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Author Topic: Which Mobile Phone to buy  (Read 3188 times)

oldfogy

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Which Mobile Phone to buy
« on: February 14, 2014, 02:00:10 AM »

I was going to tack this on to the other mobile phone question but then decided it might have taken the other thread too far off topic, so here we have a new question.

I want to buy a new Mobile Phone and need some 'user' technical information.
Because even after going into a couple of phone shops I still seem to have got conflicting information, so.

Can anyone tell me if for arguments sake a Samsung Android phone such as the Galaxy S3 Mini will run the GPS map SatNav without having a data connection (Data Free).

Basically I would like to get a new phone such as the 'Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini' mainly for the size and weight and apart from obviously being able to make and receive calls I need it to have the FREE GPS facility with maps for anywhere in the world that I can download for whichever country I want, I don't really need it to do much more than that.

I currently use a Nokia Lumia 900, with the "Nokia Drive" app (now called "Here Drive" on newer models) but although the maps work ok I find the phone a bit on the heavy side especially when in a shirt pocket and also don't really need the large screen that the Nokia 900 has got, whereas maybe the 4" screen from a Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini should be ok.

It needs to be data free, simply because roaming charges abroad are far to expensive and I don't always want to buy a new local SIM each time I go abroad.

If possible I would also be interested to know if anyone uses TomTom maps on their phone.

I don't know if it's just that the Nokia Lumia 900 uses Windows 7.5 (7.8 with updates) which had a few problems which were rectified in later versions, but I also thought getting away from Windows might make me feel happier.

Or should I just get a Nokia 520 which I know will do what I need it to do?

********************

Just as a matter of interest.
I recently discovered and started using the "My3" 3,2,1, PAYG plan (from THREE) to be a excellent rate, and even works out cheaper to use than even using a house phone to telephone both landline or mobile numbers (both the same cost at 3p per minute)
3p for phone calls
2p for texts
1p for 1MB of Data

But don't even consider making most calls to or from abroad, because that seems to be where they are probably just about the most expensive on the market.
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Ronski

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Re: Which Mobile Phone to buy
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2014, 06:39:00 AM »

The S3 mini is a great phone, I've just recently purchased two for family members.

I think you already know how to tackle this, and that is by purchasing a satnav app that stores the maps on the phones SD card.

There was a free one, but can't remember what it was.

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kitz

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Re: Which Mobile Phone to buy
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2014, 12:46:27 PM »

I have an S4 mini and I love it.   

As Ronski has said, the key is getting a satnav app that stores all its maps.

On a phone, the GPS part is responsible for reporting your position on the map, whilst any data usage is whilst the map is being updated as you move from one area into another.   
I dont have a 'dedicated' sat nav app though and not even tried looking for one so Im not sure what is available and therefore cant recommend one. 
Before I got the S4 I once used Navfree on my ipad (which has no data connection) when I went to a friends down south.  It was ok, but not particularly brilliant as the turn by turn instructions. To be fair, it was in its infancy then, and may be much better now.

These days I use gmaps with the free google Navigation add on.  It does allow you to store maps offline but I think there may be a limit as to how much it will allow you to store.  Google Navigation is good for a freebie, but I think for it to work effectively it needs a data connection as I always have to turn mine on.  It uses hardly any of my data allowance.  Possibly about 10-12MB for a 2hr journey there and back. 

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I know you said the phone needs to be data free, but Im not sure if I understand what you meant. Cant you just turn off data if you go abroad?

I have a package which only gives me 250MB of data per month.  For the first 3 months vodafone gives 'unlimited' so you can check you are on the right package without fear of any additional charges.   I did a massive 120MB and I thought I was trying :D    I dont do the facebook/instagram nor do I usually mail from my phone.   My only data usage is for surfing and using the Navigation app. 

I have a nice little app called "Power Toggles" that puts a widget on your home screen giving you full and easy control of what is switched on and off.  Press the Data Icon and your phone cant use any data, it's also good for easily turning wifi/bluetooth etc off to save battery.   I also put it on dads phone as hes on PAYG so that he cant accidentally use data, yet the option is still there so that he could if he needed.  http://www.appsapk.com/power-toggles/
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geep

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Re: Which Mobile Phone to buy
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2014, 02:43:09 PM »

Try OsmAnd for free GPS - http://osmand.net/ . The free version allows up to 10 free downloads of maps.
But you can also download maps directly from their website which are all free.
I have downloaded maps to my PC and then copied them over to my Tesco Hudl tablet.
The underlying maps are the marvelous free OpenStreetMap.
If you are really enthusiastic you can even build you own maps from OpenStreetMap and tailor them to your own needs, but that starts to get a smidge complicated, as I have found out.

