It is very pertinent to understand the differences between Bluetooth 3 vs 4 as it will help to make better choices while buying devices supporting Bluetooth technology. But before we get into discussing Bluetooth 3 vs 4, let’s understand a bit of history about Bluetooth.
Bluetooth, developed by Ericsson in 1994, is a wireless communication standard for sending and receiving data across small distances, range not exceeding 100 meters. Bluetooth started with version 1.0 and is now at version 4. Usually, with each new version, you can expect enhancements in power consumption, data transfer speed, connection reliability along with security.
Bluetooth 3 was developed in 2009, introducing several improvements over Bluetooth 2.1. In theory, the technology supported data transfer speeds of up to 24 Mbit/sec, compared to only 2.1 Mbit/sec supported by the previous version. Bluetooth 3 had other interesting features as well – ultra wideband, alternate MAC/PHY for faster data transfer speed when larger files are involved and an enhanced power control which ensures the device can adjust the power level to the minimum needed to retain the same quality with any other device.
The first version of Bluetooth 4 was released the next year, in 2010. While it improved some of the existing features, the most exciting feature introduced was Low Energy Protocol. Bluetooth LE aimed at improving power efficiency, making Bluetooth consume less power so that even a simple coin cell can power the technology. Hence, your Bluetooth headphones can last longer compared to Bluetooth 3.
Bluetooth also had the tendency to interfere with other wireless technology such as Wifi, which often interrupted data transfer. Those bugs were fixed completely in Bluetooth 4.1. Data transfer speed also increased significantly, with a maximum of 2.6 times the speed featured in Bluetooth 3.
Now that you are aware of the major differences between Bluetooth 3 and 4, you should realize how it can affect your devices. Of course, if you only use Bluetooth for data transfer, you won’t notice much difference except the 2.6 times speedup. But if you are planning on purchasing Bluetooth headphones, be sure to check that it uses Bluetooth 4 since that will increase the battery life significantly.