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iphone4s vs GPS?

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I have been geocaching for a while now and have always used my iphone. There have been a few caches I could not find but I'm successful more times than not. I have been thinking about getting a GPS but I have no idea if it would be any better than my iphone and Geocaching app.

What would the benefit be and is it really worth the cost? (Single mom, not much extra money for stuff like that)

I would really appreciate any info and recommendations you have.


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Having used both, I will say this....I still use both. You will not find a GPS that is as easy to operate as the Geocaching app. But there are advantages to both.


Groundspeak app:


Pros- easy to operate and intuitive. Better maps, including satellite imagery. Live access to caches so you can cache on the fly with no preparation. Ability to log your finds from the field. You already have the phone and the app, so no further investment needed.


Cons- using the app really eats up the battery, so caching time is limited unless you have a means of charging in the field or an external battery pack. Not as rugged as a handheld GPS so a drop to the concrete or into a creek could be fatal (to the phone). Caching is difficult in areas with poor data coverage (not impossible but you have to jump through a couple of hoops)


Handheld GPS


Pros- rugged and water resistant. Longer battery life. If the battery does die in the field you can stick in a fresh pair of AA's. Many newer ones support paperless caching, which can make the actual caching experience almost as effortless as the iPhone app. Does not require a data connection do you can cache anywhere regardless of data coverage. With the proper maps you can have integrated driving and off road connections to the cache. Possibly more accurate than the iPhone.


Cons- No live access to cache data so you have to preload the info in the device before going out, or enter the coordinates manually. Can't log from the field. Maps are not as good and sometimes cost extra and don't come preinstalled. There's a bit of a learning curve. Requires some prep work up front before going out to get the data to the device.


Overall, most cachers eventually come to the conclusion that they want a dedicated GPS . Some use only a smart phone and are perfectly content with it. Some use both, depending on what sort of caching they plan to do that day (a handful of park and grabs vs. a long back country hike, for example).


Also, if you do decide to make the investment, buy the best unit you can afford, feature-wise, so you won't be itching for an upgrade in a few months.


Let us know what you decide!

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I use both. An iPhone 4 and a Garmin GPSMAP 62sc. Yesterday I really got to appreciate my 62sc as I was caching in a light rain. Not a problem at all with the 62sc as it's waterproof. The iPhone 4 is awesome for on-the-fly caching, and is much better if you need to consult satellite images, such as in city caching if the GPS signal is terrible due to tall buildings - then a good satellite image is going to be far more helpful than a GPS. A standalone GPS is more accurate in general, and it will make a track for you, which is very useful for finding your way back to the trail if, like me, you are navigation handicapped. :) Also the battery life of a standalone is much better and the durability is much better so you don't have to worry so much about dropping it. But even when using my GPS, I still use my iPhone to post logs, as well as to look at logs since I can see all of them on the iPhone while only the last 5 or so are stored on my GPS.

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This topic comes up constantly.... If you search this forum, you'll find the many reasons why people who own iphones....also own a handheld GPS. We can't tell you that a handheld will be better for you..... only YOU can decide if you need or want one.


Sooner or later, as you gain geocaching experience and get into different adventures to find them....You will soon realize the weaknesses of the iphone. At that time, you'll know.....its time for a handheld.


But then again...that depends on YOU.


So for now...don't worry about it. Get out there and geocache!!! Have fun.....


If you become addicted to this hobby....you will eventually have at least one handheld GPS. Or two.....or three...

We have 2 iphones, 2 handheld GPS's, and a car GPS.

Edited by Lieblweb
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