Garmin is best known for its Nuvi GPS navigators, which show motorists where they are, where they're trying to go, and how to get there. With the launch of the GTU 10 GPS locator, Garmin is trying something different: showing you the location of something or someone else.
The GTU 10 achieves this feat in much the same way that location services like Google's Latitude do: by combining a GPS receiver with a cellular data connection. Essentially, the GTU 10 is just the cellular data antenna and GPS antenna of a smartphone without the screen, processor, operating system, and inputs. Simply attach the GTU 10 to whatever you want tracked, be it a backpack, a child's clothing, or a pet's collar, and you'll be able to track its location with Garmin's Web-based service.
The GTU 10 hardware is simple by design. The unit measures 3 inches long by 1.25 inches wide and is 0.75 inch deep at its thickest point. The only physical control is a waterproof rubber power button. Just below the power button are a single Mini-USB port beneath a rubber flap and an LED power indicator that glows red while charging and flashes green momentarily when the power button is held to indicate that it's been successfully powered on or off.
The small size makes it easy to attach to items to be tracked. The GTU 10 ships with a small fabric zippered pouch that can be attached to things via a hook and loop strap.
After unboxing and charging the GTU 10 by connecting it to a computer with the included USB cable, you're instructed to visit my.garmin.com, download the Garmin Connect USB drivers, and register the device online.
Once it's set up, you can adjust the GTU 10's power usage settings and notification settings. The GTU 10's power settings are tied directly to its location reporting frequency. There are four levels to choose from. On the heavy setting it reports location every 30 seconds and reduces the battery life to from 20 to 24 hours. The balanced setting reduces the reporting frequency to once every 5 minutes for a battery life of 3 to 10 days. Moderate checks location every 15 minutes and extends the battery life to anywhere between 5 days and 4 weeks. The last setting, On Demand, only reports its location when asked, so battery life will vary depending on how much checking you do.
With a feature called geofences you can set virtual boundaries on a map that the GTU 10 will look for, for example the block around a home or an office. When the GTU enters or exits one of these geofences, it can send an e-mail or SMS notification to one or more e-mail addresses or phone numbers. You can also get notifications when the GTU 10's battery is low or the unit is powered off.
Most importantly, my.garmin.com lets you track the location of the GTU 10 on an interactive map that can be zoomed and panned. You can register multiple GTU 10 units and track them all with a single account, viewing them on the same map.