Designated GPS unit vs. Smart Phone

Discussion in 'GPS 101 - Which GPS For Me' started by NJDirtRiders, Nov 24, 2013.

  1. Baroquenride

    Baroquenride Everyone dies, but not everyone truly lives.

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    It was charging so hadn't reached 100% yet.

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  2. BigFatAl

    BigFatAl Been here awhile

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    $10


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  3. Baroquenride

    Baroquenride Everyone dies, but not everyone truly lives.

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    This is with the red band cable attached. It was already at 99% so dunno if a further depletion would change anything but I'll try that another day.[​IMG]

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  4. victorzamora

    victorzamora Adventurer

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    The screen is a little suspect, and there's no good way of tracking lithium battery life other than straight Wh or mAh in and out. However, the screen may not be as inaccurate as it looks at first glance.

    Batteries on the charge will have an artificially elevated voltage, so I'd assume that it's at or near 4.0V "resting" and would "cool" to under 4.0V.
    The way that lithium batteries charge is Constant Current for the first portion where the voltage is slowly increased, then a constant-voltage portion where the charger holds a voltage just higher than the desired end voltage and the current slowly wanes to zero (actually it's something like 0.03c, but I can't remember correctly).

    But to your point: A real meter, in-line in the system, truly is the only way of knowing for sure.
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  5. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    I had a Garmin 60csx for a few days to test, also a tomtom something or other. I sat them on the arm chair and walked away. after twenty minutes I compared. both had +/- 9-10' accuracy, both showed the same numbers for coordinates.

    the only difference was that the phone took a quarter second to pick, the Garmin about two minutes, and the Tom Tom about five. keep in mind I have no idea how long since the TT or 60 were last turned on. they were usually within five or ten seconds after a reboot in the same location.

    since I was under a large south tree to the south, indoors , this is my usual test for gps stuff. besides, it's hot, and I don't wanna hike into the woods just to see the same results lol that I always see with the phone off +/-9' under heavy cover !

    just an update, carry on
  6. JRWooden

    JRWooden Long timer

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    Sorry I came late to this party ...

    At 130+ pages it will take me a while to slog thru and catch up ...
    Is there a TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read) summary some place? :lol3
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  7. scfrank

    scfrank Old farts riding club.

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    I'll give you my opinion, which isn't worth anymore than any other.

    There is no answer.

    It depends very much upon what you use the gps for and what your expectations are. That's a broad field starting with on/off road, routes/tracks etc. There are phone app folks who say it's the only way to go and others who like their Garmin. And, there are many different Garmin and different phones. Different people ride different bikes too. Using a gps to find the next bar, or Starbucks, is different than finding your way through the woods.

    There is no simple answer. Ask a more specific question. What kind of riding do you do? What are your expectations? Do you design/follow routes? Tracks?

    Be prepared for a lot of different answers. And there's good in all of them.

    I'm sorry if I missed some earlier comments. I didn't read the whole thread either.
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  8. JRWooden

    JRWooden Long timer

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    Thanks SCFrank!
    Ok... here goes:

    Upcomming trip (in about a week) is the TAT to Denver, then I'm heading south to Costa Rica
    I have an iPhone 6s in waterproof case that I mount to bars.
    I have a Nuvi 500 (the "vintage" waterproof model) that I've used for many years,
    but I just got my TAT maps from Sam and they are coded as tracks (as opposed to routes),
    and while I've heard there are some work-around the old Nuvi 500 doesn't seem to like tracks very well.

    I would like to have maps in whatever device will be my primary unit for Mexico and Central America.
    I don't think I mind using my iPhone as the primary device if there's a way to get data on and off of it without driving myself crazy.
    I could also probably spring for a Zumo 395LM or similar.... if it worked more or less as advertised ;-)

    Thanks for any pointers!


  9. DaMonk45

    DaMonk45 I B Da Monk

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    There is a learning curve with all of the phone aps.
    You only have a week, maybe you are better off with what you know?
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  10. EmmEff

    EmmEff Long timer

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    Very good advice. Unless you're using one of the (less flexible) auto routing apps (like TomTom, Garmin, CoRoute, etc), a new user cannot reasonably expect to install a GPS app on their smartphone and expect to be "productive" with it immediately. The apps simply aren't at that level, sometimes thankfully, sometimes annoyingly.

    JRWooden, if your goal is to simply follow a line (track) on a map, you _might_ be able to get away with it but as soon as you want to search for an alternate route, local services, etc, these apps relying on OpenStreetMap maps will usually fall on their face.

    Just my $0.02... I've been using both Android and iPhones for GPS apps for many years now and I still couldn't begin to rely on one app and to this date, I still don't find it "easy" (the coming from a lifelong "computer guy").
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  11. scfrank

    scfrank Old farts riding club.

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    With the needs you described, I'm not the guy. I don't do off road gps much. Just forest service roads. Scenic is a good iPhone gps but doesn't handle off road very well. I'd talk to ohgood and consider a android phone, or the right Garmin, which I don't know much about other than Nav VI which is more $ than you need to spend.

