I've had the old, Palm-issued TomTom Navigator 5 set since I went to San Francisco in the summer of 2006 and I havent been lost since. That TomTom set came with the TomTom 5 software, of course, a handy cradle for the Treo 650, a dual-ended Treo and mini-USB car charger, and a Palm-branded Bluetooth GPS receiver. These items have served me very well, but technology has moved forward. TomTom has released version 6 of the Navigator software. My Centro doesnt fit in the cradle. The doggone charger, which I could REALLY use, doesnt work anymore. And the receiver is one of those old models that take, like,
a couple minutes forever to find a satellite signal, even in direct view of the sky. So, obviously, its time to upgrade!! I got a new cradle that fits my Centro nicely, I ordered TomTom Navigator 6, and when the opportunity to review this Navibe Bluetooth GPS (GB735) unit came up, I was all over it.
The Navibe GPS receiver comes packaged with a rechargeable, removable (and therefore, user-replaceable) lithium-ion battery, a USB-to-mini-USB cable, car charger and AC adapter for charging, a wrist strap, and a CD with the manual and drivers for pairing the receiver with a computer. Hopefully, most people who buy this unit will have some experience pairing Bluetooth devices, because the instructions are terribly scant. In fact, the only pairing procedure to be found is for Pocket PCs; no mention of Palm devices. Luckily, the device is in pairing mode as soon as you turn it on, making it simple to find within the PalmOS pairing interface.
The unit is small enough that it can be stored just about anywhere comfortably, such as in a car console or in a pocket or purse for walking around. Its nice to the touch, made from that rubberized plastic that everyone seems to be using nowadays. It also has rubber padded feet, which will keep the unit somewhat in place on a flat dashboard.
Also notice that the unit does not come packaged with any type of mapping software, so youll have to supply that yourself. There are many applications that will work, depending on the type of smartphone/PDA you are using or what type of PC software you prefer.
The biggest attraction to this unit is that it incorporates SiRFstarIII technology which, as I understand these things, is designed to link up to satellites quicker and not depend on a direct view of the sky like the older models. In fact, the SiRFstarIII chipmakers claim that the GPS unit can be stored away, in a glove compartment, for example, and still maintain a connection with the satellite. I had mixed results.
First, the Navibe unit connects in minutes, not seconds. I havent seen any discernible difference between the time it took my old Palm-branded unit to find my location and the time it takes for the Navibe unit to find me. On average, it has taken at least two, and sometimes as many as three or four minutes before I have a signal. This is more than a slight detail. When you already know the general direction of where it is youre going, you can start along your way and let the GPS unit find the satellite(s). But when you dont know what those first few turns are to be, or if you run into traffic and want to hop off at the next exit, it would be nice to connect in seconds rather than minutes. The Navibe website claims that the GB735 can find a signal in no more than 42 seconds on a clear day. I never found this to be true. Never once, in about 3 weeks of using this unit, did it take less than 2 minutes to connect. No matter when, where, how, or why.
Once the receiver finds your location, the performance improves greatly. The GB735 locks on to several satellites and keeps a strong, accurate connection no matter where you store the unit: in the glove compartment, a center console, under a seat, etc. This makes the unit a lot more usable in a car, as you can stow it away somewhere and still keep a strong signal. Also, if youre in a car that supplies power to cigarette-lighter outlets while the car is turned off, you can basically leave the receiver plugged in and locked-on all the time. The unit doesnt get very warm, and draws little to no power from your car battery.
This stowability is also helpful for people who use GPS while walking around. The unit works just fine tucked away in a pocket, purse, or briefcase as well.
TheGB735 has lots of nice features as you can see below.
- Navibe GB 735 Bluetooth GPS Receiver is powered by SiRF Star III chipset, with 20-channel satellites, faster time to first fix (TTFF).
- Using the latest SiRF StarIII firmware version 3.2 which has WAAS/EGNOS enabled out of the box for improve GPS position accuracy.
- Static Navigation turned OFF to improve and offer better real time accuracy and usability for Geocaching and navigation in walking mode.
- SiRF star III chipset delivers high sensitivity for greater availability in far more environments, and provides superior location performance, both indoors and out.
- It communicates with Host platform (WM5 Smartphone, WM5 Pocket PC/ PPC Phone, Treo 650/700/750/680, Laptop
) Via Bluetooth Serial Port Profile.
- A replaceable battery enables the Navibe GB 735 Bluetooth GPS Receiver to run for up to 10 hours.
- A sliding battery lid makes it more user-friendly. With its tiny and delicate look, the OnCourse Bluetooth GPS is definitely your best choice!
- 3 LEDs showing the status of rechargeable Li-ion battery, GPS status and Bluetooth status.
- Bluetooth operation range:10 Meters.
- ROHS compliant (for deployment into European countries).
- Support active antenna connector (MMCX).
The Navibe GB735 Bluetooth GPS receiver does a solid job of adding reliable GPS functionality to a smartphone or PC. The only problem I found was the issue of the unit taking waaaay longer than advertised to find my location, but once it locks on everything is smooth sailing. For $69.95, this receiver is a good solution that should keep you satisfied
until SiRFstarIV comes out for a long time.
Keeps a strong signal, no matter the weather
Works well without direct line-of-sight with the sky.
|Takes several minutes to establish position