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For Astronomy ... New iPhone or new Android?

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#1 brentknight

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Posted 25 November 2021 - 02:17 PM

I currently own a Samsung S10+ and I'm thinking about upgrading to the latest and greatest.  I've owned iPhones and iPads in the past and so I'm not a Fanboy of either so I'm not looking for advice on which platform is better.

 

My last couple phones have been Android though - mostly because of their darker AMOLED screens and so I haven't kept up with the progress on the Apple side.  But now that the iPhone 13 seems to have caught up, I'm wondering - strictly from the viewpoint of an amature astronomer - which would be the better choice.



#2 Pictor

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Posted 25 November 2021 - 02:45 PM

For astronomy, I think both are okay. Most companies make their software for both. 
 

FWIW, iPhone has had OLED since the iPhone X (2017?). 


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#3 brentknight

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Posted 25 November 2021 - 07:00 PM

Maybe I should rephrase the question...

 

What do you like about your phone when it comes to using it for astronomy?  What do you not like about it??

 

I've heard the iPhone has better camera apps for night shots than Android, and I've heard many are happy with the SQM apps too.  I don't think these are major factors for me, but they sound useful...

 

On the other hand, with emulators, I'm able to get all the apps for Android that I want to work on my Windows tablet/laptops.  I could potentially get the best of both worlds...


Edited by brentknight, 25 November 2021 - 07:03 PM.


#4 Steve Cox

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Posted 26 November 2021 - 03:24 PM

I've had and owned both, and could go either way.  Currently I'm on an iPhone 12 Pro Max and love it. Both OS's have their advantages and disadvantages.  I am strictly visual so my comments are from visual use only.

 

One big iOS advantage for me is their global red-screen mode setting in Accessibility; with Android I still have to use a red-cling film which makes sensitivity in cold less. And currently SkySafari 7 is only available on iOS, with Android release still some months out.  And for me, iOS speech to text seems to work better, I don't know why.

 

One big Android advantage for me were the other apps I had, specifically for the Moon.  While I really like MoonGlobe HD on iOS, I find Android's LunarMap HD a superior app with greater functionality and flexibility.  Another big Android advantage for me is saving and manipulating files.  On iOS, to transfer files, I have to upload the files and lists to my iCloud drive then download them onto my computer once they've sync'd.  With Android though, all I have to do is plug my phone in, and it becomes an external storage device for my computer where I can drag and drop without any cloud-based sync or internet connection required.

 

Other considerations are what do you want your device to do and what do you want it to control?  Also, is one device enough or will more be needed?  Don't forget, perhaps a Windows based laptop or 2-in-1 device could be your best choice.  Decisions, decisions.


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#5 Delta608

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Posted 26 November 2021 - 03:56 PM

I do not like my iphone because there is no app for carrying the mount outside....I do like it for making telephone calls....


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#6 brentknight

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Posted 26 November 2021 - 04:07 PM

I do not like my iphone because there is no app for carrying the mount outside....I do like it for making telephone calls....

Not just iPhone then...  I hate making phone calls, my phone is more a PC that I can carry in my pocket.


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#7 brentknight

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Posted 26 November 2021 - 04:23 PM

I've had and owned both, and could go either way.  Currently I'm on an iPhone 12 Pro Max and love it. Both OS's have their advantages and disadvantages.  I am strictly visual so my comments are from visual use only.

 

One big iOS advantage for me is their global red-screen mode setting in Accessibility; with Android I still have to use a red-cling film which makes sensitivity in cold less. And currently SkySafari 7 is only available on iOS, with Android release still some months out.  And for me, iOS speech to text seems to work better, I don't know why.

 

One big Android advantage for me were the other apps I had, specifically for the Moon.  While I really like MoonGlobe HD on iOS, I find Android's LunarMap HD a superior app with greater functionality and flexibility.  Another big Android advantage for me is saving and manipulating files.  On iOS, to transfer files, I have to upload the files and lists to my iCloud drive then download them onto my computer once they've sync'd.  With Android though, all I have to do is plug my phone in, and it becomes an external storage device for my computer where I can drag and drop without any cloud-based sync or internet connection required.

 

Other considerations are what do you want your device to do and what do you want it to control?  Also, is one device enough or will more be needed?  Don't forget, perhaps a Windows based laptop or 2-in-1 device could be your best choice.  Decisions, decisions.

