Bad Elf GPS Bad Elf | GPS Accessory | $99.00 Giveaway: Thanks to the generosity ALK Technologies, the app sponsor of this review, we have 10 CoPilot Live Premium USA ($24.99) promo codes to giveaway. To enter, simply post below (rules apply): You must be a registered user of the iFans.com community. Must not be a staff member of the iFans.com community. All entries must be submitted by August 18, 2011 at 11:59 pm PT. Winners will be selected at random. Failure to comply with the above will void your entry. Review: Are we there yet, is a familiar phrase among the norm. Even more so is the familiarity of being lost in an ever expanding global ecosystem of mass transportation. Getting lost is often frustrating when that 9 O’clock meeting or surprise birthday party is approaching. What is one to do at a time like this? Some would begin to scream panic and others who are calm, collected, and well prepared, would take the initiative to resolve this dilemma. For these prepared individuals, owning a trusted GPS unit becomes the answer to their problem. However, in a capitalist market, finding a good, compact, and subscription-free GPS unit is often hard to find. Fear not since Santa’s neglected “Bad Elf” has created a GPS unit. Specifications: 66-channel MTK GPS chipset Fast GPS lock times Up to 10Hz update rate SBAS/WAAS/EGNOS/MSAS Max altitude: 60,000 feet Max speed: 1000 mph Compatible with all iDevices Features: This unit is packed with many subtle features. Among its many features, and probably the most important, is the unit's Assisted GPS feature, which uses the iPod's built in WiFi to provide a “true GPS” experience. Although many users would overlook this feature, I must say that this feature greatly increases the device's accuracy. This accuracy is further maintained through the device's App Store app, which can only be used to update the satellite list and firmware on the unit, when connected to a WiFi hotspot. Another welcomed feature is the addition of the Micro-USB port and the 6ft cable that comes with this device. This feature provides charging / iTunes syncing capabilities while the device is in use.This feature will be favored by many power users, who prefer not to disconnect the GPS unit while charging or syncing. The device also comes with a lanyard attachment. This slick idea, although not unique, allows for easy transportation of the device. Finally, since this unit runs off the iPod's battery, users will be happy to hear that the device enters a power saving mode during standby. Everyone will love to play that extra level of Angry Birds, without the need to disconnect their GPS unit, wouldn't they? The GPS unit with its corresponding 6' micro USB cable Features: ★★★★★ Build: Aside from features, a deal breaker for any product is its build quality. A strong build quality usually means a longer life expectancy, for a device. Users would automatically assume that since this product is made from plastic, its build quality is poor. This is not the case, because its uniform body cover is solid and appears tough to open. The plastic unibody design, although lightweight, is actually tough enough to survive in my laptop bag. Although the force applied to the device was not quantified, I would feel safe to throw this device into any purse. Build Quality: ★★★★★ Design: Regrettably, it appears as though the Michelangelo of our time was absent during the design process of this device. Although this unit has some aesthetic appeal, it is plagued by a few design issues. For one, the unit bulges outside of the dock connector, which doesn't help the iPods/iPads sleekness. This bulging would probably be more welcomed had the unit been smaller and more compact. Aside from its form factor, this device sports a small LED light that notifies users whether the connection to the GPS satellite(s) has been established. Although in concept, this is an excellent idea, in practice its implementation is terrible. After all, during a sunny day, the LED light is impossible to see due to the surrounding light. On a positive note, this device manages to pack a micro USB slot into body's design. This design aspect will surely caters to user's convince. Furthermore, the device's black, matte uni-body makes this device professional looking, which I personally enjoy. The GPS unit upside down with its lanyard connector stretched across Design: ★★★★ Usability: In all fairness, one must not judge this marvelous device solely on its aesthetics. After all, this device does its job quite nicely. After testing several GPS apps, I have realized that the usability of this device greatly depends on the usability of GPS app. Since the device does not come with a GPS app (only a device update app), one must venture into the App Store to buy a 3rd party app, before they can enjoy their unit. This process alone can be frustrating to many users. Once a good 3rd party app is found, like CoPilot Live Premium USA, this device is incredibly easy to use. In fact, it becomes a “plug and play” device. With an app like this, users will notice that the device will app accurately locate their location within seconds. Although not empirically tested, the unit and app has only been off by a few feet at any given time. This accuracy and ease of use, has made this GPS unit a top contender for everyday use. The GPS unit with CoPilot Live Premium USA Usability: ★★★★ Value: The Bad Elf GPS unit is currently priced at $99. In comparison to its competitors, I would say that this device is competitively priced for its market. This is considering that the unit is accurate, easy to use, has a good amount of features, and a nice build quality. Unlike some competitors, this unit offers a lifetime update to its satellite servers and device firmware. This added bonus only increases the value of the device. Value: ★★★★★ Final Thoughts: In spite of the minor hiccups in the unit’s aesthetic department, this device did shine overall. Its value surpassed my preconception that the unit was overpriced. Its accuracy, ease of use, high-end features, and build quality makes this device a true keeper. I would like to thanks John McLellan for the product sample of the GPS unit. Furthermore, I will like to thanks David Quin for the CoPilot Live Premium promo code used to write this review. That said, don't forget to enter the Giveaway for the CoPilot GPS app. Overall Score Bad Elf GPS † All prices are in US currency. Cumulative scores are rounded to the nearest half or full star. This accessory, product, or app was received as a sample. Thanks John McLellan for the product sample. Thanks David Quin for CoPilot Live, the app used for this review.