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Home > Hardware Reviews > Mobiles

Friday, January 13, 2006
GlobalSat BT-338, SD-502 and BC-337

2. GlobalSat BT-338

The BT-338 model is currently the most famous Globalsat product. The model was announced in March of 2005 and is a Bluetooth GPS device that can be paired with PDAs, laptops or even smartphones.

The BT-338 works under Windows, Mac, Palm, Pocket PC or Symbian! Supporting the NMEA data protocol output, the BT-338 can be used with any mapping, navigation, marine, aviation or topo software on the market.

- Features

1.SiRF Star III WAAS enabled high performance and low power consumption chipset
2.Communication with Host platform Via Bluetooth Serial Port Profile
3.Built-in ceramic patch antenna
4.Superior sensitivity for urban canyon and foliage environment
5.3 LEDs for power, GPS and Bluetooth status
6.Operation time: 17 hours in continuous mode
7.Bluetooth operation range: 10 metres

The embedded Star III 20-channel chipset from SiRF provides a quicker Time-To-Fix (TTF) and higher satellite sensitivity, that can translate into greater accuracy for your software applications. Another major plus of the BT-338 is its removable Li-ion battery (1700mAh) that can operate continuously from a full charge for over 15 hours. The current price of the product is around US$143.99, as listed at the USGlobalsat website.

For our testing purposes, GlobalSat sent us the retail package that includes: the BT-338 GPS receiver itself, a protective carry case, an AC charger, a 12VDC car charger and finally, a CD-ROM with the corresponding software and user's manual.

The contents of the retail package are shown below:

Looking at the device, on the top we have the power switch, which needs to be pressed for 1 second to turn the device on or off.


On the left hand side (see photo below), we have the power-in jack, which is protected by a rubber cover.


On the rear, we can see the model ID, the SN, standards compliance, etc...


Removing the battery cover, you can gain access to the Li-Ion battery:


As mentioned in the features list above, there are three LEDs that indicate various conditions, described below.

If the device is turned on and there is no Bluetooth connectivity with any device within 10 minutes, the BT-338 will turn off automatically, to maximize standby time. You don't need to worry about closing the BT-338 either, only to power it up! Its power consumption is low - in standby: 110 mA ~ 120 mA, while in operation:  130 mA ~ 140 mA.

The external dimensions of the BT-338 are 72.5mm x 40.4mm x 23mm with a weight of 75gr, making it truly portable and you can carry it with you always in case it's needed! The protective carrying case helps too.

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