Using A Tablet As A Phone – A Must For Boaters

I know…I know…you’re probably thinking I’m crazy. Getting rid of my phone and using a tablet as a phone. But it’s too big, it doesn’t fit in my pocket, I’ll look ridiculous talking on that thing. I’m sure there are other reasons going through your mind. Believe me I did a lot of research before I made the jump.

tablet navigation

One Less Device

I’m a big fan of multi-use/multi-purpose devices. With all of the apps available, the smart phone has already replaced many stand alone gadgets that we used to have. You already likely have a tablet anyway, and as it is most smart phone screens just keep getting bigger and bigger.

Why have two devices that are so similar when you can have one device that does the work of both? The international versions of many tablets are available with a phone built-in. So you can have full featured tablet that also functions as a phone, a real phone, not requiring the use of additional software, Skype, etc.

Galaxy Tab PRO 8.4

Better Multitasking and Productivity

A tablet allows much better multitasking than a phone. True most phones these days offer multitasking too, but split screen isn’t nearly as useful on the smaller screen of a phone. When talking on the phone Android OS on a tablet actually breaks the phone out into a smaller floating window that can be minimized.

This makes it very easy to do other tasks or use navigation while talking on the phone. Thanks to the larger screen, even just the slightly larger screen of a small tablet, it’s much easier to get real work done. Online research, responding to email, I even often write this blog from my tablet.

It May Be Safer

Due to the larger size of a tablet it’s often better to talk on a headset…even if you’re just afraid of people looking at you funny. This is much safer for driving and doing other tasks while talking on the phone. And with the so-called inconclusive evidence on what cell phone antennas are really doing to us, it may be better for your health in the long run.

Less Connected

I went with a smaller tablet, the Samsung Galaxy Tab PRO 8.4, unlocked of course, so I can use it on any network. It’s a little tight, and definitely looks strange, but I can sometimes get it to fit into a pocket. Being harder to carry around has its advantages, though. You don’t take it with you everywhere. You’re less attached than most people are these days.

Sure if you’re meeting up with someone it can be a little tough with your phone sitting in your car, but we managed for years before we all had cell phones. And once you do meet up, you’re actually paying attention to each other instead of checking texts and Facebook every 2 minutes like you see so many people doing nowadays.


Oh you use your phone for navigation on your boat? Isn’t that cute! I’ve used my phone in the past as well, mostly in familiar areas or just to use ActiveCaptain see anchorages and bridges. The larger screen on a tablet is much easier to read when using it for navigation than the screen on a phone.

Just look at the photo at the top of this post. The entire trip from the West Palm area back down to the Keys I didn’t even turn my laptop on. I strictly used my tablet for navigation the whole way. If you’re thinking about making the switch, do it! You won’t be disappointed.

Get the Samsung Galaxy Tab PRO 8.4 now!

Update: The Galaxy Tab PRO is now only available as a refurb or used. Another option is the Galaxy Tab S 8.4, which has the same size screen and very similar specs, but is actually a little smaller. Or if you want a smaller tablet you could go with the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4, which has a 7″ screen.

6 Responses to Using A Tablet As A Phone – A Must For Boaters

    • I’ve had one since they first came out. I’m one of those geeks who actually had the first Treo, the one that flipped and looked like something out of Star Trek. They’ve really come a long way since those days.

  1. I am currently an iPhone user. I am not a boater, but I have seen many of my friends switch over to a tablet as their primary phone. I never understood why, but this article does a good job at outlining the benefits of a tablet

    • Thanks! Jeff, who runs Active Captain is a big Apple guy. They have multiple Macs, iPads, and iPhones aboard…and I think one loely little Android and Windows tablet. For me a big part was I’ve wanted a tablet for a while now, but didn’t want to add yet another gadget.

  2. Hi Chris my fiance and I took a snorkeling trip on the Grouchy turtle last year. Sounds like you’ve had some engine issues. we are returning to Islamorada and are bringing friends. Are you still doing snorkeling trips ? Mimi

    • Thanks for coming out with us Mimi. We’re no longer doing trips on the Turtle, but I’m working for Sea Monkeys in Islamorada. We do snorkeling, diving, jetski tours, and new this season kayak and paddleboard tours.

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