Designated GPS unit vs. Smart Phone

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

  1. worwig

    worwig Long timer

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    Sorry for the thread drift. I was trying to make a joke with the Stelvio reference. I have over 300,000 miles on Guzzis. One of my current rides is a 2009 Stelvio with 55,000 miles.

    Back to the phones. Yes, it is easy to put map data on the phone. Yes they use real GPS receivers. Yes you can load NUMEROUS maps and NUMEROUS apps on a phone to look at maps from different perspectives. And most of it is cheap. With my Garmin, you use their apps and maps and you better like it. I think that is the main reason I prefer the phone, it gives me a lot more choices.
    Oh, and the vibration on the motorcycle killed two Garmin mounts over the years. Never had an issue with a RAM phone mount like that in many years.
  2. BikerBobber

    BikerBobber Trying to get lost

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    Now that's funny!
    But let's not pick on Barbarosa too much. He made a mistake, we all do...
    The truth is, despite what GPS companies want you to believe, a modern phone is every bit as good as a dedicated GPS at navigation. I've toured northern Ontario, Quebec, Labrador and Newfoundland using just my phone. Works great on and off road. Does not need cell signal or WiFi. I preloaded all maps and tracks.. The battery lasts (with the phone plugged in) in definately. My phone (S5) is waterproof, dust proof AND had survived several crashes without damage.
    I find the phone better in everyway than a dedicated GPS. And it's cheaper too

    Bob
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  3. team ftb

    team ftb Befuddled Adventurer

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    I'd love to use my S5 over my Garmin Montana. Sadly in bright sunlight I cannot see the screen at all. That is the reality and the only thing that keeps me from adopting a telephone as my GPS. During bright sunlight this screens just are not as visible as my Garmin Montana.

    Sent from my SM-G900F using Tapatalk
  4. worwig

    worwig Long timer

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    Do you use auto-brightness, and have adaptive display enabled?

    The S5 has a mode in direct sunlight to pop the colors and brightness up to a very high level making it sunlight readable. It you turn off auto brightness, it won't do it.
    My Note 4 (same feature) is generally readable in sunlight. Sometimes I have to change the angle due to glare, but then that is true of my Garmin also.
  5. team ftb

    team ftb Befuddled Adventurer

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    Thanks for the suggestion. I just have the brightness cranked to the maximum amount at all times, not "auto brightness" enabled. I will enable it and see if it's better than full brightness. Not sure how it can get brighter with the setting but we'll worth a try.

    Adaptive display is enabled.

    I'll let you know tomorrow in the sun. Over here in Thailand the sun is quite strong which makes the issue probably worse here than other locations.

    Sent from my SM-G900F using Tapatalk
  6. Dolly Sod

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

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    Another thing to check is which maps rendering styles you are using. Some are better than others for sunlight visibility. Which app are you using? Osmand, for instance, is better when using the high contrast touring rendering mode.
  7. garzan

    garzan Been here awhile

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    Cool beans. I use an S5 on my bike, in a Rokform case, and Rokform bike mount, also in the Thailand sun. I've got lots of trips around Isaan enjoying the S5 as a GPS. Usually use either Sygic or Google Maps. (Have a True unlimited data plan.)
  8. team ftb

    team ftb Befuddled Adventurer

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    Well sad to say there is no way I can see anything on the screen of the S5 in bright daylight. The screen is almost black with hardly any detail that is visible. That is with the brightness turned up to the maximum. I'm not sure if most smartphone users are using a sunshade to see the screen or not?????

    The only application that I have utilized for GPS navigation on the S5 is Google Maps. This works wonderfully in the car however on my motorcycles the S5 screen is simply not visible enough to rely on for navigation in my usage. My Garmin Montana is visible almost at all times despite the bright sunlight. Of course the Garmin is not near as wonderful a display nor as easy a touch touch-screen as the S5.

    Without the ability to reliably see the screen it has kept me from bothering to download any other applications to utilize the device as a GPS.



