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Which PDA

 
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tcs17_tim
Lifetime Member


Joined: 30/12/2002 21:41:31
Posts: 130
Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 9:13 pm    Post subject: Which PDA Reply with quote

Any recomendations for a new PDA to use with Memory Map?

Having broken my Glofiish I am debating buying an oldish pda off ebay (Loox N520 or N560, Asus P750, another Glofiish) or a newer Acer F900 (negative comments on reading screen outdoors?) or a brand new HTC of some form. HTC seem to be dominating the PDA with GPS market and as far as I can tell they all use the Qualcom chip set instead of Sirfstar and are consequently less accurate.

Any view or experience of any of these devices?
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AllyCat
Frequent Visitor


Joined: Feb 23, 2005
Posts: 376
Location: Catford, London, UK

PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2010 11:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,

No, I can't recommend a specific PDA, but as you've posted in the Memory Map forum I can highlight some of the issues relevant to MM. My most recent experience with "new" PDAs has been with refurbished Dell X51 and Loox N560 at "ebay prices" from TotalPDA (both WM5 but easily upgraded for SDHC cards). However, for day-to-day use I find myself reverting to my ancient Acer N50 (partly familiarity, but also the excellent battery life, etc.).

Only the Loox has a built-in GPS, but IMHO they shouldn't have bothered. Despite being SiRF, the antenna/reception is abysmal and also using the GPS hammers even the extended battery. So I use an external Bluetooth GPS with all the PDAs.

The performance of a screen depends so much on personal opinion and how it's used. A transreflective type can be advantageous if you can optimise the tilt in your hand, but probably not if on a bike. To me, the Dell screen just doesn't look as "nice" as my Acer; the Loox has a VGA (640x480) resolution, but even this is a mixed blessing:

With "high resolution" screens, some MM menus and icons can be very small. The latest version of MM has adressed this slightly (probably because of the small, high resolution screen on their own Adventurer 2800) but a stylus is still virtually essential. Bear in mind that many of the latest PDA/phones have capacitive touchscreens, not intended for stylus operation. Another issue with WM6.1+ devices is that changes made by MS can cause the MM "cannot open file" error to occur with much smaller map files (sometimes below 100MB) than the 400MB "official" MM limit.

I'm not sure what you mean by the Qualcom chip being "less accurate". The very high sensitivity of SiRF chips (and maybe others) in "difficult" conditions tends to make them "guess" at the location rather than admit defeat. But, MM does not appear to have any input data filtering (or "sanity checking") so you can end up with wild spikes in track logs (and I suspect may even be responsible for some of my MM crashes).

To address this high-sensitivity issue (in car navigation), SiRF developed "Static Navigation" which basically locks your position unless you move quickly (over 5mph) or a significant distance (~100 metres), and other manufacturers may have copied this. However, SN wrecks the GPS performance for walking and geocaching, etc., so you may want to ensure that it is not present or can be turned off. Unfortunately this is never included in device specifications so you have to try to find the information in forums, etc..

Cheers, Alan.
_________________
Garmin GPS72H/76/60/45, Etrex H, Mapsource v6.5.
Acer N50,HP114,Loox N560,Dell x50,CF/SD cards to 4/32GB.
RoyalTek,Holux236,Navman B10 & Copilot(Globalsat) BT GPS,TomTom5/6.
Memory Map (v5.4.2 & v5.1.3 OS & Euro), GPS gate,OSGPSconverter.
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windsor
Occasional Visitor


Joined: Feb 25, 2004
Posts: 51

PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2010 12:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,

I too have a Loox N560, and agree that the GPS antenna must be 'not much good', and I still get a faster first fix from the old GPSlim 236.

However, having updated the Loox to WM 6.1, and the sirf firmware to 3.6.0, I now use it all the time, as the convenience of a built in GPS device is very useful, and the performance once a fix is obtained is superior - 7 to 10 satellites seen by Mem.Map. most of the time.
I also find that the battery (the standard small one) will run Mem. Map. and the GPS for 6-7 hours, as long as you keep the screen off maximum illumination.

All in all, this is a recommendation for a Loox N560, but it does need the OS etc. updating.(this also allows SDHC cards, wich really are needed for OS 1:25k maps for walking.)

Geoff
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tcs17_tim
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Joined: 30/12/2002 21:41:31
Posts: 130
Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2010 7:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes it is hiking and gecaching that I use memory map for, I am aware of the Static Navigation issue and have been using one of the applications to turn it off but after every restart I had to turn ot off again.

I am also aware of the VGA screen issue but learned to live with by not using standard icons....

Interesting comments on GPS reception on Loox 560N, thanks.
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