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I think GPS companies need to make their GPS units more like iPhones or the new Sony Z3's - i.e. thinner profiles, better sceens and better usability and faster response times. My 450t feels like it is in the stone ages with the look, feel, and technology.

For starters, there's a solid reason for the fact that a typical purpose built GPS isn't as thin as a typical smart phone -- the size of commonly available batteries. Frankly, I'm always happy to know that A: I can replace my GPS cells with two others should they become depleted, and B: that I can replace them with any old AA I can find in a pinch, and in both cases, do so in the field, not on a workbench with tiny tools.

 

Given the larger dimensions and low cost of all but custom lithium packs, don't expect a GPS to look like a smart phone any time soon. And that's OK with me.

Edited by ecanderson

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So based on the above anecdotal evidence it would be reasonable to assume that the dedicated GPS would be more accurate under heavy tree cover due to better reception under those conditions.

You are mixing up accuracy and sensitivity. Two very different issues.

 

If this is a huge deal for you, for very cheep ($45ish) you can buy a bluetooth GPS puck that you tether to your phone. It will have better sensitivity and accuracy than you Garmin.

 

I don't think I'm mixing up accuracy and sensitivity. Sensitivity is how readily a unit picks up signals. Accuracy is the ability to process those signals and achieve an output in coordinates that may vary from your actual location. Under heavy tree cover or canyon environment the higher sensitivity unit would receive more data from the satellites which may lead to greater accuracy. Adversely having a higher sensitivity might lead to the processing of the weaker bounced signals and may throw the coordinates off which is what I suspect geodarts is experiencing in the canyon he described. The trick is being able to find a balance in discerning a bounced signal and one that is line-of-sight with the satellite.

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Ok - that makes sense. They can still make them with much better screens and much easier to use - more modern. I wish Apple would design a GPS unit - then we would have something. :)

 

I think GPS companies need to make their GPS units more like iPhones or the new Sony Z3's - i.e. thinner profiles, better sceens and better usability and faster response times. My 450t feels like it is in the stone ages with the look, feel, and technology.

For starters, there's a solid reason for the fact that a typical purpose built GPS isn't as thin as a typical smart phone -- the size of commonly available batteries. Frankly, I'm always happy to know that A: I can replace my GPS cells with two others should they become depleted, and B: that I can replace them with any old AA I can find in a pinch, and in both cases, do so in the field, not on a workbench with tiny tools.

 

Given the larger dimensions and low cost of all but custom lithium packs, don't expect a GPS to look like a smart phone any time soon. And that's OK with me.

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Yeah, right. We'd have to go to the Apple store to download our PQs! :blink:

 

As to the screen issue raised above -- my biggest problem is usually glare, and my smart phone (a Samsung Galaxy Nexus) is actually a lot harder to read in bright sun than my Oregon 450. The glare on the Nexus is killer, but if I turn the 450 the right way, the sunlight actually helps.

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I think GPS companies need to make their GPS units more like iPhones or the new Sony Z3's - i.e. thinner profiles, better sceens and better usability and faster response times. My 450t feels like it is in the stone ages with the look, feel, and technology.

For starters, there's a solid reason for the fact that a typical purpose built GPS isn't as thin as a typical smart phone -- the size of commonly available batteries. Frankly, I'm always happy to know that A: I can replace my GPS cells with two others should they become depleted, and B: that I can replace them with any old AA I can find in a pinch, and in both cases, do so in the field, not on a workbench with tiny tools.

 

Given the larger dimensions and low cost of all but custom lithium packs, don't expect a GPS to look like a smart phone any time soon. And that's OK with me.

Most smartphones do not have a battery issue. It is primarily the Apple phones that have that problem. The rest of us just have a few spare batteies with us that we can quickly swap out. They are quite cheep on ebay etc.

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Most smartphones do not have a battery issue. It is primarily the Apple phones that have that problem. The rest of us just have a few spare batteies with us that we can quickly swap out. They are quite cheep on ebay etc.

I tend to do all-day runs 6 to 10 hours. No way either my Samsung Galaxy Nexus or my friend's iPhone5 would last that long in geocaching mode.

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I tend to do all-day runs 6 to 10 hours. No way either my Samsung Galaxy Nexus or my friend's iPhone5 would last that long in geocaching mode.

Piece of cake.

