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Google Nexus durability?

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Google Nexus durability?

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Old 12-01-13, 01:23 AM
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gorshkov
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Google Nexus durability?

Has anyone taken a Google Nexus 7 on tour? I'm planning an off-road tour in Colorado this summer, and it seems that the Nexus 7 has a GPS antenna, is less expensive than a Garmin hiking GPS, has a bigger screen, and is also an e-reader and can connect to the internet with wifi. My only concern is durability; everything I've ever taken on a tour has gotten at least a little bit wet, and bouncing around inside a pannier seems like it could be hard on electronics. If you have any experience with the nexus 7, please let me know how it held up. Thanks.
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Old 12-01-13, 06:29 AM
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Here is an article on usability
http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13746_7...ch-powerhouse/

and here is one on durability. I have one from a year and is never used on a tour but it has not suffered any of the issues mentioned.
http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-19736_7...-7-holding-up/

I wonder why they left out a front facing camera. It would have found more use than the back facing one.
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Old 12-01-13, 07:57 AM
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I do not have a Nexus, instead I have a 7 inch Android tablet from one of the Chinese manufacturers that sell inexpensive tablets. Mine does not have GPS. I carried it on a 500 mile tour to have as a wi fi device during the trip for news/e-mail and to use for reading for two days of train travel.

I had no problems. That said, since I was not using it during the day (no GPS) like you would be, I carried it in a neoprene foam sleeve and put that (along with cables, chargers, etc.) in a plastic box to protect it from being crushed which could damage the glass screen inside the panniers. I think I paid $0.69 (on sale) for the plastic box from Walgreens, was sold in school supply area as a student pencil box. I think you need to worry more about crushing it and cracking the screen when packed than you need to worry about vibration. Never used it where it might get wet, no comment on that, my panniers are waterproof.

I can't comment on the screen visibility in the sun, but my Android smartphone is very hard to see on a sunny day. Battery life on the smartphone is terrible when the screen is on, but if I have the screen off and wi fi off so that it only is taking GPS readings but not showing the result on the screen the battery life is not that bad. I assume an Android tablet with GPS would be comparable for battery consumption. I do not have a cell plan or data plan for my smartphone, so no power is consumed for those tasks. The GPS apps that I am happiest with are:
- Maps With Me Lite (free).
- Russian Military Maps Pro (about $11 USD). (I use the open source cycle map layer.)
- GPS Test (free).

A couple weeks ago I bought a Garmin 62S on sale at REI. It was still on sale as of yesterday. Uses AA batteries that would likely be quite useful if you were away from a power source for several days. I loaded a bunch of maps onto a Micro SD card from the web and will load topo maps for where I go from Garmin Mapsource 1:100k USA topo maps which I bought several years ago.

I have a 9 year old Garmin Legend and a Vista, black and white screens, very old by today standards with tiny memory capacity. The 62S replaced them for trips where I need more map memory, but I might still use the old GPS units when I do not need the memory for maps.

I think you need to worry about how you would keep a tablet charged if you use it much as a GPS away from power supplies.
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Old 12-01-13, 07:58 AM
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I did not use one off road but I did use it for an on road trip. It worked fine. But if you want to use it as your primary GPS then I think it is a mistake.

First the GPS is not as sensitive as a dedicated GPS so you might not get a fix where otherwise you would on a conventional GPS.
You battery life will not be all that great. You will be very lucky to last the day.
It is just too bulky to have out all the time unless you can come up with some kind of mount, but then you subject it to possible damage.

It is a great supplement to a normal GPS as it makes route planning so much easier. But if you want to use it for turn by turn then not so great.
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Old 12-01-13, 08:43 AM
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We use Samsung Galaxy Tabs 2 at work in our vehicles that serve as GPS trackers, communications (Skype), and GPS navigators. We've never had any problems with GPS signals, even inside the vehicles, glove compartment, and they have not had any durability problems. They are in faux leather cases.

