Is it time to drop the GPS and go SmartPhone?

Discussion in 'GPS 101 - Which GPS For Me' started by deacon51, Sep 22, 2017.

  1. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    there are lots of GPS settings and track frequency tweaks to make. I like 3m /3s for woods riding and 15m/15s for street riding. of course you can set each recording profile however you like.

    I honestly was surprised the reception was good right up to the entrance of caves and tunnels.
    #41
  2. thirsty 1

    thirsty 1 Rider

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    I've never had a dedicated GPS. only my iPhone. It works as good or better than my buddies Montana. I just went down the Continental Divide and used it exclusively.Worked perfect and i wont be buying something my phone does. I have a waterproof case with a battery back up and mount it with a Ram X Mount. I also use the Galileo Pro App. with offline maps.

    It works everywhere. I just came back from 3 weeks in Spain and used it the entire time!
    #42
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  3. Szepy

    Szepy Adventurer

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    Speaking about battery time: it's nice to have a cradle that supports a better method of charging besides USB. Anyhow I've made some short test to estimate battery time.
    With 3800mAh capacity tracking with LocusMap can be done for about 3 hours with display turned on and almost 10 hours with display turned off.
    It means without external charging it's still usable for shorter trips even using it with some dashboard mode as a bike computer + map but if you only use it for navigating a planned trip and tracking it can take a really long day.
    It's still far from Montana performance but much better than I've expected. Makes me think that this is indeed the time to turn rugged phones into navigation devices for outdoor activities taking their weaknesses into account. With an external battery pack they can easily serve you whole day or even for more days.
    It may take a while but I'll also make some tests regarding GPS and tracking accuracy. On main roads there's literally no difference between track details (less than 2%) so I'm keen to compare them on trails as well.
    First I'll need a good, stable holder that fits motorbikes and MTBs also.

    Tapatalkkal küldve az én S60 eszközömről
    #43
  4. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    battery life varies wildly depending on whether other applications are being used, cellular service used, application efficiency, etc

    using airplane mode and locus I'll see lots of hours of single track, more than I want as far as riding goes. for street riding I normally play mp3s , use Google, text, etc and lots of other stuff, so I'll just leave it plugged in. for off road I'll just charge it at camp that night, normally with 30-60% left depending on usage.


    for accuracy tests, you can drop it into a camel bak and get good reads. , or use a cheap silicon mount from eBay. I normally see 3-5m accuracy depending on tree cover+canyons+water. actually water and canyons are the only accuracy issue getting greater than 3m, but then it becomes painfully obvious which way to go as a result of that terrain anyway ;-)

    over a short 150 mile trip today, I dropped the phone under my seat while trying to change songs and track accuracy dropped from 3m to about 15m until one of the kids picked it up:

    Screenshot_2017-11-27-18-11-32.png Screenshot_2017-11-27-18-11-40.png
    Screenshot_2017-11-27-18-11-55.png
    blue is +/-3m

    green is +/-4m

    red is +/-15m

    normally it's sitting in the armrest or cup holder in the car. on the bike it rarely if ever drops before 5m, unless it's slipped out of the holder and bouncing around by the forks, held on by the charging cord..... barely ;-) lol
    #44
  5. TheLondonder

    TheLondonder Been here awhile

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    Would you mount a smartphone on a bike without some kind of waterproof case? I wouldn't.

    The main advantages of a dedicated GPS are, IMHO:
    • the screen is easier to read when it rains a lot (the waterproof case for my phone fogs up), and
    • it works better when it's hot: the waterproof case for my phone acts like a greenhouse and the phone can overheat.
    #45
  6. Albie

    Albie Kool Aid poisoner

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    I mount my Galaxy S5 without a case all the time. Why wouldn't I?
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  7. TheLondonder

    TheLondonder Been here awhile

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    I wouldn't mind in dry weather, but I'd be worried about rain finding its way into my S7.

    Sent from my SM-G935F using Tapatalk
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  8. Albie

    Albie Kool Aid poisoner

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    Why'd you waste money on a IP 68 rated phone then? It's the same rating any Garmin has. My S5 is only IP 67, and has never had an issue with water or dust.
    #48
  9. Szepy

    Szepy Adventurer

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    True, you should not bother on waterproofing issues if your phone has somewhere around IP67 or 68 rating. A rugged case (or phone body :) ) still helps if your phone heeds to calling of Mother Gravity. Also a protective film/glass against dust scratches is handy when using these devices as outdoor devices.

    More experience with phones vs GPS topic:
    1. Accuracy: just had a really surprising experience. On a 5,5 hour long hike the phone was much more accurate than my Garmin Edge 520. Could be caused by bad placement but both of them were placed badly. Also it could be caused by other track recording methods (LocusMap set to walking, Edge520 set to automatic but it's a bike GPS by design) but I've not seen such big difference between Edge 520 and my Montana on previous hiking tours yet.
    2. Cold: GPS tolerates cold much better even with 7 year old battery. In -4 - -6 Celsius the exposed phone's battery time lowered by at least 30 percent that greatly affects useability where Montana / Edge still has enough juice for all my usual activities. That means no great deal in cars / motorbikes where you've power supply but can affect your biking/hiking activities.
    3. Operating in heavy gloves: Garmin Montana has a clear edge above phones with capacitive screens. Summer bike gloves cause no issues with a phone that advertises extra sensitive screen even without built-in conductive points but you must surely need such points on your winter gloves. Preferably on large surface because you're not always able to use them in perfect hand position during a ride.

