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Treo GPS - Freedom Keychain GPS Review

Best Treo GPS ReceiverTwo years ago I had already written a post entitled “Traveling With A Treo GPS In My Pocket” but to be honest I can’t say that I really had a GPS solution in my pocket until I got my new Freedom Keychain GPS receiver – a product which has rapidly become the #1 bestselling option in our store.

Freedom Keychain Treo GPS

As you can appreciate from the picture above, this Freedom Treo GPS (also works as Centro GPS) unit is the smallest and lightest (only 1.06oz or 30 grams) receiver that I have come across to date – the company actually claims that this is the most compact GPS receiver in the world.  To emphasize its diminutive size the manufacturer smartly decided to add a keychain ring so that you can even more easily ensure that you always have this GPS unit in your pocket and ready to be used anywhere while on the go.

 Freedom Keychain Treo GPS - Side Freedom Keychain Treo GPS - Profile

Beautifully designed with a dark gunmetal grey matt plastic housing, rounded curves and easy to access sliding On/Off button on the left side the Freedom GPS is definitely a very elegant unit that people can proudly display.

Having said this, the Freedom GPS receiver is not only an elegant and compact unit but it also delivers excellent performance.  It uses the top SiRF Star III chipset tracking up to 20 satellite channels simultaneously and connects wirelessly to your Treo or Centro via Bluetooth 2.0 with up to a 10 meter range.

 Freedom Keychain Treo GPS - Size Freedom Keychain Treo GPS - Comparison

Additionally, with a 450mAh Lithium Polymer battery the Freedom GPS receiver provides up to 9 hours of working time on a single charge.  I also particularly like the fact that the unit uses a mini USB charging connector and the kit conveniently includes both a USB cable to charge the GPS at your PC (or wall outlet using a simple USB Wall Adapter) as well as an ultralight car charger cable (image below).

Freedom Keychain Treo GPS Kit

The Freedom Keychain GPS package does not include a bundled GPS navigation software but the receiver can actually be used with any of the most popular solutions available including my favourite TomTom Navigator as well as the AA, Active Pilot, BlackBerry Maps, CoPilot Live 6, Destinator 6, Gate 5, Google Maps, Mapquest, Memory Map, Navigation Mobile, Navman, Nokia/Smart2Go, Navicor, Route 66, Spot, Telenav and Wayfinder.

Overall I haven’t found a single thing not to like about the Freedom Keychain GPS – it’s ultracompact and ultralight, extremely well designed, delivers excellent performance and includes a great charging kit.  Until Palm decide to build a GPS receiver directly in my Treo or Centro there is no doubt that the Freedom GPS currently makes for the best alternative to always have a Treo GPS in your pocket and ensure that you always find the fastest path to your destination.

Treonauts always want to roam freely

Posted by Andrew on November 16, 2007 at 12:45 PM

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by MattR | Nov 16, 2007 1:43:55 PM

Not really the smallest in the World as you can bust regular size watches with full GPS receivers in them

by Tim | Nov 16, 2007 2:28:44 PM

Can anybody confirm this really works with TomTom Navigator 5/6 on the Treo 650? I read a review that said it only pairs up with the phone but the TomTom software doesn't work with it.

by yellow | Nov 16, 2007 8:09:08 PM

So how does this work w/ google maps? You pair it w/ the phone and google maps detects it? Does slow internet (650) affect performance?

by GPS | Nov 16, 2007 9:19:14 PM

Google Maps does not support GPS at all. Get "Where Am I?" freeware tool for to pair it with any Bluetooth GPS: http://wfmh.org.pl/carlos/

by Larry | Nov 16, 2007 10:19:12 PM

Here's my question: How does it perform if it's attached to your car key and the key is in the ignition? I thought the gps works best line-of-sight. Does it manage ok down by your knee, or do you have to disconnect the key from the gps and lay the gps on the dash to use it properly?

by Winston | Nov 17, 2007 11:46:43 AM

I got this beautiful GPS keyring three months ago and I can confirm that it works nicely with TomTom 6 on the Treo (650... I never saw a reason to upgrade). As far it's functionality while the key are in the ignition of the car... not a problem so long as you allow it to sync with satellites before having it down there.

Depending on the environment it will go screwy on occasion but overall a very good gps to have in my pocket. It also works with google maps through 'Where Am I'... though this is not a great solution.

Hope this helps...


by lance | Nov 18, 2007 1:28:32 AM

So why the hell dos this powerful phone not have it's own antenna built in? I dont get it...I have an LG ENVY and it's built in and works great. ANd they dont even market it's most powerful features... they market it as a stupid text messaging phone... but yet it can do great things. WHEN WILL THE TREO HAVE IT'S OWN ANTENNA?

by TazUk | Nov 18, 2007 11:24:51 AM

It has an antenna or are you referring to a GPS receiver?

by TazUk | Nov 18, 2007 11:35:14 AM

Looking at the specs for the LG enV (VX9900) it doesn't have a true GPS receiver. It uses the E911 facility, which is a facility built into all US phones, to triangulate your position. This is then used with Verizon's VZ Navigator as a GPS solution. It is not as accurate as a true GPS receiver and is of course reliant on you having a phone signal.

by Der Wanderer | Nov 18, 2007 3:36:04 PM

I have been using Freedom for a few days now with Treo 680, and absolutely love it. For software I've been using Where am i? with GoogleMaps and cotoGPS.