    DRTBYK is the Garmin guy I listen to.

    I'm jealous about your ride! Sounds great.
  12. scfrank

    scfrank Old farts riding club.

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    Agree
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  13. Tripped1

    Tripped1 Bitch called me a feminist.

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    Handy part being that you don't have to rely on one app.

    Hell I started using two at once last trip.

    So picture this one. As I have detailed elsewhere, I had a bit of a confluence of events happen at once.

    1) The woman and I started using Sena's
    2) You basically can't use Locus voice commands with the intercoms on
    2) OsmAnd has no screen lock....but the voice cuts over the intercoms.

    So how to deal with this after dark, in the rain, on a mountain goat trail that you REALLY need those voice prompts because you can't see shit?

    I was quite literally running Locus in guidance with the screen lock on with OsmAnd under it giving the commands....worked like a champ....AND because it was after dark I could turn the screen brightness all the way down and it wasn't even hard on the battery at all (my powered mount was broken at the time so I had to go un-charged in wet weather)

    That being said I also tend to run with the my phabet/navi tethered to my cell phone, because when you need to find gas/camping/food Google Maps is still the best way to go.
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  14. portablevcb

    portablevcb Long timer

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    Yep, it still depends.

    I still went the 'easy' route. Dedicated GPS mounted next to phone (sometimes running GPS app, sometimes Topo maps, sometimes weather) and a tablet in the tankbag when I needed a bigger screen.

    Forgot, also had a paper map in the case on the tankbag.
  15. Tripped1

    Tripped1 Bitch called me a feminist.

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    I carry a second tablet (cell enabled) that put under the rain cover on my tankbag.
  16. reg26

    reg26 Been here awhile

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    Phone GPS apps can be great but on an adventure like the one your taking I would recommend a dedicated GPS. There are some great deals on refurbished units. Just do a google search
  17. EmmEff

    EmmEff Long timer

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    I've currently got MotionX-GPS (seldom used), maps.me, PocketEarth, HERE WeGo, Galileo Pro, Scenic, and inRoute installed on my iPhone 6 that I use on the handlebars of my bike.

    It's sometimes a difficult decision which one to use...

    On my Android, I'm usually bouncing between CoRoute, OsmAnd, and Locus. If they mashed OsmAnd and Locus together, fixed the ugly parts, it'd probably be the closest to perfect as far as I'm concerned.

    Perfect! Whatever works for you... unfortunately, there is no one app that does it all. Both OsmAnd and Locus have glaring issues which prevent me from using either of them full-time.

    I completely agree. I usually resort to using Google Maps when I'm looking for services or the best route home.


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  18. EmmEff

    EmmEff Long timer

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    I think the smartphone app can do the trick, but you need to know what you're doing and know what to do when things don't quite go as planned. For example, neither OsmAnd nor Locus handle route deviations properly... this is absolutely necessary if you need (or want) to bypass a section of the route (created from a track).



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  19. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    1 there is zero time to start learning anything new. get whatever offline maps that are compatible with whatever app you're using, and that standalone gps, and make sure the tracks load properly on BOTH of them. forget about learning a new app or gps. that would extremely annoying/stressful in this short a time.
    2 cool, that'll do well. get a couple of external charging bricks just in case. amazon has em for $12 or so, waterproof, all that jazz.
    3 dang, that's old, you're taking a laptop so you can fix the garmin stuff on the road, right ?
    4 cool. no biggie. hope they're 'new' and accurate, or you're really good at finding work arounds.
    5 ya, that's ollllld
    6 good idea. see what openstreetmap has for your apps and standalone. they're up to date and cheap/free.
    7 man i wish i knew anything about iphones. but i don't. good luck :-)
    8 lol, good luck with that pile ! ;-)

    honestly man, i could have a cheapo android loaded with everything in the world (maps/tracks/etc) in 20 minutes for you... but you're familiar with the ios stuff and the old garmin stuff... it would be much better to use what you know than start trying 'new' crap at this point. if you had a month, sure. one week ? hell no. just pack your junk and have fun. because you know you will :-)
  20. MrMac

    MrMac Long timer

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    I dunno.. How technically savvy are you? If you can get past the IOS-to-Android learning curve, the rest is not so bad, depending.. And there is no reason you can't toss an Android device in as a backup and work with it along the way. CoPilot is easy and very functional for on-road turn-by-turn. You could be up and running with that in an hour or two. Not the best for the TAT though. I haven't used CoPilot in other countries, so not sure how well it would work where you are going. Outside the U.S., OSMAndroid would likely be a better option but lacks some of the planning and routing wizardry in CoPilot. Locus for off-road but also has (IMHO) the steepest learning curve.

    The three I keep loaded on my phone (in order of preference) are CoPilot (probably used 95% of the time), OSMAndroid, and Locus Pro.

    Anyhow, gives you something to play with while sitting in a tent or motel room..!