Getting lost sucks, whether it’s on a bike or on foot. Fortunatley, there’s a new app for that: Beeline. Enter where you want to go, and the little Beeline compass will point the way. Travel as the crow flies — or make a beeline — instead of the way Google Maps thinks you legally can or should. It launched on Kickstarter on Oct. 28 and is nearing its goal of £60,000 or a little more than $92,000.
There are other devices out there that direct you to a destination on a smartphone map, but most of them offer theoretical routes with turn-by-turn directions, which locks you into a particular path. Beeline’s circular display instead shows your goal’s direction; the way a compass always points due north, the Beeline will point at your destination and tell you how far away it is. How you get there is up to you.
Beeline isn’t just a smart compass; it can show speed and mileage too. And, if “fuzzy navigation” isn’t your style, you can use Beeline more like a turn-by-turn device by creating waypoints in the iOS or Android app.
Even though you could go through the trouble of making your own route, Beeline is designed for exploration and savings. Yes, it houses a magnetometer, accelerometer, and a gyroscope, and links to your smartphone via Bluetooth to use its GPS, but not having its own GPS antenna saves the 400mAh battery and your wallet. The Beeline smart compass device should last about 20 hours of continued use, instead of a couple of days, and it charges via micro USB. The Beeline’s e-paper screen is another clever battery-saving choice that keeps it easy to read during the day, while an automatic backlight keeps it useful at night.
The compass casing is made of ABS plastic, and sealed so it stays waterproof. Its simple silicone strap will fit a variety of bike handlebars, as well as easily fold into a keychain or attach to your bag. In that way, it’s more versatile than most other bike computers or navigators — but it also means you have to remove it when you park your bike if you want don’t want to gift it to a thief. You could just wear Beeline on your wrist, which makes it good for runners who want to venture off the beaten track.
The super early birds — for extra eager bees — grabbed one for $46, half off retail, with plans to ship August 2016.