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Simple And Cheap Gps's...?


8Firm
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At the moment i currently use my sat nav for coords to geocaches which upto now has done us good however im limited in where i can go... cant go down footpaths as i dont know where they go and sat nav always wants you to head through hedges and sometimes houses to get to coords in an open feild or wood.

 

The solution... a gps device or i phone?

 

Iphones (wouldnt be the latest one) are an idea as it would have internet so i can search for clues when doing unknown caches and due to the screen could use geocaching.com as i could at home on the laptop.

 

But then there are gps devices built for this purpose but after sometime looking it gets frustrating trying to find one that is simple to use and doesnt ave a wole lot of features i doubt i will use.

 

Which would you go for... and if a gps, do you know of any that will just show a map and footpaths in the area and a compass directing you to the cache location... probably would download caches from laptop to it... wouldnt need any fancy settings or features.

 

Thanks

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I would say that the minimum you would want is something that does paperless caching:

 

ETrex 20

 

Dakota 20

 

Both offer the ability to add maps and also paperless caching, one is a touch screen while the other uses a simple 'joystick' for operating purposes.

Both of these are above entry level but have some degree of expandability, many more choices out there but very dependent on your finances.

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Depends on your budget - a smartphone (it doesn't have to be an iPhone, Android works too) is generally more versatile and will let you easily download caches on the move - the internet access can be handy if you need to google something for a puzzle clue, you can take photos and so on.

A "proper" GPS device like in the post above is useful - the battery will last longer for one thing, and it's less likely to suffer from being dropped.

You can get much cheaper ones (I used to use an eTrex Legend) but entering stuff is a pain unless you plug it into a computer and play with software.

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Budget is around £80 as we will be buying used no doubt, missus is really good at sourcing bargains on Ebay (items spelt incorrectly usually go unnoticed and sell for absolute buttons).

 

Not too sure what andriod is exactly, what phones have it or how its better than say an iphone... im not a technolgy geek and i dont care for having the latest gadget... my current phone cost £8, only need it for texting.

 

The problem is with phones and using interent or apps is battery so a proper gps would be useful, unless i fancy carrying a hundred phone batteries around.

 

Looking at the etrex20... paperless caching would be great... currently search for caches the day before and write everything down.

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Budget is around £80 as we will be buying used no doubt, missus is really good at sourcing bargains on Ebay (items spelt incorrectly usually go unnoticed and sell for absolute buttons).

 

Not too sure what andriod is exactly, what phones have it or how its better than say an iphone... im not a technolgy geek and i dont care for having the latest gadget... my current phone cost £8, only need it for texting.

 

The problem is with phones and using interent or apps is battery so a proper gps would be useful, unless i fancy carrying a hundred phone batteries around.

 

Looking at the etrex20... paperless caching would be great... currently search for caches the day before and write everything down.

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I'm new to geocaching and have been trying to figure out the same thing: phone or handheld GPS? I bought an etrex20 and used it for a week before I decided it was too bulky and since it came with very minimal instructions it was frustrating for a first-time navigator. I decided I'd rather invest in a new phone with app capabilities than have to carry another gadget. Now, if I could only figure out which one... Good luck in your search!

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Contrary to the comments made about GPSr battery life being better than a phone's, I am finding the battery life of my phone is far superior to that of my GPSr. I think it depends on what phone you are using, and how you have it set up, e.g. how many apps running, the brightness setting of your display etc. My phone is an android Sony Xperia Miro running a non-official caching app. Via internet I have maps, and can download individual cache details, or for large quantities of caches I can create a PQ and download it straight into the app. I am almost totally converted from using a dedicated GPSr to a phone.

 

I rarely get the GPSr out of my backpack for standard caching now. That may change in the middle of winter, the GPSr is more rugged.

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I've used an Etrex 20 for a couple of years now, and loaded with free maps from www.talkytoaster.co.uk it's great. Not sure about the previous posters comment re battery life, my Etrex batteries last 3 to 4 full walking days plus caching but then most people probably wouldn't do that.

 

Certainly a smart phone's batteries can be made to last a caching day, but I've tried maps etc on my smart phone and still prefer my Etrex 20 for simplicity and the fact in sits more naturally in my hand. Plus it's rugged and waterproof :)

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Never buy an iPhone or phone really to go geoccahing. Oh sure they have their fans but its literally pointless.

