Author Topic: New smartphone for Sat Nav  (Read 3665 times)

MikeW

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New smartphone for Sat Nav
« on: 16:49:21, 08/01/17 »
I'm thinking of buying a new smart phone to use for sat nav when in the mountains.

My current situation is that I have a good (but not water proof or drop proof) smart phone which I use, with ViewRanger as my primary means of navigation in the mountains and I am very happy with the way this works and that I could use it to find my way out of anywhere I go in any conditions as long as it's working...
I also carry compass and map but to be, honest, think that there are places I go that I would have trouble finding my way out of at times using only a map and compass. For example if there was fresh snow covering paths / tracks and white out conditions etc. The main problem being knowing your exact current location at any time.
I have other electrical devices that I carry that are USB chargeable - GPS watch (for tracking not suitable for navigating) and head torch and so carry a USB power pack and lead that enables me to charge these items while out should I ever need to.

I am wanting to add a second piece of electronic navigational equipment to my kit. This will become my primary piece of navigational equipment and my current smartphone my backup.
It should be waterproof and shockproof and USB chargeable.
It should be easy to transfer the pre-planned route to BOTH devices (such as would be the case if it is a smart phone also running ViewRanger.)
I would consider a dedicated GPS if it met the above requirements and was under say 200.
What seems like the obvious choice to me is a new waterproof, tough smart phone and would pay up to 400 for a good one.

So far I have looked at...

Blackview BV6000 smart phone can be had for 150. Tough, waterproof, reviews few and far between but all good. A few irritations and faults apparently - screen only 720p not a problem for me etc. The magnetic compass / gyro isn't apparently much good - but not needed by ViewRanger for navigation and likely to be fixed in a software update.

Caterpillar S40 smart phone around 350. Meets all the basic requirements but apparently some find satellite reception poor!!!

Tuff T450 smart phone about 340. Looks impressive. Independent reviews hard to find.

Other tough smart phones with varying reviews and prices.

So can anyone suggest any particular phones to buy for this purpose or avoid or have any experience of the above ones? Especially the Blackview which almost looks too good to be true?
Is anyone going to try to convince me to get a dedicated GPS?
Any other suggestions?
Thanks.

craven50

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Re: New smartphone for Sat Nav
« Reply #1 on: 16:56:20, 08/01/17 »
I'm thinking of buying a new smart phone to use for sat nav when in the mountains.



Go for a dedicated GPS IMHO. Use your current phone as backup.

Ho dear! reread your post 8 hours later missed last paragraph  "Is anyone going to try to convince me to get a dedicated GPS?"

I jumped straight in there ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D But still recommend a gps. :-*
« Last Edit: 02:10:21, 09/01/17 by craven50 »
Munros:282   Corbetts:222 Grahams:42   Donalds:9 Hewitts:137 Wainwrights:214
Pennine Way. C2C WHW. SUW Dales Way. Centurian Way. 827 Geocaches.

sussamb

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Re: New smartphone for Sat Nav
« Reply #2 on: 17:16:08, 08/01/17 »
Go for a dedicated GPS IMHO. Use your current phone as backup.

Agreed, it's what I do.  Your smartphone is a phone.  No matter what some folks say it's primarily a phone and a GPS second.  It can't compete with a dedicated GPS for numerous reasons.  I use a GPS as my primary nav aid, and my smart phone as a backup.  My Etrex 20 was well under 200, and you can load OSM mapping for free.  GPX routes created for it can be loaded to your phone for ViewRanger to use.

What it isn't is USB chargeable, but it takes standard AA batteries (although I use rechargeables) and those will last a couple of days walking.
Where there's a will ...

botty

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Re: New smartphone for Sat Nav
« Reply #3 on: 14:30:11, 09/01/17 »
On Saturday me and two friends went on a 17.5 mile hike in the Peak District, and although by no means were we lost we just wanted to check where on the path we were as we needed to pick up another path a little further up and the map showed no obvious means of identification.


So, my friend pulled out his dedicated unit and I pulled out my smartphone and within two clicks I knew where we were using the phone and installed OS map, it took about a minute for my friend's GPS unit to 'acquire satellites' and go to the map. Both showed us in the same place.


I admit that I carry a cheap Garmin etrex that I have had for years 'just in case' but can't remember the last time I used it. I now use my phone and carry a fully charged USB back up power supply.


That said, for serious walkers the dedicated units are probably the way to go.

sussamb

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Re: New smartphone for Sat Nav
« Reply #4 on: 14:43:03, 09/01/17 »
Acquisition time depends on many factors.  My smart phone is often far slower to acquire a signal than my GPS.  Sometimes my  phone is quicker, generally because the last time my GPS was switched on it was some distance away from that location.
Where there's a will ...

mananddog

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Re: New smartphone for Sat Nav
« Reply #5 on: 14:58:09, 09/01/17 »
I just bought a new smart phone but it will not be replacing my GPS. I go on multiday trips where I cannot recharge for a few days. The GPS will last well over a week on one charge but the smartphone will not. I carry a spare battery for the GPS but have rarely needed it (assuming I have remembered to charge the GPS up in the first place!)

gunwharfman

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Re: New smartphone for Sat Nav
« Reply #6 on: 14:59:38, 09/01/17 »
I carry a dirt cheap flip phone for calls and texts and my smartphone is 'just' organised to be a GPS and maps when I need it. It suits me because I can use 'obsolete' equipment which still works and is just lying idle in my man drawer! I personally have never felt the need for a dedicated GPS, mainly because as I only walk alone I stick to the National Trails most of the time.

