Dedicated GPS device vs Phone/GPS combo

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Stu
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Dedicated GPS device vs Phone/GPS combo

Post by Stu » Wed May 13, 2009 6:06 pm

Looking to get myself a GPS device right now. Won't have to much use for it (apart from looking up the odd street name) beyond locating and marking specific boulders for the (ever delayed) peninsula bouldering guide though.
In terms of cellphones I was looking at either the Nokia 6210 or the Samsung i560. So how reliable are GPS phones in terms of distance in meters, and are they any good?
So, dedicated GPS or cellphone, what's the best route to take here? Bad pun I know.

Gadget
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Re: Dedicated GPS device vs Phone/GPS combo

Post by Gadget » Wed May 13, 2009 9:00 pm

If you want a GPS and will use it often as a handheld GPS get a GPS.

I have no experience with the models you are talking about, but in general the Phone based GPSes run the phone batteries flat quite soon and do not track satellites in parallel which means they might be less accurate (otherwise the accuracy or inaccuracy if you will should be similar). Most phone based GPSes have really crappy user interfaces that are not designed for hand held / hiking use and will frustrate you if you use it frequently (e.g. can not display different coordinate formats, difficult to export waypoints, cannot set datum etc.). Phone based GPSes are typically aimed at road / direction based usage.

zabullet
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Re: Dedicated GPS device vs Phone/GPS combo

Post by zabullet » Thu May 14, 2009 8:12 am

Tough call. I have both.

Personally I'd say your BEST option is an expensive auto-routing/mapping GPS from Garmin or Magellan.

Cell phone GPSs' accuracy is completely fine. However their acquisition times and locks on satellites tend to be poor and their antenna's a bit cheap which means bad reception in forests or narrow canyons. However they are great at auto routing. And they eat your phone battery.

On the pure hand held/dedicated side you can pick up a great GPS with a much better antenna and receiver for quite cheap, but it won't give you the mapping/routing features you want.

I recently bought the Garmin 76CSx for by brother which has all the bells and whistles and I'd recommend it. I also own a Garmin 12MAP and a Garmin Mobile 10x (which I use with my cell phone).

Assuming money is an issue and you can get one for free on your cellphone contract, do that. If it doesn't meet your needs in the outdoor arena then buy an eTrex H.

....on a side note the Garmin Mobile 10x is pretty good....its a stand alone receiver with bluetooth....so I can pair it with my phone (and use either Garmin or 3rd party GPS software) or use it with my laptop.

zb.

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Spike
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Re: Dedicated GPS device vs Phone/GPS combo

Post by Spike » Thu May 14, 2009 8:21 am

I have a Nokia E90 with MobileXT, Topo Rec and T4A loaded.

What you see on the screen is identical to what you'd see on a regular GPS.
It works OK but with some irritations.

It takes a long time to locate satelites, particularly if you're moving. If I leave home I sometimes get to my destination and it's still looking for satelites. If I wait for it then it's fairly quick but that's a PITA.
It loses satelite reception fairly often.
Routing is sometimes out of wack and you can get seriously lost if you follow the voice prompts
It eats battery power. No ways you can climb a mountain and have enough battery power. Rather save your battery for when you need to call 10177

I only use it as a gimmic in my vehicle because the screen is bigger than my Etrex. Not viable for use on foot IMHO.

AFAIK no regular GPS is accurate enough to mark waypoints for specific boulders. It will give you the general area.

zabullet
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Re: Dedicated GPS device vs Phone/GPS combo

Post by zabullet » Thu May 14, 2009 8:42 am

Spike wrote: It takes a long time to locate satelites, particularly if you're moving. If I leave home I sometimes get to my destination and it's still looking for satelites. If I wait for it then it's fairly quick but that's a PITA.
You can use AGPS to speed that up (and I think the competing trade name is GPS+). Most cellphones have the application installed you just need to run it about once a week or if you haven't used the GPS for a while, then run the application before you load your routing software.

zb.

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Nic Le Maitre
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Re: Dedicated GPS device vs Phone/GPS combo

Post by Nic Le Maitre » Thu May 14, 2009 8:54 am

Hi

I have a Nokia 6110 Navigator and once you get rid of the stupid mickey mouse bundled GPS software and use decent software like Garmin Mobile XT then it is a pleasure to use. However the battery life is terrible with the GPS running. It is fine in a car where you have a charger but outside it sucks. 3 hours max on a full charge.

