What are going to explain the main differences between the latest versions of the Bluetooth standard, so that you can know what changes between Bluetooth 5.0, 5.1 and 5.2. Thus, when you buy a device and look at the version of Bluetooth that it offers you, you will know to what extent it may interest you or it is preferable for your needs to look for an alternative with a different version.
In general, the rule is that the newer the version, the better everything. But Bluetooth 5.2 has very specific characteristics for one type of device, and you may not always need to search for it earlier than the previous version.
What are all Bluetooth versions
Bluetooth is a wireless communication protocol between devices. It is a widely used and quite dominant protocol, and you can find it from computers to smartphones or tablets, laptops, and various types of connected devices such as watches, keyboards, mice, speakers. All of it using a safe radio frequency in the 2.4 GHz ISM band.
It is one of the most used protocols for Help you cut out the cables to connect multiple devices to each other, since it is capable of transmitting voice and data between them in a fast and secure way. Over time, the protocol has evolved with different versions with which its characteristics have been improved. These are the main ones that have been coming out:
- Bluetooth 1.0: It was the first version released in 1999, and precisely because it was the first step for technology, it had many connectivity and security problems. It is currently in disuse.
- Bluetooth 1.1: It was the first update of Bluetooth 1.0, and it arrived in 2002. It is already a mature and commercial version with a transmission rate of around 721 kbps.
- Bluetooth 1.2: The second update of Bluetooth 1.0, which came in 2003 and reduced the interference that still existed in version 1.1 to finish fine-tuning the technology.
- Bluetooth 2.0: The second major version of Bluetooth arrived in 2004, although compatible with 1.2. Its main feature was the introduction of the Enhanced Data Rate, (EDR or Enhanced Data Rate), which allowed it to offer a transmission rate of just over 2 Mb / s.
- Bluetooth 2.1: The next version released in 2007, which kept the same transmission rate as its predecessor. However, it introduced a feature that changed Bluetooth forever, the ability to add one terminal to another, and connect automatically without the need for a PIN or anything like that.
- Bluetooth 3.0. This version arrived in 2009, and brought with it the term or surname HS for High Speed. It represented a great improvement in the transmission rate, which could reach 24 Mbps.
- Bluetooth 4.0: This is possibly one of the most important versions of the standard, since it began to combat the excessive battery consumption of the Bluetooth Low Energy technology. The version arrived in 2010, it maintained the transfer rate of 24 Mb / s and thanks to its low consumption it began to be used in smaller and less powerful devices.
- Bluetooth 4.1: It arrived in 2013, and was characterized by targeting the world of IoT (Internet of Things) by allowing connection between small devices without intermediaries.
- Bluetooth 4.2: This next update arrived in 2014, and implemented the IPv6 protocol to allow direct connection over the Internet.
- Bluetooth 5.0: In mid-2016 the great revolution arrived, a new step forward that doubled the transfer rate, quadrupled the range, continued with low consumption thought in the IoT and allowed a greater amount of data in each message transferred. In terms of numbers, the transfer rate was up to 50 Mb / s, and the range up to 240 meters.
- Bluetooth 5.1: The new version arrived in 2019 revolved around location, allowing devices to know the location of other devices to which they are connected with a margin of centimeters. You will also be able to identify the direction from which a signal you are looking for is coming from.
- Bluetooth 5.2, also know as Bluetooth LE Audio: It is a standard published in early 2020, and it improves sound quality and energy efficiency in all devices that are connected for audio functions. It uses a new codec, the Low Complexity Communication Codec (LC3), which can more efficiently compress and decompress the data being transmitted, and enables the transfer of audio to multiple devices at the same time.
Bluetooth 5.0 vs Bluetooth 5.1 vs Bluetooth 5.2
We could say that Bluetooth 5.0 is the basis of the new version family of this protocol. With respect to the Bluetooth 4 versions, it was a great revolution, doubling the file transfer speed and quadrupling the range, which is the distance at which they can transfer data to each other.
Bluetooth 5.1 is focused on locating devices, and aims to open a new era in tracking systems as it is implemented. Its main novelties, as we have told you above, is to be able to know the location of the other devices to which it is connected, and to identify the direction from which its signal comes.
In mobile phones, computers and other home devices, this is not going to do us much good. for now, but there are other contexts in which it can be useful. For example, museums could send you additional information about the work you’re in front of on your mobile. It can also be used to track objects, implement systems that work with proximity, or be able to find objects, in addition to being able to send advertising when you pass through a site.
And as for Bluetooth 5.2, the fact that it has been called LE Audio already tells you that it is something that is mostly focused on audio devices. This new standard is intended to improve sound quality and energy efficiency in all devices that are connected for audio functions.
This means that instead of using a generic Bluetooth, the speakers, headphones and the devices that connect to them will have a specific standard to give more importance to everything related to sound. And here is one of the main reasons why some users might be interested in using devices with this type of Bluetooth.
When looking at this at the user level, the differences between Bluetooth 5.0 and 5.1 are very unremarkable, so it is not really worth it to stop buying a mobile or computer because it has 5.0 and there is an alternative to 5.1. At the moment, at the user level, not many applications have been developed to take advantage of the location capabilities of Bluetooth 5.1.
Nevertheless, yes it may be important to see if a device has Bluetooth 5.0 or 5.2as it directly affects the sound. If you like to listen to music, devices with Bluetooth 5.2 are already selling that will have better sound quality. But for this, both devices have to have the same standard. Returning to the example of mobile phones, for better sound quality both your mobile phone and Bluetooth headphones or speakers should all use the 5.2 standard.
Here, we can already see differences with some device families. To take a recent example, the Samsung Galaxy S21 has Bluetooth 5.0, while the Galaxy S21 Ultra has a Bluetooth 5.2, which in the long run makes it a better choice for enjoying sound.
And I say long term because maybe the headphones that you buy now do not have Bluetooth 5.2, but if you are a lover of the best sound It is convenient for you that the next ones you buy do have version 5.2 to make sure you offer the best possible sound, and therefore the mobile or computer that you connect to them should have it too.
But this difference is only for everything related to sound, in the field of peripherals it does not matter which version of Bluetooth you useYou’re not going to notice big changes to a mouse or keyboard if it’s 5.0 or later, and in fact, it’s quite possible that even manufacturers won’t bother offering them with 5.2 as it’s not a specific version for them.