The Best Smartphone for Fieldwork


Nowadays, a smartphone is crucially needed during my fieldwork. I used to stick with my Samsung Galaxy Note. However, in the beginning of 2015, I started to use Sony Xperia Z3 Compact. This blogpost is not about smartphones but what kind of criteria and apps that make it the best smartphone for fieldwork.

All my criterion when choosing a smartphone would be … which of course, the price would depend on your requirement and affordability.

    A high resolution photo would be great and IPhone 6 still the best one so far I can see.
    If Apple have something similar like Sony Experia, which mean water-proof and dust-proof, I will definitely buy it later.
  • SIZE
    I am not a tablet and phablet person anymore that is why I chose Xperia Z3 compact for my companion to date.
    Honestly, there is no the best brand for fieldwork smartphone. I am simply use it to write notes, take pictures (in the rain), read maps, voice recording, and communication. These are the to five most important utilities in fieldwork.
  • Battery
    Long battery life is a must!

Below are apps that I usually used with my smartphone during fieldwork

  • Evernote
    I can easily organise notes and scanned documents in one folder with Evernote. I could simply shared my notes since its cloud based. This also will very helpful during reporting process as I always have tons of headache at the time I cannot read my own writings (Arrrgh!). Skitch Application on Evernote is also very helpful to pinpoint anything important during your discussion.
  • PDF maps
    All you need is good phone signals, turn on your gps, and map in pdf format. I love this apps as very useful together with handheld GPS. I had hard time putting all notes and then taking pictures in the same time. For not-so-great picture and taking information only, this app is very helpful during mapping activities!
  • WhatsApp
    Seriously I even almost have group chat for each project. The goodness of WhatsApp, I can easily coordinate with my colleagues even in such limited internet signals.
  • Calculator
    Probably the only apps that always be in your phone no matter what your smartphone brands.

So what is your criteria and favourite smartphone apps for fieldwork?

Next Tips

Forest Compass
For choosing a digital device for monitoring, which well stated here!

Probably the fullest check list of smartphone apps so far that may suitable for your needs including data entry & recording observation, environmental data, field guides, mapping, GIS & GPS, fieldwork utilities, teaching tools citizen science, communication tools and productivity.

Go, sort and search what is the best app for your fieldwork activity.


The photo is Aseng Tan, a botanist friend, trying to identify tree based on leaves canopy with a superzoom camera.

The Best Smartphone for Fieldwork first appeared on


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