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UFO 13-07-2018 04:48

Galaxy Tab S3 - GPS.....
How accurate is the Galaxy Tab S3 for GPS? Used as mainly a secondary unit, but sometimes primary.

Would It be better to get a Bluetooth Unit such as the XGPS160 SkyPro or Bad Elf or is it good enough by itself?


StuM 13-07-2018 05:16

Re: Galaxy Tab S3 - GPS.....
Very. No point in adding an external receiver. I've used several different Galaxy phones and tablets and sitting at the nav table in the saloon, they almost always give me better than 10m accuracy, frequently within 2 metres.

danielamartindm 13-07-2018 05:46

Re: Galaxy Tab S3 - GPS.....

Originally Posted by UFO (Post 2672624)
How accurate is the Galaxy Tab S3 for GPS? Used as mainly a secondary unit, but sometimes primary.

Would It be better to get a Bluetooth Unit such as the XGPS160 SkyPro or Bad Elf or is it good enough by itself?


Galaxy tablets are very accurate, and Navionics has a very good map package for Android that provides broad coverage with vector-type ability to zoom in and out for layers of more or less detail at a very reasonable cost. They offer a free trial.

ranger42c 13-07-2018 06:21

Re: Galaxy Tab S3 - GPS.....
We have two Samsung smartphones and two Galaxy tablets; the GPS in all 4 is very accurate. We get pretty much the same results as from our plotter GPS and from the external GPS we use with our ship's laptop.


roland stockham 13-07-2018 08:23

Re: Galaxy Tab S3 - GPS.....
Agree accuracy is very good. I frequently use street maps (map ME) on mine and it is almost always good enough to put you on the right side of the highway. Different sensors do not really effect GPS accuracy. However, like all phones and tablets, it uses a small low power sensor with an internal aerial. If I compare it to my Garmin GPS 60 which is a high sensitivity handheld with a stub aerial or any of the on-board GPS's they are far more sensitive. On the boat this is not a problem and it works below decks through a plywood roof. May be an issue on a metal boat. I do find it is blocked by buildings or trees. The Garmin is fine in the forest the tablet is not. Same in high rise cities. I think power is more important than the aerial. GPS is quite power hungry so phone/tables us the min possible power to extend battery life. If you use the GPS constantly expect you batt life to be halved.

Sojourner 13-07-2018 08:26

Re: Galaxy Tab S3 - GPS.....
I use a Tab 3 as a backup, for anchor alarms, etc.... it's very accurate. As someone else said, Navionics works great on it too

Rough Magic 13-07-2018 09:02

Re: Galaxy Tab S3 - GPS.....
+1 on Navionics with Samsung phone and pad. Both use the USA and Russian satellites, very accurate. That said, the usual keep them at least a meter from anything metal caution is important.

CarinaPDX 13-07-2018 10:55

Re: Galaxy Tab S3 - GPS.....
Tablets and phones use the same class of GPS modules, optimized for low power. USB pucks and marine equipment use a different, "navigation" class of modules which use a bit more power. Until recently both used the same GPS transmissions and were similar accuracy. The latest modules (e.g. uBlox 8) support all four constellations (GPS, GLONASS, Beidu, and Galileo) but most of the time GPS will be the best solution, at least until Galileo is fully implemented. The latest development is the addition of the L5 signal reception to the usual L1 in a few of the newest phones - this will improve accuracy. So basically there are incremental improvements continuing to happen, but I don't see much practical difference in accuracy for phones and tablets with current products - other issues are sensitivity, time to first fix and internet-downloadable ephemeris.

What will affect your tablet's (non-GPS) accuracy will be calibration of the sensors - you must do this in order to have a good compass heading. There are several Android programs available for free from the store that enable you to calibrate your tablet for 3D magnetic and gravity sensors. It makes a big difference.


