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 Handheld Portable GPS Receivers
 Pedestrian Mobile
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551 Posts

Posted - 30 mars 2013 :  00:14:59  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
My wife, sons, and I were in Washington DC on Spring Break vacation this week. We flew in Sunday and had been taking the Metro and walking to the various attractions. Anyway, although I have been getting by with my Garminfone and Nexus 7 with Co-Pilot, my Garminfone battery doesn't last long enough. I had some additional batteries, but I am down to one right now.

What are others here doing for pedestrian navigation? Are you bringing two devices while on foot? I am considering keeping the Garminfone for navigation only and getting a Google Nexus 4 as my smartphone.

Or, maybe I will just bring along the Garmin Nuvi 500 for the next trip like this! I think the Nuvi 500 battery would last longer than the Garminfone battery.

The other thing that I am considering is a unit that will work for both automobile navigation AND pedestrian mobile. A quick review of choices from Garmin leads me to focus in on the Garmin Montana 650 and Garmin Montana 650t.

As a side note, I really haven't had much of a need or desire for a handheld unit in the past. The times I have used a Garmin eTrex in the past, they seemed somewhat outdated compared to the color touch screens of Garmin Nuvi devices.

Also, the issue of cost is a concern to me. The low end Garmin Nuvis are dirt cheap compared to the Garmin Montana 650/650t prices that I am seeing.

Anyway, is the Montana 650/650t likely to be one of the better choices for me considering that I want a handheld that can also become an automobile navigator or should I also be looking at some other units?



1883 Posts

Posted - 30 mars 2013 :  13:54:09  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Surely any smartphone battery will last longer than your Nuvi 500.... won't it? I have a Nuvi 205 which has al 3.5" screen like the 500. I remember testing it on a hike a number of years ago, just for fun. I got less than 4 hours run time, even with the screen turned down somewhat. I did better with a Nuvi 3790 since it has a "sleep" mode and it wakes up instantly, so I could put it to sleep in my pocket when not actually looking at it.

But my iPhone gets much longer battery life. Beyond that, I really prefer the phone for urban use in a big city like New York. Since it uses wifi, cell and gps combined, it doesn't have problems getting a fix where the sky view is obstructed.

But I'm a big fan of the Montana also - have had a Montana 600 for almost two years. I use it in the car and on foot. It has so many advanced features that no other Garmin has. I have never tried to run the battery down and normally only go a few hours at a time on short hikes, so I've always used the included rechargeable battery. But you can just bring some spare AA's if you need more capacity.

However, it's a big bulky thing that will make you look like a "tourist" in a city. I use an s-Biner attached to the lanyard post and clip it to my belt loop and that works fine, although I wish Garmin provided a belt clip or something more elegant. Personally, I would not like it so much for urban use due to the size. Although I did bring it to Central Park in NYC a couple weeks ago - it was a cold day and I had a heavy winter coat so I just put it in the pocket. Didn't end up using it though.

So I really think a smartphone is the way to go as a pedestrian in a city. But the Montana is great for everything else.

Edited by - Boyd on 30 mars 2013 13:56:19
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551 Posts

Posted - 30 mars 2013 :  16:10:05  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Boyd

.....Surely any smartphone battery will last longer than your Nuvi 500.... won't it?.....

Thank you very much for the reply. You know, perhaps I ought to test the Garminfone vs. the Garmin Nuvi 500 in the car on battery power only and see which one does last longer! I do know that the Garmnfone only has an 1150mAh battery and I think the the Nuvi 500 is 1880 mAh. But, that also might be like comparing apples to oranges. I suppose if all other factors were equal, then the Nuvi 500 should last at least 50 percent longer than the Garminfone battery. Say, for example, the Garminfone works 2 hours while navigating and the Nuvi 500 would last 3 hours while navigating. However, the Garminfone is also affiliated with the cellular mobile telephone network, but I suppose that could be disabled to make the test more fair.

Also, I seem to recall that some GPS receiver chips are more power efficient than others. I don't know if the Garminfone and Nuvi 500 have the same receiver chip.

Also, I suppose the display itself is a huge factor in power usage. I don't know if the Nuvi 500 or Garminfone uses more power for its display.

Edited by - Jim1348 on 30 mars 2013 16:12:08
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1883 Posts

Posted - 30 mars 2013 :  18:30:24  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I think the nuvi displays just suck the life out of a battery. They are designed to be very bright for auto use in the sun, much brighter than a phone. Also, if your Nuvi 500 is a few years old I'd be very surprised if you even got 3 hours on battery. I think a big factor with a phone is that you can click it on and off very quickly, unlike a Nuvi shutting down and starting up.

Usually, walking around a city I only need to look at the screen from time to time so the phone is in my pocket and turned off probably 70% of the time. I have no problem getting through a whole day with my phone like this. If you need it on all the time (to record a track for example), then that's another matter.

Now "real" handhelds have transreflective screens that don't require the use of a backlight at all under most daytime conditions. I think that's the biggest factor in them having longer run time. The Nuvi series doesn't have this kind of screen, it just goes black if you turn off the backlight.

BTW, if looking at the Montana, unless you're a big fan of Garmin's 100k topo (and few people are), then don't spend the extra money for the 650t. And unless you're also a big fan of mediocre cameras I wouldn't get the 650 either, I have not read anything very positive about it. I think the Montana 600 is the sweet spot.

Of course you might also wait for the Oregon 600 series which should be in stores pretty soon. Then again, you have to be a very patient person to buy a brand new Garmin model. You would basially be a beta tester and suffer through lots of bugs and firmware updates for the first year or so after release.
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2 Posts

Posted - 30 mars 2018 :  09:38:19  Show Profile  Visit jasminshawn01's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Most people are having problem with navigation.
I use my phone as navigation tools with the right apps it is better.
The only downfall is the battery.
If your son is to young to walk around alone better buy him a GPS device for safety measure.
Small enough to carry.
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