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Appeared on: Friday, June 06, 2008
Qstarz BT-Q1000P GPS


1. Features, specifications

Not many years ago, Global position systems (aka GPS) were found only on professional, high-end equipment. Today, we use them in our everyday life, mainly installed in our cars. We all want to know where we stand in terms of navigation and of course third party applications like Google Earth further enhance our navigation experience by simply Geotagging our home or other places of an interest. Qstarz is a new company that offers several GPS products and today we have in our hands the Q1000 Platinum, which is actually a combo device: a GPS locator and a GPS logger.

The Qstarz Q1000P is a total solution GPS receiver with Bluetooth wireless transmitting ability, designed based on next generation indoors GPS technology with high sensitivity at -158dBm and low power (<80mA) consumption.

This system is designed to provide unbelievable positioning sensitivity allowing you to have easy and quick position fix in urban canyon conditions.

The device can be also used in various positioning applications such as car navigation, mapping, surveying, security, agriculture and so on.

The Q1000P communicates with other electronic devices through the wireless Bluetooth technology. It acquires 51 satellites in parallel when cold start, and displays the 8 highest signals for power saving purpose. In addition, is supports the WAAS+EGNOS+MSAS protocols for further position accuracy.

- Features

  1. Adopt MTK chipset with high sensitivity -158dBm and 51-Channel tracking

  2. Lower power consumption up to 32hrs for travel recording

  3. Stand-Alone travel recorder to log up to 200,000 records

  4. Easily switch Travel Recorder to NAV mode or LOG mode (Navigation + Log)

  5. Support Multi-mode setting to record data (Vehicle, Bicycle, Jog)

  6. Support button push manually to memorize your location immediately

  7. Fast Position Fix ,Cold start 36s, Warm start 33s,Hot start 1s

  8. Auto On-Off function for smart power control

  9. Personal/Portable Navigation (PDA, Smartphone, PC, etc.)

  10. WAAS+EGNOS+MSAS support

- Chipset inside

The Qstarz Q1000P uses MediaTek's GPS module, which has rather good specifications

GPS Chip MTK GPS Module
Frequency L1, 1575.42MHz
C/A Code 1.023MHz chip rate
Channels 51 CH performance tracking
Antenna (Intemal) Built-in patch antenna with LNA
Sensitivity
Tracking -158 dBm
Acquisition Rate
Cold Start 36 sec, average
Warm Start 33 sec, average
Hot Start 1 sec, average
Reacquisition < 1 sec.
Power
Built-in rechargeable Li-ion battery
Input Voltage Vin: DC 3.0-5.0V
Backup Voltage DC 1.2 ± 10%
Charging time 3hrs. (Typical)
Environmental
Operating Temperature -10 ℃ to + 60 ℃
Storage Temperature -20 ℃ to + 60 ℃
Charging 0 ℃ to + 45 ℃
Accuracy (none DGPS)
Position Without aid: 3.0m 2D-RMS <3m CEP(50%) without SA(horizontal) DGPS (WAAS, EGNOS, MSAS, RTCM): 2.5m
Velocity Without aid: 0.1m/s, DGPS(WAAS, EGNOS, MSAS, RTCM):0.05m/s
Time 50 ns RMS
Datum WGS-84
Dynamic Conditions  
Altitude <18,000m
Velocity <515m/sec
Acceleration <4g
Update 1Hz as default (Up to 5Hz -optional)
Interface  
Bluetooth V1.2 compliant (SPP profile)
Class 2 (15 meters in open space)
Frequency: 2.4~2.4835 GHz
Power On/Off Slide switch
Power Charge Mini USB
GPS Protocol NMEA-0183 (V3.01) – GGA, GSA,GSV, RMC(default); VTG, GLL(Optional) , Baud rate 115200 bps, Data bit : 8, stop bit : 1(Default)
Device Size 72.2 (L) X 46.5 (W) X 20 (H) mm
USB Bridge  
Standard Fully Compliant with USB2.0 (12Mbps)

2. Inside the package

The current price of the product is around ~$100, as found in online stores.

 

For our testing purposes, Qstarz sent us the retail package that includes:

On the top of the black-colored device there are three leds indicating the different operation states of the device. The bigger red button shown in the picture below should be used to record POI (point of interest). The bottom side is covered with rubber to make sure the device is stable on the car's dashboard.

