Smartphones GPS Vs Handheld GPS for Outdoor Activities

With GPS on every phone, it is more likely to understand the demand for a dedicated GPS for driving or hiking. There are some cases in which you are easily able to replace your smartphone GPS and you have longer reason to buy a stand-alone GPS unit. We also need to consider best apps, and practices to find out the smartphone GPS as the best choice in a wilderness. Smartphones have really replaced the MP3, recorders, camera and much more, but in many areas, they do not supersede the dedicated devices. Handheld GPS devices are one of them where smartphones haven’t yet outsmarted them. 

Smartphone GPS

Where do hands and fingers fall on the device? Smartphones have such design and layout so that users can hold them with convenience. We have to tap them most of the time and having a hand on them all the time is the need of time. The smartphone, of course, is the device that we hold most and we can avoid packing any extra gear.

A smartphone is always a good choice while you are navigating through the city. You have to socially connect with your network. It is found to give you good results in short hikes also. It provides the trail information that is helpful in case of emergency.

Many smartphones have built-in maps that facilitate you to get directions from point A to point B. Advancement in technology is giving birth to so many apps which give an amazing experience to hiking enthusiasts and geocachers.

You need to spend significantly cheaper amount for a smartphone and there are plenty of GPS related apps available. On the other hand, if you are looking for a handheld device, more often it costs too much.

Handheld GPS

There are a couple of areas where handheld GPS have the monopoly such as durability. Durability is the most prominent reason when we talk about the handheld devices. These devices have the potential to hold up in tough outdoor condition. Most of the smartphones, when used as GPS, get exhausted in extreme cold. Too much exposure to low temperatures, can create bubbles or aggregate the liquid molecules to give a permanent damage to the smartphone whereas handheld device used for GPS is an arsenal for any windsurfer or sailor. Handheld devices have the multitude of sensors and features such as relative air pressure, humidity levels, etc. The features make it a true weather instrument.

A handheld device is always a better choice and a technological equivalent of a map and compass when you are looking for hiking or fishing. There are so many add-ons in recent years that have made any handheld device as an essential item to enter the unfamiliar territory. All the additions have increased the use cases for the GPS beyond just navigation direction.

A dedicated GPS won’t disturb you in a challenging activity, making a completely safe zone during the toughest time of the journey.

Another reason to make the handheld devices used for the purpose of GPS is their exceptional battery life. They are equipped with interchangeable batteries. You can easily swap the AA batteries and handheld GPS is also a better choice than using smartphone GPS when you are going into the core of wilderness. Dedicated handheld devices are equipped with highly sensitive receivers clenching the satellite signals and very hard-pressed. With incredible designed satellite system, GPS units can easily pinpoint your location to within 15 feet. Also dedicated devices not only use GPS but also use GLONASS which makes it much more accurate than using just smartphones.

Both smartphone GPS and handheld GPS provide the similar information. However, speed and accuracy vary and both can be used for the navigation. It is also observed, dedicated units give the higher levels of accuracy since they can take advantage of more satellites. But in certain situations, both might have a problem in performing well in providing you with a fixed location. Around town or day hikes, a smartphone is an affordable option. However, you are planning the backpacking trips, then the handheld GPS is the right option for you.

Why not both?

Smartphone with a handheld device seems to be an effective option. Your phone is well suited for a variety of tasks such as communication and music, etc. On the other hand, Dedicated GPS ensures the precise navigation and other helpful info you may require during the journey.

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