19 February 2019

These days, everyone just uses their smartphone for GPS navigation.

GPS is also present in most cars.

In the olden days, we had dedicated GPS gizmos for navigating. You can still grab a GPS-only device these days – and for fewer bucks than you might think.

But is it worth it to have a dedicated GPS?

It turns that yes, it is… For quite a few reasons, actually, not the least of which is simple privacy.

Off we go!

Mentioned in the vid:

And there ya have it.

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GPS vs Smartphones: Which is better?
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4 thoughts on “GPS vs Smartphones: Which is better?

  • 20 February 2019 at 19:19

    Really enjoyed that one. Thank you Scottie! Just bought the Garmin one from Amazon UK for about 70GBP. My problem was using Android for directions. It was generally OK except it couldn’t say the name of my road and would forget to mention it and I kept leaving the smart phone in the car. So battery would drain dead, Looking forward to trying this Garmin and have a go at getting instructions from Yoda I will! 🙂

    • 24 February 2019 at 17:31

      OK, so it arrived, fairly new and just needed a few hours updating. Works well and pleased me when it was able to say the name of my road. But I cannot find the audio file needed to make it talk like yoda! There are links on the interwebs but mostly out of date. Did download some garmin studio thing that can enable me to record voices but I really don’t wan’t to hear myself attempting to do Yoda impressions. Any ideas where I can get it from?

  • 10 September 2019 at 04:24

    Hi Scottie,

    I really enjoyed your review and delivery style, but I beg to differ on a number of fronts.

    1. I use my iPhone 8 for navigating deep in the rugged New Zealand bush. It is a “dedicated” GPS device in that it has NO connectivity to the cellular network. It is every bit as accurate (and fast) as a dedicated GPS device (which I used to use extensively).

    2. I have detailed 1:50000 Topo maps for the whole of NZ (and Australia) pre-loaded on my phone. I don’t have to use data to download maps for wherever I am at. These maps are way better than the maps loaded on the dedicated GPS units.

    3. The screen resolution on an iPhone is considerably higher than the screen on the GPS units. And it is bigger. So it is much easier to see exactly where I am at (and where I want to go).

    I have long since abandoned my dedicated GPS units. It can do nothing that my iPhone can’t.

    Cheers, Chris

    • 29 September 2019 at 15:17

      I second this reply (albeit with Android phones). I was a holdout for standalone GPS devices for a long time for various reasons: “that’s all they do, so they must do it better,” “why would I risk killing my phone’s battery with the screen on full-time,” and various other things like that. I decided to experiment with my phone more and more (as battery tech improved) and I quickly found the standalone unit obsolete. One key thing- signal lock. If I fly from one state to another, my phone has connected to the cell towers by the time I get off the plane and Google maps is ready to go. With the ability to pre-load local maps into my device, I do not even need the towers and the phone GPS locks quickly. With my standalone Garmin devices, there were too many instances of getting off a plane in a new city, getting in a rental car, and having the device unable to find a signal to know where I was. I was lucky if the rental car lot was outside and I could sit there and acquire signal, but was usually SOL in a parking garage. The first step of any trip was “find a gas station to sit in the parking lot whilst the Garmin finds itself.” That has never happened with my phone or even a tablet.
      Added bonus: Google maps is just better at finding things, whether it be pure addresses or POI. I lived in Hawaii for 4 years; despite updating as often as Garmin pushed, the device never could find my house and struggled to recognize many of the addresses. I often had to use the “where am I?” feature and save the coordinates as a favorite to bookmark work, a friend’s house, or even the post office.


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