and headphones together. Others are only offering multipurpose dongles that connect to the analog headphone out of your audio device. These connections don't allow you to control your iPod the way ones connected to the dock connector would. I did some searching, and these are the devices I found. If you know of others, please post them in the comments. Please note, other then the Plantroics dongle, I haven't actually used any of these. I'm only commenting on their design and connect methods I have observed online. This isn't a review, just a gathering of info.


  • Plantronics Pulsar 590a - This is the dongle I'm currently using. I really don't care for the on/off switch. You can't really operate it one handed. The charging solutions are nice. Wall charger or USB! The battery life is a pain because it doesn't last as long as the iPod or my headphones. Overall, works well, but again, you have to buy headphones to get the adapter and it is an analog adapter.

  • Ten Technology Naviplay - This looks reasonable, but I'm really not digging the sled styling. You can see more photos over at mobilemag. Plus, it is way too expensive. Part of that is because you can't just buy the sender dongle. They make you buy it along with headphones, or a pendant to plug headphones in to. If I didn't get the headphones I did, these look like they have potential. Overall, I'm thinking no on these.

  • Bluetake - Yay, an ugly, bloated, coaster of a dongle. Plus, it is only analog connected, so forget about using the AVRCP features such as play, pause, and track skip. No thanks.

  • Macally Bluewave - Paired with fragile headphones. Analog connection. No, no, no. On a side note, my father ordered the MTUNE headphones, so it will be interesting to try those out.

  • icombi AP11 - Old iPod style, analog only, clunky. Not feeling this one either.

  • D.Muse iblue - No A2DP? Who are they kidding? Have you heard music over the headset profile? Ugg. Next!

  • Anycom adapter - Appears to be for the nano only. The plastic looks like preproduction proto plastic. Goofy channel for the nano to sit in. I'll keep looking.

  • ORA A2DP transmitter - One of the best candidates I found. The price is right. You don't have to buy headphones with it. Too bad the design is bad and it is analog only. Still, I might end up with this.

  • Jabra A125s - Now we're talking. Dock connector. Simply design. Can I buy one? Well, it is tough to find on Jabra's site, and none of the big online sellers seem to have it. I guess if you don't mind shopping at Jimmy's Parent's Basement Electronics Hut, you can get one for $50 linked off of Froogle. Still, a candidate if I can find a seller I trust.

  • IOGEAR Wireless Audio Transmitter - Again, designed for the old iPod, but at least they shaved the nub off. Still, quite pricey compared to others on the market, especially for an analog dongle.

  • Griffin BlueTrip - Their site says this only works with their base/transmitter pair. Are they serious? Good job guys. Take a universal wireless protocol and then make it proprietary so you can't sell any of them. Griffin, I like you, but this is just plain stupid.

  • i.Tech BlueCON G5 - Looks nice, but I can't find it for sale anywhere in the states. That's all too common when trying to purchase Bluetooth enabled equipment.



The worst part is that everytime I get ready to buy one of these less than ideal solutions, I see another rumor that Apple is going to release a Bluetooth enabled iPod, or at least a dongle. Internal Bluetooth is the only proper solution. These dongles are just temporary hacks in my opinion. I'm sure the only way to get Apple to actually release a Bluetooth iPod is to buy a dongle. That's usually the way it works, right :)

4 comments:

Jason said...

Looks like I need to get some foreign hookups to get me either the i.tech or the Jabra.

I have no issue with buying a dongle, rather than waiting for Apple. My ipod color isn't going anywhere.

crturboguy said...

From the looks of that Anycom one, I don't see why it wouldn't work on the 'regular' iPod, it won't be centered, but I'd give up some aesthetics for a solution that works. Anything you can think of that would make it Nano specific?

--JOsh

Anonymous said...

Actually we sell the i.Tech Bluecon G5 and Bluecon Nano (with a plastic case) for the first gen Nano. Not sure if anyone still looking for it. www.accessoryjack.com

Andreya said...

Hi Nice Blog .I've made up my mind: I'm gonna buy an MP3 player. I just don't know which one. I like the ipod battery, but do I really need something that small?