 

Inter-urban, carry a USB charging cable and either an AC adapter or the kind that plugs into a car's cig lighter socket. I don't know about your Samsung, but an IPhone charger weighs less than a pair of AA batteries.

 

On the trail - this is tricky now - carry spare batteries. Same with any gadget, no matter how long the batteries last it's never enough. And if your phone doesn't have a field-swappable battery, you can buy chargers that hold 2 or 4 AA batteries and have a USB port -- so you can still use the ubiquitous AA's.

 

http://www.dx.com/p/15048 seems to be cheapest thing around, comes on a slow boat from China. But there are other better ones available on Amazon, Newegg, eBay, etc.

Edited by user13371

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Great. On the trail I can have wires and tethers connecting my external battery pack to the phone strapped to my pack-strap. If only I could read my phone screen in bright sunlight as well as I can my Oregon. Then it rains and I worry about killing my phone. I guess I could buy the $80 otter box. Then I'll lose cell coverage and suddenly I'm looking at a 1999 GPS screen with my location indicator on a blank background. Sweet!

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Yogazoo, I would say for your specific set of concerns, you should definitely stick to the GPS you like. That's really true for anyone: Different likes for different users, different tools for different jobs.

 

Some people prefer to carry a map and a compass exclusively, and scoff at allof these battery powered things.

Edited by user13371

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Most smartphones do not have a battery issue. It is primarily the Apple phones that have that problem. The rest of us just have a few spare batteies with us that we can quickly swap out. They are quite cheep on ebay etc.

I tend to do all-day runs 6 to 10 hours. No way either my Samsung Galaxy Nexus or my friend's iPhone5 would last that long in geocaching mode.

Define "geocaching mode".

 

I can easily last that long with my 5S, because I don't use battery where it's not needed. GPS isn't needed unless actively trying to locate myself. If I'm on a trail and I know I've got a couple hundred meters, why use gsp reception? Off it goes until I'm curious or it's needed. Heck, if I've got a good satellite imagery aid at gz, I may not even need gps detection at all.

It's illogical and really a waste of power to use active GPS reception when it's not needed. Most geocaching apps should allow you to turn off the GPS feature. Now if you had that going for whatever reason and it was essential, then yeah you may have a few hours of constant power, depending on the phone you're using (model or brand). But that situation is so rare that having a battery backup with a handful of batteries is more than feasible in those rare circumstances.

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Great. On the trail I can have wires and tethers connecting my external battery pack to the phone strapped to my pack-strap. If only I could read my phone screen in bright sunlight as well as I can my Oregon. Then it rains and I worry about killing my phone. I guess I could buy the $80 otter box. Then I'll lose cell coverage and suddenly I'm looking at a 1999 GPS screen with my location indicator on a blank background. Sweet!

I give up. We have address every one of those concernes already, but you refuse to listen. Re-read the pro-phone posts, and you will see good easy answers to every one of your concernes.

 

Most new phones are IP rated (not apple though), so your rain, dropping in the creek, etc. dirt etc. is becoming irrelevent.

 

Most smartphones do not have a battery issue. It is primarily the Apple phones that have that problem. The rest of us just have a few spare batteies with us that we can quickly swap out. They are quite cheep on ebay etc.

I tend to do all-day runs 6 to 10 hours. No way either my Samsung Galaxy Nexus or my friend's iPhone5 would last that long in geocaching mode.

You didn't even read the post you commented on. SPAIR BATTERIES!! There is no battery problem with phones (apples, with non-removable batteries, need an external charger... but who's talking about those...)

Edited by Andronicus

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You didn't even read the post you commented on. SPAIR BATTERIES!! There is no battery problem with phones (apples, with non-removable batteries, need an external charger... but who's talking about those...)

heh, I'd say take your own advice and read, but we're arguing for the same thing :) Who's talking about Apple? That would be me, bro ;)

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I give up. We have address every one of those concernes already, but you refuse to listen. Re-read the pro-phone posts, and you will see good easy answers to every one of your concernes.

 

Yep, there are ways to overcome the battery, ruggedness, screen visibility, etc, etc issues ... entirely up to you.

