Trimble Juno 3D Review

So I got my hands on the new Juno 3D a few weeks ago. Now I'm thinking to myself, how the am I supposed to review this thing? When I get my hands on the latest and greatest Trimble device, I will set up a gauntlet of accuracy tests-- but this is a Juno. You don't get a Juno for accuracy. You see the paradigm is shifting... In a world where geographic data needs to be both timely and accurate,  more folks are realizing that the timely aspect is becoming much more important. What good is super spatially accurate data if it can't get to the decision makers in a timely fashion? When I was in the Gulf of Mexico during the Oil Spill, and subsequent emergency responses since, the main goal was to get dots on the map as soon as possible. It's not just to appease the public or some folks in D.C., instead it's about showing folks that you are actively working to assess the situation-- it's proof that you are doing your job. The new Juno is the way to go for GIS Data Collection in Emergency Responses and other scenarios which require the real-time picture of any given situation. HardwareThe new Juno comes in two models, one with phone functionality, and one without-- the 3D and 3B respectively. There are a few more frills on the 3D besides the modem hardly worth mentioning, like Microsoft Office Mobile.The thing is much more durable than previous models. In fact, I believe that the previous years models didn't even include an IP rating. The new Juno 3D and 3B are IP54 rated, which is quite an improvement, given that the price point of this device has not changed.When you hold it in your hand, you know it's much more durable than its predecessors, but it's still small enough to fit in your pocket. The 5mp camera is much improved as well (up from 3mp from its predecessor).One interesting tidbit, the 3D comes with a flash on the camera whereas the 3B is without one. Datasheet LinkGPSThe receiver is a 12 channel L1 only SiRF receiver. I was really hoping for a dual-constellation (GLONNASS capable) receiver on this device, as you can even find that on the iPhone 4S. It's scary to think that a professional mapper is running around with one less satellite constellation than a teenager checking into a coffee shop using FourSquare-- but I guess you could make the argument that it's not the quantity of satellites, it's the quality of processing. Or maybe there really is no excuse for this. It's time to get dual-constellations in this box-- it would literally make it a rockstar. 3.5G Modem/PhoneThe phone / modem equipment is standard on the 3D. I love how Trimble does not jump on the AT&T bandwagon and call HPSA+ hardware 4G. However, they probably should, as everyone else is doing it. Personally, If I were to purchase a new Juno, I would opt for the 3B, as the 3D device does not qualify as my daily driver phone-- it would have big shoes to fill from my Nexus S 4G. I'd rather pair the Juno 3B device with a Verizon MiFi for a few reasons:Cheaper cost of hardware $799 for 3B vs $1099 for 3D.I can use a Verizon MiFi to connect multiple devices.Field devices have a season, and I'd rather not carry the cost of an AT&T contract when I'm not using it.Lack of support. There's barely any documentation out there from Trimble on where/how to purchase a sim card, and what plan to get. This is unacceptable from a product management perspective-- but I digress. I'll get off of my soap box.BatteryThis is the best battery that I've seen in an MGIS device... ever. I used the unit on and off for a few weeks and only charged it once. Of course, the way a blogger uses a device is much different than the average field user. But lets just say that you'll easily pull a day + battery life with full usage of this device. The battery is huge. It's a 3060mAh Lithium-Ion Cell, which equates to a large, enduring power plant given the size of this device. Test PrefaceFor my tests, I really just tested the precision and the accuracy of the Juno. For such a low price point (under $1100.00 for the best model), I really wanted to get a feel for positional accuracy of this thing. Trimble specs it at 2-5 Real-Time with SBAS (WAAS in USA), and 1-3 Meters post-processed. I know from experience that Trimble is extremely conservative on their accuracy statements, the units will almost always outperform specifications.Test 1For my first test, I tested precision. Anyone can easily do this at home. Just bust out some measuring tape, lay it on the ground and take shots at predetermined values. For my test I set up for one minute on 0' and one minute on 10'. I measured using SBAS and post-processed. The results were surprisingly good.The Real-time SBAS was the best, yielding ~ 2.34' of error. Post-Processed was not far behindTest 2For my next test, I went out and collected a few NGS monuments to test the Accuracy of the device. Maybe I was a little hard on the Juno in my Modem section above, so to even the playing field, I decided to go heads up with my Nexus S 4G just to see how the GPS's performed against each other. In short order, I quickly found that my smartphone just can't even compare when it comes to accuracy. The Juno was hitting 3.6 feet away from the monument in Real-Time (with SBAS), whilst the Nexus S 4G was hitting 36 feet away from the monument-- thats a 10x difference. So let's level the playing field, Trimble has much less ground to cover in the smartphone game than smartphones have to cover in the precision GPS game.I hit up two NGS Monuments: Designations JOG and COMMITMENT near my house. I occupied each monument for 60 seconds and just placed the Juno directly on top of the monument. I then post processed the results. The Juno did not surprise me-- it hit the 3 - 3.2 ft spec consistently.What's even better was the 3-Dimensional accuracy of this receiver. You see when I test a GPS, I just don't test 2d performance or vertical performance-- I test 3-Dimensional performance, because we live in a 3D world. The Juno consistently hit within 4 - 5 feet in three-dimensional space during my tests. Below is the spreadsheet to prove it (see NGS Monuments).NGS Monument ResultsConclusionI believe that this is the best value in Mobile GIS right now. iPhones, Androids, and Windows Phone 7 devices using ArcGIS for Smartphones are on the verge of disrupting the Mobile GIS Low-End in hardware sales. This hardware release is a testament to that. Technology will get cheaper with smartphones, accuracy will improve, perhaps new positioning technology might come out left field and really disrupt the precision game-- you just never know these days.This device is the ultimate Emergency Response Hardware, hands-down. I happen to be judging from a purely consumer perspective. However, if a giant oil spill or flood were to happen I'd want a fleet of these devices (probably with the modem and ArcGIS Mobile) to survey the scene, and provide timely information to the people who need it most.Given the parlance of this technological time, It's extremely dangerous to label this device as a high-end phone-- lead with the GPS. Why do I muddy the water of my Juno review with these facts? Because the Juno is Trimble's low-end entrant. The 3d model that I've had my hands on is actually a phone. In a world on phones, Trimble really has a challenge. Its entrant has a price point of just under $1100 dollars, it isn't running Android, iOS, or Windows Phone-- its running Windows embedded,  and yes it still necessitates a stylus.But I believe that Trimble has a shorter distance to go in the phone world than smartphones have to go in the Precision Space. Esri (a close business partner of Trimble's) has already built a bridge into these ecosystems with their smartphone apps and api's. There will be a convergence. Mark my word, Dual-constellation receivers will be the norm on smartphones in the next years to come-- thus helping accuracy on this low-end platform. This is an opportunity. Perhaps the next itteration of this product doesn't need to be a box, it needs to be an app.If I got something wrong, or if you'd like to contribute to the conversation, please leave comments.