Skipping Bluetooth Audio
January 18, 2014 9:17 AM   Subscribe

I just bought a Lenovo T440s laptop, and the audio is skipping when streaming it to my bluetooth speakers, no matter what distance I sit away. I had previously been using my iPhone 5s for this, and it was wonderful. Is this par for laptops, is it fixable, or am I doing something wrong?

The laptop has the "ThinkPad Wireless 2 x 2 BGN with Bluetooth" option, which I believe is manufactured by Realtek (more formally perhaps "2x2 11b/g/n Wireless LAN M2 Adaptor"). Other than disabling power save, I can't find any configuration options to fiddle with.

Is it possible to lower the bitrate broadcasted (skipping is unbearable, bitrate I can handle)? Are laptops typically capable of streaming audio out, or am I spoiled by my iPhone? Would I have gotten better performance with the Intel ("Single Band 7260BN" or "Dual Band 7260AC") wifi/BT upgrade option? If you know you have this card, it may be worth it to just open it up and replace the PCI-e card.
posted by tintexas to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I've noticed in the past that one of the problems with ThinkPads is that they occasionally come with dodgy drivers. It's annoying – they are otherwise excellent machines, but it's a definite flaw. If you can figure out what your bluetooth chip actually is, the first thing I would do is go to the manufacturer's website, download the latest drivers for it, and install them. That might clear up your problem.
posted by Scientist at 9:41 AM on January 18, 2014

There were newer drivers that were kind of difficult to install, although now in Device Manager a "Realtek Bluetooth 4.0 + High Speed Chip" (with new drivers) shows up instead of the Windows generic device (with drivers from 2006) -- still no dice.

In the course of checking this out I learned about USB micro adapters. Maybe if I open up the case the antenna will be easy to fix, but I think I'll plan on just buying a $15 dongle that's just always taking up a port.
posted by tintexas at 4:42 PM on January 18, 2014

Bunch of people having similar problems with the Yoga 13" here, with some links to more recent drivers that have solved the problem for some people. Worth a try?

My guess is that power management is putting the bluetooth chip to sleep when it shouldn't. Try installing the very latest drivers from wherever you can get them & then try turning off power management in the bluetooth driver settings and see if that helps.
posted by pharm at 3:04 AM on January 19, 2014

Well, ok, maybe I needed to reboot a couple more times? As of driver 1.3.754.3, there have been vanishingly few skips.
posted by tintexas at 5:14 PM on January 19, 2014

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