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11

Review: GlobalSat BT-368i Bluetooth GPS

We’re quite spoiled you and I. Can you imagine if twenty years ago someone had shown you the very device you currently carry and use on a daily basis? Being able to instantly communicate using all manner of methods provided by the most mundane of Windows Mobile Phones is simply an amazing example of technology. As generations of Windows Mobile devices pass by there are new and improved hardware toys that become fairly standard in each generation. GPS receivers are an example of a feature that many of us take for granted that is one of the more amazing pieces of consumer technology.

All of this being true, GPS receivers are not included in all of the Windows Mobile devices that we carry around. Even if it is included, getting a radio signal to and from those satellites drains a battery like few other things can. For those of you facing these dilemmas, I present the GlobalSat BT-368i Bluetooth GPS receiver.

Features

The BT-368i features a SiRF StarIII GPS chip. For the uninitiated, SiRF is one of the big names in mobile GPS technology. The Rechargeable Lithium-ion battery offers “up to 10 hours” of use (I haven’t put the GPS to use for that long, but it is definitely good for more than a couple of hours).

On a side note, the BT-368i also supports connection to your PC using Bluetooth or the miniUSB port.

Benefits

The obvious benefit here is to anyone who does not own a device with a built-in GPS receiver. Any Windows Mobile device that supports Bluetooth should work just fine with the BT-368i. Additionally, the BT-368i should outperform most built in GPS chips (faster startup/seek times and greater accuracy); I know I found this true when comparing with the GPS included in my AT&T Tilt. Lastly, the fact that you are not constantly utilizing your battery to power the GPS receiver will give you a longer time between charges and allow you more freedom to actually use the GPS.

Usability

Getting a Bluetooth GPS to work with something like Google Maps or Microsoft’s Bing has a few more steps to it than I would like. After the standard pairing process is completed, the Serial Port Bluetooth Profile must be selected, and a COM port assigned to the GPS. Once this is done you should be able to get Google or Bing to see your GPS with minimal effort. If you have any trouble, be sure to hit up our forums with any questions you may have. Our readers are pretty smart folks.

Conclusion

With a price tag of $99.95, GlobalSat’s BT-368i is probably best for those either without a GPS at all or anyone that really uses their GPS extensively. Sure, there are handheld GPS devices that are in the same ballpark as far as cost, but it’s hard to argue about having so many methods of connectivity in one device. I can say from personal experience that having a GPS working with Bing and Google Maps can be very handy when you’re in unfamiliar territory.

If you feel neglected by the lack of GPS support in your device, or you are looking for a little more than your current hardware can provide, pick up the BT-368i from the WMExperts store today.

Ratings (out of 5)

  • Features: 4
  • Benefits: 4
  • Usability: 3

Overall: 4/5

Pros

  • Adds GPS functionality to most any Windows Mobile device
  • Conserves battery life vs. internal GPS

Cons

  • Setup can be a pain, though that's not the hardware's fault

 

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Comments

There are 11 comments. Sign in to comment

badersk says:

I have one of these and use it with an old Dell X50 mid and it works really well. Setup on it is relatively easy and fix times are usually pretty fast. I like it.

gregorypleau says:

That thing looks like a mini Touch Pro 2 :)
I've used BT GPS units in the past with my original Touch and yes, I agree the battery is much nicer running GPS via Bluetooth than running the internal GPS.

pelona#WP says:

I've owned a number of GlobalSat devices and they've always performed well. Now that GlobalSat has been bought out, I wonder if the tradition of quality and support will continue.

Probably doesn't matter; with the speed of GPS chips in phones being driven by the requirements of real-time navigation and approaching that of standalone receivers, the days of Bluetooth GPS are numbered. And if you worried about the internal GPS draining the battery, might I suggest a charged spare battery.

says:

GlobalSat devices are great. Theres a newer model to the 368, which is the 388 that has 17 hours of battery life with continuous mode, and can easily convert between US and UK voltage.
You can read more about it here:

GlobalSat 338 Bluetooth GPS

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says:

great reviews help much to make decision

says:

Thanks for the post!With the growing popularity of Handheld GPS have almost necessary.GPS navigation systems guide you through unfamiliar areas by giving turn-by-turn spoken directions, and even suggest an alternative route around rush hour traffic.Please be sure about hand held gps before buying it from the market.While reading the review identify what variety of screen you desire, what type of options you actually need, and what options you might want in future date,Select reviews that provide data in user-friendly format .Certain important aspects while referring to hand-held GPS reviews to be considered.

says:

Great product. Works out of the box easily with Google Earth. I suggest using Franson GpsGate for other programs such as streets and trips. It will save you a lot of time, set up, and allows you to run multiple applications using the GPS data. GPS system to ensure very fast on cold start and almost immediately the warm start. I have never received less than 5-6 incurred by the Company at any time.