MT5001 5 inch Android Motorcycle GPS Navigation Waterproof IPX7 with WiFi, Bluethooth, FM

Discussion in 'GPS 101 - Which GPS For Me' started by ygal, May 1, 2017.

  1. ygal

    ygal Adventurer

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    As many other rider I'm looking for a good GPS unit that I can use during my ride but doesn't have to "robe" a bank for buying it.
    So while the price of the Garmin Zumo 595 went down (at least for the moment) to ~$699, It is still expensive option so what left is to continue use my Android phone.
    But as I don't like my phone to be "stuck" on a cradle and of course also suffering from not being able to see the screen during the sun light, I was wondering why there isn't a simple Android unit that I can install one of the many navigation apps and use it instead.

    Looking today I have found this unit in Aliexpress and wonder if any of the rider in this forum, has any experience with it :
    https://www.aliexpress.com/item/5-i...10.html?spm=2114.13010208.99999999.264.UCGB1f

    MT5001 Newest 5 inch Android Motorcycle GPS Navigation MOTO GPS Navigator Waterproof IPX7 with WiFi, Bluetooth, FM"

    While the HW / OS Spec doesn't look like the best (512 MB memory, Old Android 4.4.2), I hope they will release a new version soon (More memory and newer OS version), So I wonder how is the quality of the screen under day light and if anyone has any experience with this unit.
    #1
  2. DaMonk45

    DaMonk45 I B Da Monk

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    I followed your link and I have to say my phone is bigger and has more memory for only $60 more.
    I never bothered finding out what software that was running.

    Im sorry I but I think it might be a good idea but that is out of date.
    #2
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  3. 2old2Bbold

    2old2Bbold was 2bold2getold

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    #3
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  4. Albie

    Albie Kool Aid poisoner

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    There's an inmate on here that posted up an unboxing and some initial opinions, but that's all I've seen. Nothing that makes me want to buy one over the Galaxy S5 I currently have.

    Running a 5 year old OS is kind of silly for an item touting the latest model for 2017. :lol2
    #4
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  5. gts1000^2

    gts1000^2 Adventurer

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    Bought one a couple of weeks ago.

    I will post a complete review by the end of the week, but the very short answer is...don' t buy it yet.
    #5
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  6. ygal

    ygal Adventurer

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    Thanks. Will wait to read your review.

    In addition, after reading the previous remarks , I do believe that instead of spending money, buying this unit - I may buy a "rugged phablet" (Large phone) , but still not clear which has the best "anti glare" screen.
    #6
  7. gts1000^2

    gts1000^2 Adventurer

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    Review of a Prolech MT5001 GPS.

    This review is largely in comparison to traditional GPSs (proprietary/closed OS, single-purpose hardware), but also compares the MT5001 to other Android routing solutions.

    My background
    I've owned 5 dedicated Garmin GPSs since ~1996.​

    In addition I regularly use several Android apps (notably Locus Pro) for tablet/phone based navigation & route planning​

    What is it?
    The Prolech MT5001 is an Android-based 5" GPS, branded with the name "Karadar". It's waterproof, ruggedized, includes a motorcycle mount, and is available from a variety of Chinese direct-sales websites, including from the manufacturer via Alibaba:​


    First the Good Things

    • Price
    $110 (plus $34 for express shipping, less for the proverbial slow boat from China).​

    • Prolech Support
    I had a hardware issue with GPS^1 (power switch broke). Several people from Prolech were amazingly responsive via email with troubleshooting and facilitating a return/exchange, including reimbursing my shipping costs and sending the 2nd unit via express mail. While I've had some good support experiences from Garmin, this was better.​

    • Android
    Being Android-based, there's a large selection of apps and the software environment is fairly open. That was one of the major factors in this purchase.​

    • Hardware
    The screen is a nice size, distinctly larger than a Garmin Zumo 350.​

    It's truly waterproof. I put in the sink when I first got it -- full immersion while running for a few minutes, and then gave it a test of ~600mi riding in the rain.​

    • Motorcycle mount
    It's got a well designed mount--sturdy, with a security screw.

