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I personally have never had a problem my screen's visibility (and I don't know who has; personally). But I can understand that others do have that issue, for whatever reasons. But I'd never advocate using that as a fundamental 'problem' with smartphones, rather a factor to consider after you test it yourself.

 

Um.... you do know that different smartphones use different screen technologies, right? And that those different technologies have advantages and disadvantages, including differences in being able to view the screen in bright sunlight?

 

Smartphones are not all the same.

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...caching with both your phone and your GPS. You drop the GPS in a stream, quickly grabbing it back out. Can you still make a phone call?? Try the above scenario only drop your phone. The answer to the question changes.

Not necessarily. Several mainstream smartphones (Samsung Galaxy S5* comes to mind) are waterproof. And just about anything can be put in an Otterbox or similar ruggedized case.

 

*

. Edited by user13371

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I personally have never had a problem my screen's visibility (and I don't know who has; personally). But I can understand that others do have that issue, for whatever reasons. But I'd never advocate using that as a fundamental 'problem' with smartphones, rather a factor to consider after you test it yourself.

 

Um.... you do know that different smartphones use different screen technologies, right? And that those different technologies have advantages and disadvantages, including differences in being able to view the screen in bright sunlight?

 

Smartphones are not all the same.

 

Yes. I know.

I did not say that smartphone screens are 100% clear and visible to all people at all times.

I was responding to screen being "an issue with smartphones". It's not a blanket problem with smartphones. It's a potential issues dependent on the person who uses it, which is why I suggested people compare with their own eyes, if they feel visibility might be a problem for them. It's not for me. Has never been. I also would not buy a smartphone that was not visible clearly (to me) in daylight. That defeats the whole purpose. But is that a reason that applies to everyone as a problem with smartphones in general? No.

 

Is screen brightness a problem for smartphones? No.

Is it a problem for some people who may need brightness and clarity on their screen moreso than others? Yes.

So, if screen brightness is an issue for you, then compare models and brands, and decide.

 

Screen brightness as a metric of smartphone usability, as opposed to say battery life -- the former is affected by the person (perception), the latter is not (regardless of perception, battery life is a universal property of any make/model). Both issues may be assuaged by accessories.

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Is screen brightness a problem for smartphones? No.

Is it a problem for some people who may need brightness and clarity on their screen moreso than others? Yes.

So, if screen brightness is an issue for you, then compare models and brands, and decide.

 

You still do not understand.

 

Some screen technologies are simply not visible in direct sunlight no matter how bright you make them.

 

Others do not have that problem.

 

The difference is in the screen technology, not the user.

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Is screen brightness a problem for smartphones? No.

Is it a problem for some people who may need brightness and clarity on their screen moreso than others? Yes.

So, if screen brightness is an issue for you, then compare models and brands, and decide.

 

You still do not understand.

 

Some screen technologies are simply not visible in direct sunlight no matter how bright you make them.

 

Others do not have that problem.

 

The difference is in the screen technology, not the user.

I understand perfectly. I reject your claim in the context of smartphone screens.

Any smartphone screen that is -not-, that is, not universally visible in direct sunlight will fail. So I challenge your claim.

I have never had a problem with a smartphone screen in sunlight. I have not tried every smartphone model. I have many friends with a variety of smartphones, and I have not talked to anyone personally who has had a problem with their smartphone screen in direct sunlight.

 

Can a screen theoretically be designed in such a way that no one can see it in direct sunlight? Yes. Is it practical for a smartphone? No.

If one person can see a smartphone screen in sunlight, does that mean everyone can? No.

If one person can't see a smartphone screen in sunlight, does that mean no one can? No.

Visibility of any smartphone screen is dependent on the comfort and vision capability of the user, and is not a black mark against "smartphones" as a whole.

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A handheld GPS has no better accuracy than a phone.

 

In my own personal experience, having two handheld GPS's and 2 different smart phones - The handheld GPS's have always been more accurate.

 

What handheld GPS do you use?

 

I agree....I have almost 2 dozen GPS units and all are more accurate and stable then my 2 iPhones.

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Is screen brightness a problem for smartphones? No.

Is it a problem for some people who may need brightness and clarity on their screen moreso than others? Yes.

So, if screen brightness is an issue for you, then compare models and brands, and decide.

 

You still do not understand.

 

Some screen technologies are simply not visible in direct sunlight no matter how bright you make them.

 

Others do not have that problem.

 

The difference is in the screen technology, not the user.

 

I believe this is correct.....at my age I have a few physical problems but so far eyesight isn't one of them. I contend that the difficulty I experience viewing my 5S in bright sunlight would be experienced by anyone under similar conditions....phone is set to full bright so thats all I know to do.

