No GPS? No problem

GPS is great for everything from automatically tagging photos to finding the nearest Apple Store. But what if you bought a Wi-Fi-only iPad, or an iPod touch? The Bad Elf GPS receiver attaches to your Dock Connector, giving you the benefits of GPS without having to buy a new device.

Using the Bad Elf is about as simple as could be. You plug it in, and your device will recognize the GPS signal. A green LED on the Bad Elf reports its status via different blink patterns. We tested it with navigation apps, and were easily able to make our way around San Francisco using a Wi-Fi-only iPad mini. Be warned, though: Bad Elf draws power from your device, and GPS is a known power-hog.

Bad Elf as tiny and easily swapped between multiple devices

Thankfully, the dongle features a micro-USB port to allow pass-through charging via the included cable.

Speaking of the iPad mini, Bad Elf currently doesn’t offer a Lightning-equipped version of its GPS dongle, but the good news is that it works just fine in conjunction with Apple’s Lightning to 30-pin Adapter. It’s a bit clunky, but until Bad Elf decides to update its hardware, it works well (and is actually good if you own a mix of devices).

Of course, the obvious downside is the price. Even though the Bad Elf can easily be found for less than the $130 sticker price, that’s the price difference between Wi-Fi-only and 4G-eguipped iPads, which also include onboard GPS. If you need to bolt on GPS to a device you already own, Bad Elf makes sense, but anyone buying a new iPad is better off getting the upgraded version from Apple. Bad Elf does have an advantage if you have multiple devices, however, since it’s small enough to carry in a pocket and swap between iPads or iPod touches.

The bottom line. Bad Elf works, if you need to add GPS to a Wi-Fi-only device, but iPad buyers should spring for an upgraded device.

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