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Thread: Which mobile phone for geocaching?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Default Which mobile phone for geocaching?

    Hi All
    Which mobile phone and which software can i use for geocaching?
    I 'vegot sat nav i've got gps i want to combine it all into a new phone.
    Any help?
    Thanks
    Tony

  2. #2

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    I have a Nokia N82 but its not really good enough as a GPS to do away with a dedicated GPSr in my opinion

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    Surrey, near Heathrow
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    Quote Originally Posted by aliandtone View Post
    Hi All
    Which mobile phone and which software can i use for geocaching?
    I 'vegot sat nav i've got gps i want to combine it all into a new phone.
    Any help?
    It's a question that comes up quite frequently .

    For GPS performance, the best dedicated GPSr will still be better than the best GPSr equipped phone. However, provided you choose well, the difference need not be great and the phone offers many other advantages.

    Probably the most significant thing to ensure is that the phone has a good GPS chipset. If you see the word QualComm mentioned, that's bad. QualComm leave the main processor to do much of the work, and the performance suffers. If you see the words SiRF III, that's good. But even with a SiRF III chip, you're not out of the woods. SiRF chips may have a thing called the "static navigation filter" enabled, and if it is, it's not much good for caching. This filter setting can sometimes be changed by the user, but sometimes it can't.

    After much investigation, and owning 5 GPSr equipped phones, I've settled on the Asus P750 with a 16Gb uSD card. It's not perfect, but it's the best one I've come across so far. And it's not suitable "out of the box" - it needs some tweaking.

    It has only 64Mb RAM and could do with more. The Asus software it came installed with used up most of that 64Mb, but with some effort I was able to stop that running, and now it's just about enough. And the SiRF III chipset did have the static nav filter enabled, but I've disabled it.

    Software. MemoryMap with OS maps, good, but maps are expensive. Linked to CacheMate so a click on the icon on the map brings up the appropriate locally stored cache page. I also run TomTom for satnav, and OziExplorer to use with charts.

    On another forum I recently did a comparison between my Vista HCx with GB Topo maps, and the Asus in its current setup, and it's worth reproducing here. I know you really want comparisons between phones, but this might give you a baseline for a well performing phone against a decent dedicated GPSr.

    I expect you're familiar with the Vista HCx, but if not, it's a reasonably good quality dedicated GPSr. The HCx and the phone each have their strengths and weaknesses, so I always carry both, and usually have them both on all the time.

    Despite the Asus having the SiRF III chipset, the Vista has slightly better performance; I guess most likely this is due to a better antenna.

    Other advantages of the Vista include that is is more rugged and water resistant than the phone.

    The Vista is slightly quicker to acquire the satellites from a cold start, unless the phone has just connected to the internet and downloaded the ephemeris, in which case the phone is slightly quicker.

    The Vista runs for 40 hours on a set of non-rechargeable AA Duracells. The phone runs Memory Map continuously for 11 hours on its rechargeable battery; few other phones are as good as that.

    The screens are very different. The phone has a MUCH higher resolution, 320x240, compared to the Vista's 220x176. This is a huge benefit when displaying maps. The battery consumption figures I gave were with the Vista screen backlight mostly off and the phone backlight mostly on. In these conditions the Vista is visible in normal light and in bright sunlight, in dull conditions it is harder to read. The phone is easy to read in normal and dull conditions, not so good in bright sunlight.

    The BIG difference is that the phone can display far superior maps to the Vista. This is party because of the better screen, but mostly because it can run Memory Map with OS maps, whereas the Vista is restricted to the far inferior GB Topo 2 vector maps and still rather incomplete open source vector mapping. But the better maps for the phone cost a lot of money.

    Furthermore, you can store full cache details, including logs, on the phone, and set it up so that tapping on the icon on the map brings them up. The Vista is very limited in what it can store.

    The phone has 16Gb, the Vista has 2Gb at most.

    The phone is obviously usable for lots of other things at the same time, such as phone (of course!), email, camera and dozens of other things. I find that an advantage, others find it a disadvantage to have them all in the same unit.

    Hope that helps a bit,

    Rgds, Andy

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Many thanks to all and especially Andy
    That clears it up for me won’t bother too much about a phone with gps anymore just try to keep my legend or gps map 60 with me, and use the phone for a phone
    Many thanks
    Tony

  5. #5

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    Mar 2004
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    Kidderminster
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    Default Heres my 2 penneth .. for what its worth..

    I use a 60GSx for my everyday caching with clue decrypts from a GSAK download. For normal days this is sufficient to find any cache. The Topo maps available from Garmin are not the best thing since sliced bread and I dont have them in use.

    I use a Nokia 6650 fold as a caching phone with Trimble Navigator installed so that whilst on the move I can see the whole cache page and look at live logs and hints. It is also useful for "checking" that the GPS is actually directing me effectively in poor reception areas. Beyond that when I travel, the phone allows me to pick up local caches especially new releases on the move without the need to go online or plan a day in advance as it were.

    Maps I still do by hand, from the old Fugawi software export from GSAK .. but hey, I am weirder than most ... but it works for me

  6. #6
    batista Guest

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    Thanks for sharing.....

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