    The power connection, in particular, is superior to the Garmin Zumo 3xx series.​

    • File Input/Output Choices
    This is largely an attribute of being a small Android tablet in a waterproof enclosure, but the presence of multiple hardware communication channels for file transfer (Wifi, Bluetooth, USB, SD-Card) is a big advantage over a traditional GPS. Combine that with Android tools for file transfer (ie., Dropbox, GoogleDrive, email, file browsers, etc) means that moving GPX files to/from the GPS is much easier than with a traditional GPS -- no cables needed going from a desktop/tablet to the GPS. You can even connect an SD-card reader to the GPS via USB, allowing you to easily read/write GPX files.​

    Now for the Bad Stuff

    • Hardware
    Screen brightness. The screen is unreadable on a motorcycle, except at night. Even during heavy rain (ie., very dark sky) it's difficult to read, and it's completely unusable on a bright day.​

    The photo shows a comparison between a Garmin Zumo 350 and the MT5001. Both GPSs are at full brightness. The photo shows the MT5001 at the very _best_ daylight conditions -- near sunset on a very dim, thoroughly overcast day, with almost no direct light falling on the screen. The photo makes the MT5001 GPS look much, much brighter than it really is. This is extremely subjective, but I've circled regions on the two GPSs that appear to be about the same color values, with the difference between them being intensity (brightness), not color.​

    Also note the screen glare in the photo. While not a 'high gloss' finish, the MT5001 touch screen reflects much more glare than my Garmin. Not only is this an issue when in direct sunlight, but reflections from a white or hi-viz moto jacket make the screen difficult to read.​

    The touch screen is unusable for 2 reasons:
    the sensitivity is too low -- it often requires pressing the screen multiple times (6? 8? 10?) to have a keypress event registered.​

    The screen resolution is too high -- images (maps, icons, etc) on-screen look good, but most software (the Android OS, Locus maps, etc) isn't optimized for use with gloves, on a moving bike -- so the buttons/sliders/menu options are very small, and impossible to hit accurately (even when the touch screen does pick up a press event). The GPS comes with a small stylus, conveniently holstered on the back of the mounting cradle--it's quite easy to use the screen with the stylus, but that's useless for most moto operation. This could be even more of a problem on any phone (higher resolution) used as a GPS.

    Lack of audio-out port.
    The 2.5mm port is not for audio-out as I assumed (bad on my part). That's dedicated to some unnamed application to link GPS locations to some unnamed POV video camera. :(


    • Android Routing Choices
    None of the routing apps I tried (Locus Pro, Navigator, OSMAND+, iGO, Map.Me, Sygic, Magic Earth) are particularly good for motorcycling for various reasons.

    Common faults are:
    dashboard interface while routing -- too many buttons, too small to use easily while riding

    application interface -- too many buttons, too small to use easily while riding (or even while stopped & wearing gloves), too many on-screen actions required for common operations (ie., skipping the next waypoint on a route)

    no moto-specific features (ie., curvey roads finder)​

    Keep in mind, I _like_ these routing apps, and use them often on my phone or tablet. I really like the high level of _configurability_. For example, instead of a button that simply says "Avoid Highway", Android mapping software (brouter, Navigator) allows you to specify urban/rural speed and a preference percentage for 8~10 different categories of roads. Those are great strengths, but the interface on-the-bike is very poor.​

    Prolech isn't responsible for the choice of routing applications, so this 'fault' would apply to any Android-based solution.

    • Prolech MT5001 software
    The GPS has a nice launcher screen with just 6 large buttons, making them easy to find while wearing gloves (if the touchscreen itself recognizes the finger press at all) ... However, it seems to be locked -- except for the 'Navigation' button, you can't change the application that's launched from each button.

    The best navigation on the GPS is from iGo -- preloaded by Prolech. It's pretty good software, with an almost-usable on-screen interface. However, the bad side is that Prolech appears to be distributing a cracked copy, with no legitimate avenues for support/software updates/map updates.

    Being an Android tablet, rather than a single-function GPS device, the standard Android function buttons (home/back/menu) are important for most applications. The Prolech solution is interesting...in order to make a much of the screen available as possible, they have the 'function keys' available via a floating, semi-transparent widget on-screen that overlays every running application. The widget can be moved around on-screen, so that if doesn't block something important underneath. It's a good concept, with about 50% success in execution....no matter where on-screen you choose to place the widget, it will inevitably overlay something in some application, and the widget is much too difficult to see in bright light.​


    Suggested Improvements
    • Vastly increase the screen brightness
    • Lower the screen resolution from 854*480 to 640*360
    • Improve the digitizer
    • Add hardware function buttons instead of the floating semi-transparent 'home/back/vol +/vol -'. It would be ideal if there were 8 function buttons:
    4 along the top face of the GPS
    2 along the left fact, 2 along the right face​
    with function assignments configurable in the Android launcher, ie home/back/shortcut to an application, specific action within an app -- such as skipping the next waypoint in a route, etc​

    If Prolech added those improvements, even at a moderately increased price, I'd buy another GPS from them tomorrow and would recommend it highly.

