Bluetooth GPS Receiver BT-338
MGN Rating -
1 star: Find something else; save your money
2 star: Below average; not recommended
3 star: Average; performs as advertised but not inspiring
4 star: Good; worth the money
5 star: Great; best of its kind on the market Review by c0w
Review Date / March 22nd, 2006
Thanks to Alex from Globalsat
, Inc.(the North American branch office of Globalsat Technology of Taiwan), I've had the opportunity to review one of the best mobile GPS product out in the market. Globalsat Technology is a company that has dedicated their main focus towards GPS, Bluetooth and mobile wireless communication technology, making Globalsat one of the leaders in the design, manufacturing and marketing of GPS, Bluetooth and mobile wireless communication products. By visiting their website, you would be blown away by the different types of GPS products they have to offer such as Bluetooth, USB, Water Proof, SiRF StarIII, CF CompactFlash, SDIO, Naviational System, WAAS Enabled, Serial Cable GPS units (also offers GPS software for Mac OSX, Windows, PalmOS, PocketPC). They also have a couple of Bluetooth Headsets such as the BTH-820
I reviewed earlier this month.
The box contains the BT-338 GPS Receiver, a nice little Protective Carrying Case, AC Charger, 12VDC Car Charger, and CD-ROM with User's Manuel. The Internals
The BT-338 ultilizes the SiRF Star III WAAS enabled high performance and low power consumption chipset enabling it to obtain a rapid time-to-first-fix (I got a time of anywhere from 5 to 20 seconds to obtain a fix). It provides superior location performance, both indoors and outdoor (visit www.sirf.com to learn more about the SiRF Star III chipset). The chipset uses a 20-channel architecture, allowing it to obtain more signals therefore creating a high sensitivity. Other features include Built-in ceramic patch antenna, superior sensitivity for urban canyon and foliage environment, 3 LED to show the rechareable Li-on battery, an Operation time of 17 hours in continuous mode, and a Bluetooth operation range of 10 meters.Installation
The pairing up was very simple and on the Treo 700w, I chose COM8 as the outgoing port and COM7 as the incoming port.
Run Mapopolis and select Tools>Settings>GPS Communications, then select the COM you want, in my case was COM8 and Auto-detect for the Baud Rate which for me was 4800. After just hit OK and goto Tools>GPS and hit Start and the GPS should be up and running. You can also view the GPS Data by hitting View>Show GPS Data.
This demonstration was done in my apartment. I was unable to get the GPS Info software that comes with the BT-338 to work on my Treo 700w. For some odd reason it didn't have COM8 but only 1,2,3,5,6, and 9 so I couldn't get it to connect with the receiver. I was able to get another software, GPS Viewer to work with the receiver, althought it wasn't fully compatible with wm5 and cuts off the bottom portion. Performance
I've been using the BT-338 GPS Receiver with my Treo 700w for the past couple of weeks now. Although this is the first GPS product I've ever used with a PocketPC Phone, when compared to the performance of various other GPS products some of my friends use, this definitely matches or surpasses in performance. As soon as I get into my car and get the receiver turned on and run Mapopolis, getting a fix is anywhere from 5 to 20 seconds at the most which is ridiculously quicker than most others that take as long as 1 minute I hear.
I didn't test the battery life but I haven't had to charge it up since its first full initial charge when I first got it earlier this month. I've been using it entirely while driving on the road to work, around town and a couple of times while biking. The unit has a power saving function that turns the device off if the bluetooth is not connected to any devices within 10 minutes. Globalsat stats a battery life of 17 hours after being fully charged, in continuous mode and 20 hours in trickle power mode. This is little device packs plenty of power and if thats not enough for you then you always have the car charger! The BT-338 Receiver
The receiver is nicely designed and looks really slick! Dimensions are: 72.5mm x 40.4mm x 23mm so its nice and small. On top of the device it has 3 LED lights: Bluetooth Status is Blue, GPS Status is Green, and the Battery Status is Red/Yellow. A quick blinking of the blue light indicates that the device is connected to another bluetooth device and a slow blinking means its not. A blinking of the green light mean the GPS position is fixed and if theres a steady light then the position isn't. For the battery indicator light, Red- battery is critically low, Yellow - battery is charging now, When the LED light is off it means its partially full or fully charged.
The side of the unit has a soft rubber plastic covering the power jack. At the top of the receiver theres a landyard ring that allows you to wear it around your neck. Conclusion
I would have to say that I am very impressed with the receiver. Throughout my entire time using it I have not encounter any problems at all! With the quick time-to-first-fix and solid performance in difficult environments and long battery life I don't think there is anything else a gadget lover would want or complain about. I know there is a lot of Treo 700w owners out that are not sure and a lot of questions about which GPS solution to use. After using it for myself I can strongly say this is definitely a great product and also a good looking one too. The BT-338 is offered at a very affordable price of 156.99 US Dollars and comes in two colors, Black and Silver.check it out here!