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Old Dec 17, 2012, 01:05 AM   #1
kycophpd
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GPS for wifi iPad - review of Bad Elf Pro

I purchased the Bad Elf Pro GPS http://bad-elf.com/products/be-gps-2200/
for use on my iPad mini with wifi only. I originally planned on purchasing a mini with a data plan but thru work I received an iPhone 5 with tethering and unlimited data so in order to force myself to not get a data plan, I went with wifi only. I know you can use the iPad with cellular without getting a data plan and use the gps but it is Assisted GPS and I know I would end up getting frustrated with having to set up tethering each time I use it and get a data plan.

The hook up of the Bad Elf Pro could not be easier. There are only three buttons on the device. One handles power and lighting. The second handles bluetooth and the third the GPS signal. The real power to this thing is in the Bad Pro GPS app for iPhone or iPad. There you can make setting changes, update firmware or even log your trip for later export to wherever you need it. This GPS gives you more options than most other bluetooth GPS units.

I live on a large hill with lots of trees and usually have trouble with the Agps in the iPhone keeping a good connection. I have had no problems at all with the Bad Elf. This unit also keeps a strong signal indoors. It is also good for pilots as it does altitude also but cannot be used as the main altimeter. The battery life is very long on this unit. If you are running bluetooth only, no light and not tracking, it can easily go 15 hours connected to your iPhone or iPad. Also, it can connect up to 5 more iDevices at once so everyone on the trip can follow along. Also, if you are using your iPhone for tethering, it allows you to use the data from the phone while using the GPS data from the Bad Elf so if you don't have a completely installed navigation app, you can still get your data.

The only downfall for this unit is the rubber plug that goes in the charging port is very flimsy and will not stay in, even brand new out of the box. Not a big deal for me.

Overall this is a great unit and I recommend it for anyone with a wifi only iPad or iPod touch, or anyone who wants a much better GPS for their phone. I recommend buying it direct from Bad Elf in the link above. I was able to search and find a free shipping option coupon code and got it two days later. This is a new device that has just been released and with firmware updates, it will only get better. If you are planning on buying a wifi iPad but thinking about getting a data one just to have GPS, I recommend going wifi and spend the extra $20 for this device.
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Old Dec 17, 2012, 01:13 AM   #2
Anti-Lucifer
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You're joking right?

$180?? Why not spend $100 (mini), $129 (iPad) for a real gps built into the ipad. You not only get GPS, GLONASS support (where applicable), A-GPS, and even cellular connection when needed. Problems all solved.
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Old Dec 17, 2012, 03:52 PM   #3
takeshi74
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kycophpd View Post
I know you can use the iPad with cellular without getting a data plan and use the gps but it is Assisted GPS
Do you know what assisted GPS is? It's still GPS. The only difference between assisted and standalone is that assisted can use Ephemeris data from assistance servers for a faster initial fix. That's it. It still uses GPS satellites to determine location -- just as anything would have to in order to be called GPS. If it doesn't use GPS satellites to determine location it isn't GPS.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kycophpd View Post
and I know I would end up getting frustrated with having to set up tethering each time I use it and get a data plan.
You wouldn't have to tether for data unless you're relying on nav apps that require data. There are plenty of nav apps that use locally stored map data.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kycophpd View Post
I live on a large hill with lots of trees and usually have trouble with the Agps in the iPhone keeping a good connection.
Again, aGPS only comes into play for the initial fix. It does not affect GPS reception, connectivity, etc.

You have better results with the Bad Elf because it has a stronger GPS receiver. It has nothing to do with whether it's aGPS or not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anti-Lucifer View Post
You're joking right?

$180?? Why not spend $100 (mini), $129 (iPad) for a real gps built into the ipad. You not only get GPS, GLONASS support (where applicable), A-GPS, and even cellular connection when needed. Problems all solved.
Try reading the OP again and you'll see why. Saving a few bucks doesn't address the OP's concerns.

Last edited by takeshi74; Dec 17, 2012 at 03:59 PM.
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Old Dec 17, 2012, 04:01 PM   #4
TJ61
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That'll teach you to take the time to post an informative review! See that it never happens again! (Oh, you already got the message? OK.)


Regards,
Tom
(Almost afraid to say I enjoyed and appreciated the review...)
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Old Dec 17, 2012, 04:43 PM   #5
kycophpd
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It's a review and opinion. Just like yours is an opinion. I feel the GPS on the iPad is lacking and would prefer to pay $20 more to have this unit bluetooth to my iPad than pay for an iPad with air card just for the GPS.

No need to get upset over a review and opinion.

----------

And thanks Tom!
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Old Dec 17, 2012, 07:00 PM   #6
Anti-Lucifer
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You "feel" the built in GPS is lacking? Good grief the apps and maps all use the 1Hz refresh rate anyway. Unless you plan on using the device to track your car on a race course using 5Hz or more its utterly useless.

You have the built in GPS which is far more convenient than any external device. Trust me I've done that before with a jail broken iPad and it works and all but I still sold it and went with the built in GPS. You also get tethering if using Verizon iPad and added benefit of having world gsm/LTE whenever you need.

The GPS built into the iPads is as accurate as any external GPS device for its purpose. Good luck ensuring all apps will support the external device.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kycophpd View Post
It's a review and opinion. Just like yours is an opinion. I feel the GPS on the iPad is lacking and would prefer to pay $20 more to have this unit bluetooth to my iPad than pay for an iPad with air card just for the GPS.