 

iPhone - eats battery and we have had the 3GS and now the iPhone 5. Both chew battery life as you "navigate to cache" the best you can hope for is roughly a couple of hours caching until the battery is dead. Plus a lot of areas here "cornwall" do not have a signal. It's more complicated than that obviously but you don't want to get to within 200 meteres of the cache and lose the signal. Orange have become EE and EE is horrendous in comparison to what orange offered. Literally overnight. The app for geocaching is very long winded. You have to scan for nearby geocaches. Initially this was where ever you were. You had to be there or know in advance the cache number. Now it's easier you can scroll the map and tap "here". But battery is your main problem. I have had this before and someone piped up "funny because I have used mine all day and it was fine". No they didn't. Not continuously navigating to cache after cache. You can watch the iPhone battery drop about 3% per cache. You can turn off all the apps and just use that one but its still limited and buys you a little more time. You can download an areas caching via the app and use it sort of offline. Lasts a bit longer but still it's not as accurate as your need it.

 

Downloading anything to your phone will use up your data allowance so you will need a good plan with big data allowance. Which can be more costly.

 

Each area of the country is different for signal on a phone as well.

 

Brother swears by android. And I would say he would also say avoid if your serious.

 

Never buy a phone off ebay. I did - a year later it was killed. I phoned Orange. They had placed it on the emei blocked list. This is not the SIM card number. It's the phones activation code. It had been reported stollen. I asked by who. Wouldn't tell me. I had to phone round every single operator - orange, car phone wharehouse, O2 - took all day. Eventually found it was a carphone wharehouse in Leicester. They had sent out the alert. Orange found it was on their servers. Blocked. Carphone wharehouse tried their best to help me by dealing with orange and nothing could/would be done. Apparently it was an exemployee. Sent receipts to CPWH and they were very sorry and as I say did everything they could but the phone became a £200.00 paperweight. Police not interested.

 

Get a GPS - it's designed for it. Batteries last all day. Batteries are cheap. Rechargeables are cheapest from 7 day shop. Get the 2900 series. Longer to charge but last all day and maybe towards the end of the day you may have to change them over.

 

The orgegon 450 GPS can hold upto 5000 caches on one day. Limited by how many pocket queries you can have.

 

Oregon 450 t is cheapish and has a camera built in. 450 is cheaper still but no camera. Very accurate. Light weight. When you are wearing it round your neck all day it will hurt lol. It's touch screen so fast to navigate round the maps.

 

I mentioned the êtrex to my brother and he just rolled his eyes. The support software is the problem with the older cheaper ones. Later models are ok but limited in comparison to newer models.

 

But the choice is yours. We go once a week. We get upwards of 20 caches on that day. We have two iPhones and if we only had them we would cope. If we had our GPS taken off us and we had to use iPhone we would give up caching lol. Good luck

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I mentioned the êtrex to my brother and he just rolled his eyes. The support software is the problem with the older cheaper ones. Later models are ok but limited in comparison to newer models.

 

 

Not sure what you mean here? The Etrex 20/30 are newer than the Oregon 450, which you appear to recommend?

 

Even the older Etrex, provided you don't get the original Etrex with a serial rather than USB interface, work extremely well and are similar in vintage to the Oregon 400 series.

 

Maybe I misunderstood?

 

@8Firm Plenty of advice/information here also http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php?showforum=11

Edited by sussamb
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I mentioned the êtrex to my brother and he just rolled his eyes. The support software is the problem with the older cheaper ones. Later models are ok but limited in comparison to newer models.

 

 

Not sure what you mean here? The Etrex 20/30 are newer than the Oregon 450, which you appear to recommend?

 

Even the older Etrex, provided you don't get the original Etrex with a serial rather than USB interface, work extremely well and are similar in vintage to the Oregon 400 series.

 

Maybe I misunderstood?

 

@8Firm Plenty of advice/information here also http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php?showforum=11

 

Yeah, I didn't mean anything. "My brother" said etc .... I have no idea about the êtrex and wouldn't pretend otherwise lol. I use the garmin 450 - has lots of extras which you don't need but do come in handy. And it's a long term piece of kit so may be used beyond geocaching later. Would I pay the extra for the t or p with camera. Nope. I have an iPhone 5 and the camera is amazing on that. Would a camera come in handy. Meh not usually. Cache found log book unsignable - ocassionally. Take photo of GPS at location - well moot point as it can't be done unless you have a mirror. So .... Dunno.

