Fortuna Clip-On Bluetooth GPS Receiver review

Fortuna Clip-On Bluetooth GPS ReceiverIf you want to get started with GPS navigation and you already own a Bluetooth enabled PDA then the Fortuna clip-on is a good alternative. A bonus is that you will be able to use the GPS device with other Bluetooth enabled devices like smartphones and laptops (notebooks in some countries).
There are many Bluetooth GPS devices on the market but currently only the Fortuna devices supports dual SiRF modes: both the standard low-power SiRF Star IIe/LP chipset and the latest high sensitivity SiRF Xtrac chipset.
SiRF Star IIe/LP mode is good while the unit has view of clear sky. The unit will lock on to fewer satellites and transmit less data resulting in faster scrolling maps and lower battery consumption.
This is great while you have view of clear sky but if you are moving in weaker signal areas such as under heavy leaf cover or between tall buildings older GPS will loose the satellite signal.
With the Fortuna clip-on you can switch to Xtrac high sensitivity mode which can even provide a signal lock while indoors.
I have been using the Xtrac mode exclusively and have found very quick lock-on times and good precision. Since I am using the unit for short trips only, I have never had any problems running out of batteries. Reported battery life is 8 hours in the Star IIe/LP mode.
The major deciding factor whether you will have a great or bad GPS navigation experience is what navigation software you choose. This is another discussion but I am using TomTom 3 and have had only minor problems.
Now it seems that some users have problems connecting their Fortuna clip-on to an iPaq running TomTom navigation software. You need to select the NMEA 0183v2 38400 from the list of selected drivers and choose Bluetooth serial port COM 8 which is the “in” port. Don’t forget to place a tick in the little square box on the left hand side of the two settings (driver and com port).
In rare cases the clip-on needs to be resetted and the only way to do so is to remove the batteries for up to 24hrs. This has helped all other users that have had connection problems.
The button to switch between Star IIe/LP and Xtrac modes is tiny and you need a sharp pencil or pin to move it. You can only switch between the modes while the unit is turned of.
Feel free to use the Fortuna Clip-On Bluetooth GPS Receiver forum for any questions, discussion or feedback.