 

Personally I just prefer my GPS (but I love my phone when I want to call someone, my GPS doesn't handle that too well :P )

Edited by sussamb

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I used my smart phone to go after two lunch hour caches today. The Groundspeak geocaching app (paid version) works very well and I had no difficulty finding one of the two I went after. It was time restraints that prevented me from doing a thorough search on the second one. I like being able to log the find (and DNF, darn it) right there at GZ. But what I was checking for was how much data I consumed. I used roughly 4MB. What's the average data used on a day's geocaching outing? I'm just curious, that's all, as I liked using the phone but my GPS receiver costs me nothing to use. My apologies if this has already been covered by one of the many entries on this topic.

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But what I was checking for was how much data I consumed. I used roughly 4MB. What's the average data used on a day's geocaching outing? I'm just curious, that's all, as I liked using the phone but my GPS receiver costs me nothing to use. My apologies if this has already been covered by one of the many entries on this topic.

Technically, it hasn't been specifically covered. But the issue of data use in general has certainly been discussed. You can use your phone in offline mode - any brand - as long as you have an app that supports it, and you know how best to make use of offline features. Whether it's caching maps, or using an app that lets you download whole swaths of maps.

But if you're online, same thing - if your phone caches maps by default, then data use will be less. If you keep scrolling satellite imagery to new areas, you'll rack up data use. Road maps (not the sat imagery but the flat colour traditional maps) will use less data for the same amount of activity.

 

If you keep updating information by the API or website, then of course it'll use more data.

 

Again, it's just a matter of knowing what uses data, and realizing when you're using such features and how often. If you don't want to use any data, you can prep to use the device & app offline entirely, WITH gps still active.

 

Everyone's average online data use will be different depending on how they use their device and when.

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I give up. We have address every one of those concernes already, but you refuse to listen. Re-read the pro-phone posts, and you will see good easy answers to every one of your concernes.

 

Yep, there are ways to overcome the battery, ruggedness, screen visibility, etc, etc issues ... entirely up to you.

 

Personally I just prefer my GPS

 

I agree.....why find ways to overcome issues when I have a device that has no issues.

I can only evaluate the iPhone 5.....between poor screen visibility in sunlight and sluggishness getting to GZ caching with it is the pits ( I do like the slick apps and up to date data though )

I keep wanting to do longer test trials in the field but its just too aggravating.

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Phones are getting better (sunlight readability on late-model units, for example), but GPS units seem to be getting worse (eg Garmin crashability; see other threads).

 

So I think the balance will tip over time.

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Never had a Garmin crash on me yet, and I own 5 ... my phone, my wifes and my daughters do it couple of times a week :)

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Never had a Garmin crash on me yet, and I own 5 ... my phone, my wifes and my daughters do it couple of times a week :)

 

Agreed and I have a couple of dozen GPS units.

Brand new units with immature firmware have had some issues but I try to wait and buy when the bugs are gone. Some problems are caused by user manipulation of system files, adding maps, etc.

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As we all know, and as many seem to ignore based on their own experiences, every device has their own share of issues - and usually ones which the user is not willing or able to resolve, thus solidifying their preference and choice.

 

Use what you like. And get over it. It's not a contest.

Edited by thebruce0

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hmmm I know the OP was asking between 2 specific devices but in the Years since I started Geocaching I have always found a dedicated GPSr to be more accurate, especially if it has a quad Helix antenna like the GPSMAP 62 series that I currently use for caching.. I have always found phones to be less accurate and more bouncy ! I have tried iPhones (3GS, 4, 4S) and today trialled a Moto G (4G) which has quite a reasonable screen in daylight conditions compared to my new MOTO X(too nice for Caching !), the Moto G I trialled had decent mapping thanks to the Memory-Map app here in the UK and using c:geo for offline cache details as cell coverage is appalling in the Yorkshire Dales,,, but under tree cover after a 20 minute search and being bounced around had to resort to the GPSMAP 62s and after 5 minutes had the cache in hand ! I was impressed by the screen size and readability of that particular phone but if I were to upgrade today I would still go for a quad helix'd antenna'd, transflective screened dedicated GPSr...(BTW I used to use a Dell AXIM X5 with a CF GPS and memory-maps for a few years and at the time apart from the fact it wasn't waterproof thought that was a great combo ...until I got a 60CSX)

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I think my trusty 60CSx knows it's over between us. While the sexy new ultra-phone with its brainiac geo-app rode home right next to me today in the front seat of the car, the old GPS unit had to ride in the trunk, in a pocket of my backpack.

 

...and it recorded a track log! An accurate one. Inside a fully-enclosed metal trunk.

 

The poor thing is really trying to show off...

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