Qstarz BT-Q1300 Nano GPS Travel Recorder Review

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Testing

I told myself that the 35 seconds to acquire was absurdity and that there was no way it would be able to give me a yellow light in that time.  However, that’s actually rather accurate and the Travel Recorder does get a signal pretty quickly, even indoors. This is in contrast to the ATP GPS logger that couldn’t get a signal in downtown Tokyo.

To test out the BT-Q1300, I turned on the log function and took a drive around the city, sticking my head out my sunroof every so often to snap a picture of a landmark.

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The software package is pretty robust, allowing you to map entire journeys using the Travel Recorder’s log and Google Earth. The BT-Q1300 even tells you your speed and altitude at various times. It is easy to use and has only a few buttons with hover-over tooltip descriptions for what they do. Reading the unit’s log gave me a very accurate map of my 12km drive.

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Geotagging your photos is simple too. Click on the button to add a folder of media and your photos will automatically be geotagged as long as your camera is set to the correct time to match the Travel Recorder (which gets its time from the GPS according to which time zone you’re in). There’s another button to embed all this information in the EXIF.  It’s all pretty much one click operation.  There’s even quick upload to Flickr.

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As a contrast to the ATP tagger that we reviewed earlier, everything worked and none of my photos were corrupted as a result of geotagging. You can also export for use in Google Earth. While there is still no support for camera RAW files, the software does support PNG and TIFF formats, which are an upgrade from JPEGs for most photographers.  However, you’ll still have to convert your photos from RAW before you can use them in the Travel Recorder’s software.

Final Thoughts and Conclusion

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The BT-Q1300 is a much, much better product than the previously reviewed ATP Photo Finder.  In stark contrast, the GPS lock was easy to acquire and maintain, the software worked well and was robust while remaining simple to use and most importantly, none of my photos were eaten in the process.

While I don’t mind the styling too much, the one-button operation makes things more difficult than they really should be.  I can understand how they wanted only one button to try to maintain aesthetics but I’d really prefer function over form in this case.

Apart from that, the Travel Recorder is rather fantastic and works exactly like it should.  At only $99.00 US, it’s a very good value and should add some fun for journeying photographers. Definitely recommended.

Pros

  • Works.  Geotags photos properly and no corrupt files.
  • Compact.  Can fit easily in a pocket or bag.
  • Fast GPS lock and works even if you’re not in a wide open field.
  • Software is has plenty of useful features and easy to use.
  • Great value at $99.

Cons

  • The gold and black is a miss.
  • I’d like more than one button controlling things.
  • No RAW file format support.

Overall Rating: 8.0 / 10.0

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About

Ed Lau got his first computer when he was 7-years old (a 386 20MHz with 4MB of RAM!) and has been building and tweaking them ever since. He is also a semi-professional photographer based in Vancouver, BC. While he is a recent convert to console gaming, buying an Xbox 360 back in 2006, he is easily better than Stephen Fung when it comes to shredding and melting faces in Guitar Hero and Rock Band.

  • Cyberemil

    There is certain depth lacked in the review. I have the Q1300 for more than a year now and within hours of use some things became apparent. The one button does it all design is prone to errors and difficult when many of the little lights are barely visible in daytime when out on the sun even if you put them in the shadows.

    Very important was the lack of information about memory and in particular the little rubber cap of the USB connector. It broke up rather quickly and a year later the rubber itself started cracking and getting stuck on the USB connector. The little does-it-all button is also prone to getting stuck inside.

    The provided software however is superb (QTravel & QSports). Since it has Bluetooth it would have been fantastic if they had provided a mobile phone software (i.e. Symbian, Android, etc.) that would allow one to use the Bluetooth mobile phone to control the unit with a proper interface rather than using that horrible little button. For example, to use the cellphone to “mark” points of interests.

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