Qstarz BT-Q1000 Bluetooth GPS Receiver
Recently, we reviewed a GPS receiver from Qstarz called the BT-Q818. Qstarz have now redesigned this item, adding in such features as log capability, snapshot Point of Interest, plus other enhancements. The Q181 scored highly and was even given an Editor’s Choice award. Tough shoes to fill… How does the Q1000 fare? Does it improve on issues identified with the earlier model? Read on as this unit is put to the test!
I think the the correct statement would be "what’s not?". As a Bluetooth GPS receiver, this device has it all… MTK chipset, 32 hours of battery life, stand-alone or navigator ability, immediate recording of POIs, seamless interface with Google Earth, the list goes on.
Download and install the drivers and PC utility (in that order). Note: although the device ships with this software on the CD-ROM, I would always recommend going to the site for the latest versions. I did have a problem with PC Utility version 1.0, which was fixed with the release of v1.1.
After downloading and installing the drivers plus utility, connect the device via USB. Launch the PC software, turn the unit on "log" mode, and begin configuring. Config is broken down into three levels, based on how much control you want over your logging ability: Basic, Advanced, Professional. As the names state, each vary depending on how involved you wish to get. I wouldn’t let all the options daunt you though, I found selecting basic then tracking interval worked fine. Configuration is nice to have though, others who wish to measure with greater accuracy may want to delve deeper. Here’s a run through of what to expect with the PC Utility:
After connecting the BT-1000Q to a PC, com port and baud rate must be selected. Default port is Com4.
After making the connection, the user is able to select the appropriate log mode. Caution: switching between modes will completely erase all data (above).
The advanced log setting affords greater customization of how/when data is gathered.
Professional has three additional settings: Output Period, AutoLog Option, Log Format. The above shot takes a look at the Output Period.
Here’s the AutoLog Option.
And lastly, here’s the Log Format. I used "Select for Google Earth" allowing for seamless interface with GE.
The device is extremely easy to to use, off/log/nav, POI button and that’s it. Here are some of the features as listed on the Qstarz site:
– Adopt MTK chipset with high sensitivity -158dBm and 32-Channel tracking
– Lower power consumption up to 32hrs for travel recording
– Stand-Alone travel recorder to log over 100,000 records
– Provide Qstarz setup tool with friendly UI to download data from Travel Recorder
– Support Multi-mode setting to record data Vehicle, Bicycle, Jog)
– Support button push manually to memorize your location immediately
– Draw your navigation path immediately on Google Earth as default
– Active NMEA protocol VTG / GLL manually via Qstarz setup tool.
– Backup your travel record as CSV / NMEA / Google Earth file format.
– Fast Position Fix ,Cold start 36s, Warm start 33s,Hot start 1s
– WAAS+EGNOS support
– Auto On-Off function for smart power control
Here’s the box you can expect to receive, nice and compact.
Inside the box we have the BT-Q1000 receiver, wall and car chargers, USB cable, carry case, literature and CD-ROM (not shown).
The device is small, in fact, it’s identical in size to the BT-Q818. The outside is rubberized in the same fashion as the Dash.
Right hand side contains the miniUSB port, it’s great to see this remains in place.
On the left hand side is where we have the new switch; instead of on/off, there’s off, log and nav.
The top of the device contains another new feature: POI button. One press immediately records a new POI when in log or nav modes.
The device also comes with a decent fuel tank, 1100 mAh is enough juice to keep the unit operational for many hours (30+).
Pairing with your Windows Mobile PDA, Smartphone, Symbian or Palm OS handheld is via the usual method. Search for new Bluetooth items after putting the BT-Q1000 in nav mode and it will pop straight up (nav mode is discoverable). When in nav mode, the Q1000 can be used to log your route and navigate via google maps or NMEA software. In log mode the device simply records your progress at set intervals for downloading at a later date and does not communicate with any other devices.
In terms of downloading data, the PC utility is fairly simple to use; although it’s a little quirky it’s functional none-the-less. Basically, all that’s required is plugging the device in, selecting "log" then choosing "Data Log List" on the software. Once in this screen, hit "stop log" (if the device is logging) then choose "download". This will download the contents of the Q1000 and populate the on-screen table. Next, click "draw map" to transfer the contents to Google Earth. That’s it. Very simple and intuitive.
Once in the log screen, quit logging and choose "download" to transfer the data.
Once the data has been downloaded, it will populate the database table ready for export as a KML (Keyhole Markup Language) script.
After choosing draw map, the KML is exported and Google Earth is automatically launched. The entire export/import process is automated; no requirement to download and save external KML files.
As with other MTK chipsets I’ve testing, this was right up there in terms of accuracy. In fact, I was able to receive a signal five feet from a window, inside a brick building. The unit also logged while in a sealed backpack… very convenient. Hot and warm starts were almost instantaneous, cold starts were on average 20-30 seconds; not significant as this is how long it can take to navigate to the comm manager and start Bluetooth on a Windows Mobile device.
This item carries a 1-year warranty, support is via Qstarz. I had the opportunity to deal with tech support during a software issue (now resolved with v1.1), they were very professional and promptly resolved the issue.
Compatible with Windows (XP, Vista) and bluetooth enabled cell phones/PDAs.
BUGS AND WISHES
The PC software (v1.0) was buggy, the latest iteration (v1.1) seems much better, albeit slow at times. The earlier issues I had with the Q818 are now gone, the exterior of this unit is rubberized (HTC Excalibur, Touch) and does not seem to attract fingerprints or scratches.
This item retail for USD$119.00, but can be found for around USD$95.00 plus shipping.
- Great battery life
Log/Nav features work extremely well
- Receiver is a small, has rubberized shell
Simple to use
- Bundled software can be a bit quirky
- PC only
- Pricey, but worth every penny
Qstarz really hit a home run with the item. No doubt about it. For the price, you get a cutting edge receiver, plus Google Earth integration. The flaws I identified with the earlier iteration are gone and we now have a beautifully crafted unit. Even in today’s market environment with more phones being released with built-in GPS, there’s always room for a stand-alone logging unit. Bottom line? If you are looking for a good, functional yet elegant device, this is the ticket.