Well, I’ve had a week or so to use the TripLogik TL1000 and I’m ready to share my experience with everyone.
As mentioned in Part 1 of this review, the TripLogik GPS logger includes two different methods to power the device in your vehicle. The first is a standard cigarette lighter adapter, and the second is a OBD II cable that plugs into a port underneath the dash of most 2006+ model vehicles. I chose to use the OBD II port, because it would minimize the visible cables.At first I thought I might have to get out my owners manual to find the port, and I was also concerned that perhaps the cord might not be long enough. I had no need to be concerned on both parts. The ODB II port was located in an easy reach location just underneath the drivers side dash. I plugged in the cable and then routed it up the door pillar and to the dash in an easy to reach location. I found I had an extra 14 inches or so of cable after I finished routing everything. In all, the installation took less than 10 minutes.
In Vehicle UseThe device is pretty simple to use in operation, there is only one button with a blue LED inside of it. All interaction with the device is through this button, but you’ll really only use it for two things. The first is telling the mileage logger what type of trip the mileage is for (business or personal). The second is to tell the device if you need to establish a way point. When you establish a way point it starts a completely new trip. This is useful if have to make a personal trip in the middle of your business mileage.
I was initially put off by the method of establishing a business or personal trip. The way the TripLogik TL1000 works is that if the trip is business you press the button, and if it’s personal mileage then you don’t press the button. This worked fine until I couldn’t remember if I pressed the button or not. However, a quick trip to the manual (available online) let me know that it was OK to press the button multiple times. In contrast, my earlier unit had two dedicated buttons to establish if the mileage was business or personal. What I liked about that was that there was separate LEDs for each trip type. (Green was business, red was personal). If I had one complaint in this area, I would have liked for TripLogik to give us a ‘dual color’ LED that would change color based on the trip type. However, there is a setting available to reverse the functionality so that the ‘default’ is to business mileage, and if you press the button it makes it personal mileage. I chose to keep the device as ‘normal’ and have it default to personal mileage.
As for the method of splitting trips up, or establishing ‘waypoints’, I don’t usually need this functionality. I did test it out though. It’s very simple as well, you simply hold down the button for 2 seconds — at which time the unit will give you few beeps in response. Then you know that you’ve started a new trip. As mentioned, I could see this being useful for a quick personal trip in the middle of your day.
ReportingNow gathering all this data on your mileage is great, but you have to be able to use it. Every so often you’ll have to plug the device up to your computer and sync the data to the “TripLogik Manager” software. I’m told that the unit that can hold about 50,000 miles worth of data before you have to sync it, but I’m accustomed to uploading my data about once a month. I haven’t been able to test the feature, but the documentation says that the unit will warn you if the memory is running low by having a “rapid flash” with a single tone.
When you decide to sync the data you simply download the TripLogik Manager software and plug the device into your USB port with the cable that was included in the box. Then you simply load the Trip Manager software and select ‘Sync’ under the ‘Logger’ menu.
After syncing the TL1000 mileage logger I see that it allows me to sort by trip, or also by place. Sorting by trip will allow you to merge trips (for instance if you stopped at a gas station), or reclassify trips to business or personal if they are incorrect. The software is also smart in regards to what is considers ‘places’. When the software sees that you have stopped somewhere it will establish a radius around it, and any of stops that are close will be considered the same ‘place’. This is especially useful when you don’t always park in the same spot, like a parking lot at a clients office. It appears that there isn’t a way to directly influence the size of the radius that the software chooses. As you see in the screenshot I am looking at Wal-Mart and see that 9.38% of the stops were at that place. The green polygon is the radius that I was referring to, so any stop within that radius will be automatically assigned to Wal-Mart. The software may enlarge that radius if I was park in the parking lot outside of the green polygon, but it would be nice to be able to manually increase the size of the polygon to be the size of the entire parking lot.
The reporting functionality is very robust as well. You are able to sort your trips by date, mileage type (personal, business, or both), time of day, or even by place. So, for instance, you could make a report that to tell you all the business mileage from home to ‘Client A’ from January through March. You further further refine it to tell you only the trips from 8:00 AM to 11:00 AM if you wanted to for some reason. The Trip Manager software prints out a nice mileage log showing the description of the trip, date, time, duration, and total mileage.
CostIn a lot of ways it comes down to cost as to whether one would use a device like this or keep a paper mileage log. For me it’s a necessity, because I just can’t keep up with a mileage log. When I get in the car I want to go, and when I get where I’m going I want to get out. I simply won’t take the time to record everything on a consistent basis. Many other brands of GPS mileage loggers use an online service to upload your trip data to. They do this so they can charge you a monthly service fee of between $10-25 typically. My biggest fear with these types of services is what would happen if they went out of business. Would I be left with a useless GPS logger that I spent a few hundred dollars on?
That is where TripLogik shines. Once you purchase the device, you are done paying. There are no monthly service fees, no software fees, etc. You simply plug the device in to your computer, and upload the data to the software on your computer, and print out reports generated by, you guess it, your computer. The TripLogik TL1000 Mileage Recorder is a priced at $169.95, which is very competitive in the budget GPS logger marketplace. Most are between $150-$500. The lack of service fees will pay for the device within a year. In my opinion, the amount of money you save by accurately recording all your business mileage (via write-offs) and the lack of a monthly fee greatly outweighs the cost of the device. I’ll be converting from my previous device to using the TripLogik TL1000 Mileage Recorder full-time. If you’d like to read more about the TripLogik TL1000 then click below:
To read Part 1 of this review visit: Review: TripLogik TL1000 Mileage Logger – Part 1 – Unboxing.