Cheers,
Peter
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oldfogy

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Re: Which Mobile Phone to buy
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2014, 07:36:19 PM »

> As Ronski has said, the key is getting a satnav app that stores all its maps.
Which is why I need to know is if downloaded Maps will work properly on a Samsung GPS phone work properly even when Data is turned Off.
I know the Nokia Drive maps work ok when abroad, so no problem there.
But I am getting mixed feedback if the Samsung with GPS maps installed will work the same, some say NO whilst others are saying YES.

> I know you said the phone needs to be data free, but Im not sure if I understand what you meant.
Cant you just turn off data if you go abroad?

Yes Data can be turned Off very easily - But the problem if using a UK SIM abroad is that when Data is turned On, then the cost is very high, what I need to find out is if and when using a Samsung phone with the Data turned Off will the GPS Map (SatNav) still work as it does with the Nokia Drive system which is not reliant on Data.
(Not to be confused with either of the other "Nokia Maps" or "Maps") which are two other different map utilities with GPS abilities BUT neither of them work without either a WiFi or Data connection.)

What I am trying to avoid is buying a new SIM each time I go abroad which is now quite often, and as I don't need to use the phone then it will save me having to buy a new SIM each time.
 

> I have a nice little app called "Power Toggles" that puts a widget on your home screen giving you full and easy control of what is switched on and off.  Press the Data Icon and your phone cant use any data, it's also good for easily turning wifi/bluetooth etc off to save battery.   I also put it on dads phone as hes on PAYG so that he cant accidentally use data, yet the option is still there so that he could if he needed.  http://www.appsapk.com/power-toggles/

Thanks, I'll look into that when ready.
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kitz

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Re: Which Mobile Phone to buy
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2014, 08:18:06 PM »

Ok.. gotcha now.

I dont have an s3, but Im currently downloading and installing NavFree to see if that works on my s4.  Will get back to you when its finished and Ive tried it out.
Its taking a while to install due to the fact I also have to download some very large files from OpenStreetMap.org onto my memory card.
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sevenlayermuddle

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Re: Which Mobile Phone to buy
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2014, 08:56:41 PM »

If you have the latest version of google maps, you can download areas when you have WiFi, they remain cached for access without requiring a data connection.

The trick is to get the area of interest on screen then, in the search box, type ok maps.     You will see a progress display after which the cached area can be zoomed as if it were live, right down to full resolution.  The Google Navigation, together with voice guidance, will also work within the cached area, even with data disabled, as long as you plot the route while you still have WiFi.

Above works for both Android and iOS.  Size of cached area is limited, but seems OK up to about at least 30x30 miles, maybe a lot more.
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kitz

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Re: Which Mobile Phone to buy
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2014, 08:58:11 PM »

Oh.... that looks like a yes on the S4 mini at least.

Using power toggles I made absolutley sure I had no wifi or data.   
The GPS in NavFree immediately picked up my correct location.   
I put in the postcode for my work address (first one I could think of offhand) and within 2 secs it had told me the distance and showed an overview of the route on the map.
I then hit the directions button and it showed me a written overview of the directions (ie turn left in 150m on to x road, turn right in 650m onto y road for 4.7 km).
I then hit something (not sure what yet) and it burst into life with " Turn left, turn left" and I got the usual sat nav driving view.

I went back to the main menu and selected 'route demo' and got presented with "Turn left, turn right, in 400 meters at the roundabout take the 3rd exit".. and so on..  whilst it was displaying on screen a fast forward view of the route I'd take.

It looks like its improved since I used it on the ipad,  & it looks a bit nicer and much clearer from a drivers perspective than googles Navigation which I normally use.   

Im still not familiar with all the buttons and options yet... & Id have to take it out on a proper test run to say for sure what I think of it, but I aint going nowhere tonight :(
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oldfogy

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Re: Which Mobile Phone to buy
« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2014, 09:56:00 PM »

Thanks again.

Although for a basic dual purpose SatNav + Phone for holiday purposes I don't want to pay the S4 type price, so will look for a lesser model (maybe the S3 Mini) but at least you have confirmed that it is possible, so just a matter of asking and making sure I am covered for a return if it does not do what it's purchased for.

Another reason for wanting to change is to be able to get maps which also have a walking setting, which I am hoping will give directions more frequently than when choosing a drive setting, because when away I do a lot of walking and NEED to be able to find my own way back to the hotel without having to keep asking for directions after I keep getting lost disorientated and possibly late at night is not always the best time to get the right replies.
(For me navigation here in the UK is bad enough, let alone when abroad)

I had already looked at the Navfree site (not that I knew what I was actually looking for at the time) but unfortunately the countries available/covered fall short of where I will be wanting, but you seem to have answered the question that the maps will work without the data connection, so just a case of getting the appropriate map.

Retirement is a wonderful thing and I intend to continue making the most of it.
Recently back from Egypt and hopefully later in March I'll be off to Morocco (Marrakesh and Agadir)
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