Look, I have the GC app and Geosphere and love the sat views etc. but I still contend that on the trail screen visibility is an issue.

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I have never had a problem with a smartphone screen in sunlight. I have not tried every smartphone model. I have many friends with a variety of smartphones, and I have not talked to anyone personally who has had a problem with their smartphone screen in direct sunlight.

 

Well, I certainly do ... and so do others it seems :)

 

Fact is the inability to see my smart phone screen in sunlight and for various other reasons mean I far prefer my GPS. YMMV but that's fine, just stop telling us all it's not an issue as for some it clearly is :)

Edited by sussamb

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I have never had a problem with a smartphone screen in sunlight. I have not tried every smartphone model. I have many friends with a variety of smartphones, and I have not talked to anyone personally who has had a problem with their smartphone screen in direct sunlight.

 

Well, I certainly do ... and so do others it seems :)

 

Fact is the inability to see my smart phone screen in sunlight and for various other reasons mean I far prefer my GPS. YMMV but that's fine, just stop telling us all it's not an issue as for some it clearly is :)

wow.

I did not say it's not an issue for some, nor to no one.

 

I said it's not an issue for all. It's not a smartphone issue, it's something to consider, if eyesight is a concern for you, when deciding on a device to use in sunlight.

Please read my comments again, as you didn't quote the rest of what I said, which supported exactly what you just said.

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good gravy

Harvey's has good gravy. But that's just IMO :P

 

On topic: I don't think any gps device would think any gravy is good. gps or phone, you might need a special case to protect it from the gravy.

Even the good gravy.

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It's not a smartphone issue, it's something to consider, if eyesight is a concern for you, when deciding on a device to use in sunlight.

 

Eyesight has nothing to do with it, otherwise I wouldn't be able to see any screen. Fact is some smart phones cannot be read in sunlight. I and others here are saying that, which is why we prefer our GPS. If your smartphone doesn't cause you a problem then great, crack on and use it :)

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It's not a smartphone issue, it's something to consider, if eyesight is a concern for you, when deciding on a device to use in sunlight.

 

Eyesight has nothing to do with it, otherwise I wouldn't be able to see any screen. Fact is some smart phones cannot be read in sunlight. I and others here are saying that, which is why we prefer our GPS. If your smartphone doesn't cause you a problem then great, crack on and use it :)

 

=/

My point is not that every smartphone is visible by every person in sunlight.

My point is that smartphone screens themselves don't have a universal sunlight problem - if any person can see it in sunlight without a problem, then while it's still a concern to people who have difficulty with vision in some aspects, it's not a problem for every person. By comparison, if a smartphone model has a problem with battery life, then every smartphone model will have that same problem. Battery life is not dependent on perception, whereas screen visibility in sunlight is.

 

What smartphone can you not see in sunlight? I guarantee you that someone else will have no problem seeing it in sunlight.

 

Battery life is a smartphone model problem for every person using that model.

Screen visibility in sunlight of a smartphone model is not a problem for every person using that model.

 

It's akin to someone who has a hard time hearing saying that smartphones are bad for everyone because they can't hear it ring. Of course no one would say that. So for the exact same reason, someone's difficulty or inability to see a smartphone screen in sunlight is not a smartphone problem for everyone, just something to consider if you know you have a hard time seeing smartphone screens in sunlight (you'd look for a model with brighter screens, or a special screen type, or you'd get an accessory to help); whereas someone who does not have that problem wouldn't even consider screen visibility an issue when they're comparing devices to purchase. Battery life? Yep. Screen visibility? Maybe.

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It's akin to someone who has a hard time hearing saying that smartphones are bad for everyone because they can't hear it ring. Of course no one would say that. So for the exact same reason, someone's difficulty or inability to see a smartphone screen in sunlight is not a smartphone problem for everyone, just something to consider if you know you have a hard time seeing smartphone screens in sunlight (you'd look for a model with brighter screens, or a special screen type, or you'd get an accessory to help); whereas someone who does not have that problem wouldn't even consider screen visibility an issue when they're comparing devices to purchase. Battery life? Yep. Screen visibility? Maybe.

 

(emphasis mine).

Battery life and screen readability are directly related. But really, there are so many ways to solve this from shading the phone with your hat/hand to setting the backlight to "nuclear" and bringing an external battery. You should see the flaming hoops I jump through to play two hours of Ingress. Geocaching is nothing on the battery hit compared to a GPS lock, 3D animation and constant network access.

