Custom Maps on a micro Android format

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Doug Schwartz

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Feb 10, 2021, 3:44:31 PM2/10/21
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Those who need to have both hands free or who wish to have a map open constantly without the need to repeatedly remove a phone from a pocket (including hikers and cyclists) might find some of the new watch-like Android devices useful.  These use a 7.1.1 Android OS, and are NOT smartwatches.  They are mini 4G phones you wear on a wrist, with an internal GPS and the ability to insert a sim card, although most would probably not want to use these for phones.  There are several models available, I just acquired a Ticwris Max, with a 2.86 inch screen.  I can give it a very positive review for supporting Custom Maps, which is all I use it for.  The GPS is adequate, using the USA and Russian constellations, and will serve most uses.  It has a full touch screen, with the ability to pinch zoom and move around on maps.  All the functionality of Custom Maps is present, although the device is not going to win any speed races.  There is a slight lag between tapping an app and it opening.  The 640 x 480 screen is fine for displaying maps and the screen brightness is acceptable  

Setting the preferences to allow the largest map size allows even very large ones to display.  I only had a couple of extremely large ones which would not display, out of hundreds.  This is not a device you are going to create new maps on, only one for displaying files created on a full-fledged phone.  Depending on the deal you get and whether you are willing to wait for delivery from China, these can be acquired for between around $140 and $180.  The Ticwris Max has plenty of room for storage with about 22GB of free space out of its 32GB of storage, and its 3GB RAM was sufficient for even very large maps.  I can't speak to the performance of the models with less RAM.  The Ticwris Max S has a smaller screen, 2.4 inches.  LEMFO, et al., also make similar units.  

These have been out for a couple of years, so obviously these sorts of things can only improve in the future (especially becoming thinner and going to flexible screens), but for my purposes I am very happy with the currently available functionality.  The obvious next big game changer will be some sort of heads up display to project maps into your field of vision.  But for now this is the best solution for my needs.  These have all the functionality of a regular smartwatch, but are pretty bulky for that purpose.  

There is a new one of these just out this year, and considerably upgraded (including Android 9 and more RAM) for around $180 to $210, which appears to be worth the slightly higher cost.

Screenshots:  https://photos.app.goo.gl/HqkcYFYn7m7sw1fw7

Doug Schwartz
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