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Royaltek Sapphire

Updated 14th April 2003

 Review by Dave Burrows


The design of the RoyalTek Sapphire GPS Receiver has quite a radical look.  You either like it or you hate it.  I'm not too sure why, but I like it. 


I suppose it's because of the domed case around the receiver's circuitry is similar to what you would see on a trackball mouse which I've adored and used for a number of years.


Or perhaps, it's not a GPS receiver after all ?  Perhaps it's a clairvoyant ball ?  Or a plasma ball ?  Mystery I think is what shrouds this receiver.


It could even be a car alarm or tracker in disguise sitting on the dashboard and no one would be the wiser.


RoyalTek Sapphire GPS Receiver



The sapphire comes with a PS/2 style connector allowing you to interchange the cables to the PDA of your choice.  Currently there are cable sets for 5 different manufacturer PDA's.  These are:-

- iPAQ 36/37/38/39/54 series iPAQ

- Casio E125/E200/E500

- Jornada 540/560

- Fujitsu Siemens Loox

- Dell Axim

- Yakumo delta

- NEC E200/300

- ViewSonic V35

- Toshiba e740

- Palm 5xx Series

- and last but not least the O2 XDA! 

Quite an impressive set of cables.  The version we tested came with the 3600 connector cable set.  You can also purchase a serial or USB connector allowing you to connect the Sapphire direct to your laptop if you desire a larger screen.


The sapphire is pretty small, only 5cm in diameter which must make this one of the smaller and more desirable and attractive looking GPS receivers around.


In our tests we found the sapphire to perform flawlessly.  In our tests the Sapphire didn't come out as the fastest receiver in the form of Time To First Fixes, but it's not far off.  We found our average TTFF with the Sapphire to be around 54 seconds.  Once it received it's lock, there were very few times where it would lose a fix altogether.  For several days I stashed the Sapphire under the passenger seat, and although TTFF's were extended slightly, it worked quite well considering what was above it!


The bottom of the receiver is magnetic so if you wanted to fit this to the exterior of the car and pass the cable inside, then you can.  The only thing the receiver is really lacking is a felt type backing for the base.  One thing we did find due to it's size and light weight, it did seem quite quick to slide across the dashboard of the car.  A small square of double sided sticky tape should soon put a fix to that.


We have taken a high intensity fill-in flash photo from the top of the receiver so you could take a look inside the darkened sapphire's glass.  The receiver itself is really quite small, with the circuit board lying underneath. 


The RoyalTek Sapphire sports the following features:-

  • Compact size

  • Twelve parallel channels

  • Built-in active antenna

  • Super-cohesive magnetic for installation

  • High sensitivity to satellite signal

  • Low power consumption

Technical Specifications

  • Twelve parallel channels in GPS.

  • Built-in active antenna.

  • Super-cohesive magnetic for installation.

  • High sensitivity to satellite signal.

  • Low power consumption.

  • Apply to any devices with nine-pin COM port & PS2 ,USB and some specific PDA.

  • NMEA 2.2 GGA, GSA, GSV and RMC, Baud rate 4800bps.

  • Navigation update rate: 1Hz.


The Royaltek Sapphire is attractive, small and lightweight and performs very well under varying conditions.  It's Time To First Fix although not the fastest on the block in our tests, does perform very well, re-acquisition time we found to be pretty good at around a couple of seconds.  The only thing it really lacks is a felt backing or a suction cup through the cable to keep it in one place on the dashboard.  A great little GPS receiver, a pleasure to use and comes in a few pennies short of 110!





Manufacturers Website


Pocket GPS Reviewer

Dave Burrows

Pocket GPS Reviewer Website

Dave Burrows.com




Windscreen Suction Mount Strength

not supplied

Air Vent Mount Strength

not supplied

Car Power Cable Quality

Overall Rating 90%

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