Bad Elf? Interesting name for a great product!
So what is a “Bad Elf” anyway? Some small magical figures that live in forests that come out to terrorise and create havoc?
Well, this little “Bad Elf” does the complete opposite – it helps you immensely!
Bad Elf, LLC envisions, designs, and manufactures niche hardware and software with an emphasis on Apple’s “Made for iPod” program. So, What does this mean and what do they make?
Bad Elf has created a range of GPS receivers that can connect into basically any Apple bluetooth device and share its GPS location. By doing this, you can use up to 5 Apple device as a navigation tools, tracker, planner, geocaching partner and basically anything else you might need GPS for!
I initially came across the Bad Elf product because I purchased an off road mapping system through VMS 4×4 (read all about this mapping system here!). I had realised (only after I purchased the VMS mapping app) that my iPad did not have GPS built into it, and because of that, I could not use the mapping software I had just installed. So off to Google I went.
I hear asking a question – my iPad has GPS, so why would I need a Bad Elf? The answer is simple. Data is extremely expensive, and if you use your data every time you navigate somewhere the cost can add up. But another reason for you to use the Bad Elf is something called AGPS. You see, iPhones, iPads, etc… use something called AGPS. AGPS stands for Assisted GPS. For AGPS to be accurate, you must have phone reception because the GPS signal needs to be assisted by obtaining data from phone towers. If there is no phone reception, AGPS will still work, but it can be ridiculously slow and can sometimes be inaccurate.
I liked the look of Bad Elf for 2 main reason. Firstly it had great reviews – and to me, that is always a great start – but the thing that clinched the deal was the fact that they were advertised as “Made for iPod”. Now I know not everybody loves Apple, but for Apple to step up and allow a company to associate themselves with Apple branding, that must mean something good!
So I took the plunge and ordered the latest “Bad Elf GPS Pro+”. Clayton from Bluesky Navigation was really helpful and had one sent out to me within a couple of days. When the package arrived, I unpacked and charged the unit.
Whilst the unit was charging, I assembled the Suction Cup mounting system, attached some velcro and I was done in 2 minutes! How easy was that! Now that the unit was charged, all I had to do was download the free iOS app, switch on the Bad Elf and connect it to my iPad…. Is this where it all came unstuck? No! Everything worked perfectly. I powered up the Bad Elf, activated the Bluetooth, put in the passcode and then I was connected – easy as that! The free app allows you to monitor and configure your Bad Elf as well as update its firmware.
The next question is….. How did the Bad Elf perform? Well, besides the occasional bluetooth dropout, it all went well. The Bad Elf kept track of exactly where I was and kept my position on the map exceptionally accurately! Even when I am not using the Bad Elf for navigation, I keep it running as it shows my accurate speed at all times – better than my speedometer!
So who is the Bad Elf designed for? Well, basically anybody that needs a GPS receiver. It is widely used in Aviation, Marine and Survey. It is used by Bushwalkers, Off road drivers, Geocachers and basically anybody that needs to track their movements or find where they are going!
I was really impressed with the unit – it is small and compact, easy to tether to your device and it just works. The pack comes with a windscreen mount, a USB charging cable and wall charger, but because the battery life is 24 hours, you don’t have to be concerned about running out of juice. This device was great because I was able to use it to navigate over 9500kms (5900 miles) without having to use my phone data – that in itself saved me money – and the great thing is that you can take it anywhere in the world and it will work.
Now, for the technically minded, here are the key features of the Bad Elf GPS Pro+…..
- Instantly add GPS location support to your iPad Wi-Fi or iPod touch devices via Bluetooth. Connect up to five devices at once.
- View GPS + GLONASS status quickly with the backlit LCD.
- All day battery life allows you to track for up to 35 hours.
- Log up to 200 hours of trip position data direct on your Bad Elf GPS Pro+.
- Access your data logs directly from any PC or Mac using the included USB cable. GPS appears just like a USB thumb drive.
- USB connectivity to PC or Mac provides streaming NMEA GPS data.
- Obtain altitude from GPS and from the built-in barometer.
- High performance 66 channel GPS + GLONASS receiver provides latitude, longitude, altitude, speed, and GPS track.
- Accurate to 2.5m (9 ft) up to 60,000 ft and 1000 mph.
- Quickly acquires satellite lock without cell tower assistance. Hot start time as quick as 2 seconds.
- No internet connection or monthly subscription required.
- IPX4 water resistance makes this device ready for outdoors.
If you are looking to buy a Bad Elf, I really don’t think you will be disappointed.