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Grilledmonkey05

Dedicated GPS or Smartphone?

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G'day all,

 

So far in my geocaching life i have been using a Garmin GPS that i borrowed from work. I loved it, no problems whatsoever and did everything i needed it too. I've just changed jobs and so no longer have access to the GPS.

 

I don't have a smartphone, in fact, my mobile is so ancient it really should be retired soon.

 

So hence my dilemma. Do i invest in a Garmin of my own or purchase a smartphone and install a geocaching app?

 

I'd be really keen to hear from those of you who have tried both and ended up using one over the other. Also very keen to hear from anyone who has tried various types of smartphones for geocaching and which they preffered (as i currently have no preference).

 

One thing to take into account is that i love geocaching in rural areas, caches that require a good hike to get too. I do city ones as well, but any GPS/smartphone i buy needs to be able to be used for these more challenging (to get to) caches.

 

Thanks!

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It sounds like you have a couple of issues here. I have a smartphone (Apple I phone 4) and I love it. I have the geocaching app installed on it and it works great. For geocaching purposes I don't think you can beat the gps. I have a garmin map 76CS and it's ok and I also have a Delorme PN40. I really like the PN40. If money is the issue maybe you should upgrade the phone.

Edited by camping beaver
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One thing to take into account is that i love geocaching in rural areas, caches that require a good hike to get too. I do city ones as well, but any GPS/smartphone i buy needs to be able to be used for these more challenging (to get to) caches.

That's the dealbreaker to me. A smartphone will not be rugged enough, without an additional case (which may or may not exist) for this usage. And you can't take a spare set of AA batteries to power it.

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I just recently got an Android powered phone with GPS and downloaded the app. Took the phone and my Magellan Explorist-GC to Nashville on a business trip. and tried using both to find caches.

I was not impressed.

 

First, the GPS is quite accurate, no problem there.

It did seem that the GC application did not show a lot of caches. I was on Vanderbilt's campus which has a bunch of webcam caches and they did not show up on the search. Luckily I had them in my Magellan.

 

Second, the phone is slippery, not a big deal and I purchased a skin for it later but I was afraid of dropping it. A drop to the sidewalk would not be good.

Third, it was raining (I mean tornado warning rain). My Magellan is waterproof, my phone is not.

 

Most important, running the GPS on the phone sucks up power like '67 Camaro. The battery died on me half way through the day. Then I was really stuck cause my phone was dead. The batteries in the Magellan can last more then a day.

 

I like the GPS in the phone. The GC app is OK at best (maybe I have not gotten the hang of using it yet).

I'll use the phone if I don't have my Magellan, but in the long run, I am glad I have the Magellan.

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I have about 15-20 GPS units but when I got my I-Phone I took it on a few hunts......I was very unimpressed and I think thats the general concensus if you read through these forums. I would recommend an Oregon 450 or 62S ( both Garmin )....they both have 3-axis electronic compasses and are both totally paperless including uploading of field notes. I bring along the I-Phone but leave it in the truck....its good for checking the real-time status of caches. Also, be sure you SAVE your PQ's on the phone because there are PLENTY remote places with no reception.

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One thing to take into account is that i love geocaching in rural areas, caches that require a good hike to get too. I do city ones as well, but any GPS/smartphone i buy needs to be able to be used for these more challenging (to get to) caches.

That's the dealbreaker to me. A smartphone will not be rugged enough, without an additional case (which may or may not exist) for this usage. And you can't take a spare set of AA batteries to power it.

 

I agree. It's certainly possible to use a smartphone for this kind of use case, but the additional effort required isn't worth it. So my recommendation is either a good, fully paperless GPS, or a good non-paperless GPS and a smartphone or other gadget for the paperless part. I'd prefer the first option.

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So hence my dilemma. Do i invest in a Garmin of my own or purchase a smartphone and install a geocaching app?...

 

OP be sure you read through this thread:

 

http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php?showtopic=258096

 

Bottom line, both types of devices have huge advantages AND huge weaknesses when comparing each other. My advice (if you have the $$'s) is to get BOTH. Otherwise, choose the best ONE for YOUR needs very carefully, and prepare to live with its limitations.

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My advice (if you have the $$'s) is to get BOTH. Otherwise, choose the best ONE for YOUR needs very carefully, and prepare to live with its limitations.

I'd agree.

 

A smartphone is OK for caching, especially if you decide to have a hunt without planning, but they do have disadvantages. I've found battery life, accuracy (although a BT GPS solves that) and it's fragile.

 

A GPSr is my weapon of choice if I plan to go out, the main thing is it's water/shock proof so you can just clip it to your belt and forget it. If it runs out of batteries a couple of AA's aren't hard to carry!

 

In short, use a phone for surprise caching and ringing people...but use a GPSr if you decide to go out caching :)

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I have both. I started with just the phone. But the battery life and inaccuracy once we got into trees and such was a problem. And then it became a problem when we were out of range of the towers (a problem in the rural areas where I am). I was also worried about dropping and destroying it or using it in the rain.

 

So I have my 60 csx now and my phone for on the fly and paperless purposes.

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Thanks everyone for responding. Nordicman, that post to another forum topic was interesting (once i waded through through all the spam haha). I think the post that summed it all up for me was this:

"Yeah .. I can sum this thread up with just a few Lines. (I think enough has been said here to come to this conclusion)

 

Smartphone Users = Family or single hobbiest in urban areas that likes to keep it simple and just have some quick fun with a busy lifestyle on the side.

HH GPS Users = More serious rock climbing, water wading, trecking out in the middle of nowhere kind of people that have the time to venture deep into the woods with backpacks and tents and basically get away from urban areas.

 

If we all agree that there is a difference and when a Smartphone user want to do some more serious Gecaching in the ural areas, perhaps it is time to get a HH GPS unit. When maybe a more serious "trecker" wants to just do a quick find and grab around the urban homestead a smartphone is more practical and easier to manage.

 

They both have their place and let's just all agree that each of them has their place in Geocaching.

We smartphone users ENVY you HH GPS Users for sure... we would all love to "get away from it all" if we could, however the lifestlye differences and the technology we use should not divide us in the Geocaching community as we are all out for the "find". "

 

Given my love of geocaching in rural/wilderness areas i think i am going to need a GPS (Oregan 450 looks very fine!), but given i need a new phone anyway and have just moved to a big bad city i think i will start off by getting a smartphone i can use straight away. GPS will take a few months to save up for.

 

Cheers all for helping me to clarify my needs, much appreciated =)

Edited by Grilledmonkey05
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