Steve,

 

I actually use my Windows Surface Pro 7 more than my phone for astronomy stuff these days.  I have a Samsung S10+ so it's getting a little long in the tooth - but it still seems to work great and runs everything I currently use.  My primary astronomy apps are SkySafari and the ASIair.  SkySafari works with LiveSky and the ASIair is a standalone device that I can access through the file system, so file transfers aren't much of an issue with either iPhone or Android.  It is nice that the Android seems to work better with Windows though.  I can even use the Windows Phone app to get my text messages and photos.

 

So...I'm really not hearing that there is any great advantage either way.  Both have strengths and weaknesses.  I'm kinda leaning towards not going through the hassles of trying to learn a new device and just waiting for the next Samsung S22...



#8 lphilpot

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Posted 26 November 2021 - 06:02 PM

Another big Android advantage for me is saving and manipulating files.  On iOS, to transfer files, I have to upload the files and lists to my iCloud drive then download them onto my computer once they've sync'd.  With Android though, all I have to do is plug my phone in, and it becomes an external storage device for my computer where I can drag and drop without any cloud-based sync or internet connection required.

 

For what it's worth, I use Total Commander on my Android devices. Between its built-in support and the occasional plugin, I can directly (via Wifi) access my Synology NAS, FTP sites, Google drive and OneDrive from Android (and there are other plugins). For example, copying a photo from my phone to my NAS is as simple as sharing it via Total Commander - Navigate to the NAS folder and save it. I copy files back and forth all day long. Total Commander has a Norton Commander-like two pane interface that's easy to use.


Edited by lphilpot, 26 November 2021 - 06:05 PM.

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#9 NGC 2419

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Posted 26 November 2021 - 08:07 PM

Android has astrophotography mode. No, it won't rival your DSLR on an equatorial mount, but it takes some pretty cool shots.

https://ai.googleblo...ght-on.html?m=1
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#10 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 27 November 2021 - 05:17 AM

Brent:

 

For me, a phone screen is just to small for field use.  It's OK for backyard but for serious star hopping, it's just too small.  A 7-8 inch tablet running SkySafari Pro that fits in a coat pocket is just right for my purposes.  

 

For a tablet, either Android or iOs is good, both have their advantages.  

 

Jon


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#11 Nicole Sharp

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Posted 27 November 2021 - 06:46 AM

Android.


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#12 gmiller123456

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Posted 27 November 2021 - 12:40 PM

It really depends on if you only use "main stream" apps, or have a need for niche apps. And if you like parting with your money. Companies tend to make versions for both, but tend to do their iOS versions first because they've realized iOS users are far more likely to spend more money on apps.

Your more niche apps are usually done by hobbiests, and are more likely to be Android only.
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#13 brentknight

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Posted 27 November 2021 - 11:27 PM

Android has astrophotography mode. No, it won't rival your DSLR on an equatorial mount, but it takes some pretty cool shots.

https://ai.googleblo...ght-on.html?m=1

I guess Night Sight is only available for the Pixel?

 

While looking for it I did find DeepSkyCamera Beta.  It looks interesting...



#14 brentknight

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Posted 27 November 2021 - 11:33 PM

It really depends on if you only use "main stream" apps, or have a need for niche apps. And if you like parting with your money. Companies tend to make versions for both, but tend to do their iOS versions first because they've realized iOS users are far more likely to spend more money on apps.

Your more niche apps are usually done by hobbiests, and are more likely to be Android only.

Yeah - I can see that.  We unwashed masses of Android users are pretty cheap.  I did notice on Verizon's website though, that the new iPhone 13 Pro is cheaper than the Samsung.  Even the Max is cheaper than the Ultra.  I can't remember ever seeing that before...

 

Looking at the apps I currently use, I don't see anything niche.  Mostly SkySafari I would say.  I do have Astrospheric and Stellarium + as well, and a couple apps for leveling and finding Lat/Log.  What niche apps are you thinking about - maybe I would be interested in them?


Edited by brentknight, 27 November 2021 - 11:36 PM.


#15 brentknight

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Posted 27 November 2021 - 11:48 PM

Brent:

 

For me, a phone screen is just to small for field use.  It's OK for backyard but for serious star hopping, it's just too small.  A 7-8 inch tablet running SkySafari Pro that fits in a coat pocket is just right for my purposes.  

 

For a tablet, either Android or iOs is good, both have their advantages.  