 

I think the more important question is, who the hell is basing a smartphone purchase solely on how good it is for geocaching? Nobody. People are taking their phones geocaching but I am quite willing to bet the majority are buying the phone for other reasons (email, music player, Angry Birds). When I bought my iPhone I wasn't thinking "outdoor readable screen that can be dropped on a rock and stream". That wasn't my use case - I was thinking "able to connect to corporate email system, runs the apps I bought for my last phone, lets me rent movies for offline playback on business trip flights".

 

As for the whole "accuracy thing" yes my HTC Vogue I was rocking in 2007 was crap compared to an eTrex Legend. My iPhone 4 was quite acceptable and my iPhone 5s/iPad Mini Retina are having no problems whatsoever matching or even exceeding my eTrex 30, Colorado 400 and the Garmin Montana, 62 and 64 GPS units my friends use. I still consider it a bonus that I can use my phone for geocaching, particularly as that lets me be lazy about GSAK loads because really, who wants to spend the first hour of the outing downloading Pocket Queries and waiting for the GPS to load up after you rebooted it twice for the stupid must-erase-the-old-GPX-file-before-loading-caches bug that seems to plague Garmins.

 

For the days I want to use my iPhone, with the brightness set to "who cares", I have a $50 12,000 mAh, 5V/4A Anker battery pack. For the trips I use my eTrex I'm still carrying a solar charger for those two AA batteries.

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What smartphone can you not see in sunlight? I guarantee you that someone else will have no problem seeing it in sunlight.

 

Smartphones with OLED screens cannot be viewed in direct sunlight. The sun overpowers the LED brightness (even at top brightness) by a factor of about 20. I defy you to produce a person who can credibly claim to be able to view one in direct sunlight.

 

Sometimes you can view those screens in a shadow, but that is not sunlight.

 

OLED screens are used on some of the most popular Android phones -- the Samsung S3, S4, and S5.

 

LCD screens, OTOH, are at least partially reflective, which means that they are visible to a greater or lesser extent in full sunlight. The colors may be washed out, but the general idea is visible.

 

LED screens are used on iPhones.

 

It's not just a matter of personal preference. Smart phone screens are not all the same, and that is true in a very fundamental way. For use outside, I would not recommend the use of a phone with an OLED screen as a primary GPS.

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YUUUP! Good Luck today....went out for a cache about noontime today that was just a few days old. My weekly PQ is due tomorrow and I forgot to put the new cache on my GPSr. Got to the site and pulled out my Samsung Galaxy SII with the Groundspeak Android app. Really almost impossible on a cloudless day. Hey, the saving grace was that the cache was hidden in a tree. Went for the shade under the tree to check the map and there it was! :rolleyes:

 

http://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GC5C093_bark-park-or-park-bark?guid=4f8718de-53bf-44e5-bec8-6bfc1d5d0e62

 

Roger that and I never argue with fm! :)

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What NorthernPenguin said.

 

---

 

Now, for those for whom fizzymagic's words flew overhead, here is a real-world demonstration of 3 phone models with OLED screens in sunlight:

 

 

Smartphones with OLED screens cannot be viewed in direct sunlight.

First, I see you qualified "smartphones" as "smartphones with OLED screens" -- moving the goal posts I see.

Second, smartphones with OLED screens can be viewed in direct sunlight. Your satisfaction with the screen brightness is arbitrary, and a factor to take into consideration based on knowledge of your vision capabilities as well as preference, when purchasing a mobile device.

 

The sun overpowers the LED brightness (even at top brightness) by a factor of about 20. I defy you to produce a person who can credibly claim to be able to view one in direct sunlight.

My claim stands. You cannot prove that no one can see an OLED screen in direct sunlight. On the contrary, even the video above shows that the screens are visible in direct sunlight - though obviously to varying degrees of satisfaction depending on who you talk to.

I did not deny that some phone technologies may be darker, nor did I say that everyone can see them perfectly. "Smartphone screens" are not the problem. Perception of the screen is. If you have no problem seeing darker screens in sunlight, then screen brightness is not an issue for you.

Battery life, by comparison however, is a factor that is the same for everyone. One device model's battery life (or perception of it, if using the same metric) will not change from person to person. Visibility of the screen (not its technical brightness spec) will change from person to person.

 

OLED screens are used on some of the most popular Android phones -- the Samsung S3, S4, and S5.

LCD screens, OTOH, are at least partially reflective, which means that they are visible to a greater or lesser extent in full sunlight. The colors may be washed out, but the general idea is visible.

LED screens are used on iPhones.

Again, proving the point that "smartphone screens" are not the universal problem; adding the point that model (expectedly) is also a factor.

