Reviews: Other

Rikaline GPS-6033 Bluetooth GPS

     Use of a global position system has completely change how I navigate in my car. GPS units take the guess work out of directions and navigating. No longer do I have to miss a turn and lose my way. No longer do I have to wonder where a street goes. Paired with a PDA, GPS systems make extremely useful tools for anyone that drives a car, hikes, boats, or does anything where direction is key. But if you don?t have a device with GPS built-in, what options do you have? The simplest and likely most effective is a Bluetooth GPS unit which allows for connecting not only to Bluetooth enabled PDA?s but many other Bluetooth enabled products.
     Having never actually used a Bluetooth GPS unit before, I was expecting the Bluetooth GPS to be much larger than it is. It is quite a bit smaller than my MPx220 Smartphone and very easily fit both in my pocket with my phone or in the small pocket of my jeans. The unit has a black plastic coating that is easy to grip on any side. While devices only have grips on the sides, the whole GPS unit is graspable, which is important for a GPS. The bottom features an antenna extender port while the top features the power jack. There is 1000 mAh battery inside the unit. Inside the battery compartment is two magnates which can allow the GPS to "grip" to stick-on magnates included in the box with the GPS. The top of device includes the switch for turning the device on or off, or into auto mode where the device turns on when power is provided through the power jack. Auto mode is great in the car because the GPS will turn on with the car. The front face of the device includes three lights. The top shows when the GPS has power. The middle flashes blue until there is a Bluetooth connection. The bottom flashes green until there is a GPS connection.
     The Rikaline GPS-6033 supports 32 channels of parallel communication with the satellites in orbit. Most GPS units only support 12 to 16 channels of communications. Channels are important because it both relates to the speed of connecting to the satellites in orbit and ability to stay connected. While 32 channels does take more battery power and you technically only need a couple of channels for getting your position, it does have some major benefits when trying to connect. This is one of the factors that lead to the amazing statistics noted by Rikaline related connection times. From off to being connected the first time, the unit takes about 30 seconds. From a "reboot" it only takes about 6 seconds. To simply reacquire the signal (like when leaving a tunnel), the unit is listed at only taking 0.1 seconds. These statistics are not an exaggeration. Like with most GPS devices, the worst connection time was the first time I turned it on where it took just under 30 seconds average time. This is less than half the time it has taken other units I have used. Now when I turn the unit on after starting my car, it only takes a couple of seconds to make a connection and if I come out of a tunnel, it is back on within a hundred feet or so. It quite often takes me longer to get the GPS application running on my PDA than the GPS-6033 to connect to a couple satellites. The GPS-6033 is also more powerful that most other GPS units. It can track signals down to -157 dBm, which doesn't mean much to most people. What it does mean is that I am tracking satellites from my couch...inside my house. I am about 10-15 feet from a window and the GPS-6033 is still able to get a signal. The unit is powerful enough to work from inside the glove compartment of a car or off the dash board. This is huge because I personally don't really want people to be able to look in my car and see a $150 piece of hardware sitting on my dash.
     Overall, I have found the battery life on the device to be very strong. It is a powerful battery that is included so it has no trouble running for a couple of trips. For a while I just left it plugged in using the car power adapter which is a great option as the unit both will conserve battery life, running only when the car is on, and is constantly being charged from the car. Before checking out the GPS-6033, I was hesitant about the Bluetooth GPS units. I always thought they were larger than they needed to be and expensive. I thought that it would be to just have a separate GPS unit. But it turns out I was wrong and after using the GPS-6033 I am convinced that it is a better idea to get a Bluetooth GPS unit that will work with just about any PDA on the market. Also it is easy to carry with me in a pocket or backpack when I am not in my car, and of course doesn?t add any bulk to my device. The GPS-6033 is a great option for a Bluetooth GPS because of the strong collection of technology include. It includes a powerful battery for long life, easy to read visuals of the units status, automatic power switching, and support for 32-channels. The Rikaline is fast and effective. Come on, you know this is a good unit when it works from in the glove box or even from inside building. And you cannot beat the price. Currently, offers the unit for less than $100 with a free Arkon mount for using your PDA in the car. If you are in the market for a GPS unit, look no further. The Rikaline GPS-6033 is fantastic.

Dave's Score - 9.0
This means, this product is about as close to "the best" as you can get.  This product embodies quality in its design and application, and is something I would use.  Though you still should consider it for yourself, most would probably be happy with this product even if they were unable to try it prior to purchase.

UPDATE: Thanks to Niemi for reminding of an issue I forgot to being up about the GPS-6033.  Because of the technology used, the GPS-6033 is not good for walking or slow moving applications.  GPS-6033 simply does not react like other products and is not good for users that are needing a device for small distances or measuring.  I primarily use the device in a car where it work great.  But at low speeds and minor changes, the GPS-6033 might not be the best.



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