Review: Carpe Iter Dashboard

Review: Carpe Iter Dashboard

Revving up for another epic sojourn through the vast landscapes of the Americas, I found myself on the open road once more, embracing the wind, the twisties, and the excitement of a two-wheeled adventure. In the age of instant connectivity, where some miles warrant a hashtag and capturing the money shot, I needed a one-stop shop for all our digital needs while astride the bike—not something merely capable of weaving me efficiently over the tarmac and trails.

Enter the Carpe Iter Pad, an unsung (if a bit unfortunately named) hero from the Czech Republic-based company. The device promises a groundbreaking evolution in motorcycle adventure navigation. True to its name, Carpe Iter—meaning “seize the journey”—goes beyond the ordinary. Did it become my tech-savvy sidekick for the upcoming journey? Let’s review the device and find out.

Power To The Pixel

We’ll kick-start the proceedings with the specs. The Carpe Iter tablet flashes a bright display; it’s a 1,000-nit LCD screen that ensures I can read directions even on the brightest days. The advanced Ublox M9N GNSS chip takes center stage, offering up to five location updates per second. It’s essentially a GPS on steroids.

This tablet is compatible with more than 20 Android navigation apps using the same control scheme. It embraces multi-constellation navigation, concurrently supporting GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, Beidou, and SBAS with a 5Hz refresh frequency. In layperson’s terms, it’s like having a celestial navigator, ensuring I never miss a turn whether negotiating my way through a concrete or regular jungle or conquering dirt trails.

The robust alloy chassis can endure a claimed 5.9-foot drop. The secure holder includes a locking mechanism, and mine is the charging version with contact pins for cablefree power.

Under the proverbial hood, the Carpe Iter tablet has an eight-core Helio P60 CPU, eight gigs of RAM, and 128 gigs of internal memory. Although it runs on the aging Android 11, there’s a planned upgrade in 2024 to Android 13. No matter—it’s a digital beast ready to devour any navigation app I throw its way.

Popeye Prowess

Let’s talk durability. Tested for resilience in rallies, the tablet benefits from an industrial grade alloy frame, withstanding falls from nearly six feet and shrugging off two tons of shock pressure. Water and dust? Pfft. With an IP67 rating, the tablet scoffs at the elements, letting me ride worry-free through Georgia’s pouring rain.

The Carpe Iter tablet is relatively compact at 7.8 x 5.3 x 0.8 inches, fitting snugly on 22mm handlebars. Adding the holder increases the dimensions to 8.6 x 5.5 x 1.6 inches.

The dual charging system was a pleasant surprise, with the tablet able to guzzle power from the holder contact pins and a robust screw-type charging cable. You can charge the device in all weather conditions. A smart power management system kicks into action when it senses that sweet 13.5-volt current your bike’s engine supplies, allowing you to hook the tablet directly to the bike’s battery. It’s like the tablet has a sixth sense, ensuring it’s always juiced up when you need it.

The Good, the Meh, and the Ugly

Every superhero has their kryptonite; for the Carpe Iter tablet, it’s the price tag. At around $602, it’s not a Dollar Store buy. However, for the features it packs, the price is justified. Note that the Build a Kit option might be your wallet’s savior.

Harnessing a comprehensive Android hub, the tablet supports my preferred apps for navigation, rally tools, social media, music, communication, and email. It mirrors my smartphone, streamlining everything in one place.

Another hiccup? The software updates. As of late 2023, they’re playing hard to get and patience is a virtue. Be patient, though, as the manufacturer has promised updates for early 2024 to significantly enhance the tablet’s performance.

A minor point of consideration is that when the tablet screen was wet, reorienting the map by pressing the compass icon with gloves on sometimes required a few extra presses. It would be handy if we could reposition the map using a controller button. That said, I understand that with only eight buttons available, it’s not feasible to have one for every icon on the screen.

Another suggestion for improvement would be displaying the air temperature in the top righthand corner of the main map screen instead of having the time on there twice.