The three main leds light up when the device is ON. Below you can see a description of the various LED indications.

The power on/off switch is placed on the left side of the device. Moving the switch enables either the NAV or the NAV+LOG functions.

The right side includes a mini USB jack for battery charging when connected to a PC.

The included Li-Ion battery is rated at 3.7V /1100mAh.

 


3. Installation, Software

Charging the device via the miniUSB port is the first step you should take before actually using it. This means that the device should be connected to your PC and install the included drivers. These special drivers can be also downloaded at from Qstarz's website.

The next step is to install the software. The device is not directly accessible through so you Windows and you need to get the latest version of the Qstarz Travel Recorder (v4.1) software. This would give you access to all the features the device offers. In sort, the software offers:

The latest version of the software (v4.1) was released in April 2008.

In the configuration panel you can choose between autoscan or manual scan for GPS modes, choose the appropriate log setting according to the use of the device (car, bike, pedestrian) and of course set the so-called "log criteria", which set the intervals between the continuous log operations. A data memory progress bar shows the memory used.

Uploading a route to the Travel Recorder utility is very easy. Through the support for Google Earth you can have a very good idea of the selected track and your position around the globe.

There are various other tabs that users can play with, like get graphs for the speed/altitude of the selected course:

Geotagging is also available supported by the Qstarz Q1000P.


4. Using the device

For comparison, we put the new Qstarz Q1000P and the Globalsat BT-338 side by side. Both GPS receivers were installed on an Asus A6JA laptop, via BT protocol. Each device has its own Serial port mapping under Windows. We placed the two GPS receivers side by side at the dashboard of an Audi A4 2004 model. The tests were done under the same environmental conditions (night, clear skies, 25° C ).

We recorded the data for a pre-selected route with VisualGPS and then we analyzed it with GPSLog. We couldn't measure the TTFF tests ("Time to First Fix" which is the time it takes for a GPS to determine its current position), since there is not such software available compatible with Windows.

 
Globalsat BT-338
Qstarz Q1000P
Fix
Invalid
0
0
2D
0
0

3D

100

100

Satellites
Average (in view)
10.69
10.78
Average (in use)
7.82
7.70
Average Signal Level (in dB)
Maximum per Satellite
46.38
48.22
Average per Satellite
38.05
38.56

The Qstarz Q1000P had a very good performance in this test, almost as good as the Globalsat BT-338. While we couldn't measure the TTFF times, we did notice that the BT GPS was able to quickly get a 3D Fix. The Average Signal levels are slightly higher than those we got with the BT-338, by 0.5dB. The device was also strong in constantly tracking 10.78 satellites, using 7.70 of them (average values). Lastly, it never lost its 3D fix getting a perfect 100% score.

Passing both roots at Google Earth, we can notice that darker line (Qstarz Q1000P) is smoother in the turns (corners) while the light blue line (BT-338) has sharper.

- Indoor Sensitivity

We placed both receivers inside a house close to a big window. The Qstarz Q1000p had a 3D fix, using 8 satellites, whereas the Globalsat BT-338 had also 3D fix with 5 satellites in use.

- Overall impressions

The Qstarz Q1000P proved to be a very capable BT GPS receiver with very good performance in either indoors or outdoors tests. The reception levels were more or less the same as the Globalsat's BT-338, and some times even better. It seems that the Qstarz Q1000P is more sensitive for indoor use. Too bad there isn't an option for connecting an external antenna and further boosts the device's abilities.


5. Conclusions

The Qstarz Q1000P is a combo device, matching a very capable BT GPS receiver and at the same time a GPS logger with over 200.000 points of onboard memory. The device uses the MediaTek GPS chipset which in our tests, matched the performance of the famous SiRF III and even surpassed it in several cases. The build-in battery keeps the device on for approximately 10hours, while there is no option for external antenna. We also found very useful the standby mode, which turns the device into a hibernate mode after 4 minutes of continuous signal seeking without results. This saves battery resources, while the device automatically power on as soon as it finds strong BT signal.

The retail package is more than complete including several charging cables/adapters and of course the essential software to upload your logged tracks. The Travel Recorder software v4.1 has a user friendly and interface and will help you analyze your driving/biking/walking skills/routes. Priced at ~$100, the device is highly recommended to all those who need a combo device for their GPS needs.

The Positive

The Negative



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