    Conclusion
    As it is, the Prolech MT5001 would be pretty decent in a car (or maybe an Ecomobile or BMW C1, something where the screen is shielded from most of the direct sunlight), but it's not suitable for motorcycle use at all.


    Anyone want to buy a lightly-used GPS? Comes with 2x car mounts, 3x moto-mounts, and lots of frustration...but it's cheap!




    As a side note, I played with lots of different Android software on the GPS.
    Here are some observations:

    MapFactor Navigator -- absolutely the best address search functions (better than Garmin) -- only shows relevant letters on keyboard, ie, if the State/City has no roads beginning with "Q", that letter is not shown, if you enter "B" as the first letter in a street name, the only keys shown for the second letter correspond to local road names -- this makes the typing and completion much faster and more accurate. Overall, a nice interface and really good customization. Easier to use (though fewer features) than Locus, and I like it better than OSMAND+.​

    Car Home Ultra -- this is an Android launcher screen application, designed mainly for use on tablets or phones used as an in-car nav/media center. Large buttons, highly readable color schemes, great customization. This is what Prolech should have used. (If you _do_ use CHU on the Prolech GPS, I warn you _not_ to install the "4.2 Car Mod Patch" -- that app sounds like a solution to replace the stock Prolech launcher, and it does...but it also prevents any keypress events from the touchscreen from going to applications, essentially bricking the GPS. You can fix it via some hacking through the USB debugging mode.)​
    comparo.jpg
    #7
  8. Mr. M

    Mr. M huh?

    Joined:
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    Yep, that's me.
    I used the MT5001 now for about 5.000 km in various conditions. Home-Work with the more than excellent TomTom Go Mobile app and Osmand+ for rideing tracks and allroad routes.
    The Hardware is very good. I immediately sanded the pins in the mount, because they are very sharp = no good. I hardly remove the mount, because it is an excellent desk-stand ;)
    The screen is more or less ok. It is 'slightly' below the Zumo 590 and TomTom Rider. I have some images to show you later. Sure, it is not the best, but once you have route-line on the screen it is ease to follow. Certainly using TomTom and Osmand+, because of the excellent directions on screen and voice.
    Personally, I would like a better screen and yes a better Digitizer. The reason you have the wait after hitting a button is because the system not ready for action. If I wait 20 seconds, everything is fine.
    That brings us to the fact that the system is slow in starting up, but heck, so is the Rider. I am using the same time as my pals with Riders and Zumo's.

    The Android KitKat or 5.0 for that metter is a no go on GPS systems. Simply because it is difficult to get maps on the external SD card. Google decided the external SD is a threat and there were no SD slots in the Nexus Phone. For instance I cannot get my TomTom maps saved on the External SD card. Whatever I try.

    The apps are difficult to use with gloves, yes. But mostly I am for fun on the track and stop and take of the gloves. No rush. I can live with that.

    The BT and WIFI connections with my Lumia Phone are excellent, no complaints there at all. Auto connecting.

    1. I know that for above reasons Prolech is testing at present a Android 6.0 system. They should be ready about now.
    2. I asked them to upgrade to at least 1GB RAM to speed up the system. But that is not there yet. I told them it limited the sales.
    3. And do optimize the digitizer and a better screen: Transflective OSG?
    4. Get a SIM card slot in there

    They have a system in Holland now with Home, Back etc, buttons at the bottom of the screen: https://www.opticam.nl/Gorider-Excalibur (This a MT5001 !)

    [​IMG]

    Schermen vergelijk 1.jpg
    Schermen vergelijk 2.jpg
    Schermen vergelijk 3.jpg
    Schermen vergelijk 4.jpg

    O yes, I took off three (!) screen covers and replaced it with an anti glare one. It protects the screen, but I think I will take it off.
    #8
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  9. Albie

    Albie Kool Aid poisoner

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    You might want to do some more research. 4.4 which is the OS that your unit is running IS Kit Kat. As for Lolli Pop, it wasn't all that difficult to deal with the SD cards. It surely wasn't a no go as you claim. I actually used it for a while on my S5 so I kinda know that it does work. I had my Locus, OSMand, and Here maps on the SD card. Marshmallow makes things way simpler. The OS looks at the SD card as just an extension of the internal memory when you configure it correctly.
    #9
  10. gts1000^2

    gts1000^2 Adventurer

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    Are you saying that the MT5001 has 3 layers of screen protectors? How do you keep it sealed against water entry without the screen protector?
    #10
  11. webmonstro

    webmonstro A Aventura Continua....

