The following review will be directed to Android buyers using iFly, as that's my current setup.
I have been flying a 150 and a 172 for a few months now with a cheap Acer Android tablet, coupled with a normal bluetooth GPS receiver. The combination works great and, coupled with iFly, destroys countless certificated panel GPS units costing thousands and thousands of dollars.
iFly is extremely powerful and blows several other EFB's out of the water. I've never used Foreflight, but have seen screenshots and I think iFly gives Foreflight an honest run for its money.
Having said that, I was ready to step up to current weather and RADAR via ADSB. Changing COMS to the nearest ATIS is becoming a hassle and has disadvantages any pilot reading this is familiar with. I was enticed by having all that good METAR information continually updated, right on the tablet and was the fundamental reason why I bought the XGPS170.
The device works as intended and as expected. I am not blown away by the functionality, nor am I let down. I knew what it was going into the purchase and my satisfaction is on par with what I expected it to be. Allow me to explain.
Previously, with my external GPS receiver, not only did I need Bluetooth turned on, on the tablet, but I also needed a helper app from the Play Store. This app tricks the tablet into accepting the GPS signal via Bluetooth instead of from its internal chip (if any). After a bit of tinkering around, I found an app that works 100% of the time. It works great with iFly and with Google's My Tracks, so that I can record my route.
Now, the ADVANTAGE with the XGPS170 is that the helper app is no longer needed iFly picks it up natively. The DISADVANTAGE is that no other app (including My Tracks) does, therefore I can no longer record my routes. The workaround is that I also carry my cell phone, also running My Tracks, using the phone's integrated GPS chip. A second workaround may be that iFly records tracks, though I haven't researched whether it does or not. This may sound like I'm nitpicking, but I absolutely require a GPS log of my flight for both liability (busted airspace anyone?) and personal remembrance later on in life. I love looking back on my flights and thinking oh wow wasn't that one fun?
Anyhow, initially I struggled to get iFly to pick up the XGPS170, but once I figured out that I should leave the helper app OFF and just let iFly do it's thing, everything started working well.
The steps are as follows: Turn XGPS on. Turn tablet on, bluetooth on. Open iFly. Go to Setup | About | Connected Devices. Select XGPS. You'll only need to do this one time. From then on out, as long as XGPS is on, and bluetooth is on, opening iFly should connect to the device. I've found that when it doesn't, closing iFly and reopening it does the trick.
As long as you have the instruments set up to display GPS status and ADSB status, you'll receive real time notification that the device is connected. You can monitor status more in depth by going back to Setup | About | connected Device. You will see updating status, including heartbeats.
The GPS portion of the device works as well as my 10 y/o bluetooth GPS. ADSB weather started updating on roll out and only improved during climb out. I verified it was working by having my WIFI off for 24 hours prior to flight, yet checking METAR's in the air showed brand spanking new information, verified by dialing my COM to that location's ATIS. Today was pretty nice, so not much precip was showing on RADAR, but you can make it animated, which works well.
I also found a few ADSB-compliant aircraft flying around. I even received two popups of encroaching aircraft, about 10nm away.
Does what it's expected to do: Provides GPS, (nearly) real time metar, weather and radar. Shows nearby compliant aircraft.
Replaces XM Weather's $35/mo fee.
Battery allegedly lasts several hours. Can be charged via a USB battery pack.
Included non slip holster works well, though it's huge.
As near as I can tell, the battery LED doesn't change colors when the unit is fully charged. It annoyingly stays red no matter how long you charge it.
Non slip holster inexplicably covers ON/OFF button, yes shows USB port, LED lights, etc.
Antenna is going to get broken off if you're not gentle with it during transit/storage.
I know people have paid much more than $499 for this little box, but that's all I paid. Still, I think it's about $300 too much for, honestly, all it offers.
You can get current weather via your COM and dialing in the ATIS/ASOS. You can contact Flightwatch & FSS, too. But the most important disadvantage is:
The false sense of safety the traffic feature provides. Yes, you'll see some aircraft, but you won't see all of them. You will ONLY see ADSB compliant aircraft and even then, you may, you may not. I can't help but feel pilots will be lulled into that, perhaps to their detriment. This is no replacement for eyes outside the aircraft and situational awareness. This is no fault of the product, just the technology in general.
This product solves a specific problem. One that only people with a bit of money and a certain attitude towards their pilotage will have. If you want continually updated weather on your EFB (providing you even fly with an EFB), then you need something like this. Frankly, the ADSB traffic feature should not even enter your mind as a purchase consideration because the very technology is incomplete and not safe enough to fly by. So, it's a weather-only device. If you want to shell out $500 for a weather device (as I did), then it's a good buy. But that's the only problem it solves.