F-Tech's Solar 2.5MR GPS device is unique, combining the strengths of the MediaTek MT3 GPS chipset with a built-in solar charger. According to F-Tech's website, there's also a SiRF III version available (which we didn't test). The MediaTek version, powered by the solar panel, should operate for up to twice as long as the SiRF III version, since it consumes about half the power. We are not very sure how long the MediaTek version can operate for, since the solar panel offers extra operating time, and is especially effective in full sunlight.
Looking at performance and in comparison to the SiRF Star III based Globalsat BT-338, the Globalsat BT-338 was found to have higher reception signal levels but lower number of satellites. The MediaTek MT3 chipset appears to be powerful enough to compete with the SiRF Star III chipsets, but the unfortunately there's no software that could be used to further tune the GPS device's performance. The addition of an external antenna will further improve reception levels. The price for the F-Tech Solar 2.5MR is around US$80-90.00 making it a very affordable and attractive solution for end users.
- MediaTek MT3 Chipset powered
- Good size and dimensions
- Good retail package
- Car charger is included
- Very good performance
- External antenna can be connected (optional cable)
- Device turns off after 30mins of inactivity
- Solar panel improves overall battery performance
- Device can be powered by participial light
- Doesn't support any automatic power on mode
- Somewhat lower performance compared with SiRF StarIII chipset (Globalsat BT-338)
- There's no special software to unlock the device's special features (pedestrian use)