 

Battery life? Model and preference.

Screen brightness? Model.

Screen visibility? Entirely perception and preference.

Screens? Not a drawback to using "smartphones".

Each are issues assuaged by accessories.

 

It's not just a matter of personal preference. Smart phone screens are not all the same, and that is true in a very fundamental way. For use outside, I would not recommend the use of a phone with an OLED screen as a primary GPS.

(emphasis mine)

Heeey! We agree on something (else, like challenge stars). :ph34r:

Edited by thebruce0

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fm's words didn't fly over me, basically been what I and others have been saying and which you constantly seem to wish to deny, even now

 

It's not a smartphone issue, it's something to consider, if eyesight is a concern for you, when deciding on a device to use in sunlight.

 

It IS a smart phone issue. Some smart phones cannot be read in sunlight. Period.

 

Happy that yours works, now move on.

Edited by sussamb

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It IS a smart phone issue. Some smart phones cannot be read in sunlight. Period.

 

:blink:

Ok, you are 100% completely, blatantly wrong with that statement (and you're not doing your or fm's argument any good with it). I cannot explain any more why that is so.

Unbelievable.

Edited by thebruce0

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What we need to do here is use Netflix to order up some Crossfire (TV arguing show) episodes, watch them and note that they never end with one of the combatants agreeing with the other and admitting that his earlier statements were wrong.

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Opinions are one things, facts are another. I'll gladly agree to disagree on opinions, or admit if my facts are proven incorrect, but misinformation and incorrect statements as fact vex and irk me to the point of pure stubbornness :laughing:

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fm's words didn't fly over me, basically been what I and others have been saying and which you constantly seem to wish to deny, even now

 

It's not a smartphone issue, it's something to consider, if eyesight is a concern for you, when deciding on a device to use in sunlight.

 

It IS a smart phone issue. Some smart phones cannot be read in sunlight. Period.

 

Happy that yours works, now move on.

 

Agree completely with this and FM.....to cache with my iPhone in bright sunlight you'd have to be a sucker for punishment.

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fm's words didn't fly over me, basically been what I and others have been saying and which you constantly seem to wish to deny, even now

 

It's not a smartphone issue, it's something to consider, if eyesight is a concern for you, when deciding on a device to use in sunlight.

It IS a smart phone issue. Some smart phones cannot be read in sunlight. Period.

 

Happy that yours works, now move on.

 

Agree completely with this and FM.....to cache with my iPhone in bright sunlight you'd have to be a sucker for punishment.

 

Oh please stop. If it doesn't work for you, that's fine. EVERYONE I know with an IPHONE has no problem in sunlight. No, that does not mean everyone should have no problem. But you saying "you'd have to be a sucker for punishment" is insulting, misleading, and wrong. If you can't see the iPhone (or any other smartphone) screen in direct sunlight, that is not a problem for everyone. It's unfortunate for you, and for your sake I recommend that you get a device that you can see in sunlight, and avoid any device that will make you unhappy or frustrated.

I, and many of my friends and acquaintances, are perfectly happy with our iPhones in direct sunlight.

 

smi20.gif

...so much with repeated comments in this thread right now... I should leave before I crack my skull. :unsure:

:drama:

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fm's words didn't fly over me, basically been what I and others have been saying and which you constantly seem to wish to deny, even now

 

It's not a smartphone issue, it's something to consider, if eyesight is a concern for you, when deciding on a device to use in sunlight.

It IS a smart phone issue. Some smart phones cannot be read in sunlight. Period.

 

Happy that yours works, now move on.

 

Agree completely with this and FM.....to cache with my iPhone in bright sunlight you'd have to be a sucker for punishment.

 

Oh please stop. If it doesn't work for you, that's fine. EVERYONE I know with an IPHONE has no problem in sunlight. No, that does not mean everyone should have no problem. But you saying "you'd have to be a sucker for punishment" is insulting, misleading, and wrong. If you can't see the iPhone (or any other smartphone) screen in direct sunlight, that is not a problem for everyone. It's unfortunate for you, and for your sake I recommend that you get a device that you can see in sunlight, and avoid any device that will make you unhappy or frustrated.

I, and many of my friends and acquaintances, are perfectly happy with our iPhones in direct sunlight.

 

smi20.gif

...so much with repeated comments in this thread right now... I should leave before I crack my skull. :unsure:

:drama:

 

I said to cache with MYiPhone you'd have to be a sucker for punishment ( nothing insulting meant ). I have perfect eyesight as does my wife and neither of us can see the screen ( sure we can make out some things but it sure isn't something you'd want to look at for hours ) .

