Recommendations or experiences with any inexpensive android phones.

General Discussion

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Craig Whippo

Feb 2018

More than half of my students have iphones. For these students, I purchased a couple of neutab android tablets that have built-in gps to connect to V1.0. These tablets are too big to hold in one hand, screen glare is an issue, and the blue-tooth connectivity is easily disrupted. I'm thinking about replacing these tablets with some inexpensive android phones. Does anyone have recommendations or experience using these lower-end android phones with the multispeQ? Anything I should avoid?

Hi Craig! I have experience using budget android phones (LG, Fly, Asus, Samsung...). Early, I had some problems. It's was problem old version Android, before 4.4.2. Now, I think that mostly android smartphone will be work!

P.S. If you want using especial brand of smartphone, Best way before buy (in shop), try to connect to your MultyspeQ

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Craig Whippo

Feb 2018

Thanks for the information about the old version and the suggestion to connect it to a MultispeQ in the store.

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Sean

Feb 2018

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Hey!

We actually go through quite a bit many phones here at PhotosynQ HQ. We have tested a bunch over the last couple years and have some recommendations for phones that connect decently well, and are affordable.

  1. Advance A5 from Blu

  2. Studio G from Blu

  3. LG Optimus Exceed (LG-VS450PP)

I would search for used ones on Ebay or Amazon, you shouldn't pay more then $50-65 bucks.

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David M. Kramer

Feb 2018

Craig Whippo: Thanks for the information about the old version and the suggestion to connect it to a MultispeQ in the store.

Hi Craig, Andriy, Natalia, Sean, For some time, we've discussed setting up a suggestion page on phone selection, and I think this would be an interesting subject for a Forum category. Sean, Dan and the gang have had some interesting experiences with various cheap phones, especially because we've been sending them for heavy use in Africa. (Sean and Dan, please elaborate and correct me on this!) It seems the big issues have been: 1) Bar code reading not working on some Android versions, and cannot easily upgrade; 2) GPS accuracy varies; 3) Loads of semi-nefarious crap-ware; 4) Poor screen in full sunlight. A note about the GPS. It would be wonderful if we could have high accuracy GPS so, for instance, we could find the same plant twice. Being in the US, we have some restrictions on making and exporting devices with better than "consumer grade" GPS. I think this is quite obsolete considering that in most countries one can easily buy pro-level GPS, but I have to abide by these rules. At one point, I searched for a forum that evaluated the GPS accuracy of various phones, but it was not really very systematic. Do any of you have some insights?
Dave

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Sean

Feb 2018

Hi All,

Yes Dave those seem to be the biggest issues we face when we go through our cheap phone testing, but in some cases there are workarounds.

  1. Bar Code reading seems to be limited by the camera a device has and sharp it's resolution is. Some users might have luck with printing out larger codes and trying to let their camera read them, but this can be inconvenient in a field, and users might want to opt to using multiple choice or short answer questions instead.

  2. GPS Accuracy does not seem to be limited by the fact these are cheap phones, but rather GPS in any non-professional handheld device is not super accurate. I did a little reading online and it seems that with some Android phones you could download your map of the area ahead of time, and if you are connected to the internet, you could get more accurate (within 3 meters), but this is not an ideal solution, especially for infield measurements where Wi-Fi might not reach. I think for looking at maps inside the Data Explorer and seeing trends in the field this is acceptable, but for finding a specific corn plant in a field, you might have some trouble.

  3. The Blu Phones we purchased had some crap-ware on them for sure, which is weird and unsettling, but didn't seem to affect us in a major way. These phones we also strictly use for just PhotosynQ and not personal communications, so there's nothing too much to look at. The watchdog files could also be deleted.

  4. Poor screen lighting is a tricky one. Obviously one can turn up the screen brightness as high as they can and this can combat glare quite a bit, but at a real cost to battery life.

From my experience the most annoying part of trying out a new phone is how quickly it can pick up the bluetooth signal from the MultispeQ. It seems like some phones as soon as you hit scan can pick up every device/laptop/headphones in the room, while others spin for a few minutes and get nothing. Oddly enough sometimes cheap phones perform great here, and my personal phone might struggle. If anyone has a great experience with using the Bluetooth on their phone that would be super helpful for us.

I agree a page on phone recommendations could be awesome for people, the hardest part is getting these devices when they become available. Since we are looking for older, cheaper, no longer in production phones, they are not always available on Amazon/Ebay and you have to get a bit lucky when you see them become available. If you do find a cache of phones you think you might want to purchase, you can post here and we can help you double check if other users have had success connecting/taking measurements with that model.

Sorry for the wall of text!

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Craig Whippo

4 days ago

I ended up buying several Plum Gator android smartphones for my users. Screen lighting is good. GPS seems reasonable, and unobtrusive crap-ware.