How to know if compass apps and google sky maps work on a tablet?

Discussion in 'Android Tablet Discussions' started by joeyboy, Jan 19, 2013.

  1. joeyboy

    joeyboy Member

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    I've noticed that with quite a few of the cheaper (sub $150) tablets compass apps and google sky maps don't work.

    As in example I got my Mum a cheap thing for her to browse the web and look at emails on, cost me £75 ($120ish?), some NATPC foreign brand.

    So no compass apps work, one states "no/faulty magnetic sensor!". Google sky maps only pans vertically not horizontally, making it useless, I assume it might be related to the tablet lacking a sensor, though I've heard this sky maps issue can be the case in branded tabs like the google Nexus 7.

    Thing is I never see "magnetic sensor" mentioned in a tablets specifications. So how are you to know if compass apps and google sky maps will work? I'm going to get my girlfriend a tablet for her birthday, I'm used to buying from far eastern companies and although I have safe bets like the Kindle fire, Samsung v2 tab etc, it can be the case you get more features from other brands (GPS for example), albeit you're more on your own when it comes to figuring out issues, so I'll look into it. But in all these cases, I just want to know what to look for, if there's any way of knowing?
     
  2. Traveller

    Traveller Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Most of the Chinese tablets only have an accelerometer and don't bother including a compass or GPS receiver. Worse, there is no way to tell as the spec sheets provided for the tablets don't bother mentioning these things, if a spec sheet even exists. For example, the spec sheet of my Coby doesn't mention any of the sensors, yet Sky Map works on it. I had to enter the latitude and longitude manually but it worked. I rooted it however and altered the tablet's framework so it would detect WiFi signals and determine my location using them.

    Unfortunately there's no way to know whether the apps will work except by installing them to the tablet and trying it.
     
  3. joeyboy

    joeyboy Member

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    Ah I see, so generally it's a the more you pay, the higher odds they'll have more sensors? I know GPS is quite uncommon though, but I think sky maps doesn't need gps, but what ever the magnetic sensor is. Most tablets even name brand ones don't seem to have GPS at my budget range, only way to get GPS for £120ish is to buy foreign, DX, chinavasion etc. Currently my budget looks to be £120-130, I'm looking at the Samsung V2 tab or the Ainol novo7 fire at the moment. Originally my girlfriend wanted the Kindle fire, but it seems to be there are better options, especially as play store aren't on the kindles and the Ainol novo fire for instance, has a better screen res.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2013
  4. Traveller

    Traveller Super Moderator Staff Member

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    My Coby may well have the compass since Sky Map does work correctly on it. Regardless, you are right that GPS is uncommon on the inexpensive tablets, but the top tier brands (Google, Samsung, Toshiba, etc.) are more likely to have the GPS and the compass than the Chinese tablets. Personally, if you're looking for a 7" tablet, get a Nexus 7 (£126.061 before VAT) if they are available in the UK and call it a day. The Nexus 7 has the acceleromter, GPS, magentometer, and also a gyroscope.

    Source: https://play.google.com/store/devices/details?id=nexus_7_16gb
     
  5. joeyboy

    joeyboy Member

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    Unfortunately it seems the Nexus 7 is quite a bit more expensive here. I see it's $250 on Amazon.com, but it's £200 here, which is more like $300-320.
     
  6. Traveller

    Traveller Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Are you sure you aren't looking at the 32GB version? The 16GB is at the $199 price point.
     
  7. joeyboy

    joeyboy Member

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    Yeah I'm sure. The difference between the price of tech in America and the UK is quite extreme at times, it can be as bad as a 1:1 ratio, where a $199 product is £199, which it is in this case, despite the exchange rate being £0.60=$1. In fact the funny thing is here the 32Gb and 16GB versions cost exactly the same on Amazon (£199) and from ebay sellers the 32GB is around £10 cheaper (new).
     

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