    Sent from my SM-G900F using Tapatalk
  9. barbarosa

    barbarosa Adventurer

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    Thanks Mattbox- I grew up many decades ago with 3 older sisters so I am hardened to a bunch of emotional smack from girls.

    Yeah so apparently I hadn't stayed up to date. The rally organizers had PDFs for use with Avenza so I used that process to find the route across unmarked dirt roads and tracks. Had a great time on my bike and saw some country I hadn't seen.

    Learned some new stuff too.

    Rode hard had fun and got rained on which washed the dirt off quite well (mostly) even made new friends. Imagine that.

    Attached Files:

  10. gefr

    gefr Life is a trip

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    I think a great way to supply power to the cell phone on the bike through a cordless charger. That can charge a wateresistant cell phone without using its micro usb port. So water tightness is not compromised.
  11. simonpig

    simonpig droppin' jewels

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    The smartphone is better than the GPS with finding specific locations, addresses, targeted places (Shell vs. just gas station, if you're that particular) as the interface is easier to deal with and the database often more complete.

    The GPS is a bit dumber and finding starbucks at say "5th and Main in Kenosha, WI" is extremely difficult and time consuming. It takes a bit of triangulation on the users part.
    I use both. When i'm trying to get in or out of the city, I use the Smartphone and rely on the Waze and it's traffic pattern recognition to get me in and out as fast as I can. I have no need for it to record my tracks at that point.

    When I go into the bush I use the Garmin. I like the buttons on my GPS78 for adding. Never tried touchscreen Garmin on Moto, but will try it one of these days. Buddies got a Montana and I'm curious.
  12. worwig

    worwig Long timer

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    And that is your problem.

    YOU MUST USE AUTO BRIGHTNESS.

    With auto brightness on, and when it sees sunlight, if jumps up to a level that you can NOT get to with manual brightness at max. You also need the display set to adaptive brightness.
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  13. team ftb

    team ftb Befuddled Adventurer

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    That's good news thank you. I was unaware "auto brightness" had a capacity above the top brightness setting. I'll try that now.

    Adaptive brightness was already enabled.

    I'll report back. Thanks again.


    Sent from my SM-G900F using Tapatalk
  14. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    PDF, for a rally? Which rally was that?

    I'm surprised they had PDF but not tracks or map overlays. Just keep in mind all this phone vs GPS crap is preferential and about 2% of the actual ride. :-)
  15. Albie

    Albie Kool Aid poisoner

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    Honestly, when I first got he S5 I couldn't tell much difference between it and my Montana 650 as far as view-ability in bright sunlight. The Montana is not as good as some of the other models of Garmin when it comes to that. As mentioned before, if you are using an app like Locus or OSMand, the theme you choose makes a big difference in view-ability in bright sunlight. Both of those programs have free versions to try out. I also use an anti-glare screen protector which helps.
  16. TRZ Charlie

    TRZ Charlie That's MR. Asshole

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    As Albie said, the theme you use makes a huge difference I use "High Contrast" (settings>Maps>Advanced Features>Map Color Mode>High Contrast) with the brightness on full brightness. I can see the map easily on my S7 even during full sunshine with old eyes.
  17. barbarosa

    barbarosa Adventurer

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    Moose Run Rally - Walden / North Park Colorado.

    Was a lot of fun
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  18. MrMac

    MrMac Long timer Supporter

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    Just to clarify, I'm fairly certain they were using 'GEO PDFs', which are GEO-enabled; using the Avenza software on your phone, you can load the PDF map and use it with your GPS to track or just as a map background. Very convenient. Something else you can't do with a Garmin (afik). Not sure if that was understood or not..
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  19. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    kind of figured that but thanks for the explanation. i would rather use a format (gpx-track) that anyone can use, stands alone or smartphone... but now we're into personal preferences. :-)
  20. MrMac

    MrMac Long timer Supporter

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    The cool thing about GeoPDF, is that with the right GIS software *any* map can be published in the GeoPDF format. For example, all USGS Topo maps are available as GeoPDF and can be downloaded and used for free, with free viewing software..