I have only needed to use my 'phone GPS' once when hiking, last year about 6 hours away from the end of the GR10 I experienced thick, thick fog across a wide grassy mountain and large rock strewn area. Lost the path completely and so steered myself with the little blue dot on the GPS map. It worked well and was a most entertaining experience. It was weird that day, as I came out of the fog I could see that below my waist it was still in fog for a short distance and my upper was half was in brilliant sunshine.

ninthace

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Re: New smartphone for Sat Nav
« Reply #7 on: 15:12:07, 09/01/17 »
I carry a dirt cheap flip phone for calls and texts and my smartphone is 'just' organised to be a GPS and maps when I need it. It suits me because I can use 'obsolete' equipment which still works and is just lying idle in my man drawer! I personally have never felt the need for a dedicated GPS, mainly because as I only walk alone I stick to the National Trails most of the time.

I have only needed to use my 'phone GPS' once when hiking, last year about 6 hours away from the end of the GR10 I experienced thick, thick fog across a wide grassy mountain and large rock strewn area. Lost the path completely and so steered myself with the little blue dot on the GPS map. It worked well and was a most entertaining experience. It was weird that day, as I came out of the fog I could see that below my waist it was still in fog for a short distance and my upper was half was in brilliant sunshine.


And of course- had you set it up (smartphone or gps) you would have been warned you had have gone off course in the first place!
Solvitur Ambulando

gunwharfman

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Re: New smartphone for Sat Nav
« Reply #8 on: 15:40:26, 09/01/17 »
That's right, when I wandered of the trail it bleeped and when I was back on the trail it bleeped. Very clever! Met a man in a pub on the Cotswold Way who told everyone there that you don't need to go to University, you just need to go out and get a job! These inventions like GPS's do not appear like magic, but he thought so!

ninthace

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Re: New smartphone for Sat Nav
« Reply #9 on: 15:52:56, 09/01/17 »
That's right, when I wandered of the trail it bleeped and when I was back on the trail it bleeped. Very clever! Met a man in a pub on the Cotswold Way who told everyone there that you don't need to go to University, you just need to go out and get a job! These inventions like GPS's do not appear like magic, but he thought so!


Indeed, some us spent a long time at university, got a better job and retired at 55 on a pension that will support a walking habit  ;) .
One of my ways of shooting down young knowitalls was to
I point out I had more letters behind my name than they had in theirs.
Solvitur Ambulando

Glyno

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Re: New smartphone for Sat Nav
« Reply #10 on: 16:18:47, 09/01/17 »


So, my friend pulled out his dedicated unit and I pulled out my smartphone and within two clicks I knew where we were using the phone and installed OS map, it took about a minute for my friend's GPS unit to 'acquire satellites' and go to the map. Both showed us in the same place.



I agree with the above. Until someone comes up with something far better, it's Viewranger installed on a phone for me.

Percy

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Re: New smartphone for Sat Nav
« Reply #11 on: 16:45:55, 09/01/17 »
I point out I had more letters behind my name than they had in theirs.
Don't try this in Sri Lanka.

MikeW

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Re: New smartphone for Sat Nav
« Reply #12 on: 19:00:47, 09/01/17 »
OK, thanks all for the input.
I have decided that I will buy the 150 smart phone. I was hoping for some recommendations on which phones to buy or avoid or which GPS's (preferably with a screen bigger than 2") would somehow be better than a smart phone / ViewRanger.
The only considered reason that I have heard for buying a dedicated GPS is battery life. I think my ability to recharge while walking and having a whole second unit (phone) covers that though I am interested to hear which GPS gives over a weeks battery life? If affordable I may well be interested in one of those. My current phone gives over 12 hours constantly on and logging position and route with the screen on and off to take photos, check navigation etc. Am expecting over 18 hours from the new phone with 4500mah battery.
If I hear a considered reason I will look into buying something like the etrex20 to use as a backup instead of the old phone or main with the new phone as a backup if it somehow turns out to be better or easier to use. (and would still be within the original smart phone only budget so all's good)

Percy

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Re: New smartphone for Sat Nav
« Reply #13 on: 19:06:50, 09/01/17 »
I don't think any dedicated GPS units have batteries that last a week but the advantage they do have is taking regular AA batteries. If you are camping it is often easier to find somewhere selling batteries than a plug socket you can use for a couple of hours.

gunwharfman

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Re: New smartphone for Sat Nav
« Reply #14 on: 12:11:21, 10/01/17 »
One point to consider? I only use PAYG and buy my phones outright so no contracts for me! The most important issue for me nowadays is to always buy a phone with 2 SIM card slots. When abroad I can then choose to buy a local SIM card, or to use the 2nd SIM card for data only. My primary SIM card stays as my normal number and is only used for calls and texts, it just makes my phone much more flexible. I would never willingly go back to a single SIM phone.

My phone at the moment is a OnePlus3, but my previous one before I dropped it on concrete was a Moto G with 2 SIM slots as well. Both are excellent phones. The Moto G is I think much better value for money and it offers something else which I never thought of. I think phone manufacturers are now making phone that you cannot open up (my OnePlus3 for example) whereas you can take the back off the Moto G and get it repaired.