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 GPS Receivers for PDAs and PCs
 Qstarz BT-Q818 "2x32" with MTK Chipset - Reviewed
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94687 Posts

Posted - 02 janv. 2007 :  23:29:29  Show Profile  Visit gpspassion's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Qstarz BT-Q818 - "Double 32" - REVIEWED
"32 channels, 32 hour battery life"

News item on the portal
After the successful release of the first MTK based GPS receiver last year, the iBlue 737 that impressed with its sensitivity, accuracy and battery life, 2007 is starting off on a high note with the Qstarz BT-Q818 announced with a record battery life of 32 hours, hence the "double 32" billing when you factor in the 32 channels of the GPS engine. It's possible that it uses a new version of the MTK chipset as the iBlue 737 came in at 23 hours with a 1000mAh battery while the Q818 uses a slighly larger 1100mAh battery. Qstarz were kind enough to send a test unit to the "GpsPasSion Labs" for some side by side testing.

It ships in a smart black box that contains a printed manual with detailed instructions on how to pair the Q818 with a Windows Mobile PDA, a car charger and an AC charger and of course the Q818. The Q818 takes after the iBlue 737 and Q810 in the "looks" department with Transystem being the original manufacturer and Qstarz having it taylored to their needs.

The Q818 is billed as the "Double 32" GPS, with one of the 32's being 32 hours of continuous battery life. Using my usual battery testing method, it came in a bit short at about 28.5 hours, with a time to power ratio of 1.55 vs 1.40 on the iBlue 737/Qstarz Q810 so there has been some improvement further highlighted by the use of a 1100mAh batery versus the 1000mAh on the previous models.

Having discovered the excellent performance of the 32 channel (the 2nd "32") MTK chipset with the iBlue 737, no surprise here with the same very accurate tracking and impressive multipath filtering compared to SiRFstarIII based receivers as seen below when driving between high-rise blocks. Again, time to first fix (TTFF) is a bit slower and less consistent than for SiRFstarIII units but remains quite solid.


All the units had been turned off for 4 hours to force a "warm start" that one typically experiences when getting started in the morning, except the iBlue 737 that did a "hot start", having been used a few minutes before. The higher "no fix" percentage shows the slower TTFF mentioned above. However the Q818 has the highest tracking sensitivity as seen with the average number of satellites in the fix.


Overview of the "course"

The iBlue 737 (set to 5hz) and Q818 provide the cleanest track with no sign of multipath "bouncing"like the SiRFstarIII receivers


As was noted with the 737, the MTK chipset does not work as well for use at slower speeds with the recorded tracks not "catching up" with the actual route followed as the SiRFstarIII receivers do, as seen in the bottom of the picture

The Q818 does not disappoint with its powerful yet lean MTK chipset that gives the longest battery life of a high-sensitivity Bluetooth GPS receiver so far. Tracking performance when driving in dense urban environments is excellent, but time to first fix and tracking at slower speeds for pedestrian use are not quite at the level of SiRFstarIII receivers but remain solid. Overall a recommended buy if you are on the market for a Bluetooth GPS receiver.

Questions, comments ?

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28 Posts

Posted - 04 févr. 2007 :  16:15:03  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The specs for this unit indicate that update is "1 Hz as default (Up to 5Hz - optional)". Anyone have any idea as to how one activates the 5Hz option. I have looked at the user manual available for download on the Qstarz website, but it is not mentioned at all. I have ordered one of these units on the assumption that 5Hz can be activated - for future guidance software, when available. However, if it can't be switched to 5Hz mode, I will have to consider cancelling the order (I am already using a Globalsat BT-338).

Edited by - Shawn17 on 04 févr. 2007 16:15:38
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94687 Posts

Posted - 04 févr. 2007 :  19:44:44  Show Profile  Visit gpspassion's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Well as you will see in the 737 thread, no one's found a way to activate the 5hz mode on a shipping unit so far, same with the 818. You might want to check with Qstarz before you cancel though.

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28 Posts

Posted - 04 févr. 2007 :  23:14:30  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks! I've fired off an e-mail inquiry to Qstarz and will advise as to any response.
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28 Posts

Posted - 05 févr. 2007 :  13:07:56  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I received the following response from a representative of Qstarz:

"BT-Q818 sets 1Hz as default for power saving. BT-Q818 is a 1Hz GPS Receiver.

