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basspond

devices

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recommended entry to intermediate gps devices

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If you have a smart phone I'd use that for a while.  If, after some time, you are still enjoying the experience I'd upgrade to a gpsr.   The only unit I've ever owned is a Gramin Oregon 450 and I still use it today.   I paid about $200.00 for it about 4 years ago.   I think you can purchase a Oregon 650 for under $300.00.  I've heard good things about the e-trex but have never used one.

Just make sure it's something you plan on continuing to do before you spend the cash.

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14 hours ago, justintim1999 said:

If you have a smart phone I'd use that for a while.  If, after some time, you are still enjoying the experience I'd upgrade to a gpsr.  

OK - educate me!  Hubby and I started our geocaching adventure in March 2017. (After following our son and now daughter-in-law since 2005 or thereabouts).  We are going to continue, for sure.  This is a tremendous new hobby we can do together in his retirement!  Love it.  But I digress...  We have used just our smartphones and the Official app (with an occasional experiment with other apps) and haven't had any real issues; coords generally seem close enough and the caches we have hidden get no complaints of inaccurate coords.

How is it an upgrade to move to a GPSr device?  What does the GPSr do that we can't do with our phones and the website? Are the PQ's, lists, maps, etc that we have available on the website and phone app available on the GPSr or will we be needing both devices?

I do like the website for logging, creating cache pages, and general browsing of caches and stuff ... the phone app is good for field navigation and logging quick notes and drafts.  We are considering a GPSr, but I'm curious in what aspects will it be an upgrade to what we are doing now?

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I owned various devices and even worked for a local Garmin distributor - tried their handheld GPSrs in field and wrote reviews. Nowadays I doubt these devices can be recommended as upgrade for the vast majority of customers. Accuracy is not an issue anymore. Surely, a portable GPSr a) is rugged, b ) is waterproof and c) can work eternally as long as you replace AA batteries that you filled your backpack with. So, it's an obvious choice for a long hike, three and more nights in field, far from civilization. Sometimes I do this (rarely now) so I keep my old Garmin Venture ready. For all other situations I simply switch GPS in my smartphone on. I also purchased a simple 10000mAh power bank (~ 20 USD) so I can charge my smartphone several times and I consider this solution to be rather effective for city walks and even for short hikes.

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On 1/11/2018 at 8:34 PM, CAVinoGal said:

How is it an upgrade to move to a GPSr device? 

For sure the app is useful, and I use it quite a bit, but the things I like about my handheld GPS over using a phone are primarily battery life and accuracy (when "good enough" just doesn't cut it like in deep canyons or heavy tree cover).

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I bought a GPSr after I started caching on my phone.  I loaded it with caches before a trip to Hawaii thinking it might come in handy.  That was about 6 years ago.  Still have never used it out in the field because my phone always seems to work better.

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On 1/11/2018 at 8:34 PM, CAVinoGal said:

Are the PQ's, lists, maps, etc that we have available on the website and phone app available on the GPSr or will we be needing both devices?

PQ's can be loaded onto a GPSr. Maps can be loaded onto a GPSr, with plenty of free sources for maps. If your phone is serving you well, then switching to a GPSr may not seem like an upgrade for you. A lot of it depends on what type of caching and what areas you generally cache in. It's very much a personal preference.

Personally, I find that navigating with a GPSr works better (gets me to GZ) than using a smartphone. Of course, this is most true when I cache in cloudy weather, under tree cover, and in canyon/ravine/mountainous terrain. I do like having my phone as a backup, so I can read more than 5 prior logs or look at Gallery images on the cache page. Of course, that only helps if I have a cell signal. If I head into an area without a cell signal, then my phone doesn't provide any extra info than I get on my GPSr.

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Some things to consider about using a smartphone vs GPSr:

  • Screen visibility - For some, a GPSr screen is easier to look at than a smartphone. For me, I have to turn up the phone's brightness in order to read what's on the screen. The high brightness uses more battery. I don't see a glare problem with my GPSr's screen.
  • Buttons vs Touchscreen - Touchscreens, on phones or GPSr's, can get 'jumpy' if there are water droplets (rain) on them. That problem doesn't happen with GPSr's that use buttons. This is a big factor for me, as I often cache in the rain.
  • Screen size - Most smartphones have a larger screen than most GPSr's. There are times when I wish my GPSr screen was larger.
  • Durability - Some cachers have rugged smartphones and/or cases, so they don't worry about dropping them or laying them in the dirt or getting them wet. GPSr's are usually more durable 'out of the box' than most smartphones.
  • General fit - Some cachers find smartphones to be too big for one-handed operation. Personally, I find it easier to navigate the GPSr with one hand, whereas I usually need two hands for my phone (one to hold, the other to swipe).
  • Battery life - Some cachers can cache for an entire day with their smartphones and still have plenty of power left, while others have a dead battery before they've finished caching. Most GPSr's will last more than a day on a pair of AA's. There are external battery packs to charge a smartphone on the go, so that is an option. Personally, I find it easier to carry extra rechargeable AA's that I can quickly swap into my GPSr. Carrying a smartphone that's attached to an external charging pack is just cumbersome to me.

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There have been several GPSr vs Smartphone threads debating the benefits, or not, of using one type of device over another:

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10 hours ago, noncentric said:

Some things to consider about using a smartphone vs GPSr:

Thank you for the very helpful list of pros and cons, for you, and WHY.  Very helpful!!

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Hi all,

I'd like to ask some questions down this line if I may?  I'd particularly value Australian perspectives on them.  My wife, stepsons and I started geocaching about 18 months ago and while I wouldn't call us addicts, gee we enjoy it when we do it!  To date, we've used my wife's smart phone - my phone isn't on a data plan, and I sense that my wife's phone's GPS isn't quite what it could be.

So, Australian geocachers, there seems to be a bit of talk here about GPS units.  I've never used one, so I'm very green on that front.  If we decided to buy a GPS unit purely for geocaching purposes, what would be the advantage over a smart phone - simply that it's a smidge more accurate?  

How much does a GPS (not top of the range for our occasional use) cost?  And I would presume that there would be some form of data usage, so what do people find are their ongoing costs?  And where do you buy them?!

They might be basic questions to you, but they're biggies for us!

Thank you to whoever reads this and chooses to respond!

BJ (and Tara)

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