Monday, March 29, 2004
Ride With Me: RoyalTek's BlueGPS reviewed
Posted by Doug Raeburn in "HARDWARE" @ 10:30 AM
Figure 1: Say hello to the BlueGPS!
What's In The Box?
The version of the BlueGPS that I received came in a package that contained the receiver, a power cable for your car and some software to support the data logging function. Since it was recommended that the lithium ion battery in the unit be fully charged, the fact that an AC charger was not included immediately became an issue. I happen to own a converter that allows me to plug a car adaptor into an AC outlet, so I wasn't inconvenienced too greatly. For those of you without such an adapter, it may have been a bigger issue. However, I see on the reseller's site that the AC adapter is now included, so be aware of this if you decide to order one.
Compared to the piece of glowing lucite eye candy from Pharos that I reviewed recently, the BlueGPS is a bit understated. But since I don't buy a GPS unit to make a fashion statement, I won't hold a lack of flashiness against it. The BlueGPS is a simple yet attractive unit with a rounded rectangular shape. Featured on the outside of the unit are the following: a power switch, adapter connection, external antenna connection, power/charging light, GPS status light and Bluetooth light. Plastic feet on the bottom of the unit help prevent it from sliding around on your dashboard.
Connecting the BlueGPS to my iPAQ 5455 was simple. I turned on the GPS and the Bluetooth on the iPAQ and then fired up Destinator 3. I used Destinator's "Find GPS" function, which automatically activated the Bluetooth Manager. The Bluetooth Manager found the BlueGPS, I selected it and I was taken back into Destinator, with the BlueGPS connected and ready for action.
Using the BlueGPS for Navigation
After the BlueGPS and iPAQ were communicating, I was impressed with the speed at which satellites were acquired. The BlueGPS would typically lock on to four or more satellites in about 10 seconds, which is more than twice as fast as my trusty NavMan sleeve. In over three hours of driving, the BlueGPS always stayed in contact with enough satellites to support navigation, and the Bluetooth connection to the iPAQ never dropped. RoyalTek claims that the BlueGPS will go for 10-12 hours on a single charge.