Saddling Up The Tablet

The installation process for the tablet proved to be more intricate than anticipated, requiring some level of electrical knowledge. Successful installation necessitated consulting the Frequently Asked Questions and the manual on the Carpe Iter website to address a few queries. While it wasn’t plug-and-play, the installation wasn’t too painful. The tablet runs on an internal battery rechargeable via USB, with a single charge lasting for weeks. A quick-release security mounting bracket and an app to assist with the setup and management of the controller are available.

Control At Your Thumbs

It’s time to shift gears to the Carpe Iter Controllers. These controllers are like magic wands for your motorcycle handlebar, offering hands-free operation for various applications. The Terrain Command III buttons played nice, creating a user-friendly experience. The controllers come in the form of dual sets of four buttons.

Logistically, each set can be positioned on the left side. Due to limited space on my bike’s handlebar, I couldn’t adopt that convenient setup. As a workaround, I placed the buttons on both the clutch and throttle sides. These intuitive controls serve as the maestros of navigation, orchestrating map centering and panning—up, down, side to side—and zooming in and out with precision. The function of the buttons varies depending on the map app being used.

The Carpe Iter Controllers on my handlebar remove the need to reach for the screen. Controlling the map with the buttons, I can keep my hands on the grips for a safer, more convenient ride.

Seamlessly transitioning from the ride to break time. With the quick-release system, I can take the tablet wherever I go—which helps plan the next stage or subsequent ride day.

Alternatively, you could opt for a button-free experience through the Adventure Control joystick, which is based on hall sensor technology and a magnet-centered design for durable service without the risk of breaking microswitches or steel springs.

Upcoming Feature Next-Gen Heads-Up Display

At the time of printing, the expected launch date hasn’t yet been announced, but the upcoming Next-Gen Heads-Up Display (HUD) is poised to be like Christmas for riders, evolving from the current Controller app’s “HUD”—which is actually its user interface. Unlike a traditional HUD projecting data onto a car windshield or a rider’s helmet, this Next-Gen Heads-Up Display is simply a software update for the tablet.

The upgraded software is set to offer an expanded feature set, serving as an electronic dashboard for motorbikes, initially tailored for BMW GS models. Carpe Iter envisions extending support to Controller Area Network (CAN) bus bikes through a Bluetooth On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) dongle, facilitating wireless access to any motorcycle’s electronic systems. This broader compatibility is slated to extend to other bike manufacturers, such as KTM, by March 2024.

The upgraded software will comprise a mini home screen, an odometer, maps, track recording, a “life log” function, media control, quick settings access, and an electronic Rally Road book, all accessible through the handlebar controllers. As of late 2023, I’m staying tuned to Carpe Iter’s YouTube channel for more details as the project progresses.

Carpe Iter supports various compatible Android apps on the tablet, allowing you to tailor your journey to your wants and needs. It’s your ride, so make your choices.

While I eagerly await the Next-Gen HUD’s grand entrance, Carpe Iter has thrown in a treat. Every Controller purchase unlocks a premium subscription to Locus Map. This app (and MyRoute) offers various map styles and orientations, overlays, route re-calculation in dynamic navigation, and functionalities like starting or stopping track recording and waypoint skipping.

Road-Tested Brilliance

The Carpe Iter tablet has become the epicenter of my digital universe in the saddle. Streamlining my digital access from plotting precise routes on Google Maps to streaming Spotify playlists, staying connected via WhatsApp, and sharing my journey on social media—this tablet is more than a navigator. It has become my digital command center astride the motorcycle. Even my partner in life and on the road Jason flexed its versatility, using it to control his drone while riding through the Smoky Mountains’ epic wilderness.

As we crisscross the states westbound, the rugged Carpe Iter tablet sets the pace. It makes navigation safe and clear in all conditions and terrains, while the dual charging system and 4G/LTE connectivity ensure the tablet is always ready for action. Sure, it will set you back a pretty penny and it may take some time to master the setup, but it’s worth it for us. The Carpe Iter tablet is a reliable navigation companion, by riders for riders.

Carpe Iter Pad

Carpe Iter Terrain Command III

Lightweight Holder Active