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Not sure about the previous posters comment re battery life, my Etrex batteries last 3 to 4 full walking days plus caching but then most people probably wouldn't do that.

So that the OP has the info there to help them decide, I feel it is important to add to my comments about my phone battery that I have not tested it for this length of time. I compared to my own GPSr which is an old one, but runs good quality batteries. Mine takes 2x AA, and will last about 24hrs max before changing, and a bit less than that when I use re-chargables.

 

I am back to occasional caching at the moment, but I did do a days caching with quite a few caches to try it out not too long ago, my note on it can be found in THIS THREAD.

If the battery consumption carried on at the same rate until total discharge, it would look to be comparable to your Etrex. I have not tried this though, and it is possible that there may be a faster drop off of battery level as it discharges further. It is however looking to be performing much better than iPhones mentioned here.

 

Plus it's rugged and waterproof :)

Definitely this :) If I was to drop my phone in water or on a rock it's pretty safe to say I would have an unhappy moment. Whilst I am pretty much converted to using a phone now, I will not be getting rid of my dedicated GPSr.

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Oregon 450 t is cheapish and has a camera built in. 450 is cheaper still but no camera. Very accurate. Light weight. When you are wearing it round your neck all day it will hurt lol. It's touch screen so fast to navigate round the maps.

 

 

I'd also recommend the Oregons. A secondhand one from ebay will do you fine - or a Dakota 20 even. (The 450T doesn't have a camera by the way. The 'T' relates to the topographic maps.)

 

Oregon wiki.

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Never buy an iPhone or phone really to go geoccahing. Oh sure they have their fans but its literally pointless.

 

iPhone - eats battery and we have had the 3GS and now the iPhone 5. Both chew battery life as you "navigate to cache" the best you can hope for is roughly a couple of hours caching until the battery is dead. Plus a lot of areas here "cornwall" do not have a signal. It's more complicated than that obviously but you don't want to get to within 200 meteres of the cache and lose the signal. Orange have become EE and EE is horrendous in comparison to what orange offered. Literally overnight. The app for geocaching is very long winded. You have to scan for nearby geocaches. Initially this was where ever you were. You had to be there or know in advance the cache number. Now it's easier you can scroll the map and tap "here". But battery is your main problem. I have had this before and someone piped up "funny because I have used mine all day and it was fine". No they didn't. Not continuously navigating to cache after cache. You can watch the iPhone battery drop about 3% per cache. You can turn off all the apps and just use that one but its still limited and buys you a little more time. You can download an areas caching via the app and use it sort of offline. Lasts a bit longer but still it's not as accurate as your need it.

 

Downloading anything to your phone will use up your data allowance so you will need a good plan with big data allowance. Which can be more costly.

 

Each area of the country is different for signal on a phone as well.

 

Brother swears by android. And I would say he would also say avoid if your serious.

 

Never buy a phone off ebay. I did - a year later it was killed. I phoned Orange. They had placed it on the emei blocked list. This is not the SIM card number. It's the phones activation code. It had been reported stollen. I asked by who. Wouldn't tell me. I had to phone round every single operator - orange, car phone wharehouse, O2 - took all day. Eventually found it was a carphone wharehouse in Leicester. They had sent out the alert. Orange found it was on their servers. Blocked. Carphone wharehouse tried their best to help me by dealing with orange and nothing could/would be done. Apparently it was an exemployee. Sent receipts to CPWH and they were very sorry and as I say did everything they could but the phone became a £200.00 paperweight. Police not interested.

 

Get a GPS - it's designed for it. Batteries last all day. Batteries are cheap. Rechargeables are cheapest from 7 day shop. Get the 2900 series. Longer to charge but last all day and maybe towards the end of the day you may have to change them over.

 

The orgegon 450 GPS can hold upto 5000 caches on one day. Limited by how many pocket queries you can have.

 

Oregon 450 t is cheapish and has a camera built in. 450 is cheaper still but no camera. Very accurate. Light weight. When you are wearing it round your neck all day it will hurt lol. It's touch screen so fast to navigate round the maps.

 

I mentioned the êtrex to my brother and he just rolled his eyes. The support software is the problem with the older cheaper ones. Later models are ok but limited in comparison to newer models.

