Designated GPS unit vs. Smart Phone

Discussion in 'GPS 101 - Which GPS For Me' started by NJDirtRiders, Nov 24, 2013.

  1. dragos

    dragos Master of disaster.

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    I think the difference is in the charging.
    I find my Note 4 is doing OK, but when I use it as a GPS, it's not doing anything else. It collapsed only once, in 40C heat on the Autobahn, navigating and charging. Charging is the one thing that can get them very hot.
    Maybe (I didn't try) one can use a phone without a battery, just with the USB charging. Or have 2 batteries and a separate battery charger that charges the spare battery in the tankbag. So you keep changing batteries instead of having the phone powered in. Inconvenient, but probably more reliable.

    Also the software matters. It looks to me for example that Sygic is stressing my Note 4 more than Locus Pro does. But I use Locus Pro strictly in "follow track" mode, while Sygic is my turn by turn nav option. It makes sense that a turn by turn software uses more CPU compared to just plotting your position on a pre-loaded path.
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  2. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    waterproof, external power pins, replaceable battery, $30 on eBay, 4" screen, the Casio c811.

    you can prevent Google from updating your applications by choosing "do not update apps "from the Google play store settings.

    you can prevent media scans by putting a file named ".nomedia" in the directories you do not want scanned.

    i have zero experience with Bluetooth, so .... i dunno

    rooting will allow more control, but i haven't needed it on the last three devices i used, for good navigation experiences. i don't think you need it either, given your current issues.

    the only time I've seen issues with a gps related "crash"was when several applications were trying to use the antenna at once. that may have been because of interrupts requested from those two applications at once? no idea. i did not have good experiences with copilot, so i stopped using it.

    normally when i encounter a slow phone, or a phone prone to crashing, there are three or four applications competing for sdcard access (multiple music players, camera apps, navigation apps, video players, and bless the people who think that anti virus is a good idea!) and causing slow downs. removing the bloat normally makes things fly again.

    the first thing i disable are all the Google apps, then OEM bloat, then carrier crap. after that, things are nice n snappy.

    if course there is always the option of changing over to a stand alone gps, but the prices are fairly high and functionality fairly low. see the pairing sequence threads about Garmins $700 level units.
  3. Earthscape

    Earthscape Have ya got a helmut?

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    I'm glad you're offering me some hope, because I don't really want to buy a separate GPS (I have an old, OLD Garmin eMap, which I like well enough, but it's limited obviously). I like just having a single electronic device on a trip, or hike, or whatever.
    I disabled all app updates a long time ago, but Google ignores that when it updates the play store, or any of what it considers 'essential' software. When I get a chunk of time, a factory reset and root is on the list for a number of reasons. Carrier bloat is one of the reasons why I normally buy phones outright. That, and typically the phone I want is not available on the carrier that has a good signal where I need it. For a new phone though, one thing I would have a very hard time giving up is a real FM radio. I use it a lot since it needs no data connection, and most phones now don't have one. I looked at the Casio a while ago, but I never saw a version that worked with AT&T frequencies (Verizon has garbage coverage where I am).
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  4. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    that's neat, in a crappy kind of way (the google store part) that it happens. factory reset would likely do some good, or maybe it's just not going to.

    it's unfortunate that phones are still carrier branded instead of world phones (vast majority) and not compatible with each others towers for hte most part. really, i hate that crap.

    i'm sure there are better devcies for screen visibility, or size, or ruggedness, or compatibility, or ONE section of variables at a time.... but for me, these cheap ass phones do just fine. i'm shipping another this afternoon, and waiting to see how long my bug reports take to be fixed... just like always. :)
  5. Albie

    Albie Kool Aid poisoner

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    I only need to change the battery once in a full day of riding. Not really inconvenient at all. Worth it to have a sealed system.
  6. wescat

    wescat Been here awhile

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    Any similar suggested devices for GSM (ATT) ?
  7. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    external charging pins seen to have vanished about the time wireless charging was getting more widespread
  8. Cataract2

    Cataract2 Where to?

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    Galaxy S7 Active comes with a huge battery.
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  9. Albie

    Albie Kool Aid poisoner

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    Are there not any of those battery pack/cases for most of the popular phones that are water proof? Seems like a good alternative to hardwiring if they are.
  10. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    the only charging case I've seen is for iPhones, so far. the s7 active would be ideal but it's still too pricey (my opinion) if someone didn't already own it
  11. Dolly Sod

    Dolly Sod I want to do right, but not right now Supporter

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    I got my wife a charging case for her Samsung S6.
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  12. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    sweet! Linky?
  13. Dolly Sod

