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  1.    #1  
    For the time being I happen to have both setups running simultaneously and thought I'd type up a few of my observations.

    I have been using the i.Trek serial GPS/Treo600/Mapopolis combo for the last year and it has served me very well.

    The i.Trek serial GPS is a small mouse-type 12-channel GPS that uses the SiRF StarII/LP Low Power Chipset. It acquires satellite data fast and only has sensitivity problems in the deepest recesses of downtown Chicago.

    It is small enough to not be bothersome sitting on the dash of your car and has a small red LED status light that tells when it is sending data to your Treo.

    It also has a strong magnet on the back if you want to mount it to a metal surface but I usually just let it rest on the dash.

    The package from Semsons ( ) comes with a vent mount that I use, and a combo charger/serial cable for the Treo600.

    What I really like about the serial GPS combo is that there is a single cable combination that does three important things:

    1-Charges your Treo600 while you drive
    2-Provides serial GPS data to the Treo600
    3-Powers the GPS

    The Treo650 Bluetooth package I've put together is a bit different.

    I am using the new i.Trek Bluetooth GPS (NEMERIX chipset). It is capable of tracking 16 satellites simultaneously versus the 12 channels on the i.Trek serial GPS. The big advantage of the NEMERIX chipset is its low power usage and i.Trek claims a 20-hour battery life - almost twice what other BT GPS units can do. It also comes with a wall charger and a car charger - nice.

    The weather wasn't so great for seeing satellites yesterday but it did seem like the BT i.Trek was able to track one or two more satellites than the serial i.Trek. The most that I could see at any one time was 9.

    To get Mapopolis to work on the Treo650 I had to get a patch form them. Their support is excellent and Lamar emailed me the patch within an hour after I asked. He has been very very helpful. I wish some other companies have such great feedback and support....

    Pairing the BT GPS with the Treo650 is about as simple as it gets. Turn on the i.Trek and it automatically goes into discovery mode with the blue LED flashing. Set the GPS Settings dialog in Mapopolis to "Use Bluetooth Connection" and it automatically launches the Palm Bluetooth finder, the i.Trek GPS shows up right away as "BT GPS", select it and you are off and running.

    I set up routes navigating around Chicago with voice prompts running on both. In general the BT/650 combo was a few seconds faster notifying me of upcoming turns than the serial/600 combo however most of the time they were almost simultaneous. Once or twice the BT/650 combo would prompt me and the serial/600 would miss the prompt. This may be due to the faster processor in the Treo650 or better GPS performance with the NEMERIX chipset.

    Clearly the BT connection is plenty fast for GPS communication and if anything it performed slightly better than the serial GPS.

    I did notice a few small problems with the patched version of Mapopolis for the Treo650 that they are working on and I expect to have solved in the next few weeks.

    When driving, listening to voice prompts and glancing at the directions window, the two packages work equally well. The enhanced screen resolution on the Treo650 is a huge bonus when you can stop and look closely at the screen. The small fonts on the 320x320 display are difficult to see when just glancing at the maps while driving.

    So in summary -

    The i.Trek BT GPS performs as well if not better than the i.Trek serial GPS

    Setup and BT pairing with the i.Trek/Treo650/Mapopolis combo is simple and works.

    20 hour claimed battery life with the i.Trek BT GPS is the best in the field right now, but with the serial GPS you never have to worry about it.

    The combo cable that comes with the serial GPS is great for keeping your Treo600 charged while you drive and powering the GPS. It is a bit cumbersome keeping your Treo600 tethered while you remove it form the mount to plot a new route, and Mapopolis doesn't like it if the cable accidentally pops out while you are navigating.

    The cable-free i.Trek BT GPS/Treo650 keeps down the clutter inside your car and can easily be moved to another car, bike, boat etc. 20 hours is plenty of battery life in the GPS for most day trips and the Treo650 has a long battery life too. Again, the i.Trek BT GPS comes with a car charger but I would also recommend getting one for the Treo650.

    Hope you find this useful.
  2. #2  
    Thanks for the taking the time to put this information together!
  3. #3  
    Thank you for your review! I have two questions:

    - Did you experience receiving a call while using the 650 for navigation? If so, how did it go? I've experienced the problems I described here.

    - How much did you pay for the iTrek BT GPS receiver?

    Thank you.
  4.    #4  
    Silverado - and I thought things were going so well with the Treo650 and the BT GPS....I realized that I didn't get any calls when I was testing the two so I tried it here at home. Same problem. You pick up the call, BT gets interrupted, soft reset required to get them talking again.