From what you say then, it's MY phone that is at fault. I won't argue that but I guarantee you if you use MY phone in bright sunlight it will be with great difficulty. I will request the use of other folks phones in the future as a test.

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I never disagree with BB. Now, each Thursday my PQs are run. I need to get them on GPSr immediately, before I forget and have to use my Samsung SII phone for a recently hidden cache.

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I said to cache with MYiPhone you'd have to be a sucker for punishment ( nothing insulting meant ). I have perfect eyesight as does my wife and neither of us can see the screen ( sure we can make out some things but it sure isn't something you'd want to look at for hours ) .

From what you say then, it's MY phone that is at fault. I won't argue that but I guarantee you if you use MY phone in bright sunlight it will be with great difficulty. I will request the use of other folks phones in the future as a test.

Well that's interesting then. Which model is it? I presume you have ensured the screen brightness is at its max (I turned off auto-brightness long ago). I've never had a problem seeing my 3GS, 4S, or 5S screens in sunlight.

Edited by thebruce0

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I said to cache with MYiPhone you'd have to be a sucker for punishment ( nothing insulting meant ). I have perfect eyesight as does my wife and neither of us can see the screen ( sure we can make out some things but it sure isn't something you'd want to look at for hours ) .

From what you say then, it's MY phone that is at fault. I won't argue that but I guarantee you if you use MY phone in bright sunlight it will be with great difficulty. I will request the use of other folks phones in the future as a test.

Well that's interesting then. Which model is it? I presume you have ensured the screen brightness is at its max (I turned off auto-brightness long ago). I've never had a problem seeing my 3GS, 4S, or 5S screens in sunlight.

 

Its either a 5 or 5S....its a work phone primarily and little used.....I don't know a lot about it....still learning although I had a 3( not sure what model) previously.

It was set to full bright and auto-brightness was on, I turned it off. In auto would the phone sense the suns brightness and dim the display ?

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Its either a 5 or 5S....its a work phone primarily and little used.....I don't know a lot about it....still learning although I had a 3( not sure what model) previously.

It was set to full bright and auto-brightness was on, I turned it off. In auto would the phone sense the suns brightness and dim the display ?

It brightens in the sun, but if it's shaded for a short time it'll darken again. I got sick of waiting for the screen to adjust. If I'm outside, I keep it at full. I really only darken the screen at night since it's almost painfully bright =P Sometimes I forget to brighten it in the morning when I go outside and it's hard to find the slider nob. But at full brightness it's quite easy to see in the sun. If you still have problems seeing it and you have excellent eyesight, then either your device has a bad screen, or you just prefer really, really bright device screens...

Apparently if you reallywant a bright display, S5 or HTC has it now.

Edited by thebruce0

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It IS a smart phone issue. Some smart phones cannot be read in sunlight. Period.

 

 

If I recall correctly this was the major complaint on the Garmin Colorado and first Garmin Oregon series of GPS units too (not the 6x0 series).

One reason I bought the eTrex 30 was for a "daylight readable screen" vs my Colorado 400t

 

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I have much more trouble with most capacitive screens (including my phone) since the top surface is inevitably mirror smooth glass. It reminds me of many of the displays on LCD cameras where, when facing the wrong way in bright sun, you're either more likely to see your own reflection (sun ahead) or the sun (sun behind) than the object for the photo. I find this often the case with automotive GPS units as well. Capacitive units are far more likely to reflect back a light colored shirt than not if driving into the sun.

 

On the whole, I have better results with a good transreflective screen or just a decent resistive screen with good transmission properties through the resistive layer. Not all of them meet that criterion, but those that do seem best in difficult sun conditions. One of my all time favorites was a 6" TomTom unit (Via 1605 aka Start 60) which had without a doubt one of the finest 'sun viewable' LCD displays I've ever seen. The resistive layer was exceptionally 'un-opaque', providing the best light transmission through from the LCD that I've ever run across.

Edited by ecanderson

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Its either a 5 or 5S....its a work phone primarily and little used.....I don't know a lot about it....still learning although I had a 3( not sure what model) previously.

It was set to full bright and auto-brightness was on, I turned it off. In auto would the phone sense the suns brightness and dim the display ?

It brightens in the sun, but if it's shaded for a short time it'll darken again. I got sick of waiting for the screen to adjust. If I'm outside, I keep it at full. I really only darken the screen at night since it's almost painfully bright =P Sometimes I forget to brighten it in the morning when I go outside and it's hard to find the slider nob. But at full brightness it's quite easy to see in the sun. If you still have problems seeing it and you have excellent eyesight, then either your device has a bad screen, or you just prefer really, really bright device screens...

