Plugable’s $13 USB Adapter adds Bluetooth 5.0 to your older PC or build

Pluggable USB BT5 Bluetooth 5.0 adapter
Enlarge / Pluggable Bluetooth 5.0 USB adapter in a desktop PC.


No, industry specs and updates won’t stop arriving. But keeping your computer up to date with the latest wireless standards like Bluetooth is still a good step towards future-proofing. While it’s not the only product of its kind, the Plugable USB-BT5 USB-A adapter announced today looks like a cheap and easy way to bring Bluetooth 5.0 to your PC.

Bernie Thompson, founder and CTO of the Redmond, Washington-based company, tells us that the adapter supports connection speeds of up to 3 Mbps. You also get connectivity with up to seven devices and a maximum distance of 40m. As with any Bluetooth product, the maximum supported distance depends on environmental factors such as walls and surrounding devices.

Plugable’s adapter works like a Bluetooth radio for the computer’s operating system, and the only operating systems that the dongle supports are Windows 11 and Windows 10. With Microsoft ending support for Windows 7 and 8 next month, the lack is over older Windows operating systems might not be too surprising.

Still, earlier released competitors have different compatibility. TP-Link’s UB500 (available for $13 at the time of writing) supports Windows 8.1 and 7 in addition to Windows 11 and 10. Asus’ USB-BT500 ($20 MSRP) does not claim to support Windows 11 , but lists Windows 10 and 8.1. plus linux.

While some of Plugable’s previous Bluetooth adapters have supported Linux, Thompson tells us that the company has encountered issues with open-source projects handling Bluetooth support in Linux that have resulted in “less than ideal experiences.” . The adapter may work with Linux, but the operating system isn’t officially supported, they noted.

The USB 2.0 accessory is 1.13 ounces and 5.24 × 3.5 × 0.59 inches.
Enlarge / The USB 2.0 accessory is 1.13 ounces and 5.24 × 3.5 × 0.59 inches.


If you need official Linux support or otherwise choose adapters from Asus or TP-Link over plugables, you probably won’t be missing out on much. Plugable’s Thompson admitted to Ars Technica that the USB-BT5 is “functionally identical” to Asus’ USB-BT500. The TP-Link adapter uses a similar driver package as Plugable and probably the same chip. In addition, each adapter comes with a two-year warranty. However, if you anticipate having drastic technical problems with your plug-in dongle, Thompson claims the USB-BT5 offers unique value with “US-based customer support from the engineers who test and install the adapter.” bring market”.

The other thing that might convince you is the price. Plugable’s USB-BT5 Bluetooth 5.0 adapter currently sells for $13.

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