What I wonder is can I use the car charger to charge my Treo? It has a mini USB, but can the voltage be harmful?

by Der Wanderer | Nov 18, 2007 4:21:22 PM

Apologies. Forget about my question about the charger. I guess I should look at my Treo more often.

by Kenny Carwash | Nov 19, 2007 11:02:01 AM

Looks like I'm going to be the first to have something bad to say about the Keychain GPS. I got one and apart from a few minor setup issues (the Treo would connect to it no problem, but TomTom Navigator 6 has difficulty identifying it as a GPS receiver initially) it worked fine for the first three weeks or so.

It all started to go wrong when I was on a business trip. There's no way to tell what the battery level is and on the way to an airport, it went flat. I plugged it in with the included car charger, but it took about 45 minutes for it to obtain a useful GPS signal again. On the way home it ran down again and since then, it hasn't worked. It connects okay but it just isn't picking up any satellite signals. Currently trying to get a replacement from the manufacturer, but I think I'm going to go for something a bit more substantial in future.

by Ian | Nov 23, 2007 1:29:56 PM

I've just got this beauty as a present and for the live of me i cannot get it to see to connect to my Treo 750 running WM6. Anyone know what comm port setting i should use as the manual is a little vague.

by Micah | Nov 27, 2007 10:58:46 PM

I was excited to get my Freedom but for the life of me I can't find software for it! I've heard references to TeleNav, but it looks like they only offer service with a monthly contract through cell phone vendors. And other people are using software with it that seems to have come from other GPS companies but you have to buy their GPS to get the software. So what am I missing? How can I use this device with my 700p?

by Paul Bowles (Technical Manager Freedom Input) | Nov 29, 2007 12:46:17 PM

Hi all,

I'm the technical manager for Freedom Input so wont comment on the unit itself (as I'm obviously biased :) ).

Just wanted to try and help with answering a couple of points above.

Software for Palm OS5 devices:
To be honest the only ones I would "personally" recommend are telenav and TomTom. Palm OS5 is sadly very under developed for in terms of "free" GPS software (like googlemaps, etc) but there are some good options out there for subscription based services or "pay once" software (normally you buy the maps or software on a memory card).

Setting up on a Windows Mobile 2005/2006 device:
I have written instructions on how to do this using yahoo2go as an example. The process is the same for most (if not all) software but some software may require specific COM ports or baud rate settings so you may need to check with the software provider or just work it out through trial and error (typically COM port 6 or 7 is the one that is used).

For instructions go to:

Your replacement unit was sent out so should be with you shortly (if you don't have it already). If you have any more problems or you don't get it soon just reply to your support ticket or contact me directly.

Anyway glad everyone is loving the product as much as we do :)

by kara | Nov 30, 2007 12:19:26 PM

hmmmm. I can pay $100 for this keychain that may or may not work when I need it (with my Treo 700wx) or I can pay $150 at Amazon for a Tom Tom One.
I think i'll spend the extra $50 and get the bigger screen . . .

by Jasper | Dec 3, 2007 3:13:36 AM

How does this device compare to a gps unit that has WAAS?

by lino | Mar 9, 2008 2:14:46 PM

Where can i buy this product in Miami (FL)? Not online store (unless they have in-store pick up service)


by Tom | Apr 23, 2008 2:01:23 PM

I am using this GPS receiver with my Treo 700p and TomTom 6 software...it works great!

It's a much better design than the GPS unit that you can get from TomTom (I left my TomTom GPS receiver on the dash and it melted). You can actually tell if the Bluetooth is connecting and if it has a GPS signal via the lights on the unit. Also, it has a hard on/off switch. All of these issues were problems with the TomTom receiver (hard to believe that TomTom got so many things wrong with such a basic device).

Also, the unit is much smaller that it appears in most of the pictures (I think mine may be a newer design). It's about half the size of either of the keyless entry devices for my cars.

I would highly recommend this hardware for anyone considering a GPS receiver for their Palm.

by Paul | May 27, 2008 5:05:46 PM

When I first got the keychain unit I was able to pair it with my Treo 700wx just fine. Now I am unable to get Tom Tom 6 to communicate with it at all, even though it pairs with the phone itself just fine.

by Pukfan | Jul 22, 2008 10:34:29 PM

I had Garmin mobil 10 (XT on a DVD plus garmin's receiver) on my centro. Problem was that I was always forgetting to bring the receiver, and the receiver performance was pretty weak (needed LOS, kept dropping lock, etc). So bought Freedom keychain receiver. Worked great with google (location only using where am i) and my astronomy program. Unable to use Mobile 10 sw with Freedom so bought Mobile XT card. Took a while to install (probably due to stray mobile 10 sw) but finally got it and couldn't have been happier. Great product.

by Magellan GPS Keychain | Apr 14, 2011 4:12:11 PM

Do you know if this can be used with a Magellan GPS unit? I see that it could work with a TomTom and other similar devices. Thanks for your help?

by anthony morrison | Apr 26, 2011 2:37:26 AM

Now a days, Treo GPS is a very Popular. Snaps and Information of Treo GPS is very Interesting and Informative for us.

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