 

Jon

I agree, even the large phones we have today are a bit cramped.  I haven't had too much trouble with the phone and SS6, but I often have to remove my glasses to see the tiny text on the screen.  Using the ASIair+ app is a real challenge though - especially when trying to see and make changes to the captured images.

 

I have a Windows Surface Pro 7 2in1 tablet which works really well if it's on a table (Windows just does not work that well without a mouse and keyboard), but it's a little too heavy for holding in the hand for long.

 

The phone is a compromise certainly but it's the device that's getting old and worn and needing replacement...


Edited by brentknight, 28 November 2021 - 03:03 AM.


#16 NGC 2419

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Posted 28 November 2021 - 02:23 AM

I guess Night Sight is only available for the Pixel?

While looking for it I did find DeepSkyCamera Beta. It looks interesting...


I didn't know that. Just got the 5a and thought it was neat. Thanks for pointing out DeepSkyCamera, looks interesting.

#17 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 28 November 2021 - 10:32 AM

I agree, even the large phones we have today are a bit cramped.  I haven't had too much trouble with the phone and SS6, but I often have to remove my glasses to see the tiny text on the screen.  Using the ASIair+ app is a real challenge though - especially when trying to see and make changes to the captured images.

 

I have a Windows Surface Pro 7 2in1 tablet which works really well if it's on a table (Windows just does not work that well without a mouse and keyboard), but it's a little too heavy for holding in the hand for long.

 

The phone is a compromise certainly but it's the device that's getting old and worn and needing replacement...

 

I use an ONN 8 inch Pro Tablet.  It's currently $69 at Wal-Mart. 

 

https://www.walmart....splay/648267237

 

It has a 1200x800 screen which I prefer to higher res screens because the dots are bigger.. it has an 8 core 2GHz processor with 2GB Ram and 32 GB storage, it's plenty fast. The battery lasts a long time. The screen can crack when dropped on the ground but it still keeps working.

 

I have one with a red screen taped on, it's dedicated to astronomy. It's just the right size, big enough to see and yet it still fits in my coat pocket.

 

My thinking: Regardless of how much you spend on your phone, this $69 tablet will be the better tool. Buy the phone to use as a phone, don't try to make into your primary star hopping tool. Put SkySafari on it and use it for casual stuff and as a backup. Use the tablet for the serious stuff.

 

 

Jon


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#18 brentknight

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Posted 28 November 2021 - 11:32 PM

I took your advice and bought a little Android tablet. The ONN looked fine, but they had the new Tab A7 Lite on sale at Best Buy with the newer OS and a bit more RAM and an 8.7" screen.  I looked at the iPad Mini, but I don't need to spend that kind of money for just a couple astronomy apps.  I'll hold off on the new phone until the S22 comes out and make a decision then. Thanks everyone for all the input...

 

I did have a little trouble getting SkySafari Pro 6 to work though. Apparently they are having issues with the Play Store. Reinstalling with auto updates turned off seems to have fixed it...


Edited by brentknight, Yesterday, 12:03 AM.


#19 Jon Isaacs

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Posted Yesterday, 02:04 AM

 Brent:

 

I've seen issues sometimes that seemed related to peak downloading times.  I suspect if you try again it will download just fine.

 

How much was the tablet?

 

Jon



#20 brentknight

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Posted Yesterday, 03:08 AM

It was $119, so about double, but looks and acts just like the S10, so I'm happy with it so far. 

 

I did do an uninstall of SS6, and then reinstalled with updates off. It installed just fine the second time ... and it was pretty quick. The GAIA add on installed as well, so its good.

 

I really like the size of this thing. Its very much like a large phone that I can easily hold in one hand. 


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#21 alphatripleplus

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Posted Yesterday, 07:59 AM

For me I just run basic astronomy apps on a cheap Android phone and occasionally use it to remotely access a PC at the scope, so it is fine for my needs. I'm sure that if I owned an iPhone I would find most of those apps available too, but the upfront cost of an iPhone compared to a cheap Android phone may be a significant consideration for some.


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#22 Jon Isaacs

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Posted Yesterday, 09:40 AM

I took your advice and bought a little Android tablet. The ONN looked fine, but they had the new Tab A7 Lite on sale at Best Buy with the newer OS and a bit more RAM and an 8.7" screen.  I looked at the iPad Mini, but I don't need to spend that kind of money for just a couple astronomy apps.  I'll hold off on the new phone until the S22 comes out and make a decision then. Thanks everyone for all the input...