Bleemus 13-07-2018 12:09

Re: Galaxy Tab S3 - GPS.....
My Galaxy tab is very accurate. I run OpenCPN on it and love it.

knockabout 13-07-2018 16:51

Re: Galaxy Tab S3 - GPS.....
we have been using a waterproof android brand phone for 12 months / downloaded a freebie Open cPN for android then copied world CM93 charts to a sd card and booted up the Open CPN in the android phone and loaded CM93 charts then clicked on data base rebuild link at the bottom of the chart screen which converted all charts to suit android phone / took approx. 1.25 hours to rebuild charts then rebooted the phone made the various adjustments to Open CPN to suit boat size and navigation habits / bling,bling whalah world sea map on android in waterproof phone / as GPS is a navigational aid and not meant to be a replacement for our brain, compass, sounder or paper charts and guides the GPS in the phone is very accurate and a good navigation tool / I get growled at by the admiral for turning off the Open CPN and using night sky app to find a suitable star on the horizon then turn all navigation gear off to save power and steer by the designated star till my watch is over leaving the admiral to boot up whichever plotter suits her requirements / the phones are suitable for passage making but being portable need to be secured and protected from harm and have back up systems

CarinaPDX 13-07-2018 17:44

Re: Galaxy Tab S3 - GPS.....
Please be careful about making assumptions about accuracy. While it is true that most of the time the reported position is within a few meters of the known position, all of our inexpensive consumer solutions will produce results that are tens of meters off rather frequently, as a result of atmospheric conditions and satellite positions (i.e. not equipment problem). My brother consults on GPS, and keeps logs on about a dozen different receivers/antennas continuously. It is typical for the error to spike once or twice a day. With the L5 signal now starting to be used this should improve. Just be aware and don't count on blindly finding your slip on GPS alone.

A readable article on L5 developents:

The Xiaomi Mi 8 smartphone is now being sold with dual-frequency (L1+L5) GPS in China, and others will follow soon. [It should make it to us in the 3rd world within 6 months or so.]


UFO 14-07-2018 00:59

Re: Galaxy Tab S3 - GPS.....
Thanks Everyone :smile:

barnakiel 14-07-2018 04:14

Re: Galaxy Tab S3 - GPS.....
Most tablet gps are very inaccurate. Maybe you got lucky with quality hardware. More likely as Samsung is known to build very decent kit.

More detailed test of this gps module is here:

Scroll to the GPS and wifi part somewhere midway thru the review.

"...We took the Tab S3 on a short bicycle ride to check the everyday performance and compared the results with the bicycle navigation system Garmin Edge 500. The tablet performs well, but is not quite as accurate as the Edge 500. We can see occasional shortcuts, but the performance is perfectly adequate for car navigation...."


Bleemus 14-07-2018 05:59

Re: Galaxy Tab S3 - GPS.....
Not scientific but running OpenCPN on a Galaxy Tab up and down narrow roads with heavy tree cover I can clearly see the track difference traveling in each direction.

Loran used to have me sailing down the streets of Providence RI quite often.

Larry Florida 14-07-2018 08:06

Re: Galaxy Tab S3 - GPS.....
According to the book Understanding Nautical Charts, GPS is typically more accurate than many charts.

GrowleyMonster 14-07-2018 17:17

Re: Galaxy Tab S3 - GPS.....
I currently own FOUR Samsung Note 3 phones. Have owned a Note 4, didn't like it, but not because of the GPS. Also owned a Tab 2 7" and it worked great, but the Note 3 is a little more convenient. The GPS seems to be every bit as accurate as a standalone dedicated GPS. I have a couple of BU353 pucks that I use with my Linux laptops and there is zero difference in performance between them and my Note3 phones. I run OCPN on the phones, rather than use them as GPS units for the laptop.

The phone GPS doens't work well inside a steel vessel, though it is okay right in a window. Well, same with the USB puck but you can always mount it topside. On a wood or fiberglass yacht, a Samsung tablet properly set up and with charging power available is a perfectly cromulent solution. And you can even use it to make phone calls. Can't do that with most GPS machines!

Only caveat other than the power issue and the antenna placement issue is redundancy. If GPS is your only means of determining position at sea, you really need at least two devices and two separate means of providing them with power. So many boats don't even carry paper charts anymore (I don't) that even the fallback option of keeping a simple DR track is out.

But because you might want to use your phone to do other things, I would lean more toward a "real" GPS for everyday use and keep the phone configured and loaded with charts for a backup. NOT because the GPS chip isn't as good... it is.

The BU353 USB GPS pucks are pretty cheap. They play nicely with Linux, and just need a driver to work on WinDOHs. Probably works on Mac, too.

Of course, the cool thing about using your phone is you can stick it in a ziplock bag and use it in the cockpit, no wires needed and completely portable, until the battery dies. An external battery in the baggie with the phone and you are good to go all day long. If it dies, pop down below and get your backup.

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