Over this past weekend I was able to put Captivates GPS and Google Maps and Navigation to real world good use. I took a 2-3 hour trip one way and ran Google Navigation and GPS the entire time both ways. The Google navigation itself worked as we all know it does, great.
That being said I’ll move onto the GPS itself. I know I’ve read on a few sites here and there of some issues and fixes for the GPS on the Captivate. I want to note before I go on that I did not change anything with the default use of the GPS, nor applied any type of fix. The GPS seemed pretty accurate, there was 1 moment when it though I was on an outer road along the highway when I started the navigation up, however it quickly repositioned itself to the highway. There were a couple times through out my trip (there and back) that it had some issues locating satellites, but it seemed every time I noticed this it would find them again fairly quickly. I don’t actually have a car mount for my Captivate just yet, so I used my empty sun visor CD holder. I was able to hear when it gave me directions and could pull it down and take a visual look at what Google was telling me. The first time I pulled it down to do this is when I noticed the heat.
Apparently running the Navigation keeps the screen live therefore the Captivate was getting very hot. Assuming that sliding the phone into my CD holder was also helping to trap the heat it was actually hot enough to make me concerned it would cause some damage. I used the A/C to cool it off then I hit the power button to force the screen off. This seemed to do the trick of keeping it cooler, while the Navigation app ran in the background it would still notify me of turns or anything it needed. I want to also note that when it does give you a new direction and the screen comes on, you will have to hit the power button again to turn off the screen.
The battery life was unbelievable for this, as it barely seem to use anything; I don’t even have a car charger yet, so I never had it plugged in. The entire driving trip, each way, barely used a notch on the old battery meter. I did have the screen off as much as I could, but the GPS and the Navigation app itself was still running in the background. So, I would say an average of 2.5 hours barely touched the batteries juice. I did of course charge the phone completely once I reached my destination.
The view of the Captivates beautiful Super AMOLED screen in the day light was excellent. I had no problems seeing the screen in brightest of sun on my trip. Visibility of the screen didn’t matter if I had sunglasses on or not. This made it very easy to look at the upcoming turns and or highway changes without the need for turning or covering the screen from the sunlight. This was with the power saving and auto brightness adjusting enabled.
Overall I’d say the with the exception of the significant amount of heat the Captivate creates with the screen being on for any extend period of time, which can easily be resolved by forcing the screen off just by hitting the power button, the Captivate GPS and Google Navigation experience a big win. -Greg
**Update: GPS lock onto satellites is about 1 in 25 uses. I’m not sure how, but I really lucked out on my trip mentioned above. Hopefully Samsung will be pushing an update VERY SOON! I know they originally said Android 2.2 would be in August. I’m guessing they pushed it back to September so they could include the GPS fix. Well Samsung it’s the middle of September, where is the updates?