I also have my own Hinsense 7 in. tablet in a faux leather case with mini-Bluetooth keyboard (from Amazon) that I take everywhere, including thousands of miles in a pannier. No problems yet with it. That tablet can also charge from a 18650 Li-ion battery in a ML-102 or 202 charger, if I do run out of juice.
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Old 12-01-13, 08:59 AM
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As tablets have no moving parts, durability should not be an issue. Many have carried full size laps with hard drives with no issues. An inexpensive protective cover can be made from bubble wrap.

Don't let it get wet. I store my electronics in a zip lock when not in use.
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Old 12-01-13, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
As tablets have no moving parts, durability should not be an issue. Many have carried full size laps with hard drives with no issues. An inexpensive protective cover can be made from bubble wrap.

Don't let it get wet. I store my electronics in a zip lock when not in use.
No moving parts you are correct. But as you stated the tablet needs to be protected due to it's fairly fragile screen. So durability is an issue. But it can be somewhat resolved. But to my point if it is packed away safely then it won't be of much good turn by turn. But used with paper maps or another GPS it is an excellent tool.
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Old 12-01-13, 10:15 AM
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Padded case, something in neoprene would be good and a ZipLoc Freezer bag to stow it in for water resistance. The freezer bags are heavier plastic and have heavier zips on them.

Don't rely on any single electronic device for navigation and trip plans though. Print things, stash them, and have a second electronic device as a backup.
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Old 12-01-13, 10:39 AM
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I develop mobile apps for a living and own a Nexus 5, Nexus 7, iPhone 5, and iPad mini with Retina display and cellular networking. I also own a Garmin Edge 800 GPS-enabled bicycle computer.

None of the Android or iOS displays are as easy to read as the Garmin in direct sunlight. By default, the Nexus 7 display can't be dimmed enough to make it comfortable for reading at night, even when displaying white text on a black background. Apps like Night Mode, Screen Filter, etc. are supposed to give you more control over the brightness, but I haven't tried them. I haven't tried reading at night on the Nexus 5 yet. As much as I like the Nexus 7, I have to admit that its 7-inch screen often feels very cramped when compared to the iPad mini.

Battery life of the two Android devices lags behind their iOS counter-parts. The Nexus 5 appears to be especially power-hungry. None of the devices has the longevity of the Edge 800 if you run the GPS continually, however. Getting a GPS signal seems generally faster and more reliable with the Edge 800 than any of the iOS or Android devices.

All of the devices seem well-made and should be reasonably durable if a little care is taken. The buttons on my Nexus 5 feel pretty flimsy, but I haven't had a problem with them yet. Because the Nexus 7 is smaller and thicker than the iPad mini, it feels like it might be a bit more durable. Unlike the Garmin, I would not want to let any of the iOS or Android devices encounter rain. While many people seem to love the revised mount used by the Edge 800, I think it's a big step backward! With my Edge 705, the release lever on the mount tended to break and the device would become locked to the mount until you pried them lose with a screwdriver or pocket knife. The mount for the Edge 800 doesn't break, but it also doesn't hold the device as securely. I've almost lost the Garmin several times and I've heard quite a few stories from others who have lost or nearly lost a device thanks to the new mount!
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Old 12-01-13, 11:07 AM
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We use the Nexus 7 tablets for work... in the industrial roofing industry. Put it an OtterBox and you should be good to go. We have yet to have one broken or destroyed. I have a couple of crews that can bend 3/4" stainless steel plate "by accident" and not know how it happened.

I use mine with GPS and the MapFactor Navigator app, works great even without the Wifi.

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Old 12-01-13, 11:09 AM
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Pelican cases http://www.pelicancases.com/laptop-cases-s/24.htm

Packed inside one of those will do the trick.

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Old 12-02-13, 12:01 PM
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Nexus 7 owner,

I carry on bike on daily commute.

Alzmer rubber bumper case w screen protectors
inside neoprene sleeve
inside oversized bubble shipping envelope folder over (water and shock protectiion)

Battery Hog (as with practically all devices) ESPECIALLY with GPS on...a car charger cannot keep up.
Very Poor Display in Direct sunlight (as with practically all devices)

Its great to have an internet device when your out and about.

