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Trimble Outdoors (Verizon Wireless) review: Trimble Outdoors (Verizon Wireless)

Trimble Outdoors (Verizon Wireless)

Bonnie Cha Former Editor
Bonnie Cha was a former chief correspondent for CNET Crave, covering every kind of tech toy imaginable (with a special obsession for robots and Star Wars-related stuff). When she's not scoping out stories, you can find her checking out live music or surfing in the chilly waters of Northern California.
Bonnie Cha
3 min read

A couple of years ago, we reviewed the Trimble GPS Pack for Sprint Nextel phones and found the mobile GPS solution a great way for outdoor enthusiasts to navigate and track their trips from their cell phone. Well, Trimble Outdoors is expanding its footprint and has brought its application to Verizon Wireless phones.


Trimble Outdoors (Verizon Wireless)

The Good

Trimble Outdoors provides navigation and lets you record trips, hikes, and walks from your cell phone. The Web component lets you download and upload trips to your phone.

The Bad

The program didn't do the best job of tracking our exact movements. When uploading a trip to the PC, our trail went through buildings and didn't always accurately trace our steps.

The Bottom Line

Trimble Outdoors offers a number of navigation and tracking tools for Verizon phones, but the trouble with Trimble is the inconsistent performance and accuracy.

The application is available on a number of the carrier's handsets (you can check for supported phones at Trimble's Web site ) and costs $5.99 per month or $1.99 per day (for 24 hours). However, unlike Sprint's version, you only get one application, Trimble Outdoors, and not the whole GPS Pack, which also includes AllSport GPS and Geocache Navigator. While the last two programs cater a little more to a niche market, we still missed them and enjoyed having the capability to record workouts and access caches.

Of the three, however, Trimble Outdoors provides the most useful set of tools and to the broadest set of users. The navigation program offers maps of your location in various formats--street, aerial, topographic, or marine--and tracks your movements like a breadcrumb trail with the capability to mark waypoints along the way. You can then navigate to any marked points or run your route backward if you need help getting back to your starting point. A digital compass is also available with coordinate readings, speed, and heading.

Aside from the phone application, there's a Web component to which you can upload any trip information that you recorded and then view your tracks on Google Earth, or add photographs, video, or audio notes to your trip summary and share them online with friends. In addition, you can plan trips from your PC and send routes directly to your cell phone.

We tested Trimble Outdoors on the Verizon G'zOne Boulder--the two make a nice match given the Boulder's rugged design and appeal to outdoor enthusiasts. We first tried out the application on a walk from San Francisco's Marina District to the Golden Gate Bridge. The user interface leaves much to be desired and could use an updated look. Also, some of the Trip Manager menu system wasn't the most intuitive.

The Boulder was able to find our location within a minute so we set off on our walk and instructed Trimble Outdoors to track our movements. We liked that we could see our speed, heading, location, and distance on the external display, but unfortunately, the phone lost its GPS fix twice so we had to restart the tracking, pretty much wiping out an accurate recording of the trip.

We fared much better on our second trip from the Marina District to CNET's downtown headquarters. The phone was able to keep a GPS fix the whole way, and we marked several points of interest along the route. When we got into the office, we uploaded the trip information to the Trimble's Web site. The process went smoothly (we were also able to download trips from the phone with no problem), but we were surprised at what we saw on the screen. As we experienced with the Trimble GPS Pack, when our tracks were transposed onto a map, it inaccurately showed that we had walked all crooked, sometimes back and forth and even, according to the computer, through buildings. While amusing at first, if we were using this to track back to a POI or starting point, it wouldn't be so funny.

According to Trimble, we can walk through buildings.

The concept and goal of Trimble Outdoors is good, but there need to be some improvements in terms of accuracy. It may be fine if you're familiar with the territory and just want to keep track of miles logged, points of interest, and such, but if you're completely new to an area, we wouldn't feel comfortable recommending Trimble as your only navigation solution.