 

I did have a little trouble getting SkySafari Pro 6 to work though. Apparently they are having issues with the Play Store. Reinstalling with auto updates turned off seems to have fixed it...

 

Brent:

 

Looking at the specs, that looks like a very good choice. 3 GB Ram, 64 GB Storage, an Octacore Mediateck processor, that's what the ONN uses. A 5000 mah battery, a 1340 x800 screen. Apparently it even has a compass.  

 

Sizewise, it's 1/4" longer than the ONN but 1/16" narrower so it should fit in my coat pocket.

 

I've been looking for a new tablet as I normally have a backup and recently my main ONN finally died after taking a corner hit to the hard ground..

 

My only concern is that Samsung modifies Android and adds a lot of unnecessary software. That modifications can be a problem. I'm actually writing this on an older Samsung 8 inch tablet. The button layout makes it difficult for astronomy.

 

I'll be interested to see how it works out for you in the field. I think you may have found the new astro-tablet.. that compass is something most tablets don't have.  This just might be my wife's Christmas present (to me.)

 

Jon


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#23 sanbai

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Posted Yesterday, 10:18 AM

I like Jon's concept of a small tablet, it hits a sweet point for use at the scope, especially if one requires a ladder smile.gif

It's a pitty that no ~8" tablet comes with (AM)OLED screen (according to a search in GSM arena). There's only a *very* expensive exception: the Microsoft surface duo.

I think I'll continue using the Samsung S5e, I'm actually very happy with it


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#24 brentknight

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Posted Yesterday, 11:43 AM

I like Jon's concept of a small tablet, it hits a sweet point for use at the scope, especially if one requires a ladder smile.gif

It's a pitty that no ~8" tablet comes with (AM)OLED screen (according to a search in GSM arena). There's only a *very* expensive exception: the Microsoft surface duo.

I think I'll continue using the Samsung S5e, I'm actually very happy with it

Well, my Surface Pro is definitely the better device - better screen, better speed, but it cost over $1200.  But this new Tab sure is easier to hold, and it's still plenty fast enough for what I'm using it for (no comparison though in terms of screen sharpness).  And while it's not AMOLED (neither is the Surface), it still gets plenty dark for my Bortle 5 front yard.  Edit:  Does the iPad Mini use an OLED?

 

Tab and Surface.jpg

 

Brent:

 

Looking at the specs, that looks like a very good choice. 3 GB Ram, 64 GB Storage, an Octacore Mediateck processor, that's what the ONN uses. A 5000 mah battery, a 1340 x800 screen. Apparently it even has a compass.  

 

Sizewise, it's 1/4" longer than the ONN but 1/16" narrower so it should fit in my coat pocket.

 

I've been looking for a new tablet as I normally have a backup and recently my main ONN finally died after taking a corner hit to the hard ground..

 

My only concern is that Samsung modifies Android and adds a lot of unnecessary software. That modifications can be a problem. I'm actually writing this on an older Samsung 8 inch tablet. The button layout makes it difficult for astronomy.

 

I'll be interested to see how it works out for you in the field. I think you may have found the new astro-tablet.. that compass is something most tablets don't have.  This just might be my wife's Christmas present (to me.)

 

Jon

I got the Tab with just 32GB as I think you have to order the 64GB one (none in any store within 100 miles).  For just $10 more though it might be worth it.  I have pretty much everything loaded on mine now and I've still got a little over 10GB free.  I can always add an SD if I want more storage.

 

Samsung does load a bunch of crap on the tablet that's for sure.  I'm working through some YouTube's to see what can safely be turned off (as most of it can't be uninstalled).  I'm completely familiar with the UI on this thing - I'd probably be lost on a more generic tablet... 

 

I realize now that if I'm primarily going to use the Tab for astronomy, that I won't need a large screen phone when it comes time to eventually replace the S10.  In that sense, I save even more money...


Edited by brentknight, Yesterday, 11:50 AM.

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#25 Jon Isaacs

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Posted Yesterday, 12:34 PM

Brent:

 

32 GB is more than enough.. have you verified it has a compass?

 

And while the Surface Pro might be faster and all that, it's not well suited for amateur astronomy..

 

The are no iPads with OLED/AMOLED screens.

 

Jon




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