Apisphere Geomate.jr review:

Apisphere Geomate.jr

Pricing Unavailable
  • Recommended Use hiking

Roadshow Editors' Rating

7.0 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 6
  • Performance 7

The Good The Geomate.jr is extremely easy for youth (and adults) to use thanks to its no-setup design and huge database of preloaded cache coordinates. Water-resistant and shockproof design should handle the occasional drop and splash with ease. The capability to save a Home location means that the Geomate.jr won't leave you lost in the woods.

The Bad The lack of an internal compass means you have to be moving to get accurate direction information. Having to purchase a proprietary connection to update the cache database is slightly annoying. USB would be better, we think.

The Bottom Line The Geomate.jr sits in a class of its own as a child-friendly and easy-to-use handheld, geocaching device.

Designed to get youth away from their video games and into the great outdoors, the Geomate.jr is like the Easy-Bake Oven of handheld GPS devices. It is a simple handheld device that distills the GPS experience down to its core function, telling you where to go, and adds a fun goal for youth to focus upon: geocaching.

Geocaching is sort of a game of hide-and-seek, in which participants hide containers (caches) or tiny logbooks (microcaches) around the world and make the GPS coordinates of the caches known so that others may find them, usually on the Internet at sites such as Geocaching.com.

The Geomate.jr takes the hassle of logging onto the Internet to download cache data out of the equation by preloading over 250,000 North American cache points for out-of-the-box geocaching.

The Geomate.jr's design is very child-friendly, with bright green and blue colors and a size that fits easily into small hands thanks to its narrow-waisted design.

The interface is simple. At the top of the device, there is a power button. At front-and-center is a small, monochromatic LCD display. The screen is easily viewable, even in direct sunlight, but is not backlit in any way. You'll want to stick to daytime cache hunting.

Below the screen are a large home button and a slightly smaller page button that control the device's functions.

At the bottom of the device is a soft, rubber loop for attaching the Geomate.jr to a carabiner or the included lanyard. On the back is a sliding door that covers the two AAA batteries that power the unit. Expected battery life is about 12 hours.

As a device that's designed to be used outdoors, the Geomate.jr's bright coloring also aids in locating the device if it is dropped. Splashproof and shock-resistant design also means that the Geomate.jr can take a few bumps and scrapes without breaking.

Underneath the kid-friendly exterior, you'll find the same high-sensitivity SiRFstarIII GPS chip that powers many high-end GPS devices.

Simply turn the device on and wait for a GPS lock. Once the Geomate.jr determines where it is in the world, it displays a pointer and a distance on the LCD screen telling how far away and in which direction the nearest geocache is. Additionally, cache size, search difficulty, and terrain difficulty information are all represented by icons.

Users can cycle through nearby caches using the large Next button below the screen and view more information, such as geocache codemark or current GPS position, by clicking the Page button. When a cache is found, mark it as such by holding the Page button to prevent the Geomate.jr from pointing you to it again.

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