Sunday, July 10, 2011

Dual XGPS251 Review


IMG_1889I am a proud iPod Touch owner and a casual geocacher. Our Magellan Triton 400 has seen it's better days despite the fact that it came out just not too long ago. Even though the Triton family is attractive in both price and capabilities, I don't recommend it. One of the main features that the iPod Touch does lack is GPS capability. Suffer no more iPod Touch owners, Dual has come to the rescue with their XGPS251 cradle for iPod Touch!

The box contents include the cradle, mini USB cable, headphone patch cable for car use, car charger, manuals and car dock.


IMG_1897To start things off, the cradle has a soft plastic feel to it. Sort of like microfiber. The cradle is about the thickness of the iPod touch 4th generation and fits well in the hand along with being very light. I have quite big hands so that could be part of it. On the back side of the cradle (shown on left) you will find a speaker, battery meter, mode switch and of course the Dual logo. The mode switch has three modes: GPS, Off and Battery. The speaker is clearly louder than the one built into the iPod Touch 4th Generation but isn't much better quality. If you're looking to use the speaker for spoken directions, Skype calls and such, this is a perfect device. If you are a speaker junkie, you aren't going to like the speaker at all. I know those of you who have previous generation generation iPod Touches probably perked up when you hIMG_1885eard me mention making Skype calls with this, I will verify that it is possible with the built in microphone on the front of the cradle. On the bottom of the cradle (shown on right), you will find your headphone and USB jacks . The kit includes a mini USB cable for charging your iPod and cradle while also syncing your iPod with your computer. The headphone jack is just a pass through from the one on the iPod itself. The front of the cradle is where you slide your iPod into place. There is a 30 pin dock connector at the bottom just waiting for your iPod. There are some volume buttons

on the front of the cradle also, for quick access while driving as your iPod volume rocker may be obstructed.

As for the GPS itself, it works just the same as the iPod Touch's big brother, the iPhone would work. Any location aware app on the iPod Touch is compatible with this cradle. Even the Maps app on the iPod Touch plays flawlessly with the iPod Touch. The GPS usually gets a fix within a minute with a clear sky and little to no movement. And once the cradle has a GPS fix, it's stays locked, even inside buildings and under heavy tree cover. Despite what most of the apps say in terms of accuracy, the GPS gets usually 10 foot accuracy or below with a clear view of the sky. Very good for a GPS. All of the apps I use say 32 foot accuracy, all the time. I think it is way below that though. When I took my iPIMG_1886od Touch geocaching with this, it got way more accurate than needed for the sport. When I used the iPod for turn by turn navigation with CoPilot Live, it also preformed seamlessly.

Dual even released a list of apps that can be used with the iPod Touch and the cradle. Since the iPod doesn't have a cellular data connection, all of the information in these apps has to be stored for offline use. Nice job Dual!

As for the various modes that the cradle has, it can charge your iPod off of the built in battery or run the GPS. The GPS itself causes no battery drain on the iPod as it runs off of the built in battery also. Unfortunately, you can't charge your iPod and use the GPS at the same time unless you plug the cradle into the car dock.

What really makes the Dual XGPS251 a great contender in the GPS market is the fact that it has so much functionality since there are so many different apps in the app store that do so many different things. You can take your pick on what you want your iPod to do.

If you are looking for a GPS receiver or navigation system and have an iPod Touch, look no farther! As of now, the XGPS251 is available on Amazon for $90.

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