Phone for nav - worth getting the Samsung note?

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Phone for nav - worth getting the Samsung note?

Postby slparker » Fri 11 Jan, 2019 7:43 am

Hi techeads,
Despite my innate scepticism, I have been using my phone for nav lately and find it pretty useful. I am from the maps and compass school and still carry them but am keen to explore functionality esp when off track.

I am about to get a new phone plan and look at getting the Samsung galaxy 9+ or the galaxy note. Both have big screens but one has a stylus which I thought might be useful for use in the field for plotting routes and waypoints ( my fat fingers are imprecise)

Is a stylus useful/necessary for this function? If so which app might support this best? I have only used Avenza, which I find clunky to use in the field for this purpose.
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Re: Phone for nav - worth getting the Samsung note?

Postby potato » Fri 11 Jan, 2019 10:03 am

Yes its a great phone with good battery life. Its camera is one of the best phone cameras this minute.

I use Avenza but not the latest version... I agree on you comment but haven't looked too hard for an alternative.
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Re: Phone for nav - worth getting the Samsung note?

Postby Mark F » Fri 11 Jan, 2019 10:33 am

I used to buy top end phones Samsung etc, but they have become so pricey that I now go for the more reputable Chinese ones such as Oppo at half price or less. Nothing of interest in my media for Chinese Government :roll:
"Perfection is attained not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing more to remove".
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Re: Phone for nav - worth getting the Samsung note?

Postby wildwanderer » Fri 11 Jan, 2019 2:07 pm

slparker wrote:Hi techeads,
Despite my innate scepticism, I have been using my phone for nav lately and find it pretty useful. I am from the maps and compass school and still carry them but am keen to explore functionality esp when off track.

I am about to get a new phone plan and look at getting the Samsung galaxy 9+ or the galaxy note. Both have big screens but one has a stylus which I thought might be useful for use in the field for plotting routes and waypoints ( my fat fingers are imprecise)

Is a stylus useful/necessary for this function? If so which app might support this best? I have only used Avenza, which I find clunky to use in the field for this purpose.


If I used a stylus it would be the first thing to get lost or put a hole in my tent floor etc. You may be more careful and less forgetful than me. Even if I wasnt, I dont find using thumb and forefinger that hard to move the map around. You get used to it.

Biggest challenge with using a phone is that after a year or so your phones battery isnt as good as it was when brand new. So I now find I need a larger power bank than I did previously when going for multiple nights.

I create my routes online first and import into my map application. (orux maps). I use movescount to plot the routes I then have the route on my suunto watch and the phone. There are other online route planners out there. For nsw http://maps.ozultimate.com/ is great. (thanks tom!)

to get the best out of your mapping application I would suggest using multiple maps. I download the nsw govt topos via https://maps.six.nsw.gov.au/etopo.html

And I also have openstreetmaps. https://www.openandromaps.org/en

Have fun!
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Re: Phone for nav - worth getting the Samsung note?

Postby RonK » Fri 11 Jan, 2019 5:35 pm

It's not a good time to buy a new smartphone. 5G will launch in the next few months. This promises so much in terms of network performance it would be smart to wait.
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Re: Phone for nav - worth getting the Samsung note?

Postby slparker » Fri 11 Jan, 2019 6:02 pm

Thanks all.
Thanks WW for the mappung tips - I have a suunto watch and that has spurred me on to do some routemaking.

Too late Ron... just got a new plan today. My impression is that all new phones work on 5g, i seem to remember my galaxy 7 working on 5g in hong kong a couple of years ago.
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Re: Phone for nav - worth getting the Samsung note?

Postby ribuck » Fri 11 Jan, 2019 7:01 pm

I had the Note 1 and Note 3, but never really found the stylus useful.

I'm now using a midrange Samsung for navigation, the A7 2017. It has a big bright flat screen, a headphone socket, is waterproof, and has a big battery. Enough battery for navigating and track logging on a 3-day trip (OruxMaps), plus taking photos, provided I keep it in flight mode the whole time.
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Re: Phone for nav - worth getting the Samsung note?

Postby Moondog55 » Fri 11 Jan, 2019 7:08 pm

Isn't 5G useless if more than 500m from a small repeater tho?
Ve are too soon old und too late schmart
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Re: Phone for nav - worth getting the Samsung note?

Postby crollsurf » Fri 11 Jan, 2019 9:48 pm

After much research I got a Samsung 9+ and very happy with it. Not cheap but the screen is very usable in direct sunlight for navigation.

The 2x zoom for photos will cover most situatations but limited.

Can get 2 days from 100% with nav and a couple of hours of music and an hour or so of Netflix. Could squeeze 3 with limited nav.

Other good options where the current flagship Apple and the Pixel 2

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Re: Phone for nav - worth getting the Samsung note?

Postby potato » Mon 14 Jan, 2019 8:56 am

Moondog55 wrote:Isn't 5G useless if more than 500m from a small repeater tho?


Yep, it will only be useful to those metro areas.
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Re: Phone for nav - worth getting the Samsung note?

Postby Johnnie Walker » Mon 14 Jan, 2019 10:24 am

My mate has a Note 9 and I had a play with it. With most apps the stylus only replaced my fat fingers so with a stylus it's a bit easier to click and select on the screen. Maybe handy when wearing gloves? Some apps are stylus enhanced or specially made for a stylus, but I don't think there are any navigation apps. My mate is using the stylus to write notes and make annotations on photos and screen dumps. Best feature, the stylus is also a remote control for the camera. The camera on the Note 9 is one of the best you can get at the moment. It's a big phone, a bit heavy and battery live (depending on pictures taken) can be up to 4 days when in flight mode.
[edit] The Note 9 has the same camera as the Galaxy 9, only the software is a bit different. Note 9 is using AI software which can be disabled.

For a lighter and cheaper option with a good camera, the Google Pixel 2 is very good and a bit cheaper now the Pixel 3 is available.

Regarding 5G, in my opinion, it's useless unless you want to stream 4K / UHD movies and download a lot of stuff fast. It will only work in the CBD anyway and drain your battery. I've got my phone always on 3G which is fast enough for most things and will save a lot of battery life. When set to automatic network, the phone will still be scanning for a better option, switches to 4G, back to 3G, scanning etc. You get the point :-) When walking most of the time my phone is in flight mode anyway.
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Re: Phone for nav - worth getting the Samsung note?

Postby Happy Pirate » Sun 20 Jan, 2019 3:44 pm

Have a look at the Australian Topo Maps app. Particularly for NSW the entire range of topos are online for free! You can cache your walk and upload a GPX file of your route (only one at a time).
The Vic topos are about $90 dollars and a little shakey as they don't offer an intermediate zoom level so you have to view them zoomed in really close to make out the details.
I run it on a Lenovo Tab 4 10" tablet and a Samsung S5 phone which cost me about $300 outright and has been kicking along fine the last couple of years. I do carry a powerpack for longer walks however.
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