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GPS receiver: should I use USB or Bluetooth?
v8ornot2v8
I am thiking of using my Laptop as a GPS, and I know I need a A USB or a Bluetooth GPS receiver. Which would be better? Can someone recommend a good and affordable one?

Thank you for your help.
Marvin Hlavac
v8ornot2v8, welcome to the forum. Some people like Bluetooth because it gives them freedom from wires. Others like USB because it gives them freedom from potential Bluetooth issues .

BU-353 is a popular USB GPS receiver. It can be purchased for around $35. But I've seen Bluetooth GPS receivers already reaching the same low price range, too.
Ken in Regina
Marvin is diplomatic and swings both ways.

I'm biased. I hate the restrictions that the USB cable places on where I can put the GPS receiver and the laptop. With Bluetooth I can place the receiver in the best possible place and the laptop in the best possible place and never think about whether the cable is long enough or how to route it so it's not in the way of other stuff.

Part of my problem is that I have a smaller vehicle so I have not been able to come up with a permanent mounting location for the laptop. In larger vehicles, most people are able to mount their laptops somewhere near the middle of the dash so a USB receiver can be placed in a good location without worrying about cable length or routing. If this is the case for you, then a USB receiver would be okay.

As Marvin mentioned, the BU-353 is a really nice USB receiver with a magnetic mount that you can place out on the roof or the hood if you need to get better reception than it can get on the dash. I have one and its performance is excellent.

I have the i.Trek M7 and Garmin GPS10x Bluetooth receivers and I like them both. The Garmin is really expensive. I love mine but I don't recommend it to anyone who doesn't have a specific need for a Garmin receiver unless they have money to burn. The i.Trek M7 works about as well as the Garmin and it's a lot cheaper. The M7 is a combination unit ... you can use it as a Bluetooth receiver or you can connect it directly to the USB port. As Marvin said, there are others even cheaper but I have no experience with them.

...ken...
tcassidy
The other advantage of USB GPS receivers is you don't have to remember to charge them. If you have a good location in the vehicle not too far from the laptop, you can leave the receiver there permanently and just unplug it when you want to remove the laptop. However, I am also a fan of Bluetooth GPS receivers because of their flexibility in placement.

Terry
Marvin Hlavac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken in Regina
Marvin is diplomatic and swings both ways.
LOL, it's not that I'm diplomatic , but rather that there really are good reasons for using each, Bluetooth, and also USB. This is not a case of use one because the other is inferior. Not at all. It all depends on personal preferences, and personal situation.

I (and many others) have personally always favoured USB GPS receivers, but Ken and Terry (and many others) have very valid reasons for using Bluetooth GPS receivers.

When in doubt, buy one of the many GPS receivers on the market today, that do both USB & BT: http://www.laptopgpsworld.com/516-dual-usb-bluetooth-gps-receivers

tcassidy
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin Hlavac
When in doubt, buy one of the many GPS receivers on the market today, that do both USB & BT: http://www.laptopgpsworld.com/516-dual-usb-bluetooth-gps-receivers

Unless you are planning on using Streets & Trips. S&T will not support many of the dual mode GPS in USB mode as the data rate is too high.

Terry
Ducati
I noticed that this is bluetooth and USB as well:
http://www.semsons.com/qsbtblgpsre6.html

If I do in fact decide to buy another receiver/free up a USB port, it will be this one.
Marvin Hlavac
Ducati, I looked at the specs, the unit uses MTK II chipset. That has -165dBm tracking sensitivity. That seems much better than the original MTK and also SiRFstarIII. If/when you buy it, do let us know how it behaves in real life.
Ken in Regina
Hi Marvin,

I discovered that it's the latest MTK chipset that's in my eTrex Legend HCx. That would explain its excellent performance.

...ken...
Ducati
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken in Regina
Hi Marvin,

I discovered that it's the latest MTK chipset that's in my eTrex Legend HCx. That would explain its excellent performance.

...ken...
Very nice! I think it might have better battery life? or maybe there was a larger battery I'm not sure.

Either way I did read in a review someone who was familiar with Surf III that the MTK II chipset did perform noticeably better to his surprise.

I guess my only real question would be this " auto on/off " feature, that is does it auto connect when laptop is in range or how does that feature normally work on bluetooth receivers?
tcassidy
Ducati,
I have a Qstarz Q890 and an iTrek M7. They put the BT into slow poll when they don't see a signal. This saves power and will still respond to a BT request.

Terry
v8ornot2v8
Wow guys, thanks for all of the advice. Looks like I got all the right people posting! I apprecaite the tidbits.
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