We’re sorry that we customize 5Hz GPS for OEM customer before delivery"

So, at this point, I guess the only option for 5Hz with this receiver is the maxqdata unit, which at $300.00 is a little pricey.

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United Kingdom
9 Posts

Posted - 13 févr. 2007 :  14:44:27  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thought I'd chip in with a little bit of information - it might help you regarding setting the 5Hz option on the MTK chipset.

There appears to be a piece of software called MiniGPS that allows you to select this. If you look at the datasheet for the FV-M8 smart Antenna from SanJose Navigation Inc. you can see how to do it.

I would also expect a product like this to sell for a lot less than $300, more like $60.

Hope this helps,

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94687 Posts

Posted - 13 févr. 2007 :  14:57:04  Show Profile  Visit gpspassion's Homepage  Reply with Quote
That software needs a special firmware it seems, in any case the 5hz version is now available here for $100.

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3 Posts

Posted - 04 mars 2007 :  18:38:10  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
@gpspassion: so are we saying that despite Qstarz-818 getting a better signal, SiRFIII will perform better while walking? But why would that be? Given that my requirement is primarily for walking atm, shall I be looking at BT-359 or a holux 240 rather than Qstarz-818?
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94687 Posts

Posted - 04 mars 2007 :  20:18:19  Show Profile  Visit gpspassion's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Who knows the reason why, navigation algorithms are very complex and it's hard to make them work in a variety of situations. We've got to keep in mind that MTK just entered this market while companies like SiRF have been fine-tuning their software over the past 5+ years.

For pedestrian use I would indeed go with a SiRFstarIII receiver. Probably not the 240 that has a tiny antenna that feeds less signal to the chip. I'd go with the 338 or 359.

Here is the indoor track I was referring to in the other thread. The 757 "stalls" completely while the 338 does some pretty decent tracking. Now these are extreme situations so if you're just hiking it might be ok. I just get the sense that once it gets "confused" the MTK software has trouble getting back on its feet unless you have some velocity.

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3 Posts

Posted - 05 mars 2007 :  03:17:26  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
^^ do you think it might be something that might be fixed with a firmware upgrade (I'm talking abt the navigation algorithms you mentioned)? actually, is it even possible to upgrade the firmware on the Qstarz 818 devices? 1 more question: does 818 come with a USB charging cable?

Given that Qstarz is better than SiRF devices in every respect (except walking), I'm really getting confused. I think I'll just have to make a decision and stick with it.
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7 Posts

Posted - 05 juin 2007 :  00:31:27  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I just bought thr BT-Q818 few days ago and am using it with a Nokia N73 and the only word I have is WOW!!! it can pick up signal inside a two story building and because of it's strength I just leave it in the cars glove compartment now and it still gives very good signal, highly recommended from my side, you won't be able to regret...
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2 Posts

Posted - 03 juil. 2007 :  07:52:20  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

I read that the BT-Q1000 is out. It's a data logger + BT receiver in one. Would you be reviewing it soon ? Looking forward
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12 Posts

Posted - 22 août 2007 :  03:26:33  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Halflife - How well (or not) does it work when walking? It seems there are different MTK firmware revs, maybe your device has the low speed issue fixed?
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1 Posts

Posted - 01 sept. 2007 :  22:29:45  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Fantastic site guys. I have learned more in 15 minutes here than hours surfing Google.

I am currently trying to make the decision on the 10x vs. the BT-Q818.

I plan to use it mainly in the car or on a motorcycle. Because I will always have my phone, these units both allow me to have top shelf GPS capatilities with minimal peripheral junk.

How widespread is the Wayfinder Navigator 7 software? In Know that the NT software is fairly widely used. Is there a downside to using the Navigator 7 software?

Second, I use my phone constantly for work. Can I use these GPS receivers via BT AND use a BT headset or are they mutually exclusive?

I am currently using an 8830 Blackberry with Verizon.

Thanks again for your help, and thanks for a fantastic site!!!!!!!
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64 Posts

Posted - 29 oct. 2007 :  03:07:49  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
any update on how this unit fares when walking? has anyone gotten a new version yet? Semson's is going to have the 51channel unit out in a couple days.
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94687 Posts

Posted - 29 oct. 2007 :  03:28:40  Show Profile  Visit gpspassion's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Pedestrian use is handled properly on the MTK based receivers using FW v1.94 and above, see the Q1000 track in the Skytraq comparison for instance.

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