The BT-358 Bluetooth GPS Review
As mentioned above the BT-359 is the third generation of Bluetooth GPS receivers from the GlobalSat stable. There are two models available the GlobalSat BT-359W and the BT-359S. There is no difference between these receivers other than exterior styling. The "W" stands for wave (the GPS receiver reviewed here) and the "S" is for the solar design. My preference is the wave styling.
It is interesting to compare the size of the GlobalSat BT-359 with it's predecessor the BT-338. You can see from these images to the right that the BT-359 is about a quarter of an inch longer than the BT-338. Both of the devices are the same width, but the BT-359 is almost half the depth of the BT-338.
This difference in depth makes the new GlobalSat much more suitable for slipping in a pocket, without unsightly bulges. It will slip right into your shirt pocket and you wont realise that it is there.
I don't have any accurate scales to weigh the GPS receivers, but certainly in the hand the BT-359 feels considerably lighter.
The main new feature of the GlobalSat BT-539 is the design of the receiver. As mentioned above there are two designs for the casing, which move the GPS receivers from the realms of Techno Devices to fashionable electronics with street cred... This is the type of device that youngsters would like to have to complement their trendy mobile phones.
The wave design is on multi levels giving the graphics a slightly blurred or shadow effect. It looks good in real life but is quite difficult to photograph.
The underside of the BT-359 has a removable battery cover which is surrounded by a non-slip rubber ring.
On one edge of the GlobalSat BT-359 there is an attachment for a lanyard (not supplied) and the power connector.
The power connector is very conveniently a mini USB connector. This seems to be an emerging standard for GPS receivers now. It is certainly very convenient as all modern PCs have USB ports and I suppose that it also represents an overall cost saving for the manufacturers as they no longer provide a mains power supply.
What is supplied in the box is a car charger with a USB socket, and a USB cable. This setup makes for a flexible powering solution. Plug the cable into your PC and you can charge the GPS directly from the PC. Note that the cable does not provide data signals so the GPS cannot be used as a wired GPS. If you should need to charge the receiver whilst away from a PC on the road then you can plug in the car adapter and the USB cable fits into the socket on there.
There is no indication if the car adapter is 12 volt or 12-24 volt. Therefore it may not be possible to use it in a lorry. I must confess that I have not had a requirement to use any in-car charging as the battery life of the GPS is more than adequate for the traveling I do.
Staying on the subject of power but moving to the battery. The BT-359 comes with a removable 1300mAh battery which GlobalSat claim gives 11 hours of continuous operation. Looking at the images to the right you can see that most of the GPS receiver is not electronic wizardry, but is actually the battery. In fact is is quite amazing how little space there is for the GPS and Bluetooth components in the receiver.
GlobalSat have incorporated a feature to save battery drainage from people like me who leave the GPS switched on after you arrive at your destination. If the receiver does not detect a connection then it will automatically power itself off after 10 minutes of inactivity.