    Taking the pros and cons into account what I've experienced so far I'd say that if you're doing motorized hobbies rugged phones can be really capable and cheap alternatives to GPSes. They're more versatile, better visual/sound quality devices with a lots of extra services. Just find a good way to place them on/in your vehicle.
    For outdoors activities where you've to rely on your GPS for more than 3-6 hours and/or in more extreme temperature (below +5 and above +30 Celsius) ranges you may still need good old GPS devices. Occasionaly you can use phones with some limitations (using battery packs, keep your display off, etc.) but the service and quality they provide is greatly reduced and GPS devices take back their place.
    The phones are simply not designed to dissipate the heat their CPU can generate on longer term with high utilization especially being on power supply on the same time. GPS devices usually have much slower - cooler running - CPUs and simplier displays with less power consumption, that means less heat and less sensitivity to battery/temperature issues.
    #49
  10. worwig

    worwig Long timer

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    My last few phones have been waterproof. No issues in the rain, other then the touch screen not operating well. Tried a waterproof case once. It sucked.

    My Garmin 276C did fill with water and fail in the rain. The waterproof qualities of a dedicated GPS are a lot poorer than you think. Luckily I had my phone with me to help on the trip, when the overpriced Garmin flamed out.
    #50
  11. TheLondonder

    TheLondonder Been here awhile

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    My choice of phones was very limited because I need an unlocked phone compatible with the wifi calling of a specific network, and there are very few of those around.

    A key difference for me is that ruining a dedicated GPS sat nav with heavy rain would be less annoying than ruining a phone: I'd be uncontactable till I get a replacement, I'd need to restore lots of apps and data (which takes time), etc.
    #51
  12. Szepy

    Szepy Adventurer

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    You may still have another phone as your dedicated nav device if it fits your needs. Also you can easily switch SIMs between the 2 phones whenever you'd need it.

    On the other hand I never had any issues with Garmin devices in terms of water proofing.
    If you want to be on the safe side choose something that surpasses even IP68. Like my CAT has 2m (5m with closed speakers) rating that makes me real confident taking it out to any weather.
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  13. TheLondonder

    TheLondonder Been here awhile

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    Mmm, I had, in fact thought about using a dedicate phone as a sat-nav only, something like a rugged cat; however, I'd still need a sim and a data plan, otherwise it would have no data access for traffic information. Or I could set up wifi tethering from my main phone, but that tends to be a huge battery drain.

    Also, I should be able to connect both phones to my Scala bluetooth (which has 2 channels), but I'm not sure how priority would work. If I get a call on my main phone, would it stop sat nav instructions? Would I need to listen to music from phone 2 only and use phone1 for calls? I'd need to look into it a bit.
    #53
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  14. Szepy

    Szepy Adventurer

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    Usually one of them is connected as media device and the other is as phone. Calls from the phone should have higher prio than the media device. As I recall this was already mentioned with proper solution somewhere around these threads just not sure where.
    #54
  15. TheLondonder

    TheLondonder Been here awhile

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    How about overheating in the summer? Or, maybe, as long as the phone is not in a waterproof case, it should get lots of airflow which should help cool it down?
    #55
  16. Eatmore Mudd

    Eatmore Mudd Mischief on wheels.

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    Kyocera DuraForce Pro is what you seek.
    Daylight readable, meets MIL STD 805G, IP68 waterproof, glove mode for the touch screen and the 13mp 1080p action camera has underwater mode for shooting video when you go snorkeling.
    #56
  17. TheLondonder

    TheLondonder Been here awhile

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    Unfortunately hard to find in Europe, especially unlocked and sim-free. The Cat s41 is more expensive but comes with a 5,000 mAh battery. What do you mean by daylight readable? AFAIK all phones are hard to read under strong direct sunlight - unlike, say, a kindle
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  18. Szepy

    Szepy Adventurer

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    CAT S60 with almost 700 nits is clearly visible even at direct summer sunlight - at least that's my experience. I think something around 600 nits is enough - still I've not tested it either in clear sunlight on a sailing boat or in a sunny alpine ski resort - so there can be gaps. :)
    #58
  19. TheLondonder

    TheLondonder Been here awhile

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    So the s40 has a bigger battery than the s60 (5000 mAh vs 3800), less bright screen (595 vs 700 nits), bigger screen (5 vs 4.7 inches). I am wondering which would be more important for sat nav use between screen brightness and battery.
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  20. Szepy

    Szepy Adventurer

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    For sat nav I'd go for the largest available battery capacity. Around 600 nits I'm not afraid of viewability. With such small difference screen size does not matter too much but the bigger is always a bit more comfortable especially at higher speed usage where you need a good view at a glance.
    #60