Apparently if you reallywant a bright display, S5 or HTC has it now.

 

Thanks....I will continue testing.

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If I took a smartphone out to gather trail data for my organizations trail map database I'd get laughed out of the group. Under dense canopy, in steep terrain (most of Montana) smartphones (like Trix) are for kids.

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We cache in plenty of areas where there is no cell signal thus making the phone useless. The battery is sucked down in my android phone using C:geo and with 4 people in a vehicle with smart phones, there is a serious lack of enough places to plug them in. However, we do use it as a back up and I have a back up battery but again, so many times we have no cell reception even with Verizon in NW Iowa. Get good batteries for your GPS, a back up for your phone and use both if you can.

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"We cache in plenty of areas where there is no cell signal thus making the phone useless."

 

Not to start another issue, but this statement is wrong, to cache you don't need a cell signal.

The lack of plugs to recharge them with 4 in a car is easily resolved.

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You need cell coverage to download mapping data unless you did your homework and saved a few tiles in your prospective area. That said the whole issue comes down to what type of use and where. If you're geocaching in a city or densely populated area then you're probably alright with a cell phone. If you want to spend a week in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area wilderness and have viewable data on the deck of your Kayak then I would leave the phone in a dry bag. For many, periodic trips into remote areas and facing adverse conditions would justify a GPS purchase. And since you already have the GPS you might as well use it for caching. This of course is just my personal opinion.

 

1413057341.jpg

Edited by yogazoo

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You need cell coverage to download mapping data unless you did your homework and saved a few tiles in your prospective area.

...um, so also required with a dedicated gps device.

In that case, smartphones have the one up since if you do forget to download the necessary maps, at least you can do it if you can find data reception (instead of having to go home to use your device's proprietary software, unless your device has the ability to use data or any computer with internet access). Your point isn't one of smartphones, but of offline preparation regardless of your device.

In the context of navigation, a smartphone IS a gps device, with the benefit of having optional data reception.

ETA: a dedicated device may have the benefit of free offline maps from the device's manufacturer. But smartphones have apps with access to downloadable free maps as well. Opinion of the quality of offline maps is subjective, an issue of legitimate preference.

 

That said the whole issue comes down to what type of use and where. If you're geocaching in a city or densely populated area then you're probably alright with a cell phone. If you want to spend a week in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area wilderness and have viewable data on the deck of your Kayak then I would leave the phone in a dry bag.

I agree with this sentiment. However, I would still have my phone. Because in my particular case, it has been sufficient for me in past trips and experiences, having traveled with sufficient preparation (power, protection, and maps).

 

For many, periodic trips into remote areas and facing adverse conditions would justify a GPS purchase. And since you already have the GPS you might as well use it for caching. This of course is just my personal opinion.

Yep :)

Edited by thebruce0

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In that case, smartphones have the one up since if you do forget to download the necessary maps, at least you can do it if you can find data reception (instead of having to go home to use your device's proprietary software, unless your device has the ability to use data or any computer with internet access). Your point isn't one of smartphones, but of offline preparation regardless of your device.

In the context of navigation, a smartphone IS a gps device, with the benefit of having optional data reception.

ETA: a dedicated device may have the benefit of free offline maps from the device's manufacturer. But smartphones have apps with access to downloadable free maps as well. Opinion of the quality of offline maps is subjective, an issue of legitimate preference.

 

 

Also, the cell phone has the option of calling (ie for help) if you need to from an area with reception, or other notifications, logging caches etc.

I use an eTrex for backcountry trips, mainly for the convenience of battery weight while recording a detailed track log. For navigation? Sure I use it but I also use a paper map, with a compass. I tend to use the GPS to identify a landmark and paddle/hike to it, ignoring the GPS along the way there except for periodic checks. Periodic checks is something I can grab an iPhone pop off airplane mode for a second to get a location fix then put back on airplane mode ... and I do that, with the iPad Mini that goes on all my trips because Jeff's Map is much easier to read on a 7.9" screen. Both my iPhone and my iPad live in Lifeproof cases when on an adventure.

 

If some supernatural force came and demanded I give up all my devices except one - I would keep my iPhone 5s.

 

Because really, it can tell me where I am, where I am going, where I've been, what's around me, check email, make phone calls, take photos, and if I get trapped on some mountainside somewhere I can read a book on it (Kindle App) or play Angry Birds while waiting for help to arrive. The battery thing sucks but I have a Goal Zero solar panel / battery combo that solves that handily. I love my eTrex, but it's somewhat limited in that it can tell me where I am, where I'm going, where I've been and what's around me. Which I can do with an app like GPS Motion X on my phone.