    Dolly Sod I want to do right, but not right now Supporter

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  14. EmmEff

    EmmEff Long timer

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    Back to external charging, is there something available for the Casio? I'm ready to buy a "rugged" phone (upgrading from my Nexus 4) but I want a "proper" solution for charging/power. What about the Samsung "active" phones? Do they have power/charging cradles?
  15. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    the Casio charging docks were never meant to be rugged or used outside. if you can find one you might hack it into a decent mount, but not without some effort, there is no buy it now option.

    i just carried extra batteries ( three) and changed them around ten percent, or whenever we stopped for mid ride mechanicals. charging while riding is fine, if it rains just unplug until the rain is over.

    i worked with the Samsung phones battery, cansimilarly.
  16. massrider

    massrider Been here awhile

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    I'm still new to the phone as a GPS thing but I used my $40 Kyocera Hydro Air last weekend and it worked pretty well, all I have on it is Copilot and I'm not very proficient at using it yet so most of my struggles were trying to get it setup properly. I was surprised at how well it worked with my gloves on, my wet weather Held gloves are a little bulky so it was difficult to actually touch the correct area on the screen but it always responded to my input it worked with both sets of gloves and they do not have any kind of special tips or thread sewn into them, just regular old leather. it rained most of the 3 day ride and the cheap phone never missed a beat mounted in the ram finger mount. It did have a hard time finding (it never actually did) satellites while in "GPS Only" mode so I put it in whatever the "High Battery Usage" setting was until it located and then switched back to GPS Only and it worked fine. I didn't have any sun shine to see how the display can be seen in the sun but with the matte screen protector I think it will be acceptable.
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  17. DaMonk45

    DaMonk45 I B Da Monk

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    and for $40 its hard to beat
  18. portablevcb

    portablevcb Long timer

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    I've had numerous phones over the years. Four of them I have used as a GPS on the bike (motorola droid, Samsung SIII and S5, iPhone 5). They will all overheat if not charged correctly or if put in an 'waterproof' case. The iPhone was more sensitive to that then the others.

    Several things to look at.

    When you are outside cell range the phone will hunt for a tower. When doing that it ramps up the power, which sucks on the battery and heats up the unit. And if you have 'data' to be transmitted' (like a facebook update or email or text message) then the phone will try more often. If you notice the phone is out of range either disable the data synch or put it in airplane mode.

    Make SURE your charger is capable of at least 1A and preferrably closer to 2A (especially on the newer phones). Make sure you have a good connection to the bike. Cig lighter connectors do not stay connected for long periods. When I used on I'd have to re-insert the plug at least 4 or 5 times a day (on paved roads). When on bumpy stuff the micro USB connector will work loose as well. (FWIW, this has happened to me with stand alone GPS units as well)

    I've never used a waterproof phone only because I don't ride in the rain often. When I do, I slip a ziploc bag over the phone. I use a RAM Xmount for the phone, never a box cause they heat up too fast, even when they are not used as a GPS.

    I have NEVER had to root an Android phone. To me that's just dumb. Go in and disable apps or remove ones that are giving you problems. I have not had an inadvertent reboot on my current phone. It has been running for about a year, 24/7 (I've only turned it off a few times in a year, like when at a wedding :) ). I have had apps crash but have not had to reboot to fix the problem, just disable the app. If you have a crash, find out what app is causing it and get rid of the app. It is not android causing the issue, IMHO. (Note: some phones are defective at the start and will reboot on their own. My first S5 was like that. Rebooted 2 or 3 times a day. Took it back and got another. No more problems.)

    When riding I will have my GPS app running (CoPilot) and the phone will be streaming music to my bluetooth headset (stored on the phone not streamed from the net). Sometimes I will add a GPS speedometer app to the mix. If on a longer trip I will disable the data synch function unless I am stopped someplace where I want to use the internet. Not because it causes a problem. Just because I don't want popup notices of new emails, text msgs, etc, etc.
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  19. Dolly Sod

    Dolly Sod I want to do right, but not right now Supporter

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    I honestly prefer not to use my daily driver phone as gps. I've got a Samsung S4 active that's my dedicated gps unit.

    I still stream music from it.

    I don't disconnect the micro USB unless the rain starts coming down heavy. I've been caught in a couple of big rains and after unplugging the phone it didn't skip a beat.

    I've also never had my micro usb disconnect while riding offroad. I use a right angle plug that is zip tied to the ram mount about an inch away from the end of the cable. It's very stable.

    I've posted this image a bunch of times, but here's another..

    [​IMG]

    That was a test fit, now the micro USB is zip tied to the first finger on the bottom of the mount. There is no room to wiggle loose.
  20. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    cool someone tried it

    ya it's definitely not the best standalone GPS, or best smartphone, or the best combination of the two but it's way way better than the forty bucks needed to acquire it.

    not to mention with a case and hard screen protector you can throw it around and not care, at all.