I would strongly recommend that you get a standalone GPS. The accuraccy, speed and user friendlyness are far better. If you have the cash the one to go for is the Garmin Oregon or Colorado.
Happy climbing
Nic

zabullet
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Re: Dedicated GPS device vs Phone/GPS combo

Post by zabullet » Thu May 14, 2009 9:12 am

Nic Le Maitre wrote:If you have the cash the one to go for is the Garmin Oregon or Colorado.
You'd really have to "have the cash". Locally I think the 300s (Oregon and Colorado) are about R7000, and the 76CSx is about R6400.

For the extra R600 its probably worth getting the Oregon or Colorado.

zb.

Stu
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Re: Dedicated GPS device vs Phone/GPS combo

Post by Stu » Thu May 14, 2009 5:22 pm

Yeah the idea was to save a bit of cash, by getting the phone combo - but accuracy is the overiding factor.
So what's the bottom line here? If you're going to have your GPS software continuously running - then get a dedicated device (battery life suffers), but if you're just going to occasionally activate it to mark, say a boulder, then a phone combo should work just fine?
@ZA_Bullet - Isn't this the case with some dedicated devices as well, as the few GPS units I've worked with had huge problems in forests?

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Nic Le Maitre
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Re: Dedicated GPS device vs Phone/GPS combo

Post by Nic Le Maitre » Thu May 14, 2009 7:47 pm

Hi

The new Garmin recievers are totally amazing. I think its the SirfStarIII chip in the 60CSx and the Oregon and Colorado. It is Unbelievable. We were at the bottom of a 10m wide 60m deep kloof with vertical rock walls and my friends 60Csx was getting 2m accuracy while my phone/GPS had nothing.

The dedicated units are better at everything because they have propper antenna.
Happy climbing
Nic

Stu
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Re: Dedicated GPS device vs Phone/GPS combo

Post by Stu » Thu May 14, 2009 8:59 pm

Nic Le Maitre wrote:Hi

The new Garmin recievers are totally amazing. I think its the SirfStarIII chip in the 60CSx and the Oregon and Colorado. It is Unbelievable. We were at the bottom of a 10m wide 60m deep kloof with vertical rock walls and my friends 60Csx was getting 2m accuracy while my phone/GPS had nothing.

The dedicated units are better at everything because they have propper antenna.
Ok thanks, that's good to know.

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Skyjuggler
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Re: Dedicated GPS device vs Phone/GPS combo

Post by Skyjuggler » Tue May 19, 2009 1:13 am

Hey Stu

I was just browsing through the forums and happened across your post. Everything that everyone else has posted is true. If you're going for accuracy, a dedicated GPSR is best. Although the phone GPS's are suprisingly accurate in open areas, they do tend to suffer with limited sky; which you'll encounter more often than not.

Just some things for you to consider. The 60csx is a GREAT unit. As is the Colorado and Oregon. you really can't go wrong with any of those. The major benefit of the Oregon is the touch screen. But beware, on sale at the moment is the 300t. The 400 has just landed in SA but won't be distributed until the 300's are finished.
So if that's what you decide, maybe hold off for a little.

Plus, if you get a unit, why not also get involved in geocaching?
www.geocaching.com
I'm not a complete idiot... There're some parts missing!

Tian
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Re: Dedicated GPS device vs Phone/GPS combo

Post by Tian » Tue May 19, 2009 10:51 am

Stu

I recommend the eTrex H. You can get them from about R1150. https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?pID=8705

Please drop me a mail if you need more info.

Stu
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Re: Dedicated GPS device vs Phone/GPS combo

Post by Stu » Tue May 19, 2009 1:23 pm

Well I went with the i560 in the end as I needed a new phone anyway, but as has been stated here it really isn't up to the standard of the dedicated units - can at times take a while to aquire a signal and sometimes even nothing for 20 minutes. Though I'm still getting to grips with the phone so this might improve. So I will indeed need to focus on a dedicated unit.

Tian, that link isn't working?
Skyjuggler, thanks for the model tips, and out of interest what's the most interesting object/location you ever discovered while geocaching?

pierre.joubert
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Re: Dedicated GPS device vs Phone/GPS combo

Post by pierre.joubert » Wed May 20, 2009 9:56 am

Hey Stu, remember to do all the software/firmware updates - they did wonders for the GPS lock time on my N95.

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Skyjuggler
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Re: Dedicated GPS device vs Phone/GPS combo

Post by Skyjuggler » Thu May 21, 2009 9:11 pm

The most interesting object/place while geocaching...?

Hmmm, that's a tough one. I've had my eyes opened by the sport. I've found lotto tickets and gift vouchers which is pretty cool.
Caching has taken me from Mozambique to Transkei, and up to 3000m on top of Rhino peak as well. If you're an adventurer as well as a climber, you got to get into it.

If you're keen, join us for the Sentinel cache in September...

P.S. I hope the phone/GPS comes right...
I'm not a complete idiot... There're some parts missing!

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