    Considering all of the problems I've had with a Jabra BT-250 and the Treo I think Palm has their work cut out for them to fix the Bluetooth in the Treo650.

    The i.Trek BT GPS was on special a few weeks ago for around $110, now I think it lists for $130 which is a very fair price.
  5. #5  
    The same thing is happening with reverse DUN using Bluetooth - when a call comes in it screws up the setup.

    The only solution I know of for both problems is to delete all trusted headsets It's by no means a real solution, but it at least makes things work when you're on a trip. Basically what's going on is that the Treo interrupts any ongoing Bluetooth connection when a call comes to clear the way for a headset to pick up. With no trusted headsets, the BT connection continues without a problem.

    I guess it's back to a wired headset when using GPS.
  6. #6  
    Quote Originally Posted by stineb
    For the time being I happen to have both setups running simultaneously and thought I'd type up a few of my observations.

    Stineb, Excellent review and very much appreciated!

    Also, you mentioned that mapopolis required a patch to work on the Treo 650? Can you comment if the NVFS of the 650 was a problem? Specifically, was map loading slow? Were the max size of maps possible to load dramatically reduced in the 650 compared to the 600? Thanks!
    aka Gfunkmagic

    Current device: Palm Pre
    Device graveyard: Palm Vx, Cassiopeia E100, LG Phenom HPC, Palm M515, Treo 300, Treo 600, Treo 650, Treo 700p, Axim X50v, Treo 800w

    Please don't PM me about my avatar. For more info go here.

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  7. #7  
    Actually, I asked Semsons. They say they'll have the wire for the Treo 650 in a few more weeks. Then you can use it just like you used to on the 600 plus take calls on the BT headset.

    The only downside is you can only use it in the car, but I've never used it walking anyway.

    And the upside of having the whole shebang powered (the GPS and the Treo simultaneously) so you don't use any battery is great.

    I'm just switching to the upgraded cable next month.
  8.    #8  
    Hey gfunkmagic -

    Route generation is faster in the 650 than the 600. I should have pointed that out. With the Chicago maps which are quite dense, you have to go to the Nav menu and check "Quick route (less exhaustive)". It dramatically speeds up the route generation on both the 600 and 650 but the 650 still wins the race.

    The patch sets display resolution to 320x320. I don't know what else it does.

    Nice meeting you at the Road Show.
  9. #9  
    Quote Originally Posted by gfunkmagic
    Stineb, Excellent review and very much appreciated!

    Also, you mentioned that mapopolis required a patch to work on the Treo 650? Can you comment if the NVFS of the 650 was a problem? Specifically, was map loading slow? Were the max size of maps possible to load dramatically reduced in the 650 compared to the 600? Thanks!
    I, too, have the modified version of Mapopolis for the 650. Everything is faster on the 650. The hi resolution maps are soo much better. To my understanding, this fixes display issues and allows hi-res support... haven't heard of NVFS issues and I did use plain old version 2.0 on the 650 with only display issues.
  10. #10  
    Hi, folks,

    One problem with the Treo 650 and Mapopolis has been identified. If you try to load too many maps and do a SEARCH for an address ANYWHERE, it will cause the cache file in RAM to swell more rapidly than the program realizes. This may ultimately produce a spontaneous crash and reset.

    It is easily avoided, however. By tapping "Anywhere" or "Within 50 miles of Map Center," the program will take you to the Select Area screen where one can enter the name of the place or the zip code within which one wishes to search.

    This drastically limits the search area, and thus the uncontrolled growth of the cache file. Mapopolis continues to recommend that a one to four ratio of free RAM to megs of maps loaded is optimal. Until palmOne repairs the VFS system, however, we will not be recommending EVER using ANYWHERE as a search target when more than one or two maps are loaded.
  11. #11  
    Thanks for the review.

    I have a question on the BT/GPS. It says it's a user replaceable 850 mAh battery at the Semson's site ( Thus it would seem reasonable to me that someone might make a 1800-1900 mAh battery (like in the Treo) that could last for 40-48 hours. Do you know if it's a proprietary battery format or anything? Obviously, it's not likely to take the same type of battery as the Treo 650, but replacements for those are fairly cheap on eBay. If something is in the cost area, it would be of interest to me.
  12.    #12  
    The battery is a Li-polymer 3.7V 850mAh battery that is a little smaller than the Treo650 battery and about 1/3 as thick. It is branded as WellPower (TM).

    It looks like a cell phone battery. I'd have to dig up my caliper to tell you the exact dimensions.

    There are three contacts on the end + / ground / -

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