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Old 11-05-2020, 10:55 PM   #68
ndoggac's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 55
when a real GPS is needed
Not even sure what you mean by this generalized statement? What is a "real" GPS?

If you mean ruggedized or waterproof, then the ruggedized Android phone I linked in a previous post (and below) has a higher waterproof rating (IP68 & IP69K & MIL-STD-810G) than any of the Garmin handheld units (IPX7 & MIL-STD-810G) currently available, including their top of the line units. There are also additional cases you could add to the phone to further improve ruggedness or waterproofing.

If you mean tracking capability, the phone has the ability to track GPS, Glonass, Galileo, and Beidou...which is the same or better than all the Garmin handhelds. This will improve your ability to get a location in tough terrain, and under tree cover. Plus you get A-GPS functionality which gives you faster time-to-first-fix when cold-starting the unit (assuming you have cellular or wifi data at the time of cold-start). You could definitely make an argument that the antenna quality in certain Garmin units may give them a tracking advantage, but I don't believe it would be significant.

If you mean battery life, then the phone I linked running in airplane mode (since you don't need the phone functionality when hiking) with location turned on would give you longer battery life than the Garmin units, assuming comparable screen-on times. In Locus Maps, you can also customize the app location's update times to dial in your battery life, similar to Garmin's "expedition mode". You can also use some other tricks to maximize battery. Bring a USB battery to recharge when needed.

I've mounted my phone on my kayak in it's water proof case on rainy days, it gets splashed regularly. Also mount it on the motorboat with no issues.

I couldn't possibly hand anything but a real GPS to a ranger at the end of a day of SAR
So turn off airplane mode at the end of the day, and email it to him from your phone ;-) Also not a problem most users have.

The screen quality of the phones, and capabilities of the apps are so far above and beyond those of the standalone units, it's a no-brainer for me. Not to mention the insane costs for stand-alone units. The phone I linked is on par cost-wise with the most basic entry level Garmin units.

Link to phone so you don't have to search back

Last edited by ndoggac; 11-05-2020 at 11:45 PM.. Reason: fix
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