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Home > Hardware Reviews > Mobiles

Monday, April 03, 2006
F-Tech Solar 7

4. The Tests

- Tests Day One

We tested the device with a Dell Axim X50v. We recorded all data for a pre-selected route with VisualGPSce (free edition) and later analyzed it with GPSLog. In order to measure the TTFF tests ("Time to First Fix" which is the time it takes for a GPS to determine its current position), we used GPSInfo "Cold Start" function. All tests ran continuously, under the same environmental conditions (night, clear sky, 2.5° C ) and all installed in an Audi, model A4 2004.

Globalsat BT-338 F-Tech Solar 7
Time to First Fix (TTFF) Secs 38 sec 45.25 sec
Fix Invalid 0 0
2D 0 0

3D

100 100
Satellites Average (in view) 8 9
Average (in use) 5.19 4.94
Average Signal Level (in dB) Maximum per Satellite 47.33 46.20
Average per Satellite 38.43 36.87

The F-Tech Solar 7 showed typical behaviour for a SiRF III powered GPS receivers. Quick TTFF times and good reception strength. Unfortunately, the device cannot reach the BT-338, not only in size but also in performance.

- Tests Day Two (Pedestrian use)

We tested the device with a Dell Axim X50v. We recorded all data for a pre-selected route with VisualGPSce (free edition) and later analyzed it with GPSLog. All tests ran continuously, under the same environmental conditions (day time, clear sky, 20° C ) carried along with us. For this test we enabled the "Static Navigation" on the GlobalSat BT-338.

  Globalsat BT-338 F-Tech Solar 7
Fix Invalid 0 0
2D 0 0

3D

100 100
Satellites Average (in view) 8 8
Average (in use) 5 4.94
Average Signal Level (in dB) Maximum per Satellite 45.00 43.00
Average per Satellite 35.73 34.45
Speed (km/h) Minimum 1.06 1.58
Maximum 6.23 7.01

Despite the fact that the F-Tech Solar 7 is a SiRF III based unit, all used software couldn't switch to SiRF mode and hence we couldn't set static navigation on. Which can be considered as a disadvantage, compared with other SiRF III devices.

- Tests Day Three (External Antenna)

We tested the device with a Dell Axim X50v. We recorded all data for a pre-selected route with VisualGPSce (free edition) and later analyzed it with GPSLog. All tests ran continuously, under the same environmental conditions (night, clear sky, 2.5° C ) and all installed in an Audi, model A4 2004. This time, we had installed an external antenna to the device to see if it would make any difference, compared with the standard, without external antenna version.

  F-Tech Solar 7 F-Tech Solar 7 + antenna
Fix Invalid 0 0
2D 0 0

3D

100 100
Satellites Average (in view) 9 9
Average (in use) 4.94 4.83
Average Signal Level (in dB) Maximum per Satellite 46.20 49.40
Average per Satellite 36.87 39.19

The external antenna improved the receive signal (max/average) levels, but didn't seem to improve the average in use satellites.

- Tests Day Four (Indoor Sensitivity)

We placed both receivers inside a house, close to a big window and monitored their performance. The F-Tech Solar 7 had a 3D fix, having in view 8 and in use 4 satellites, where as the Globalsat BT-338 also had 3D fix with 7 in view and 5 in use satellites.

- Overall impressions

The F-Test Solar 7 device showed typical SiRF III performance, without reaching Globalsat's BT-338 performance. The external antenna will improve the overall reception levels. What troubled us is the fact that the device cannot switch to SiRF mode, which offers many advanced options and features to the user. While this probably won't worry average users, it should be something to note.




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