Just how accurate is the GPS on a smartphone?

Discussion in 'CycleChat Cafe' started by yello, 26 Jul 2012.

  1. yello

    yello Legendary Member

    A French desert
    Probably depends on the smartphone I guess, and satellite reception.

    I ask because I'm considering replacing my about to die ancient mobile with a cheap 2nd hand smartphone. The only reason I'm looking at a smartphone is because of GPS and, to a lesser extent, WiFi. GPS would be useful on some occasions but not as my primary means of navigation, nor secondary for that matter as I often carry a map if I'm on unfamiliar roads. It's only intended as a kind of 'get out of jail' card, if you get my drift.

    But if on-the-fly mapping sucks in practice on a smartphone then I'll not bother.
  2. OP

    yello Legendary Member

    A French desert
    iPhones are out of my price range anyway! I'm thinking more along the lines of a Samsung Galaxy Europa....
  3. Nearly there

    Nearly there Über Member

    I use a HTC desire and seems accurate to me
  4. guitarpete247

    guitarpete247 Just about surviving

    I use a Nokia N8 and it's very accurate. I use it for Sports-tracker when on the bike and for the Sat-Nav in the car. My brother has a phone (not sure what) with Sport-tracker and it regularly looses the plot and he seems to have taken a detour off road, through gardens and houses for no reason.
  5. ohnovino

    ohnovino Large Member

    I went for a GPS smartphone for exactly the reasons you've mentioned. I don't rely on it for navigation, but if/when I get lost I can fish it out of my pocket and within seconds see where I am and which way to go. It's also handy to tag places that look interesting, so when I'm home from a long ride I don't forget about them and can plan to go back there next time.
  6. dellzeqq

    dellzeqq pre-talced and mighty

    why not pm TimO? He knows about this stuff..
  7. albion

    albion Veteran

    South Tyneside
    Mine is always hidden deep down in my saddle bag or in my pocket and always tracks fine.

    There little real info on them all though I suspect some will need pointing upwards mounted correctly on the bike.
  8. Hacienda71

    Hacienda71 Mancunian in self imposed exile in leafy Cheshire

    Wilmslow, Cheshire
    For Sat Nav in a car they are fine, you would need a decent bike mount for the phone and the battery life would not be great if you were running it for any distance with a lit screen and no wired power source .
    If you want accurate gps tracking a specific device such as a Garmin seems to be more reliable and has better battery life, although I used my HTC Desire for a couple of years for logging on Endomondo and more recently Strava and as a low cost gps option can't fault it.
    In terms of pinpoint accuracy I ran both my Garmin and HTC in tandem on a ride and the results were pretty similar although not identical.
  9. OP

    yello Legendary Member

    A French desert
    That's the sort of response I was looking for. I find my Edge 305 accurate enough for me to route follow with ease. But as the 305 doesn't have mapping, and I was thinking of exactly the scenario that ohnovino gives above, then I thought the smartphone GPS was an option for me.

    I guess it's also dependant on the mapping software it's running. Not interested in stava or endomondo like apps - just mapping. I'd treat it like my current mobile. That is, in my back pocket and turned off until needed, so battery life is not critical.
  10. on the road

    on the road Über Member

    I use the HTC Wildfire (Android) and it's very accurate. I just have it in my back pocket and fish it out whenever I get lost, just put it in sleep mode whenever I'm not using it and the battery lasts for ages. Just make sure the battery's fully charged before you go out.
  11. Raging Squirrel

    Raging Squirrel Well-Known Member

    North West
    i read somewhere the GPS phones accuracy is anything from 3 to 10 metres, so pretty good
  12. MrJamie

    MrJamie Oaf on a Bike

    Ive recorded just short of 1000 rides/runs on phone apps, the GPS is usually very accurate within a few metres. Different handsets have different GPS chips and seem to vary in accuracy but should all be fine for mapping, from what ive seen HTC are one of the better on this front. Google maps/earth apps are free and there are also apps which show you the nearest pub/cashpoint/shop/hotel/restaurant/yachting centre etc which I like when in a new town.

    The only issue i have with mine is that usually when im lost in the middle of nowhere usually all I can see around me are fields, pull out my phone and ive got a poor GPRS data connection and my maps take forever to load/zoom although I believe you can download these at home first.
  13. Norm

    Norm Guest

    When I've tested a couple of phone (Nokia & HTC), it was good enough to show me which side of a tree I was standing beneath in Google maps. That's good enough for me.
  14. subaqua

    subaqua What’s the point

    my blackberry is fine, unless deep in the city and signal deflected a bit by the tower blocks. but no worse than the in car system
  15. Andrew_Culture

    Andrew_Culture Internet Marketing bod

    HTC Desire was pretty good, the Samsung Galaxy S I've got now is hillariously shite, it has made Strava almost a complete waste of time. The cheap Holux gps I've got is incredibly accurate.

    Something else to watch for if you're planning on using the GPS and maps to get home is that if you've got a naff connection (which does happen when one is lost in the sticks) then your device won't be able to download any maps.
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