Products & Reviews
Seidio RBT-2010 Bluetooth GPS Receiver
Wed Jan 4, 2006 - 4:51 PM EST - By
Table of Contents
> Overview Conclusion
Overview Bluetooth GPS receivers continue to get better and better. They generally are just as good as the cradle GPS receivers that I have reviewed but tend to take a little longer to get a GPS lock. Seidio recently released the RBT-2010 Bluetooth GPS Receiver, which promises long battery life and fast GPS signal lock. I took the RBT-2010 with me on my family's trip to Colorado last Christmas and put the RBT-2010 to the test. Would the RBT-2010 get us home safely?
The RBT-2010 (which I am going to call the Ribbit Receiver because frogs are cooler than initials) uses the SiRF Star III Chipset, which is what all the kids are using these days. What really sets it apart from other receivers is the Li-Ion battery. The battery is 1700mAh, providing almost as much power as the Treo's built-in battery. This whopper of a battery is rated at up to 17 hours of continuous operation and is replaceable. The Ribbit Receiver comes with an AC adapter, but an optional car charger is available. Unless you're taking a super-long road trip though, you won't need it.
There is an on/off switch instead of a button, and a KITT-style light on the front that is amber while charging and alternates between blinking green and blue while in use.
As I said earlier, I took the Ribbit Receiver with me to Colorado and used it for a trip from Colorado Springs back to Houston. Before leaving my brother's house, I paired the Ribbit Receiver with the Treo and surprisingly got a GPS lock while still inside his house! Once in the car, I used TomTom Navigator 5 as my map software. One quirk of TomTom is that you can only navigate to a point on the current map. I normally have South Central States loaded, but that does not include Colorado. While I have Colorado loaded, I cannot select Houston as a destination. There is a Major Roads of America map available that alleviates some of the problem.
However, silly me didn't use that map. Mapping software, like computers, are only as smart as the person using them. I told TomTom to get us to the Colorado border on Highway 50, which I thought is what we took all the way in from Oklahoma. Picture this if you will—you're driving along, the nice TomTom lady voice says "You have reached your destination," and you see a sign saying "Welcome to Kansas" instead of "Welcome to Oklahoma." My father and I must have laughed for three minutes straight after seeing that sign.
After that incident, I loaded up the Major Highways map and told TomTom to get us to Dumas, Texas, which is one of the towns along our normal route home. Along the way, I found out how boring and dull Kansas roads can be. There were stretches along State Highway 27 that I didn't have to turn the steering wheel at all for a good twenty minutes, and TomTom's compass confirmed my heading as 180° due South almost the entire way through Kansas.
Thankfully, the scenic route caused by my mistake only added about thirty minutes to our journey. The battery life on the Ribbit is fantastic for long road trips. I used the device until it stopped working and was able to get 18.5 hrs out of it. I think we were in Llano (near Austin) when it died. Although the Ribbit may last forever, you will want a Travel Charger for your Treo.
The Ribbit is also handy if you switch devices. I was able to alternatively use my Treo 650 and my Dad's Palm T5 without having to keep re-pairing with the Ribbit. This is a great feature that some Bluetooth headsets are starting to have as well. Next Page: Conclusion >>
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