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The following review is for a separate GPS receiver unit that connects to portable devices via Bluetooth and allows you to run satellite navigation software (satnav for short and to save me time typing).I will give an overview of the technology behind the product and then a review on my experience with using the product.GPS is a technology that I am a big fan of and it has a wide range of applications and uses in everyday life and is easily affordable for even the tightest of budgets.
~~~~What is GPS? ~~~~
GPS (Global Positioning Satellites) is a network of 24 satellites which orbit the planet and were originally launched in the mid 80's by the US department of defence. It was meant for military use but civilian access was granted and allowed for the development of satnav as we know it. GPS works by having a receiver that picks up the signal from the satellites and works out the position by how long the signal takes to reach the unit, for a 2D position you need a signal from at least 3 satellites and at least 4 satellites for a 3D position. Once this information transfer takes place the position can be calculated by means of Triangulation (comparing the signals from at least three different sources). Luckily the receiver will calculate all this information for you so no need to be a maths genius and the calculations are made in times of only milliseconds so no big delays and having to wait around for the position to be worked out.
This product is an external GPS receiver that connects via Bluetooth to any product that can run satnav software for example a mobile phone, laptop or PDA.With technology moves along at an amazing rate you can easily obtain a mobile phone that has satnav and a GPS receiver built in, so why would you want a separate receiver. The main advantage of having a separate receiver is that you can use it to connect different devices and are not just limited to using the one integrated device, i use mine to connect both my laptop and orange spv phone and have also used my PDA all utilising the same GPS receiver. So having a separate unit gives flexibility and also increases the usage time of your device because the receiver is powered separately.
The unit is powered by a rechargeable lithium ion battery that will hold a charge for up to 20hrs continuous use, i also purchased a car charger for mine so I can charge whilst on the move. It takes less than an hour to fully charge the unit and you are supplied with a mains adapter to allow you to use the unit from initial purchase. This unit is a 16 channel unit and is excellent at receiving and keeping the GPS signal in both open and closed areas (some units can lose the signal in built up areas and places like valleys).I have used this in alot of different locations and have hardly ever lost the signal, even when I did it quickly got the signal back. The seek time(time it takes to pick up GPS signal) is very quick and this is useful for occasions like driving into a tunnel where you will lose the signal and need to gain it back quickly when you exit the other end. On turning the unit on it took about 20-25 seconds to pick up the GPS signal and there is a red LED on the top of the unit that will start to flash when you are connected. Connecting the unit via Bluetooth (pairing as it's called) is also an effortless task and took me less than 30 secs to setup. You also have a blue led on the top of the unit which will once again flash when you have a successful Bluetooth connection. I have connected my laptop, PDA and phone via Bluetooth and the receiver was detected and connected with no problems and quickly on all occasions. Once you have setup a pairing with the device it will connect to the receiver automatically when you have your Bluetooth switched on so you only need to pair once. I was supplied with a magnetic attaching aerial for use in the car but I have never needed to use this as I have had no problems receiving a signal with the unit sited on my dashboard. It should be noted that some newer cars have heated windows and these can affect GPS reception so you will need to be aware of what type of windows your car has.
GPS channels- 16(for faster signal pick up)
Battery- 1700mha Lithium Ion rechargeable battery for up to 20 hrs usage time
Display- 2x led displays, red for GPS signal and blue for Bluetooth will both flash when signal is connected.
Charge Time- Less than an hour to charge fully
Accessories available- Connection available for external aerial in poor signal conditions. Car chargers and solar chargers available for keeping the unit powered on the move. Leather carry case with belt clip for ease of storage. Spare batteries to increase usage time.
A fantastic unit that performs well in all terrains and has excellent usage times up to 20 hrs.Setup is simple and you are supplied with a well written simple to follow instruction booklet. With no problems in connecting to a wide range of different devices this is a flexible and reliable product that will last for years. With prices ranging from £30-£65 it is worth looking around for the best deals,i bought mine new from ebay for £35 including postage(absolute bargain).I would highly recommend this product, so throw away your tatty map book and jump on the SATNAV express.
Thank you for taking the time to read my review and please feel free to give constructive feedback. Paul