i-gotU GT-600 GPS Travel & Sports Logger Reviewed
A hands on look at the i-gotU GT-600 USB GPS travel and sports logger, a powerful little photo geotagger and GPS receiver
What is the i-Got U GT-600?
This is the third in the line of pocket GPS taggers from Mobile Action. We looked at the basic model, the GT-100, in Show 29 of our Tech Podcast, but here we're looking at the top-of-the-range GT-600.
Essentially, this is a GPS receiver powered by a rechargeable battery. You switch it on, and it captures your position (using GPS) every few seconds, storing that information to the built-in memory. Carry it with you when you're out, and you have a record of where you visited and when.
Why do I need one?
Here are a few reasons why you might want a GPS logger:
- Fitness freak: Biking, hiking, jogging, skiing... Look at your exercise route - see what speed you were doing (average and maximum), how far you traveled, total time and even your altitude. Store each session and compare results
- Photographer: Use the i-Got U for photo geo-tagging. Set your camera's time and date, go out with your logger and snap away. When you're back at base, sync your photos and GPS data to get a record of where you were when each photo was taken
- Traveller: Off trekking, hiking or off-roading? Share details of your trip with your friends and family at home - where were you today? How far have you travelled? All uploaded to a website and overlaid onto street or satellite maps, with your day's photos
- Navigator: When the logger is plugged into a PC, it acts as a satellite receiver, so you can use your laptop as a sat-nav, route-finder or locator
- Big Brother: Stick a logger on your dog's collar, kid's schoolbag or in your car. As long as the receiver can see the sky, it'll log timestamped positions for you to review later
What does the i-GotU GT600 do?
- Built-in GPS receiver
- Rechargeable battery
- Motion-detector to conserve battery power
- Holds 262,000 records
- Fully customisable capture settings
- Supplied with @trip software, Sports Analyser and GPS receiver drivers
- Water resistant
There are three i-gotU units in the range:
i-GotU GT-600 UK Review
Supplied in a fold-out plastic package, the GT-600 is a small, white box which what appears to be a single button and a four-connector socket - a deceptively simple box about half the width of a credit card.
Supplied with the unit, you'll find a mini-CD of software, a USB connection cable and a small velcro strap.
i-gotU GT600 pack
The GT-600 is designed to be out in the fresh air, and using it is very simple. Turn the unit on by holding down the only button for a couple of seconds - a hidden LED will confirm that it's on. Then, go out and do your thing - walk, jog, bike, drive, etc.
When you're done, go home, plug into your PC and use the @trip software to download where you've been.
The software supplied has three key applications:
This is the flagship application. It'd designed to import trip information from your device and package it into a record of that trip. There are two parts, the @Trip PC application, for creating a trip, then the @Trip viewer, for sharing your trip data.
Creating your trip is straightforward - the imported data is automatically overlaid onto a map (you can choose a Street, Aerial or hybrid view). If you're using the service to the full, then you can add your photos. As digital camera have built-in clocks, provided your camera is set to the right time, you can snap away, import your photos into @Trip and it will show where and when each photo was taken - automatically. Great if you're travelling and want to show off your progress to family and friends.
Once your trip is complete - upload it to @trip's server, and your online followers can download the IMF file and view your entire trip for themselves. You can see other's world adventures on the @Trip site at www.a-trip.com
The @Trip trip creator application
Trip creation and sharing is surprisingly easy, and a must for those into travelling, trekking and snapping.
Your trips can be viewed on Google Maps and Google Earth. You can also use it with photo services Flikr and Picassa (there's auto upload), as well as share your trip with Facebook, Digg and Twitter.
If you're into your fitness, you'll be impressed with the activity analyser application that's supplied with the i-GotU. It's designed to monitor performance for cycling, running, climbing, skiing, golfing, boating and horse riding, but can be used for other motion-sports.
Import a trip from your device, and you'll get to see a map of your route, one of a number of graphs, plus activity status, including duration, distance, average speed, maximum speed, moving time, average pace, start / end time and altitude. You can also see your calorie burn (you'll need to add your gender, height and weight)
i-GotU Sports Analyser summary view
Real-time GPS Receiver
Hook the iGot-U up to a PC's USB port, and you can find out exactly where you are. Fire up the "Where am I" application, and you're given the option to show your position in Google Maps, Yahoo Maps or Bing Maps
Obviously, Google Maps is the mapping solution of choice for most of us, but don't dismiss Bing Maps, as for us, we found a bird's-eye view of our location - far more detailed that your average satellite, and with a 360 degree rotate!
Current location overlaid onto a birds-eye Bing Map
The GT-600 is a well made product. The unit has a flexible rubber outer coating with skits at the back for easy mounting on a strap (e.g. a bike, armband, backpack, etc). It's water resistant, and very easy to use, with two commands - turn on by pressing the button for 2 seconds, and the same to turn it off.
You can take greater control and change the default settings via the @Trip application when the GT-600 is docked to the PC. You can change the logging frequency, enable Smart Tracking (which logs more frequently if you're going at speed), plus some power saving options including Motion Detection.
For this review, we took the GT-600 on a number of trips - some by car, a couple on a bike, and a few journeys on foot. We went out with our other favourite GPS device, the Garmin GPS watch, so allow us to compare GPS reception results.
In general, the GT-600 performed very well, even in built-up areas where the receiver may have had trouble getting clear line-of-site. On a couple of occasions, we noticed an apparent location 'jump' on the map, where we can only assume the signal wasn't quite good enough for a precise lock, however there's an option labeled "Optimize track waypoints" in the software settings which helps to eliminate mis-reads from your trip.
We found satellite lock to be very fast, as you'd expect from a SiRF Star III chipset device - quoted acquision time from cold is less than 35 seconds.
We're very happy to recommend the GT-600, as well as the other two trackers in the range, the basic GT-120 (the smallest in the fleet, with no motion-detection) and the GT-200e (with Bluetooth ideal for mobiles). In the UK, you can track down the i-GotU range at maplin.co.uk
i-GotU GT-600 Specification
A quick overview of the GT-600 key specs:
- Dimensions: 46 x 42 x 14 mm
- GPS receiver: SiRF Star III 65nm low-power chipset
- Battery: 750mAh Li-ion rechargeable
- Charge time: 2 hours
- Memory: Hold 262,000 positions
Q. What do the lights do?
- Blue LED: Power on
- Blue and Red LED: GPS Logging
- Red LED: Power off, or battery low, or memory full
Q. What is the shortest logging interval that the 600 model may be set to?
- It looks like you can set a one second interval time - see screenshot:
Got a question on the i-GotU GT-600? Ask us!