Most smartphones of today’s times and other devices, starting from the iPhone 8 and iPhone X to the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, come bundled with “Bluetooth 5.0”, the newest upgrade of Bluetooth technology. In this article, let us discuss what’s new in the latest version of Bluetooth. What is Bluetooth 5.0? Bluetooth 5.0 is the new upgrade of the Bluetooth wireless communication standard. It is used most commonly for wireless headphones and other hardware involving audio, as well as wireless mice, keyboards, and game controllers for PCs and consoles. Bluetooth is currently the key for communication used by a smart home to connect to devices falling under the umbrella of the Internet of Things (IoT). What’s different in Bluetooth 5.0? A new upgrade to the Bluetooth standard translates to multiple improvements, but keep in mind that you’ll only get to see these improvements when the technology is used with compatible devices. In simpler terms, you won’t experience any of the aforementioned changes while using a phone with Bluetooth 5.0 if all your Bluetooth accessories such as earphones and external keyboards, were designed for an older version of Bluetooth. Bluetooth 5.0 is backward compatible, which means you can continue using devices featuring Bluetooth 4.2 and such with a Bluetooth 5.0 phone. And, when you buy a new device with Bluetooth 5.0-enabled, they’ll work significantly better, all thanks to your Bluetooth 5.0 phone. These are a few of Bluetooth 5.0 major differences when compared to its predecessors. Bluetooth low energy for wireless headphones Keep in mind that all the improvements being made to Bluetooth are possible due to Bluetooth Low Energy specification. This was brought back with Bluetooth 4.0, and not to the original Bluetooth radio that traditionally uses more power. Bluetooth Low Energy has been implemented to reduce the energy usage of Bluetooth peripherals. It was originally used in beacons, smartwatches, and other low-power devices. But it came with some serious restrictions. Let’s say that a pair of wireless headphones couldn’t connect to a device featuring Bluetooth Low Energy, so they had to resort to using the more power consuming classic standard Bluetooth technology instead. With the brand new Bluetooth 5.0, all audio devices utilize Bluetooth Low Energy for connecting to your devices, which means a huge reduction in power consumption and longer battery life. Many more types of modern peripherals will be able to communicate over Bluetooth Low Energy in the near future. Surprisingly, Apple’s latest AirPods does not feature Bluetooth 5.0. They use Bluetooth 4.2 and the integrated Apple W1 chip for a better connection. On the Android platform, Bluetooth 5.0 should help transform Bluetooth headphones into something you’d want to use. Dual audio Bluetooth 5.0 also comes packed with a cool new feature that lets you play audio on two devices connected at the same time. In other words, you can use two pairs of wireless headphones connected to your phone, and then stream your favorite tracks to both of them at once, all using standard Bluetooth. Or you could play music on two different speakers at different places. Using this technology, you can even stream two different audio tracks to two different audio devices at the same time. This means that two people can now listen to two different pieces of music, but use the same phone for streaming. This feature was seen on the Samsung Galaxy S8 as Dual Audio. To use this feature, simply connect two Bluetooth audio devices to your phone, access the Dual Audio feature and you’re ready to go. However, in our opinion, this feature should be available in all popular smartphones and not be restricted to Samsung. Such features have been made possible by Bluetooth 5.0 and will hopefully appear on other manufacturers’ devices very soon. The primary benefits of Bluetooth 5.0 are much improved speeds and a greater functioning range. In other terms, it’s faster and can function seamlessly over greater distances when compared to older versions of Bluetooth. The official Bluetooth marketing team from the Bluetooth standard organization has stated that Bluetooth 5.0 has roughly two times the speed, four times the range, and eight times the broadcasting message capacity in comparison to older versions of Bluetooth. These improvements can be credited to Bluetooth Low Energy, which ensures that devices can take advantage of them while saving power. Devices now feature data transfer speeds of up to 2 Mbps, which is two times what Bluetooth 4.2 supports. Modern devices can also connect to Bluetooth peripherals over distances of up to 800 feet (or 240 meters), which is about 4 times the 200 feet (or 60 meters) permissible by Bluetooth 4.2. However, walls and other obstacles will inevitably weaken the signal, a phenomenon also seen with Wi-Fi technology. Two times the speed, better the sound quality The aptX compression standard popular in the market promises high-quality audio over lower 1 Mbps speeds, which means that 2 Mbps speeds should enable even better wireless audio quality. Technically, devices have the option to choose between a longer range or more speed. That “two times the speed” benefit is seen mostly while operating at short range and sending data to and fro. The increased range feature would be perfect for beacons featuring Bluetooth and a few devices that need to send only small amounts of data or can do with slower data transfer speeds, but want to communicate at greater distances. Both feature Bluetooth Low Energy. Devices can be programmed to choose out of these two benefits of Bluetooth Low Energy that they’d like to use. For example, wireless headphones could make use of the increased speed for high bitrate streaming audio; whereas wireless sensors and smart-home devices that just need to report information without needing a high transfer rate could choose the longer transmission distance so they can communicate over greater distances. And, because they can use Bluetooth Low Energy and still make use of these benefits, they can save up on battery power for a much longer period of time than they would with the more power- consuming classic Bluetooth standard. In conclusion, if you already own or are planning to buy an Android device featuring support for Bluetooth 5.0 and Bluetooth 5.0 headphones, you’re more likely to have a much improved wireless audio experience than you can expect with the older Bluetooth standard. iPhone users too can get an amazing experience with Beats headphones or Apple’s own AirPods thanks to the W1 chip, but a comparable quality of Bluetooth audio can be expected on Android now as well. That being said, Bluetooth 5.0 should even improve the overall wireless headphone experience on the iPhone if you choose to buy third-party Bluetooth 5.0 headphones instead of Apple headphones bundled with a W1 chip.