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    You can change the SD card limitation on kitkat with a app like "SDFix" , you will need to have root access , but maybe a program like "kingoroot " would work
    #11
  12. Mr. M

    Mr. M huh?

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    Root access is too much for me

    I stated that I could manage to get the Osmand maps on the Ext-SD. Only after consulting Goolge ;)
    I did manage with the help of Prolech to move the iGO app + maps to the Ext-SD
    I did manage to have TomTom add his maps to the SD

    It is too difficult because 4.4 is a disaster regarding non-Nexus phones and the Ext-SD cards. I buy the stuff, I am the owner. So I decide what storage to use. :)

    The first layer you peel off if you un-pack it. But I still saw the real protector and found the screen somewhat blurry. So I wanted to change it with another one. To my surprise there were two screenprotectors. I removed them and placed a new one.

    Screen protectors have no relation to water-proof Y/N. They protect the screen against scratching. And some take the sunlight glare away.

    Marten
    #12
  13. gts1000^2

    gts1000^2 Adventurer

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    Updates:

    • Removed the two(!) remaining screen protectors -- this helped substantially with the keypress events being recognized and a little with brightness
    • Installed an app (Lux Lite) to ensure that the screen intensity is at full brightness when the GPS is connected to power.
    • Changed the screen resolution:
    Ensure USB Debugging mode is enabled: Settings => About Tablet => Build Number (press 3x) => USB Debugging
    Ensure the GPS is in MTP mode for USB connections: Settings => Storage => Menu (upper right) => USB Computer Connection => Media Device
    Connect via USB, use the Android Debugger (ADB) to change the density
    Code:
    adb  shell wm density 240
    The default value is 140; larger values effectively scale the size of objects on-screen by the ratio of "density/140".​
    The effect of these 3 changes is that objects (buttons, menus, icons, map symbols, etc) are much more readable and easier to hit accurately while riding, the digitizer recognizes the keypress events better, and the screen is (very) slightly brighter...making the GPS overall much more useful!

    #13
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  14. Mr. M

    Mr. M huh?

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    Excellent! I am going to try this. My son has mine with him, but will be back in the weekend.
    #14
  15. kocyk

    kocyk Traveller

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    Could you explain how did you do it? I even rooted mine, but still cannot move or install tomtom maps to the ext-sd, not mention moving the igo;)
    Maybe a small tutorial/how-to? Thanks in advance!
    #15
  16. webmonstro

    webmonstro A Aventura Continua....

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    There s a app to fix the sd limitaion on kitkat called sdfix . Maybe try that
    #16
  17. kocyk

    kocyk Traveller

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    This app was reason to root the device, but unfortunately, it did not help. Tomtom still see only internal memory.
    From the other hand rooting is very easy, you need to download the kingroot from xda and keep clicking "next":)
    Maybe with root it will be possible to change the assignment of the main screen buttons. I had no time to look for it.
    #17
  18. pepetops

    pepetops Adventurer

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    Hi all.
    I have bought a mt5001 this week and I'm waiting for it.
    I see comments from @gts1000^2 and I think are very interesting. My first idea was install TT go and see it seems the best. Anybody has tried to change home menu with others, like big menu app?
    Seems no need change gps info or something to use TT, no need Apps like device faker or phoneid changers, isn't it?
    Thanks for all this great information...


    Enviado desde mi ASUS_Z012D mediante Tapatalk
    #18
  19. Mr. M

    Mr. M huh?

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    Hello everybody,

    TomTom only works on the internal SD card. So you have to move iGO and its map to the ext-SD card.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    First of all folks Prolech is testing as we speak Android 6. Then the ExtSD card issues are over. I hope ;)

    But the easiest way now is to move the iGO app and Maps to your SD card. That leaves enough space on the internal disk (called SDcard) to install maps. I did this with TomTom Go Mobile.

    Attached the description how to move iGO. Please use the iGO_NF app in the zip file, the old iGO_nf apk is not ok.
    Follow the instructions step by step and it will work.

    Download zip file
    #19
  20. gts1000^2

    gts1000^2 Adventurer

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    I don't know what specific app you mean by "big menu". Can you give a link?

    I did try to change the default launcher app (which is what I think you mean by 'home menu') to Car Home Ultra, both by using the Car Home Ultra Patch and through various Android debug commands to disabled the default launcher and use CHU instead. None of the attempts were completely successful, and some required use of the debugger and/or reflashing the firmware(!) to recover. I'm 100% sure if I rooted the GPS that I could change the launcher, but I haven't tried yet.

    No, none of that is required.

    Anything that will work on an Android 4.4.2 (KitKat) device with an 854x480 (or, probably 800x400) screen should be OK.
    #20
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