 

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You need cell coverage to download mapping data unless you did your homework and saved a few tiles in your prospective area.

...um, so also required with a dedicated gps device.

In that case, smartphones have the one up since if you do forget to download the necessary maps, at least you can do it if you can find data reception (instead of having to go home to use your device's proprietary software, unless your device has the ability to use data or any computer with internet access). Your point isn't one of smartphones, but of offline preparation regardless of your device.

In the context of navigation, a smartphone IS a gps device, with the benefit of having optional data reception.

ETA: a dedicated device may have the benefit of free offline maps from the device's manufacturer. But smartphones have apps with access to downloadable free maps as well. Opinion of the quality of offline maps is subjective, an issue of legitimate preference.

 

Most people load an entire state or region or even country on their GPS when they get it. I'm not flying to Peru to geocache or hike around for the weekend. Most people don't leave their perspective state. So most never forget to load an area they plan to visit with a dedicated GPS because it's already loaded. Try loading an entire states worth of map tiles from your favorite mapping app, as I have, and you'll realize the tedium and time involved isn't worth it. My point is that the prep work isn't apples to apples. Neither is the mapping interface or data displays. I tried to use a smart-phone on my kayak deck but when I got tired of playing with the "toy" I broke out the true dedicated mapping/data devices. Luckily it was before the rain and waves or my phone would have been toasted.

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On our trip to Utah last week, I took both the GPSR (Oregon 600) and my iPhone 5. I relied on the iPhone 5 for routing and it was just as easy to use it for other offline mapping - not to mention graphic descriptions for earthcaches. The offline mapping I use loads maps very quickly, faster than transferring maps to the handheld. I loaded entire states in a few minutes and my caching app interfaces with them, making the process seamless. But I thought the gpsr might come in handy on some of the hikes.

 

We came through a slot canyon. Although the walls were still steep, the area opened up a bit, and I decided to look for a nearby traditional. The gpsr was bouncing a bit, but seemed to center on one spot that matched the hint. We did not find anything there, so I got out the phone (a long way from cell service), which took us 50 feet away, right to the cache location. As I signed the log, the gpsr narrowed things down to 15-20 feet away, which was certainly acceptable. But I did not see any advantage with the handheld even in an area where many might use it.

 

I used the gpsr to record our tracks through a much narrower slot - I ended up dropping it around a ten inch opening and we had to go back to retrieve it. After that, I pretty much left the gpsr in the car and just took the phone. In fact, one time my wife asked if I was looking for a cache with the phone because she trusted its accuracy more than the gpsr.

 

I will still use the handheld in certain situations - kayaking, biking, long hikes, or bad weather - but if I had to cache with one gadget . . .

Edited by geodarts

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Triangulation is sped up with cell towers which greatly boosts the time in which it takes the device to narrow down GPS location with the satellites, and continually helps to provide an accurate location.

 

First part is correct (assuming by boost you mean reduce), second part isn't. While A-GPS assists with the initial fix accuracy is generally far better from the GPS receiver in a smart phone than any data it gets from cell towers.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assisted_GPS

A handheld GPS has no better accuracy than a phone. The one thing it may have is better sencitivity (only GPSrs with a High Sencitivity GPS chip). This allows to maintain a lock while under heavy tree cover. All the other issues with smartphones are easyly overcome. This is really the only BIG advantage. (actualy, a smartphone can use an external bluetooth GPS puck to get better accuracy and sencitivity than a handheld GPS)

 

Under tree canopy the phone is at its worst locating GZ but its screen is at its best....you can see it.

Out in the sun the sensitivity improves but you can't see the screen. IMO most phones are about useless on the trail as GPS devices unless you want to go blind....I'm told there are now some viewable in bright sun but the majority have a long way to go.

You must be living in the past! The current generation of phones have bright displays that are usable in daylight.

Here is a quote from a recent review of the Samsung GS5

The Samsung Galaxy S5 has an improved screen brightness handling - it can now easily reach over 440 nits when the sun is shining brightly above you, allowing for outdoor visibility that is just fine.

For the full article comparing the verious current generation phones see this link

http://www.phonearena.com/reviews/Screen-comparison-Galaxy-S5-vs-iPhone-5s-vs-One-M8-vs-Note-3-vs-Nexus-5-vs-G2_id3652

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A handheld GPS has no better accuracy than a phone.

 

In my own personal experience, having two handheld GPS's and 2 different smart phones - The handheld GPS's have always been more accurate.

