cel phone as gps

Discussion in 'GPS 101 - Which GPS For Me' started by Artlocks, Sep 9, 2017.

  1. Artlocks

    Artlocks Been here awhile

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    I am looking for a relatively cheap cel phone (unlocked) to use primarily for GPS. I would use it on things like back country discovery routes, overseas etc.

    I had a 60csx but it broke. I really grew to like it. It the meantime I use Osmand+ on a Samsung note3.
    I loved that arrangement but now my note 3 won't charge. I used my Posh phone too but Osmand crashes sometimes on it. Also I have charging problems on it too. I wonder if the vibrations disrupt the charging circuit too much on cel phones.

    I see a garmin 64st on sale at cabelas but now I am so spoiled by the cel phone display that I don't think I can go back.

    Has anyone found and used a cel phone with good results? If so, what is the model?

    Rugged. Can take vibration and light rain.

    Has good GPS which finds satellites quickly.

    Charges easily off USB power supply or mcycle battery. Will consistently charge while mounted on motorcycle.

    Unlocked so I can use it as a travel phone too.

    Is there is a USB charging cable that is designed for these conditions?

    Maybe such a animal does not exist yet at a reasonable price.

    Thank you for any assistance you can provide.
    #1
  2. Bigsmokindaddy

    Bigsmokindaddy Adventurer

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    I have been using my iPhone 6 with amazing success. Combine it with an app like Pocket Earth, and you are good to go. I have mine mounted next to my instrument cluster, and it doesn't get too hot even with the sun shining directly on it. Getting too hot has always been the downfall of iPhones


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    #2
  3. worwig

    worwig Long timer

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    There are dozens of threads on using a cell phone in place of a dedicated GPS. You can get rugged Android phones for a very reasonable price.
    #3
  4. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    1- moto g , Kyocera brigadier, Kyocera Duraforce /xd /pro, Kyocera hydro, Samsung active s5, and a LOT of Chinese phones on eBay.
    2- no. yes. all of them. none of them. it really depends on if it's raining or not. I unplug for the rain, plug in again for the dry, during street rides. I haven't the desire to ride through 8 hours of rain, so battery life is just fine.

    I think the hardest part about doing this is just picking one and going with it. the GPS/glonass works well on every device ice I've tried. the battery normally lasts 8 hours unless it's a poorly written application like sygic.

    my favorites are the Duraforce and Active series.
    #4
  5. robxxx

    robxxx Adventurer

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    Been covered countless times on here, do a search.
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  6. EnduroRdr

    EnduroRdr Woods Racer & D/S Rider

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    Cell phone gps apps are great but - Your biggest problem with using cell phones is the power ports break when using in off-road conditions.
    The USB ports can't handle the abuse & often fail (usually at the worst times).


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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  7. Switchglide12

    Switchglide12 Been here awhile

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    I have iPhone 5C 16G if interested.
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  8. worwig

    worwig Long timer

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    I had a couple of Garmin power connectors fail. I was out of luck on my trip when that happened.

    I have never had a phone connector break. I'm sure they can. But if a cable failed, I can stop at a gas station and pick up a replacement for a couple of bucks.
    And if you simply tied the cable off so things are not stressed, it won't fail.
    #8
  9. EnduroRdr

    EnduroRdr Woods Racer & D/S Rider

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    Which Garmin are you using?
    I have had the exact opposite results. My 10+ year old 60CSX using the round 4 pin plug has never failed and even kept water out in a river dunk and also several rainy rides. On the other hand I had the mini USB plug connection fail on a Motorola Droid had to bring to a cell phone repair shop with $65 repair.
    I also have a 7 yo 60cs my son uses - 4 pin plug is absolutely the most durable out there.

    [​IMG]

    Both my Garmin's have both types of plugs USB & 4 pin like this one:
    The 4 pin is way more durable than USB.

    [​IMG]


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  10. Steel_Cowboy

    Steel_Cowboy back in the saddle....homeward bound

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    Ready for it ....:-).....---> ... mobile phones (cell phones) work as well for GPS functions as your spelling of them; there seems to be just a letter missing when compared to a GPS unit :lol3 <-- We are all inmates/ffs so that was intended to be funny, not a jab, for my spelling and grammar are atrocious!

    Now, your question surely depends on how to navigate from one Starbucks to the next, right? It is all relative my friend -- I wanted to navigate from a Starbucks in Northern Colorado and tried to get to the nearest one in Wy (roughly 110 miles away via my bc route) and on the way, we lost a signal and the cell phone proved useless. No signal, no map download, no directions. Good thing I had a hard copy map access and a full GPS unit as back-up. Took me about 2.5hr delay over the course of the day, and mobile phone worked less than 1/2 the time. I have a LifeProof case, phone still gets wet. The cords aren't waterproof, they bend/break easily because of the rough country b/w the Starbucks I frequent.

