Review: Belkin Bluetooth USB Adapter Model F8T003

This refers to the “ver.2” model of this product.

Manufacturer: Belkin
Product: Bluetooth USB Adapter, 10 Meter
Product Model: F8T003 version 2
Product Web Site: Here
Purchased At: CompUSA
Cost: Around $40 USD

If you want the wireless keyboard with an Apple iMac product there are a few ways to go. When ordering directly from Apple you can request the Bluetooth option. This component is welded right onto the motherboard and is not installable later.

You can also purchase a USB adapter for your iMac, and Apple directly sells a D-Link unit. Both the built in and the D-Link unit are directly supported by Apple.

Of course, any old USB adapter will do, and the CompUSA sales person recommended this Belkin unit.

Installation is a snap, as you just plug it into the USB port, OS X recognizes it, and away you go. I did no configuration of the unit, the wireless keyboard and mouse worked without any attention, outside the mouse control panel to adjust tracking speed, etc.

The good: affordable, painless installation. Works without attention.

The bad: there are some down sides to using this after-market product. OS X clearly does not support this as well as the built-in and D-Link products. When the computer goes to “sleep” you cannot wake it up by pressing a key, which the documentation for the operating system and keyboard clearly indicate you should be able to do. This is most likely due to some secret handshaking going on between the OS and bluetooth products that is a little outside the normal supported features, in my opinion. It’s not that big a deal since a little push on the power switch will wake it up, but it might be an annoyance. Also, there is a longer than expected delay between the time the machine is restored and when you can actually use the keyboard and mouse. The small Bluetooth icon on the top of the screen indicates “connection lost”, and it can take a surprising about of time for it to some back up (pressing keys helps this along). Note that the OS X patch to 10.3.8 seems to have elimited this issue, although you still can’t wake the machine up by pressing a key.

The annoyances: There’s a little blue LED on the unit which indicates activity. It’s mighty bright, particularly in a dark room. It flashes every two seconds when the computer is sleeping, and can light up a dark room. Between the LED blinking the the pulsating power light on the front of the iMac it might be difficult to sleep when the computer is.

Oh, and it takes up one of the three USB ports on the back. I was surprised how quickly I filled this up. Bluetooth, Palm docking station, Microsoft Wireless Mouse (more on that later), Compact Flash card reader, and my USB memory thing and I’m already playing musical chairs with the USB ports.

Overall: Function B-, Value B

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