Navionics App for iPhone: GPS vs Smart Phones

Navionics has had their mobile navigational map application (or app) out for awhile now and has a ton of downloads with a three and a half star rating. With the iPhone version of the app being only $9.99 to download; is it a GPS killer? Some may agree, but others still prefer the standalone GPS.

Downfalls of the Smartphone

The most obvious problem with a smartphone is that it is not built with the outdoors in mind. The iPhone and top Android devices are not weatherproof or waterproof at all. They’re technically not even dust-proof! Home and power buttons may become clogged with dirt and debris, not to mention the total destruction that can take place from a dunk in your local
There are waterproof cases available, but they can be upwards of $100 for the better choices and the cheap ones such as the weatherproof baggies may impede your ability to easily use your phones touchscreen while using your vessel. $100 plus the $9.99 for the app is steadily approaching the price of a hand-held GPS unit to boot.fisheries water.

Combersome or Comfortable?

Speaking of your phones native functions, the iPhone and most Android devices use what is referred to as ‘multi-touch’ displays that utilize more than one finger or motion to accomplish an action. Without a second hand or a mount, something as simple as the iPhone’s ‘pinch’ action can cause you to lose grip of your iPhone as you watch it tumble into the water at throttle.

Traditional mounted GPS devices or even hand-held GPS devices from companies such as Garmin offer ‘one-hand’ usability functions for zoom and map movement making it much easier to see where you are on your map or where you’re headed.

It’s All About Speed

GPS units are not traditionally stocked with the latest and greatest of processors and memory chips. Many standalone GPS units are slow to respond to your movements on the screen. This is where the i-devices and Android devices excel immensely.

The state-of-the-art processor in the iPhone, for instance, allow instant feedback from actions within the Navionics app and are much more fluid. No more waiting for a map to load the next sector, and no more guessing if the button you pressed had registered.

Be careful! – Distractions and Community Sharing

While there is a warning when you start up the app which stated not to use it while the vessel is moving, you know you will be using it while running and keeping your head down for short period of time. Unless you are able to mount the smart phone on your console in a waterproof case, chances are you will be distracted; especially while trying to do the complex ‘multi-touch’ actions!

Ever heard of community sharing? It’s a feature in the Navionics app that is on by default. It shows other users in the area all of your ‘spots’ and waypoints. Be mindful of this feature! It can be turned off in the settings, but many people have already been marking their ‘secret fishing spots’ only to be sharing them with others.

iPhone image courtesy


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