Android Tablets, Gaia GPS, and minimum specs and operating system?


Been running Gaia for a few years on a spare I-Phone 6, but would like to step up to a larger unit.
It works great for backpacking, but is just too small for vehicle based.

Not wanting to spend a bunch, Ive been looking at cheap Android tablets.

Running Gaia, is there a general minimum spec requirement?
How about operating system? Or will any old Android unit work?

Ive read quite a few reviews claiming problems with older (specifically 5.1) android operating systems.



High-Tech Redneck
I've been thinking of getting a Samsung Tab A 7 or 8 inch here lately. Depending on options and size they run $120-$200. Factor in more for a few accessories and mounting hardware.

I'm kind of biased, I've had good luck with Samsung, they are mainstream, well known, and widely used. If you run into some issue you are a lot more likely to find info for your specific model. I have a Samsung S7 phone, and the identical operating systems between it and my tablet, running the same apps, is sweet. I buy an app once, install it on both phone and tablet. I use them as redundant backups frequently.

Android is Android, if it's running a version within the last few releases most if not all apps in the store will work fine. If you are looking at anything running older than version 8 or so you are probably going to get some junk you won't be happy with. Anything running a newer version of Android probably has all the hardware you'll need, I can't speak for other brands and models, but the Tab A line seems to do well at GPS and mapping apps.

I currently have a Tab A 10 inch, I got it hoping to use in the vehicle, and really it's just too large and doesn't fit anywhere on my dash and is too bulky for the dash mounts I have. It did the job well but it just didn't work out. I use the heck out of it at home though. It runs any and all apps I want just fine. I've had it set up as the moving map, pulling OBDII data from the engine for instrument overlays, and playing music through the Bluetooth to my trucks head unit all at once.

I don't have specific experience with Gaia, but I don't see why it wold be any different than any other app.

HUGE plus to the Android tablets is they allow you to plug in up to 128GB micro SD cards for expanded map storage. Most apps allow you to install them to the card so the internal space is not used up.


I wanted run Gaia so , I bought a Samsung Tab A, Wi-fi only, 16Gb internal memory, 10.1" screen from Costco for $179. I keep that synced with a Samsung J7 phone; both have an additional 256Gb Sd cards. The Tab A is mounted in a Jeep TJ and phone is used for hiking. Gaia has been just as accurate as my Garmin units.

I like the Tab A 10.1 screen for ease of viewing on the trail however, at 1lb+, it is a heavy unit and I have a problem keeping it up in position so I can read it.

I have seen other people use iPads and iPhones with no problems

I can't help you with Android, but I've been running Gaia GPS on an old tablet (iPad 2) for quite a long time with no issues. I also use it on an old iPhone 6+ that I've kept after I upgraded my phone. I use the iPhone 6+ pretty much just for Gaia GPS, keeping it in my backpack. Don't know if this is helpful, or not, but thought I'd share since I haven't had any performance issues with older devices (albeit iOS).

The Gaia support team is really responsive if you post a question to them over at their support cetner.


Since you already have an iPhone, I would find an acceptable size iPad vs.replacing two units.

I just remembered, at the time I was looking, iPads could not have the member expanded.
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I have an old phone I've been tinkering with for navigation and the only thing I've found that forced me to work around was the current version of Avenza Maps (which is super handy for GeoPDF NPS maps, MVUMs, that sort of thing) requires Android 6+.

I am only able to run 4.4 on my phone and had to find an old version. The other apps (Gaia, Backcountry Navigator, OruxMaps, Lotus, APRSdroid, etc.) I've tried or use I've not run into compatibility issue using the current app versions.

Therefore the general recommendation I would make is to buy a device capable of Android 6 or better with as much RAM as you can followed by storage (I have 16 GB and would recommend 32 GB as minimum) followed by CPU specs.
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Thanks everyone. I have already confirmed that a single account will allow both IOS and Android devices. So no problems there.

And good to hear that Gaia is somewhat friendly to older devices. I've nabbed a Samsung Galaxy Tab-E for cheap (MFG refurb).

No way I'm willing to spend silly money on a cellular I-pad for a single duty device. So hopefully this $100 tablet works out.


Quick update

Got my cheapo Tab-E, running 7.1.1

While it is not quite as "snappy" as my Iphone 6, it is up and running with Gaia and looks to be doing great.
I already have a case, glass screen protector, and tablet mount on order.
Now I just have to learn the different functions (android vs IOS) for Gaia.

Thanks again 👍

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