• BirdForum is the net's largest birding community dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE!

    Register for an account to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

Cell Phone for Birding Recommendations (1 Viewer)

Sailracer

New member
United States
Hi All,

This may be an odd question, but it's about time to replace my old cell phone (Samsung Galaxy S7) and most of the reviews of new phones don't cover some of the things that are important to me for field birding (lots of hiking), so I figured I would try crowd sourcing recommendations.

OS: Android

Peformance: The S7 is a flagship phone, though a year old when I got it. It can run the eBird app with GPS tracking, the Audubon bird guide, Strava (if I am tracking my walk as a workout) and a trail mapping GPS program simultaneously without lag problems. I don't want to give up any of that ability, but I also don't want to spend the money on a flagship phone again and would rather pick a middle of the road phone (sub $400), but have no idea if they will be able to handle the workload I mention above without bogging down and taking lots of time to switch between the apps. Does anyone have experience running a similar workload on something like a Moto G Power or Pixel 4a or similar?

Battery life: That workload above drains my S7 battery way too quickly (could also be because I could be far from a strong cell signal). If I am planning to be out for more than about 3 hours I have to bring a backup power bank with me which then makes using the phone and keeping it in my pocket much more cumbersome. Again, this is why the Moto G Power is at the top of my list with its 5000mAh battery, but maybe there are others that perform acceptably?

Size: the phone has to fit comfortably in my jeans pocket. I'm not thrilled with the trend towards bigger and bigger phones. Everything today is bigger than the S7 :(

Waterproof: would be nice, but at the lower price point it doesn't seem common, so it won't be a deal breaker if it doesn't have it.

Camera: don't much care how it performs. I usually have my DSLR with me if I want to take pictures

Face unlock: Is this a function of the OS or the phone? It would be nice when I have gloves on and can't use a fingerprint to unlock without taking them off.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts, feedback and suggestions!
 

Tero

Retired
United States
Not all that familiar with Android phones, but all the apps come for android and Apple phones. My iPhone comes with 64GB and it's plenty for all the bird apps. My old phone has half that and still had the same apps. I don't keep any music songs on the phone, they are just in a USB memory stick in the car. Where I live the main expense is from Verizon, as the other carriers have poor signals where I bird. Bird songs are in my Sibley app.
 

KC Foggin

Super Moderator
Staff member
Opus Editor
Supporter
United States
I'm just going to jump in here and wish you a warm welcome to you from those of us on staff here at BirdForum (y)
We're glad you found us and please join in wherever you like ;)
 

etudiant

Registered User
Supporter
A dead battery after 3 hours does not sound right. I'd suspect your phone just needs to have that battery replaced. Maybe the first owner abused it.
New S7 batteries cost about 20 bucks, there are lots of videos on how to do it. See:
Note that it is a pia, Samsung discourages replacing the battery, they would rather you get a new phone, but as the S7 works fine apart from the poor battery life, why not save your money?
 

Sailracer

New member
United States
I'm just going to jump in here and wish you a warm welcome to you from those of us on staff here at BirdForum (y)
We're glad you found us and please join in wherever you like ;)
Thanks!

A dead battery after 3 hours does not sound right. I'd suspect your phone just needs to have that battery replaced. Maybe the first owner abused it.
New S7 batteries cost about 20 bucks, there are lots of videos on how to do it.
Note that it is a pia, Samsung discourages replacing the battery, they would rather you get a new phone, but as the S7 works fine apart from the poor battery life, why not save your money?
I have already replaced the battery once. It was a pain, and even with a new seal, it won't be waterproof anymore. The new battery is starting to show signs of age as well as it is a bit over a year old and can't last a full day with light use other than tracking a 45minute walk while listening to a podcast at lunch. I suspect the use of GPS tracking, mapping, and weak cell signal must be a greater stress on the phone battery than the typical battery life tests reviewers run browsing the web or watching movies. That 3 hours is really the time it takes to go from maybe 85% to 20% when I start to get nervous and plug it in. That last 20% seems to drain the fastest.

If it were just battery life, I would stick with the S7, but it is also limited by internal storage now. It has 32GB, of which the OS takes up 16GB. Apps then take up the remaining 14Gb so that I am constantly out of space. I have already moved all documents and music along with every app I can to the SD card (like the 1GB Audubon Bird guide) but everything that is left doesn't have the option to move, and I still use all the apps on occasion that are left. Similarly, the phone is so old, I can't get new updates to Android 9 or 10 which adds the ability to format an SD card for use as internal memory which would help move more apps over, so it appears I am stuck. I tried rooting it so I could get a third party version of Android 9 or 10, but could not get it to root successfully.

My top picks so far are the Moto G Power 2021, the Nord N10 5G and the TCL 10 5G UW. I don't need the 5G, but those phones have good prices and specs. I will try to hunt down more information on battery life for these models and see if anyone has data on how they perform with GPS and mapping.
 

jmepler

It's just a flesh wound.
I have a Motorola Moto G(7) Power. The battery life is phenomenal. I typically get four days from a charge. Even when out hiking with eBird running and tracking on I have never run out of power in a day. I can't say anything about the battery life when watching movies as I don't use my phone for this.

Before you abandon your existing phone you may want to check if you have any apps that are power hogs. Settings>Battery>Usage Details. I had an app that suddenly started reducing my battery life from 4 to 2 days. I deleted the app and reinstalled it. This fixed my issue.
 

Sailracer

New member
United States
I have a Motorola Moto G(7) Power. The battery life is phenomenal. I typically get four days from a charge. Even when out hiking with eBird running and tracking on I have never run out of power in a day. I can't say anything about the battery life when watching movies as I don't use my phone for this.

Before you abandon your existing phone you may want to check if you have any apps that are power hogs. Settings>Battery>Usage Details. I had an app that suddenly started reducing my battery life from 4 to 2 days. I deleted the app and reinstalled it. This fixed my issue.
Thanks! I appreciate the firsthand info.
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

Users who are viewing this thread

Top