I wish there was a cellular enabled tabled that used an e-ink display....very low power consumption and readable in direct sunlight.

a "rooted" nook simple touch gets close... wifi only reader e-ink reader that can be turned into a web browser and email reader.....WEEKS OF BATTERY...and readable in direct sunlight hmmmmm
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Old 12-02-13, 04:35 PM
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I have had my N7 32gb nearly a year now. It has seen moderate use and I've had zero problems with it. I have taken it back and forth to work in my panniers occasionally and it has been on one airplane trip in my carry-on backpack. I have a cheapie tablet case/keyboard that helps protect it and makes it function more like a mini laptop.

Recently a friend upgraded her smartphone and gave me her old one (she didn't know what else to do with it...ha) It's an LG Marquee with Android 2.3. My cheapo Tracfone flipphone covers my light cell calling and texting needs for >$10/mo so I am not planning on activating this smartphone on a cell service plan. So I'm using the smartphone as a handy pocket device. It works great on wifi. I can even make free calls on wifi with my Google Voice number. It has a good 5mp camera in it, and a good GPS. I got a couple new batteries ($5ea on ebay) and a 16gb mSD and I'm loading it up with all sorts of cool GPS apps and onboard maps to make it useful for offline travelling. It seems more durable than the N7 also.

I was sort of thinking of getting a new tablet to try out one other than the N7, but since I got the smartphone I lost interest in buying something else.
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Old 12-02-13, 08:28 PM
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Thanks for all the replies. I think I'll go with the dedicated GPS unit. I did find something called Earl (link: https://www.meetearl.com/). It doesn't come out until January, so I plan to wait until some people post reviews of how well it works.
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Old 12-02-13, 09:09 PM
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Originally Posted by gorshkov View Post
Thanks for all the replies. I think I'll go with the dedicated GPS unit. I did find something called Earl (link: https://www.meetearl.com/). It doesn't come out until January, so I plan to wait until some people post reviews of how well it works.
Pretty cool, the e-ink screen is a clever idea, may make for long battery life and certainly will be nice and visible.
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Old 12-03-13, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by gorshkov View Post
Has anyone taken a Google Nexus 7 on tour? I'm planning an off-road tour in Colorado this summer, and it seems that the Nexus 7 has a GPS antenna, is less expensive than a Garmin hiking GPS, has a bigger screen, and is also an e-reader and can connect to the internet with wifi. My only concern is durability; everything I've ever taken on a tour has gotten at least a little bit wet, and bouncing around inside a pannier seems like it could be hard on electronics. If you have any experience with the nexus 7, please let me know how it held up. Thanks.
Does six months in south america count?

#1 ick. 2 amp power.
#2 no forward facing camera
#3 does not play nice with a particular wifi router which I would randomly come accross.
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Old 12-03-13, 12:06 PM
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I've been using a Nexus Seven for the better part of a year now. Haven't taken it on a tour, but on a lot of centuries, crammed into a hydration pack or whatever. It hasn't been damaged yet. I have it in a Spek case. My only real complaint is the no forward facing camera; wtf were they thinking? I am often able to access random wifi. I also have a wifi hotspot that I use only when necessary. I also use the Nexus for reading ebooks, taking notes, etc. All in all I am happy with it, but when the time comes to replace it I will look at other models -- specifically, ones with a forward facing camera.
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Old 12-03-13, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by gorshkov View Post
Thanks for all the replies. I think I'll go with the dedicated GPS unit.
We bought a GPS last year and got a Garmin Dakota 20. For ~$200 it's a great unit, easy to use. We've used it in the car, hiking and on bike rides.
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Old 12-03-13, 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
I've been using a Nexus Seven for the better part of a year now. Haven't taken it on a tour, but on a lot of centuries, crammed into a hydration pack or whatever. It hasn't been damaged yet. I have it in a Spek case. My only real complaint is the no forward facing camera; wtf were they thinking? I am often able to access random wifi. I also have a wifi hotspot that I use only when necessary. I also use the Nexus for reading ebooks, taking notes, etc. All in all I am happy with it, but when the time comes to replace it I will look at other models -- specifically, ones with a forward facing camera.
Newest version has the rear facing camera. My company has a mix of both, eventually all will be the newer model.

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