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Need accurate bluetooth portable GPS receiver for Android

kjac 0 Points
edited November -1 in GPS Recommendations
My Android phone's (Motorola Atrix) isn't very accurate and I need to find a portable bluetooth receiver to use along side it to improve accuracy and battery life. So far I have found the following products, but I don't know which would be better or if there is something else I might be interested in.

GlobalSat BT-368i
Dual Electronics XGPS150A

I'm leaning towards the dual electronics since it has 65 channels and updates 10/sec, but I'm not sure if 65 channels is overkill or not.

Accuracy is the most important aspect above all else. So far 2.3m +/- is the best I have seen, which would be ok.. but if there is anything more accurate that would be great.


  • Better late than never. DUAL is GOOD. More accurate other than conventional gps device.

    Slight a problem sometimes when PAIRING with bluetooth. But once connected is smooth surfing.

    Im using with my IPAD 2.
  • I don't know that it's going to save you any battery life. Using GPS on the phone eats battery because the phone is on while you're navigating, not because the GPS is on. It's the display that eats your battery, not the GPS.

    My location service is always on, and GPS has been on since I unboxed the phone. No problem with battery. It's not the GPS itself.
  • Tim 1484 Points
    I disagree, wfooshee. GPS eats battery life on phones. (So does the display.) In most phones there is a dedicated chipset for GPS which sucks battery life when in use. When it is not in use power is essentially diverted.

    Just because you have 'location services' turned on doesn't mean that there is always power going to the GPS. That depends on what apps are running and what frequency they are polling the GPS and the accuracy they desire. If you have 'location services' turned on and no apps need to know your location, there will be no noticeable impact on battery life.

    This is especially true if wifi is turned on and it can fix an approximate location by nearby wifi locations without needing to send more power to the GPS chip.
  • Boyd 2007 Points
    I agree with Tim. If I run a GPS app on my iPhone it has a dramatic effect on the battery life.
  • I have ipad 2 wifi and New Ipad 4g. But ipad 2 with location make me no worries. Because ipad 2 wifi only use more batteris if there is wifi. Outside building there is no wifi and mean less usage on batteries.

    Different on new ipad 4g. It drain faster if only location is on. And more if gps apps also on.

  • I still think (based on reports from battery usage statistics on my phone) that the GPS in and of itself is not a major draw on the battery. Yes, it's a separate set of circuits, but as a radio it's receive-only. If you have background apps reporting your position frequently, like Facebook, SPOT, or something like that, their transmissions look at the GPS and then transmit over the data link or the wifi. It's the network use by GPS apps that affects battery life, not the GPS use.

    I've found that if the phone is goes to standyby when I'm navigating, it loses track of where I am. Turning the phone back on shows where I was when it went to standby, then catches up in a second or two. No GPS use unless the phone's on, in other words.

    For my phone the largest battery consumer by far is the display. If I add up all other uses and total them, the display is still twice that much. The second highest is wifi, if I use wifi. We also have a corporate phone app that connects our mobiles to our office phone system, and that app makes a huge use of the data connection, with very frequent status checks and updates both directions. If I forget to turn that off, the phone's dead in about 3 hours, display or not.

    If I'm navigating by the phone I see usage go up by time with the Maps app, which lists GPS time as well, but it doesn't go up unless the display is also on, so I'm back to display as the major use of battery power.

    All that said, I almost never navigate with the phone, having Garmin receivers both in the car and on the motorcycle. I'll use it at work sometimes (their vehicle) if I don't know where I'm going.

    My biggest battery draws: display, Avaya 1-X mobile, and wifi. Everything else is practically irrelevant.
  • I am having the same dilemma, which device to go with. I currently have the GlobalSat BT-359, however I want something better for my waterproof Nexus 7.

    After much research I am down to either the Qstarz Q1000XT or the Garmin GLO.

    Garmins Pros:
    Newly designed product
    Newer chipset
    GPS+Glonass satellites
    Garmin Brand

    12 hours battery life
    Not so great reviews

    Qstarz Pros:
    66 channel
    42 hour battery life
    Excellent reviews

    Old MTKII chipset
    No Glonass

    Cost between the two is identical at only $99 at Amazon, which makes the decision doubly hard since I have to weigh the pros and cons in order to decide.
  • Boyd 2007 Points
    I realize this may be too late, but I just got a Garmin GLO and am really impressed with it. I'm using it with an HP Slate 500, which is a 9" tablet that runs Windows 7 Pro.

    The GLO is simplicity itself. There is nothing to configure. No special software to control it. It's just a little black box with a power button. :) But it's working with just about everything I've tried, even some very old software such as Garmin nRoute that was discontinued many years ago. However, in that case I am using GPSGate to translate the NMEA output of the GLO to Garmin's proprietary protocol.

    OziExplorer recognizes it with no problem. My primary use is with Garmin Mobile PC, another discontinued program that I'd describe as a "Nuvi on steroids". :D

    The GLO is quite tiny - I was surprised because the product photos don't give much of a sense of scale. It pairs with the Windows software almost instantly. When I first turned it on inside my house, it got an initial fix within a matter of seconds.


    Have only had the GLO about two days, but have done a few tests. It certainly appears more accurate than my Montana 600. A Google search didn't turn up anyone who was discounting the GLO, it seemed to be $100 everywhere (Garmin list price) and also wasn't in stock at most places. Just out of the blue I decided to check MacMall. Turns out that had it in stock for $90. :)

    In the examples below, I was driving down a narrow sand road in the Pine Barrens with the GLO and Montana 600 right next to each other on the dashboard. Both devices were recording one track point per second. For the most part, the GLO shows me in the road, right where I really was. But the track from the Montana often wanders off into the woods. Both tracks are actually pretty decent, but I think the GLO is a bit better.

    I don't have an iPad or Android tablet, but I'm really happy with the GLO on Windows 7!


  • mikekx100 0 Points
    Hey Boyd,

    It looks like your setup is the way to go. Do you have anymore input on the performance of the GLO?

    I'm curious if you think getting a full blown tablet PC is the way to go or if a regular tablet with Android OS (or something similar) would work just as well?

    Is it worth shelling out the extra money for a full blown tablet PC?

    I'll be mounting this on a dirt bike as well. For exploring in the Rockies. Have any suggestions for cases?

  • Boyd 2007 Points
    Hey Mike. My review of the GLO is here. I don't really have anything else to add. I use it almost every day and it works as expected:

    Not so sure how well a tablet and the GLO would survive on a dirt bike. Sorry, I just don't have any experience with that.
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