Bluetooth 5 VS. 5.2 VS. 5.3: What’s The Difference

Our devices have different versions of Bluetooth today, each with its own distinct features and support. Learn the difference between Bluetooth versions 5, 5.2, and 5.4 in this post.

Bluetooth versions

Bluetooth technology has come a long way since it was considered a “revolutionary breakthrough” when first announced in May 1999. At the time of writing this post, Bluetooth 5.3 was the latest version, with each iteration improving on its predecessor.

Today, we will talk about the significant differences between Bluetooth versions 5, 5.2, and 5.3. This way, you can pick the right device to match your needs, and whether the new features in the later versions are worth their money.

Bluetooth 5, 5.2, 5.3 Summary

Released InTransfer SpeedRangeDistinct Features
Bluetooth 5July 201650 MB/s200 mImproved range, speed, and stability. Support for multiple simultaneous connections
Bluetooth 5.2December 201950 MB/s200 mEATT, ISOC, and LE Audio
Bluetooth 5.3July 202150 MB/s200 mPeriodic Advertising Enhancement, Encryption Key Size Control Enhancements, Connection Sub Rating, and Channel Classification Enhancement
Summary of Bluetooth versions

What is Bluetooth

Today, you see Bluetooth everywhere – in your cars, phones, tablets, watches, and even smart home appliances. Bluetooth is a wireless communication technology used between devices to send and receive encrypted data.

However, using Bluetooth has its caveats. For example, it is limited in range and data transfer speeds.

Bluetooth is a patented technology, therefore a proper noun. If the device supports this feature, then you will find the following icon inside the device or on its packaging:

Bluetooth icon
Bluetooth icon

Bluetooth 5

Bluetooth 5 is a Bluetooth version that introduced drastic improvements over its predecessor – Bluetooth 4. Bluetooth 5 was released in July 2016 and doubled the transfer speed, 4 times the range, and 8 times the rate of transferrable data.

That said, the most significant breakthrough was Bluetooth 5’s support to connect and communicate with 2 sets of Bluetooth devices. Additionally, it also introduced Low Energy (LE) technology, where the Bluetooth device consumes less power to transfer more data within a limited time frame.

Bluetooth 5 operates in a 2.4 GHz frequency range with a transmitting range of 200 meters (when in line with sight without obstacles). It has a maximum transmitting speed of approximately 50 MB/s.

Bluetooth 5.1 came soon after the release of Bluetooth 5. However, since it did not show significant improvements, we will not discuss it in this article.

Bluetooth 5.2

Bluetooth 5.2 was a minor improvement over Bluetooth 5 and 5.1 – hence, only the minor version number changed.

Bluetooth 5.2 was announced in December 2019 and released in January 2020. It did not significantly improve in terms of range when compared to Bluetooth 5, which was approximately 200 meters, but it did improve in terms of connection stability using Enhanced Attribute Protocol (EATT).

L2CAP packets from various applications can be combined and broken down into more manageable pieces thanks to EATT. In this manner, transactions from two or more programs can be completed concurrently.

It also introduced the Isochronous Channels (ISOC) feature, thus supporting time-sensitive data transmissions and synchronized data stream rendering across multiple connections.

Not only that, but Bluetooth 5.2 also included the Low Complexity Communications (LC3) Bluetooth audio codec inside its new feature named “Low Energy (LE) Audio.” This feature enables high-quality and low-power audio codecs to gain maximum Bluetooth optimization.

Bluetooth 5.2 introduced these new features and support, but the data transfer speeds remained pretty much the same as Bluetooth version 5.

Bluetooth 5.3

Bluetooth 5.3 is another improved iteration of Bluetooth technology. It was released in July 2021, and may therefore not be widely available on devices.

Like Bluetooth 5.2, the 5.3 version does not significantly improve in terms of range, transfer speeds, or operational frequency. However, it does introduce new features to optimize the user experience.

A new feature called “Periodic Advertising Enhancement” has been introduced. This technology reduces the receiver device’s power consumption by automatically discarding/deleting the repeated data packets transmitted by the Bluetooth source.

Bluetooth 5.3 also reduces the device’s power consumption through “Encryption Key Size Control Enhancements.” This reduces the back-and-forth exchange between the devices by controlling the minimum number of characters used to encrypt the data being transferred.

It is now also easier for devices to switch between low-duty cycles and heavy-duty cycles, thanks to the “Connection Sub Rating” feature. Now, your audio devices can switch from the low-duty cycle for regular use to a heavy-duty cycle for a call or play music, keeping the quality maintained while reserving energy when not needed.

Additionally, like Wi-Fi channels, Bluetooth 5.3 can now also optimize data transfers by choosing the right frequency channel using “Channel Classification Enhancement.” When a channel has less traffic in the surroundings is being used, there are fewer chances of any data being lost.

How to Check Bluetooth Version in Windows

You can determine which Bluetooth version your computer supports by checking the adapter’s Link Manager Protocol (LMP) Version and then matching that to the table given below. Follow these steps to determine your Bluetooth’s LMP version:

  1. Ensure that your Bluetooth is enabled.

    You can enable your Bluetooth using the Quick Access menu in the taskbar or from the Settings app.

  2. Open the Device Manager by typing in “devmgmt.msc” in the Run Command box.

    devmgmt
    Open Device Manager
  3. Expand Bluetooth.

    Expand Bluetooth
    Expand Bluetooth
  4. Right-click on the Bluetooth adapter and click “Properties.”

    Open Bluetooth properties
    Open Bluetooth properties
  5. Switch to the Advanced tab.

    Open Advanced tab
    Open Advanced tab
  6. Note down the LMP version in front of “Firmware Version.”

    Note the LMP version
    Note the LMP version

Now match the LMP version to its respective version of Bluetooth from the table below, and you shall know which Bluetooth version your device has.

Link Manager Protocol Version (LMP)Bluetooth Core Specification 
LMP 0Bluetooth Core Specification 1.0b
LMP 1Bluetooth Core Specification 1.1
LMP 2Bluetooth Core Specification 1.2
LMP 3Bluetooth Core Specification 2.0 + EDR
LMP 4Bluetooth Core Specification 2.1 + EDR
LMP 5Bluetooth Core Specification 3.0 + HS
LMP 6Bluetooth Core Specification 4.0
LMP 7Bluetooth Core Specification 4.1
LMP 8Bluetooth Core Specification 4.2
LMP 9Bluetooth Core Specification 5.0
LMP 10Bluetooth Core Specification 5.1
LMP 11Bluetooth Core Specification 5.2
LMP 12Bluetooth Core Specification 5.3
Bluetooth version’s associated LMP version

By the looks of it, we have Bluetooth version 5 on our computer.

Conclusion

Now that you know what each of the Bluetooth versions has to offer, you can now make an informed decision before making your next purchase of anything with Bluetooth support in it. You can determine whether a supported feature is worth the extra money, and whether you’ll be needing it or not.

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Subhan Zafar is an established IT professional with interests in Windows and Server infrastructure testing and research, and is currently working with Itechtics as a research consultant. He has studied Electrical Engineering and is also certified by Huawei (HCNA & HCNP Routing and Switching).

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