Review: Motion X GPS Lite


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Jul 5, 2008
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Note #1: When writing up this review, I was inside and taking screen shots when I had a weak GPS signal. As such, some of the GPS information is missing from the images. When I was testing it outside with a strong signal, the missing information (including things like speed, heading, altitude) were all indicated.

Note #2: On the splash screen, they indicate there is a premium version "coming". No date or planned timeline is mentioned. However, they do include an option for submittiing suggestions.

I remember I got my first GPS unit as an add-on module for the Handspring Visor. Since then I have gone through a few different units, mostly for turn-by-turn directions. However, it is always fun to have some sort of "general" GPS screen for basic information - heading, speed, waypoints, etc.

Enter Motion X GPS Lite. Yes, by the same people who make Motion X Poker. This is a full function GPS program that can provide the user with general GPS information as well as the ability to create waypoints and track paths.

When you start the program, you are given a "waiting" screen while the program locates satellites for the GPS. Right away I liked it, because unlike other program, it tracks your progress looking for satellites, telling you when you have a weak or strong signal. As soon as a signal is found, you are brought to the main information screen. It is here you are given the basic GPS information - latitude, longitude, altitude, accuracy, signal strength, etc.

At the bottom of the screen you have a number of icons for further features. The lock icon allows you to "lock" the screen, preventing accidental button pushes. You have a settings screen, to control the units, coordinate display option, and sound option. You can create a new waypoint, or choose a navigation screen to go to a waypoint. You also have two arrow buttons to cycle through the other information screens.

The second information screen is a stopwatch feature that is combined with waypoint creation. Pressing start automatically creates a waypoint, so you can always get back to your starting point. It is designed for hiking, jogging, biking, etc.

The navigation screen is only useful when moving. It provides bearing information, speed, distance to a selected waypoint, bearing to the waypoint, estimated time of arrival, etc. All very useful information.

Lastly, you have a map screen, which tracks your movement relative to waypoints. Note, this is not a satellite map or a google map, it simply contains the information about latitude, longitude, and waypoints. With this, you can trakc you exact path if you have the navigation option selected.

I am not going to go into detail about what waypoints are, or how to use them. If you are interested, I suggested you look at wikipedia or some other reference. But this program handles them nicely, creating automatic ones at various locations as well as the ability to manually create them.

The program also contains a database of points of interest (POI), although the database seemed a little sparse (at least there weren't any that were near me!). You do have the option of adding waypoint as a point of interest. With the database, you can email a POI, use the iPhone map to plot a path, or set a POI as your current destination.

The interface is very nice, what I have come to expect from the Motion X people. The information is presented very nicely, in a clear and easily read format. The only thing that might make it a little nicer would be the ability to customize a screen with a combination of information - so you could create you own screen with (for example) heading, speed, ETA, altitude, and signal strength. That way you could put the information that is important to you on a single screen, rather than having to scroll through a number of different screens. But this is at best a minor quibble.

This is a full featured navigation program, and if doesn't seem to be missing any features that I could determine. It provides abundant information, including signal strength, and provides the user with a lot of options. As I mentioned, they are planning on coming out with a premium version, but I am not really sure what it might include that this program is missing. I suppose it might have a larger database, or perhaps tigher integration with GoogleMaps. Or maybe you will be able to import information for
POI from your contact list or something. But as it stands right now, this GPS program did everything I could think of, and even a few things I hadn't thought of. Best of all it comes with a very complete help guide, telling you about all the features and how best to utilized them.

Pros: Full featured GPS program
Cons: No real cons come to mind

All in all, this program probably does everything you could ask for in a navigation program. If you are into hiking, biking, camping, geocaching, or any other activity where GPS use could be beneficial, this program might really help you out. And the best news is the price, which is free. I am eager to see what features they will include in the premium version when it comes out. Five out of five stars.

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