Android tablet for mapping feedback

Submitted: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 15:39
ThreadID: 102223 Views:2538 Replies:4 FollowUps:6
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Hello all,

Been tinkering with the kids 7" android tablets and definitely seeing the merit is using it for navigation. Theirs are horrible in daylight even with brightness turned all the way up. Currently using my phone which was fine and had no problems whatsoever, but, oh the joy of a bigger screen.........

Was after some real world feedback.

What makes and models are people using ?

How is the brightness/visibility of the screen when it's on the dash or windscreen, either when the screen is angled towards you or facing straight back ?

If you using an in-car charger, does it keep up with the battery drain from using the GPS and bright screen ?

How fast/speedy do you find the unit ? Does the mapping software lag ? Does it start up quickly ? Do you curse how slow it is ? That sort of stuff.

How successful have the dashboard/windscreen mounts people have been using ? Do the hold the screen stable ?

Thanks for any feedback people are inclined to provide.


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Reply By: bgreeni - Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 16:24

Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 16:24
I have Samsung Tab 7.7 and it is great for running OziE. At full brightness the screen is good except for when full sunshine is shining on it. I have a seasucker mount and it has never failed, even on bad corrugations.

When screen is on full brightness the USB charger does not keep up and the battery slowly drains. With lower brightness levels the battery charges. I find that by adjusting brightness to conditions I can maintain battery all day.

Only problem I find is that even with the brightness dimmed as low as it will go it is still a bit bright for night driving.

I have just received a Samsung Note 2 and installed OziE on it. Not had a chance to use it on a long trip but on short trips it appears to be good. The charger charges even on the highest brightness settings. I am using a old Arkon mount that I had for a Windows CE PDA and the Note 2 fits OK.

Both units keep up with Ozi fine, and receive a good number of satellites. Both receive both GPS and Glasnoss birds so typically have over 15 satellites.
AnswerID: 511103

Reply By: Member - Boobook - Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 16:37

Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 16:37
I run Memory Map software on my kids Ipad, on my Samsung Note 2, and a recently purchased Asus TF300 10 inch Tablet.

All work great and the licensing system for Memory Map allows it to run across any platform ( as well as my PC for planning and printing maps). I have Vic and NSW 225K topo, Aust 250K topo, hema, Westprint and Rooftop maps as well as many I imported myself.

I ended up with the Asus over the Samsung because the Samsung is fairly restrictive with the Memory and cards ( though no where near as bad as the Ipad). I wanted lots of storage and removable storage. The Samsung needs a dongle to adapt an SD card or USB but the Asus has these built into the keyboard docking unit.

I got a 32GB, 3G 10" tablet with detachable keyboard from JB hifi for $439 with some haggling. I added a 64GB Micro SD card for $65 from a computer shop.

I can simply plug in a USB stick or SD card from the camera to look at movies and photos while on the road. It's bright in the car but could be brighter outside in the sun.

It keeps up with the tracking very well and starts up in less than a few seconds from sleep or 15 seconds from power off.

AnswerID: 511107

Follow Up By: Member - John Baas (WA) - Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 20:53

Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 20:53
Second the ASUS. Great unit and was the only tablet in the Choice mag recommendations that had 3G, GPS etc for mapping type purposes, and which could also run Ozi.

The dockable keyboard is also a huge plus if using it as a notebook. Pity I had to pay more than Boobook :-).

FollowupID: 789246

Follow Up By: Peter H (WA - Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 19:33

Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 19:33
I have a samsung and have no issues with memory cards. They take micro cards that go straight it, no dongle required.

FollowupID: 789339

Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Friday, May 17, 2013 at 05:40

Friday, May 17, 2013 at 05:40
That's true but if you have maps or other functions in memory cards, you lose that functionality when you swap them over. Eg i gave about 60G of mapping which you would lose when you swap over the micro SD card to add say photos.
FollowupID: 789373

Reply By: aboutfivebucks (Pilbara) - Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 18:41

Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 18:41
i run oziexplorer on a 10" android acer iconia A500. the tablet is a couple of years old now, the software refreshes quick enough (i dont use it for turn by turn city driving)
the app was cheap, i had already had the hema maps.
i mount it to the windscreen with a ram mount which also rests on the dash. it doesnt move at all. it gets its fair share of bumps (i dont have any sealed roads where i live).

it all works a treat. the screen changes brightness at the swipe of a finger. the cigarette plug power struggles a bit keeping up with the consumption, but then recharges whenever im not driving. its never actually run out of charge.
AnswerID: 511111

Reply By: Member - peter C (WA) - Friday, May 17, 2013 at 12:15

Friday, May 17, 2013 at 12:15
I've recently bought the Google Nexus 7. Seems a good size for in car use.
I'm running OZI for Android (very impressed) and Sygic for street GPS.

I'm still getting set up but noticed the cigarette lighter/USB cable I've used ok with my phone doesn't keep up with the battery drain.

A bit of research shows this is an issue with devices like the iPad and Nexus that have USB cables designed for computer USB ports. You might need some aftermarket charger/cable to prevent the battery discharging on the road.

AnswerID: 511232

Follow Up By: Pauly_T - Friday, May 17, 2013 at 14:09

Friday, May 17, 2013 at 14:09
Thanks for the feedback guys.


The Asus/Google nexus seven is the one I've been eyeing.

The power usage is something of a concern. My understanding and experience is that it's not necessarily the USB cable as such but the charger itself. I have read that you need a 2/2.1 amp usb cig charger with the appropriate USB cable to keep up on these tablets. 1/1.2amp might have been fine for phones. Quality and recognised name brand is the go with the chargers, even if you have to pay 2 or 3 times more for it. Over the years I have brought a number of in-car chargers and while the cheapies ($5 to $15) maintain they charge at whatever amps, rarely do they in my experience.

How do do you find the screen in daylight and viewing angles ? It is "supposed" to have the brightest screen and the best viewing angles in it's price range.


FollowupID: 789405

Follow Up By: Member - peter C (WA) - Saturday, May 18, 2013 at 07:19

Saturday, May 18, 2013 at 07:19
No worries Paul

I've only had it a month and not seen it in bright sun yet.

It does seem a really good screen but it's my first tablet and I've no real comparison. Haven't found any need to play with the screen brightness and no problem with viewing angles.

The screen does live up to the specs in my experience. Using Ozi with the Hema 4wd maps comes up better than my 10" netbook. The inbuilt GPS also seems to be as good as anything else around.

I have the 3G version. Of course there's rumours of a new model with even better screen not too far away. I doubt you need anything better for car use, but the current models will drop in price if you can wait.

I've now got a $3 ebay charger (cigarette lighter plug usb adapter) that seems to do the job. One for a Samsung will likely suit. There's also a trick to short the usb cable that I'll try with my spare cable from a phone - someday.

FollowupID: 789482

Follow Up By: Echucan Bob - Saturday, May 18, 2013 at 13:16

Saturday, May 18, 2013 at 13:16

Here are some shots of the Nexus 7 in the wild last October.

So you get quite a good result outdoors if you shade the screen.

I've since given it away to my daughter as in general use the iPad is far easier to use.

FollowupID: 789502

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