 

But the choice is yours. We go once a week. We get upwards of 20 caches on that day. We have two iPhones and if we only had them we would cope. If we had our GPS taken off us and we had to use iPhone we would give up caching lol. Good luck

 

I'd agree with some of this- *definitely* avoid buying a phone off ebay. I used to sell old ones on there but the hassle was unbelievable (usually the winning bidder wanted me to post it to Nigeria and was scamming me)

 

Battery life of a phone, if you're using it a lot, will definitely be a problem (at least in my experience; the screen and GPS being worst offenders). I tend to get close to GZ just by common sense/old fashioned navigation, then use the device for the last part.

Signal doesn't matter too much as most smartphones will have WiFi so you can download all the caches for the area you will visit before leaving the house. Then you can work offline and not worry about data costs. I've not tried the official GS app, but the (free) one I use lets you search by place name as well so you don't have to scroll around a map.

 

You mentioned you didn't know what Android is- it's just another smartphone system. iPhones use iOS, lots of other phones use Android. A quick google shows something like this - it's got GPS and WiFi which is what you'd need, and seems about within budget. The other advantage of a smartphone is in muggle heavy areas, you can look like you're just texting or looking on the internet instead of faffing with a real GPS device. Look for one that'll take an extra battery - as Seaglass said, battery running out is worse, and something like an iPhone is a sealed unit (as is my HTC One) but many other Android phones let you swap out the battery for a spare (which you can get dirt cheap on ebay safely)

 

Personal choice though- looks like there's some good recommendations for handheld GPS units in this thread too, depends what you feel most comfortable with.

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As Jmbillings has said you can get by. With the iPhone you can dowoad before you go. You can walk nearish and then flash up the app. Navigate. Find and even log find through app. You can even kill the app during transit to get more out of it battery wise. You can shut all apps down. Switch screen brightness down. Play with a few internal settings to get more battery out of it.

 

Sounds ok in practice but in reality you will be walking a 6 mile series where the iPhone maps don't tally with where you are walking. You will appear to be walking across nothing trying to choose gates and correct footpaths. But this can be improved on .... Pay for more apps/maps

 

Or you will be driving from home to a nearby set of cache and dashes. Spread around a town. Maps will be fine. All roads shown. None on footpaths. So all good. But it will be time and battery life working a way round one way systems. Across towns. Out on foot through alleys to find a pee stained lamppost somewhere. Or a micro on a park bench. Then back to the car. Screens on. GPS is on. Battery is dropping. Back to car. 20 minutes one cache and off again. But you can get round this as well. Use a phone with removable battery or get a booster pack with smartphone leads. Charge via the cigarette lighter. Charges very slow though via USB cable. Quicker through the cigarette lighter lead. But it's more money on top.

 

We meet quite a few cachers on our travels. Some are in love with the iPhone or htc phone. Usually though they tried a borrowed GPS and could not understand it and so abandoned it. We met one at the weekend. She is addicted. She is also fed up with having a few hours instead of all day. A good series will last anything from 3 hours to all day. Most are loops. So half way round your phones dead. And you are now walking past unfound caches not having a clue they were there till you got home.

 

I can hear the screams of stop it stop it from cachers reading this now lol.

Edited by Seaglass Pirates
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Agreed. I was just offering a very cheap but perfectly adequate alternative.

We have found quite a few caches now and have also successfully hidden a couple, all using a 50 quid tracker. Area gets printed out from multimap with loaded caches highlighted. 2 batteries taken from a pack of 12 from the pound shop last us a whole day. Job done.

 

I cant believe that George W. Bush has landed the American Presidency, Al Gore is far better.

Edited by thehoomer
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... and loaded with free maps from www.talkytoaster.co.uk it's great.

 

Definitely agree with the talkytoaster maps :)

 

Note they can also be loaded onto the older Etrex's without a sd card slot, although only portions of the map, however it's generally more than adequate ... I used my Etrex Legend like that for many years until I upgraded to the Etrex 20.

Edited by sussamb
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Hi, as a cacher who has used a phone, a cheap GPS and now two paperless GPS machines i certainly know what we would use.

 

We often use our phones if we are not actually out anticiating on doing lots of caching. The difficulty can be though that the phones battery often runs out really quickly and normally do not have the facilities to charge it.

 

The advantage of a GPS is they run on AA batteries and it is easy to change them and contine

 

We currently have two GPS with Paperless caching facilities, this is so much easier as it means you have access to all the information on the cache page including the hints and the logs from previous finders.

 

We have an Garmin Etrex 30 and a Magellan GC Explorist. we love both of them in their own special ways.

 

Hope this helps

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