No need to get upset over a review and opinion.

----------

And thanks Tom!
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 02:58 PM   #7
TJ61
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This unit is intriguing, though I think the price is a little steep right now. I have my own reasons for choosing not to get the LTE mini, but was sorry not to have the GPS. I would almost have paid the extra $130 just for the GPS, so their price is not too out of line, especially since it gives you a lot more functionality (standalone logger, WAAS-enabled, higher frequency data, it's own battery).

Even with an iPhone, a unit like this would be especially nice when you're hiking where there's no cell service, since, for no good reason you can't have your GPS radio on without your cell radio on with an iOS device. That kills a battery fast when there's no cell signal! With this unit, you could have your iPhone in Airplane mode.

Thanks again for the info.

Regards,
Tom
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Old Mar 1, 2013, 01:24 PM   #8
GuyA
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A total beginner question

Hi,

I will be walking through Switzerland, France and Spain this summer over a period of 3 months. I will have an iPad mini with WiFi capability only which means I may go a few days without access depending on WiFi availability.

What I would like to to is purchase a small GPS device which would allow me to sync up with my iPad mini and enable me to show others my progress on my walk i.e. something like Google maps with a line with start and end of day stops shown.

I understand that the Bad Elf Pro GPS receiver would be a good choice however I am unsure what type of iPad app (the easier the better!) would be required to enable the loading to Google maps (or similar). My end goal would be to link the map URL into a blog.

Any help would be appreciated...as I said a total beginner question.

Thanks

Guy
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Old Mar 1, 2013, 04:57 PM   #9
TJ61
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GuyA View Post
I understand that the Bad Elf Pro GPS receiver would be a good choice however I am unsure what type of iPad app (the easier the better!) would be required to enable the loading to Google maps (or similar). My end goal would be to link the map URL into a blog.
Look at the Bad Elf website. Click on "Apps" at the top of the page, and you'll see a huge list of apps, categorized, that are reported to work with the device.

Not sure how these stack up outside of the US, but...
I'd suggest looking at MotionX GPS, Avenza PDF maps, and CityMaps2Go. With the latter two, it's very clear what maps you have for offline use because you have to explicitly download them. With MotionX GPS, you have to "look" at all the maps you want when you have WiFi access, and then they'll be cached for offline use. But how can you be sure that you looked at all the maps at all the resolutions that you'll need later? This caching scheme is true for Apple maps, too, BTW.

Regards,
Tom
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Old Apr 23, 2013, 10:14 AM   #10
Tortri
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One of the main benefits i think of having an external GPS unit is when you sell your iPad mini can buy the latest and greatest ipad wifi, not having to spend more money for the GPS version. Same goes if you have multiple iPads or iPods in the family house hold as that wifi only device is now a GPS device when needed.
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Old May 23, 2013, 05:36 AM   #11
Houbi
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Angry Is the Bad Elf a powerful GPS for I-devices : NO !

I got the BE (Bad Elf) in order to improve the signal strength of my iPad 3.
As an airline pilot, some new apps are now available, providing mapping during flight, should a good GPS provide sufficient signal to it.
Initially convinced this would be THE solution to make it work on board an airliner, I also was in touch with 'John' from the support of the BE company.
We together tried several things to make it work, along several flights throughout the world.
NEVER the BE came working properly !
After many emails sent to John, a last one complaining and asking for a refund, came a big silence from his side...
May be,mid you have iPod touch or iPad wifi, you might be interested to get the BE for playing, but NEVER consider the BE for professional pilot use on board a modern or any airliner. It is a complete waste of money. It is NOT a better GPS than the built in GPS available in iPhone or iPad 3-4 G.
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Old May 23, 2013, 06:07 AM   #12
TC25
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Appreciate all pilots post yours.
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Old Jun 2, 2013, 11:02 PM   #13
Swarick
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Also an airline pilot. The Bad Elf works flawlessly in my cockpit. Use it to provide position data for ForeFlight app as well as a street map app.
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Old Jul 27, 2013, 11:08 AM   #14
jimdunn
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Yes, also a pilot. Have flown many times back/forth from Virginia to Ohio, having the internal iPad aGPS fail over most of West Virginia and sometimes Ohio, at 9000 feet MSL.

But, with Bad Elf GPS, I've *NEVER* lost the GPS signal.
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Old Oct 8, 2013, 07:51 PM   #15
mcdspncr
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Just picked up the BE Pro on Amazon. Currently $133.50. So it's basically the price of the wireless feature on one iPad, but I see it as future compatible. I always by the wifi iPad, and this will work with any future iDevices and (hopefully soon laptops and Android devices according the their website). Not to mention it can be used to track cycling/jogging and then import the GPX file into something like MapMyRide.
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Old Oct 8, 2013, 11:57 PM   #16
xArtx
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No iDevice has a real GPS.
At best they have the bare minimum hardware requirement
for it to work, and a ceramic antenna.

Get a real hiking GPS such as Garmin, and an iPhone App with
GPX logging, set them to the same zoom level,
start logging both, watch the drift on the iDevice GPS when both
devices are stationery in a rural area.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anti-Lucifer View Post
You're joking right?

$180?? Why not spend $100 (mini), $129 (iPad) for a real gps built into the ipad. You not only get GPS, GLONASS support (where applicable), A-GPS, and even cellular connection when needed. Problems all solved.
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