    I started late on mobile phones, about 2004/05. In the backcountry, they are as dependable as toilet paper and I literally cleaned shit on my previous model motorola droid and then had to turn it in for a new one, cause it wouldn't function properly. I've been through the same amount of tp as I have mobile phones, so you could purchase any of my old ones, I'll give an ADV-discounted price on them :-)

    3-step easy process -- :

    1.) Get the Natural Navigator, by Tristan Gooley. Read it 4-times, then go practice it and then read it more until you actually can practice and understand it. You won't need a f'in map, GPS or the cel phone you purchase above; you'll just know where you are all the f'in time. If you don't, read and practice more until you do.

    2.) Get a map and compass. Learn to use them. Take them with you, use them even when you don't need them. Make sure the GPS and your cel phone are accurate. That way when they take a shit -- you actually know how to use a map and compass, which is overkill anyway because you just finished training the Natural Navigator skills and you know where you are anyway.

    3.) Use a GPS for navigation and your cel phone to ensure the Starbucks will be open and have motorcycle parking available when you arrive :-)


    I hope you get a laugh out of this post, i'm being rhetorical because there are many threads on the discussion and you are trying to make a tool something it is not. What about asking which cheap GPS is the best to use primarily as a mobile phone?

    By the way, you have the BEST avatar EVER!
    #10
  11. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    in the last six years I haven't broken any. that includes mini USB and micro USB.

    sky is falling.
    #11
  12. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    what application where you using ?

    why didn't you download maps of where you were going ?

    try riding somewhere without maps on your Garmin. yup, it's exactly the same. you have to load maps of where you are going before you go. phones work exactly as they should, if the user installed maps prior to leaving.

    it's simple
    #12
  13. Tripped1

    Tripped1 Bitch called me a feminist.

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    I have broken a port and a pile of cables....

    I however, I also went to external power, and that bad boy is now hardwired, and I no longer have to touch the USB ports.
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  14. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    cables, yes, I've broken plenty of them. its usually because a dog trips over the cable and sends the GPS ... oops "phone!" .... flying. good thing those phone cables are available in every single gas station between here and forever.
    #14
  15. worwig

    worwig Long timer

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    Long ago, I had a Streetpilot III. The 4 pin power port, like you showed as #1 in the second photo, was on top. It filled with water, and steam was pouring out of it. The pins molded into the cabinet turned green and corroded before I knew to unplug it. The connector/cabinet was destroyed.
    I have a 276C. The cable broke a couple of times and the motorcycle mount was not very rugged. Add on the front screen leaking and the unit filling with water, and it was a total fail.
    Long ago I had a small battery operated Garmin, I don't even recall the model number. Something III+.The battery contacts kept failing. It was a known issue. Maybe it a pain on a motorcycle when you hit a pothole and it turned off.

    So I use a smartphone now. I have numerous apps on hand. And the only failures I have had was when I used to leave the USB plug exposed. Now I slip a rubber tube 'condom' over the end of the cable when it is not used and have zero issues. They motorcycle was generally used year round and I have probably put close to 100,000 miles on using a smartphone on the handlebars with no issues. I can't say the same for the overpriced Garmin devices I owned.
    #15
  16. Artlocks

    Artlocks Been here awhile

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    Thanks to everyone for their replies. It looks like some people have a lot of success using smartphones for navigation. I will look at some of the phones suggested here. I tried looking at phones on Amazon but when I read the reviews, I never find a review by anyone using it the way I do. So I decided to ask here.

    If any of you ever find my bleached bones out in the desert, you know I choose the wrong phone.
    #16
  17. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    amazon reviews unfortunately have about 50% that rate a product on the delivery time, 20% weather or not they returned it, and the final 25% that actually used the product. if you even think about using it aside the "normal" ways of use, you're out of reviews at that point.

    there are some threads here on adv that detail which models people have used, with the latest favorite being the Kyocera Duraforce XD, if you want to check that one out.
    #17
  18. aernan

    aernan Been here awhile

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    I had an old Garmin on my last bike that eventually got stolen. I can see the appeal of using and old phone as a GPS.

    If you want to make the mini/micro USB port more weather resistant you can always fill it with petroleum jelly before you insert the cable. You could avoid using a cable all together if you like by getting a phone with built in wireless charging. I have an old Samsung S4 which offers a charging case. My current phone is a S7 which is waterproof from the factory and has wireless charging.

    Regarding the more rugged but cheaper Android phones. I've been very tempted to buy a kyocera or other no name chinese phone. I have owned a few cheap/burner phones. I would stay away from them because at some point the Android version becomes too old to get apps from the play store. I have that problem with my Google Nexus 7 tablets now.

    If you watch around you can probably find a BMW Motorrad Navigator 5 because the new models are out. It's just a more rugged Garmin for bikes. The big advantage is there are nice locks/mounts for it and it's designed to plug directly into the bikes electrical circuits.
    #18
  19. Doug Just Doug

    Doug Just Doug Silly Party Candidate

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  20. Artlocks

    Artlocks Been here awhile

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