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Blackberry + CacheSense Vrs. Explorist 500

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So I go and visit my PawnShop buddy and notice that he has an Explorist 500 for cheep so I pick it up today just to see what all the hubabloo is about when people talk about "dedicated" GPSr vrs. "Smartphones". And I have to say that my BlackBerry wins this fight hands down.


BlackBerry + CacheSense


Cost: (I already own the BB) $9.00



Accurate up to +/- 1m

Connects to my GC account and download + store caches

Refreshes caches on the fly (say if the quads are updated)

Does a "find local caches" search

Allows me to instantly log a find (or DNF)

Allows me to take pictures and upload them to my logs

Has a compass and Radar setting to allow pinpointing of GZ

Will show the hint and all logs of each cache

Shows the last 10 finds/DNF's (as smilies or frowneys)

Will show a map of the cache area

Shows me my trackables

Does pocket queries

I can charge my phone in the car between caches



I get lots of "bounce" near trees, power lines or tall buildings

The compass feature is almost useless

Sometimes if the tower signal is bad it wont post logs


Explorist 500


Cost: $60.00



Will take geocach files (after they are converted)

geocaches show up on the map

accurate up to +/- 1m

compass function

description of geocach and hint

allows deletion of geocache when found

don't get as much "bounce"



3 triple a's don't last long in the field

no way to recharge batteries

no more accurate than the phone when out in the open (and occasionally a little less accurate)

no way to update caches on the fly

no way to post logs in the field

almost none of the software works properly in a 64bit environment (Win 7 64b)

retail price is about twice what I paid for it used




If you already own a reasonably new blackberry with built in GPS then just pay the $9.00 and use CacheSense

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Ok the 500 is about a 7 year old unit and way outdated, if you do not like the 3 triple As go on line and by an aftermarket Li-on battery and charger for it. If I remember correctly the Li-on batt will last between 14 and 18 hours and it can be recharged in the gps.

If you do keep the unit copy the files from the unit and put them in a safe place

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In my case, not an Explorist 500, but a Colorado 300, but it shows the limits of the Blacberry


I had to use my Blackberry Bold 9000 with CacheSense for weeks following a Return for Maintenance of my Colorado. These weeks have been awfull and made me see how usefull and simple was geocaching with the Colorado.


The capability of live access to Groundspeak site given by the Blackberry doesn't worth all the capabilities of the Colorado, ond other actual geocaching GPS.


Hereafter are some of the problems I had:

- Battery not designed for heavy whole day geocaching, and too expensive to have spare ones.

- Sensibillity not that great and accuracy perfectible

- Slowlyness

- Java bugs (java exceptions) crashing the handset

- With no embedded maps, necessary to use Google Map or Blackberry Map ==> Not usable possible when no 3G coverage and battery consumption

- When Map download is possible, necessary first to select/filter caches, to see them on the map. On this point the Colorado is very conveniant, when using it whatever is the map (road or topo), I see whole caches in the erea, even if not using the geocaching feature.


However, using the Blackberry made me try geocaching with no GPS, when the handset switched off after having arrived in the cache area, interesting experience ;)

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I've just started geocaching and had to think about whether I use my Blackberry or buy a GPSr.

Decided to go with Cachesense and the BB and I am really impressed. The limitation with cache downloads went in geocaching.com's favour because it made a compelling reason to become a premium member.

Am happy to be paying my way.

Cachesense's compass feature does not request calibration like the built in BB app and also does not have the smooth accurate fluid movement - in fact the Cachesense compass often sits there no moving.

I'm using a 9810 Torch and the responsiveness of the app is fine. I like the way it doesn't use GPS unless a GPS-using screen is being displayed. With google maps, for example, even if it is running in the background it drains the battery fast.

Cachesense is pretty power hungry and I'd estimate that I'd only get 1-2 hours out in the field.

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I also use my BB Torch as my primary GPS using CacheSenseand take it with me even when out in the back country hiking. I can load PQ's in the BB and have current info about those geocaches even when out of cell range. Since the phone's GPS function uses satellites, it still works as it normally does with CS.


My sons have Geomate Jr's and we use both when we go out. In their case, I load their Geomates with the same PQ's as I do in my BB and we're golden. They use their Geomates and I use my BB as it has all the details about the caches (description, past logs etc.).


I've never had any need or urge to get a "real" GPSr other than the Geomate Jr's for my boys :) .

Edited by Fryguy1111
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