Published on February 25th, 2014 | by Greg0
Bad Elf GPS Pro: Shareable, Bluetooth True GPS
Smartphones and tablets are fantastic travel companions… but any serious adventurer will quickly find their limits. Thanks to a need to conserve battery life and reduce size and cost, few models out there include true GPS receivers. Google and Apple maps get their data in a few ways, thanks to other options like cell tower triangulation as well as wireless network data- hence the message you’ll probably be familiar with indicating that location accuracy is improved when wi-fi is turned on.
There are plenty of great things about GPS, but the most important is that it works where the other things don’t- on the water, way up in the air, in jungles and forests and mountains where cell signal is a distant memory. The Bad Elf GPS Pro is a Bluetooth-capable GPS device that gives your iOS devices an instant additional feature. You can share the same receiver with up to five other devices simultaneously.
The manufacturer lists a few likely markets and targets for these capabilities- jet and recreational pilots, sailors and boaters. Because it also works as a GPS logger on it’s own, it’s also easy to take on longer bike trips where you might want a record of your travels. While your smartphone’s battery might die, the Bad Elf offers up to 32 hours of life. We took it out for a few rides and liked the bright backlighting and decently-sized screen- it isn’t meant for automotive use and doesn’t offer color or a lot of detail on-screen, but gets the job done in the field.
The Bad Elf GPS Pro is rugged too- we dropped it a couple of times to no obvious harm, and it’s IPX4 certified splash-proof so will brush off light water and rain. With a weight of only 90 grams, you won’t notice it in your pack either. As with most GPS receivers, they do take a little time to get a position lock, and it will depend on conditions- canyons and tree cover will slow that time down. Perfect for geocaching use, Android users should feel left out- this is the best GPS unit in this class, and it’s also quite reasonably priced, at around $150 online.