Best Bluetooth & USB GPS receiver for ALL programs!
I've been searching for days now on laptopgpsworld, and now wondering: WHAT is the overall best Bluetooth and best USB receivers for all programs on a laptop?

I plan on having one of each receiver (don't ask!)

Have a Garmin iq3600 for years now and have used Mapsource and nRoute, but not with receivers hooked up to a laptop.

Know of Streets and trips, Delorme, nRoute, old Mapsource or new, and Garmin Mobile PC, but just can't determine - arggg - which way to go with what receivers work best with ALL programs on a laptop!

I like Garmin products, but also understand they can be pricey. Also interested in MobilePC but concerned with how either receiver might not work with other programs and would need to buy MobilePC WITH a receiver to be able to unlock Mapsource to work with it. BUT, do - would like to try - possibly get other programs to work with the receivers.

Yes, redundant, but the only way I can get the point across.

Have looked into garmin's gps 20x, the bu353, and many others, but JUST can't make up my mind.

Basically, want full, if possible, compatibility with all programs. Hope it's not asking to much.

I use an externally mounted BU-353 USB receiver in my truck. I haven't found any program that won't use it. I also use Franson GPSGate to share the signal between 2 programs on a daily basis, but have shared to as many as 5 at one time (plus sending my location to GPSGate's online tracker and the web-browser plugin).
Marvin Hlavac
Hi teresamarie, and welcome to the forums. Franson GPS Gate (software GPS signal splitter) will also make it possible for you to use Garmin USB GPS20x receiver (if you wanted to buy the Garmin Mobile PC w/GPS20x) with other non-Garmin GPS navigation software.
If you are interested in Garmin Mobile PC and think you might purchase other locked Garmin maps, get the version with the BT GPS10x. That will give you a device to unlock your maps to and works with all the other mapping programs as well. It will even work directly with nRoute if the maps are unlocked to it.

Otherwise GPSGate is the best solution to providing flexibilty.

Ken in Regina
Hi teresamarie,

I agree with Terry. If you want a top of the line Bluetooth receiver and like Garmin products and are interested in Mobile PC, get the Mobile PC bundled with the GPS10x.

I have the GPS10x and it works with MS Streets&Trips, MS Mappoint, DeLorme Street Atlas, iNav iGuidance, and Garmin's nroute and Mobile PC. And Garmin's Mobile XT on my Palm T|X. I'm sure it works with more. Those are just the ones I've tested with.

If you plan to mess with other nav programs like Streets&Trips and/or Street Atlas, you have a couple of options for a USB receiver. You can buy either Streets&Trips or Street Atlas bundled with a USB receiver. Or you can do as Malaki86 suggests and get the BU-353. It's a really nice receiver. It works a bit better than the Pharos-500 that comes with the American version of Streets&Trips and it has a nice strong magnetic base so you can use it on the outside of the vehicle if you wish to.

If you are in Canada, don't get the Streets&Trips bundle with USB receiver that is sold in Canada. It has a different USB receiver than the version sold in the United States. In my opinion, the receiver is not as good as the Pharos-500 that comes with the version sold in the US. I have not used the LT-40 receiver that comes with DeLorme Street Atlas but all comments I've heard were satisfied.

When comparing the construction quality and performance of the three USB receivers I have (Pharos-500 from US Streets&Trips, Navation-168 from Canadian Streets&Trips and the BU-353) there's really no comparison in my mind. Although the other two work fine, the build quality of the BU-353 makes the other two seem like toys and it performs a little better in difficult situations.

By the way, I've had my iQue 3600 for over five years and it's still my go-to nav device. I've been looking for something as good to replace her, ever since Garmin dropped support, but I still haven't found anything that can touch Betty for total overall usefulness. I have an external antenna for her so that makes her GPS performance almost equal to the new technology. This winter I found a heckuva deal on a 3600A (the aviation version) and I'm slowly switching over. I don't fly an airplane but it's a real hoot to turn on the VFR navigation screen and watch the bank/turn indicator when going around corners! :rofl"

Thank you all for your information. I ended up buying the Bu-353 and the Garmin Mobile PC with GPS 10x.

thank you

Certainly great choices!! Are you going to run 2 different laptops or is this for separate vehicles?

only one laptop, but in multiple vehicles. Mostly for our RV.
Recieved the mobilePC with the 10x. Nice little unit. Also got the BU-353. Also nice. Having setup problems with gpsgate and bluetooth passkey situation, but will get it all sorted out hopefully.
Don't hesitate to ask. We know lots about GPS Gate and Bluetooth.

I am new to this forum, and interested in Bluetooth with GPS. Can anyone provide additional links or tell me where I can get more information about BU-353, Mobile PC and gps10x?
The BU-353 is a great USB type GPS (not Bluetooth) made by GlobalSat. Mobile PC and the Bluetooth GPS10x are made by Garmin. The GPS 10x is a great all round unit usable by standard and Garmin mapping products. It is not the best choice price-wise unless you have a specific need to unlock Garmin maps.

Garmin Mobile PC is a navigation program for a laptop or netbook running Windows. The display is similar to the Garmin Nuvis but larger. It comes in 2 versions; software-only works with any GPS but you can't add locked maps; and a hardware version that includes a USB GPS20X or BT GPS10x.

For more information on the software, check out the appropriate forum.

Price, BT/USB interface and NMEA/Garmin protocol aside, which of the following GPSes has greater sensitivity and lesser start-up time? GlobalSat BU-353, Garmin GPS 10x and Garmin GPS20X. Personally, I am more into USB ones, but BT one would also do. Price is not the main issue (of course, it would not hurt to save a few $, either).
All 3 are SirfStar III devices and virtually equal. For USB, I would recommend the very good BU-353. The GPS20x is a Garmin-only device and not as well built. The GPS10x is a great all round device but it is Bluetooth.

If you eliminate all the things you suggested, it is difficult to decide amongst them.

Originally Posted by tcassidy
All 3 are SirfStar III devices and virtually equal. ...
How BU-353 compare to older Garmin GPS18 (USB) and current Garmin GPS18x (USB) as far as sensitivity and start-up time?
The BU-353 would be considerably faster and more sensitive than the GPS18. It was based on an older technology receiver. I think the GPS18x would be equivalent to the BU-353 but have not had an opportunity to test it. Both of the 18 series GPS are Garmin-only units if purchased in the USB format. That is, they will not work with other navigation programs without a helper such as GPS Gate.
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