 

What handheld GPS do you use?

This is clearly a case of Anecdotal Fallacy! Do you have any metrics to back up this "experience"?

 

I have found over 120 benchmarks (here we call them Brass Caps). I have found that consistantly, my phones are within 5m, but more often within 3m of true. As for Handheld GPSs, I have a Garmin eTrex Legend H, and two Garmin eTrex Venture HC. All of these have Garmin's "High Accuracy" chipset. They are also very good, but do not result in any better accuracy. What they do do better is sencitivity (i.e. under heavy tree cover).

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A handheld GPS has no better accuracy than a phone.

 

In my own personal experience, having two handheld GPS's and 2 different smart phones - The handheld GPS's have always been more accurate.

 

What handheld GPS do you use?

This is clearly a case of Anecdotal Fallacy! Do you have any metrics to back up this "experience"?

 

I have found over 120 benchmarks (here we call them Brass Caps). I have found that consistantly, my phones are within 5m, but more often within 3m of true. As for Handheld GPSs, I have a Garmin eTrex Legend H, and two Garmin eTrex Venture HC. All of these have Garmin's "High Accuracy" chipset. They are also very good, but do not result in any better accuracy. What they do do better is sencitivity (i.e. under heavy tree cover).

 

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.

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A handheld GPS has no better accuracy than a phone.

 

In my own personal experience, having two handheld GPS's and 2 different smart phones - The handheld GPS's have always been more accurate.

 

What handheld GPS do you use?

This is clearly a case of Anecdotal Fallacy! Do you have any metrics to back up this "experience"?

 

I have found over 120 benchmarks (here we call them Brass Caps). I have found that consistantly, my phones are within 5m, but more often within 3m of true. As for Handheld GPSs, I have a Garmin eTrex Legend H, and two Garmin eTrex Venture HC. All of these have Garmin's "High Accuracy" chipset. They are also very good, but do not result in any better accuracy. What they do do better is sencitivity (i.e. under heavy tree cover).

 

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.

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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.

 

Under most conditions, accuracy in this game is a subjective standard that is based on both your unit and the reliability of the coordinates to the cache. In some ways, I trust the iphone more than the Oregon 600, and put the Oregon somewhere between the 62s and the Colorado, but the differences are not that important.

 

As mentioned above, during my last trip I found caches in steep, rocky canyons and washes faster with my iphone than with the gpsr. The same has been true in both forested areas and in open space - and the converse as well. When I have compared the two, they generally are close - within the margin of error for most devices.

 

Most units will get you where you need to go, even if one is more accurate than another, it has little to do with the experience of caching. Eventually we will be using nano devices that are accurate within inches, but will that affect this game? So it comes down to personal preference and what conditions you feel most comfortable in using one or the other.

Edited by geodarts

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Most people load an entire state or region or even country on their GPS when they get it. I'm not flying to Peru to geocache or hike around for the weekend. Most people don't leave their perspective state. So most never forget to load an area they plan to visit with a dedicated GPS because it's already loaded.

If I had a GPSr that I only had to load entire state/province maps once, I wouldn't think about ever having to load it when I go out unless I wanted the latest maps.

If I had a phone that had data coverage in most of the state/province, I wouldn't think about ever having to load offline maps unless I were going somewhere I wasn't confident there was coverage.

 

Context matters. ;)

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From a different thread...

So it was found a day after being disabled by cachers visiting the area, I think the CO way over reacted, when I travel my cache data can be a week old.

 

Agreed.....once mine was a month old.

I think the problem here are the masses brought by the Mega. Its O.K. for mobs to do most power trails but for other caches, especially classic ones , its horrible. Nothing worse than a trampling, attention drawing mob at a cache site.

Here is a novel idea, have a mega but no actual caching. Have fun, eat, and socialize with folks you may never see again.....but no, the area must be blanketed with caches. When I attend an event I don't care if I don't find one cache, I like to meet the people. Shortly though, we're all alone as everyone left to get the caches....it is what it is.

Again, the problem was the Mega.

I rest my case!

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I use an iPhone 5s and Garmin 450T and I don't notice any difference between the two in accuracy. The iPhone is definitely easier to use with a much better, clearer, brighter screen. The 450t screen is hard to see in direct sunlight. I use both for fishing and marking spots and it is great how the Navionics app can be used for the iPhone for a relatively cheap price with excellent maps, while the 450t is very pricey to get any lake maps, which are just ok. I also much prefer the larger screen of the iPhone and the slimmer profile. I use a LifeProof case, which makes it completely waterproof.

 

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.

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