Every time I return to my desk, my phone (Moto V8) shows a prompt that my laptop is trying to connect.
Does BP really have to establish a connection to determine the signal strength? This causes other problems too: I can't use BT to transfer files to/from my phone or connect a headset to my phone because BP is keeping my phone's BT connection busy.
It would be ideal if BP could tell the signal strength without having to keep a connection open. Am I doing something wrong? is this not possible?
the repeated requests should be turned off on the phone. "Allow connections from this device without confirmation" - look for something alike in your phone's bluetooth section.
If your phone is in bluetooth power saving mode it will only allow a single connection which is already made by BP, true. Disable either the power saving mode or BP for the time you would use another connection.
There are ways to detect the signal strength without a connection - only in bluetooth 2.0 though. BP prefers to use a trusted connection because it makes spoofing a bit harder, though it is far from safe. If you are all about safety you should disable automatic unlocking by setting a dummy command.
Well, look at that... wish I'd clicked through the menus a bit more.
For reference, on a RAZR2 (v8) here's where I found it:
Menu -> Settings -> Connections -> Bluetooth
arrow down to highlight the computer (without clicking on it)
Options -> Manage -> Edit Device -> Device -> Device Connection
Change to Yes
the default is "yes, but ask" which gets annoying after a while.