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Carpe Iter Pad

Posted: Tue Oct 01, 2019 8:42 pm
by Redballrun
Long TET trips give one the chance to really find out whether kit lives up to the manufacturer's hype. An afternoon riding the local trails is very different from day after day of vibration, sun, mud, crashes, dust, fiddling, taking off and on bikes and generally abusing stuff.

On Will's and my recent 4 week trip to recce and ride large parts of the TET in Bulgaria and Romania we put our kit to this test. There have been a few queries and questions about our tents, clothing, bikes, luggage and navigation kit. The only one of these that we'd managed to borrow rather than buy ourselves was a Carpe Iter tablet and mount. With a Carpe Iter tablet, mount and blue tooth remote control coming in at about $1,000 plus VAT, it wasn't something we could afford just on a whim!

Why did I blag a loan of a unit? I think the days of the dumb GPSR are numbered. I continue to use my Garmin Montana because it works, it's robust, it's waterproof, it's reliable, I'm familiar with it and it has a sunlight readable screen. I want all of that in an Android device with their extra functionality and while there are many on the market none offer the brightness of screen that the carpe iter promised.

So what is it and did it work?

This is a rugged, waterproof, dustproof, drop proof 7" android tablet with uprated GPS, a large battery and boosted charging facility that can keep it juiced up even when running its screen at the full 1,000 nits brightness with apps hammering away and pin cradle charging in addition to the usual USB-C. It mounts in a lockable rubber isolated case with a mount that fixes securely and adjustably to handlebars or accessory bars. The case has a switchable power supply. The tablet can run any android navigation app as well as all the usual Google playstore and social media apps. It can also act as a phone as it accepts your SIM. In essence it touts itself as the rugged all in one alternative to the handful of gadgets you normally carry.

I used it on my 2017 Honda CRF250 Rally. It mounted easily, quickly and securely to the accessory bar and I ran the fused power cable from the case back to the battery. The LED-lit switch in the case reminded me to turn it off when stopped but allowed me to keep it charged during brief pauses. Excellent.

As promised, the screen was super clear and readable even in direct sunlight - and even wearing polarising glasses. Comparing it side by side with the screen of a Garmin Montana, showed little difference in brightness but the size of the screen was much larger and more useful. Yellow lenses made the Freizeitkarte maps on Locus Map Pro jump from the screen.

Control of the tablet and apps was by the usual screen touch control which worked well even with my Klim gloves - though occasionally the Locus Map Pro seemed to glitch and did not like my prods. I tried the bluetooth handlebar remote which allows panning, zooming and centering without ones hand leaving the grip. It worked well but I couldn't get happy with the set up on the already cluttered Honda bars. It would fit neater and more ergonomically on a KTM EXC handlebar with the small switch units. For me, I'd probably try the mirror stem mounted remote.

I did not use the the 13 megapixel camera or the SIM preferring just to hotspot off my phone and use its more manageable size for taking photos. In the evenings I could edit and fiddle with gpxs, update social media, keep a diary and email happily and probably more easily than on a small screen. It worked as I'd hoped as a useful tablet to manage my life off the bike.

All in all, it ticked the boxes for me, was easy to use, helpful for my aging eyes and allowed me to gain a better idea of geography and neighbourhood than a smaller screened device.

So it did what it said on the tin :-)

Were there any downsides or disappointments? Not many. It's heavy. There's a big old battery in there and I was worried that it would put a significant strain on my cockpit. As it turns out it was fine but, as it was wired in most of the time, a chunky battery is probably unnecessary on most modern bikes. However, having a chunky battery did help when the incradle charging on the bike seemed to fail. It meant that I could charge the tablet overnight via USB-C and run it most of the next day off the battery. The developers are looking at the loan unit now to see what the problem is.

The android version is 5 and sometimes it felt quite sluggish in use. I gather that this is being addressed.

At the same time as I was using this, Will was using my rugged android phone. A fraction of the price, half the nits screen brightness and only a 5 inch screen. It worked well, used the same apps and he navigated effectively- albeit with a bit of squinting at times.

So Carpe Iter, alternative tablet, Garmin GPSR or cheapo rugged phone? Hmmmm. I firmly believe that the android powered rugged tablet as GPS is the future. It allows multifunctionality. The standalone GPSR from Garmin is solid but dated. Where the Tablets currently miss out is that the GPS function is almost a convenient add on rather than a core function. The Carpe Iter seeks to challenge that.

The Carpe Iter's two pin charging mechanism is fabulous and the screen brightness is class leading. The Carpe Iter's remote is also potentially a winner especially with the added facility to use the Carpe Iter as an electronic roadbook.

At the end of the day, despite all the pros, it's still alot of money to spend at present on an android GPS. A Garmin Montana with power mount and ram fittings will cost you about $600 including tax and you can pick up a tablet or android phone for a couple of hundred more. Only you will be able to descide whether the extra screen size and multifunctionality of the Carpe Iter is worth the extra spend to you. I really liked it but my Garmin's not broken yet.

Whatever the case, we need companies like this to push specialist products for adventure riders and show the big boys what can be done. A bit like the TET - it's different and if you like different, this might be the tool for you.

We'll write a bit about our other kit over the next few weeks.

Re: Carpe Iter Pad

Posted: Wed Oct 02, 2019 5:41 am
by Didado
Thanx John, I was dying to ask you about the Iter on the trip


Re: Carpe Iter Pad

Posted: Wed Oct 02, 2019 9:01 am
by Linesman-A
Maybe for serveral interesting. I am testing Carpe Iter Pad since it was launched in June 2019. It is a great and awesome device and the first solution which really works for electronic rally roadbook riding and rich GPS navigation. For more information and updates please visist Bye, Jakob.