Ditching Garmin for android or iphone as GPS

Discussion in 'GPS 101 - Which GPS For Me' started by twowheelpilot, Feb 2, 2013.

  1. twowheelpilot

    twowheelpilot Adventurer

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    what is keeping riders from ditching their GPS all together for a smartphone?
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  2. steve_k

    steve_k Long timer

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    Dedicated GPS doesn't need a data plan... Works in areas that phones don't..... Sure I will think of more later.


    I tried to use a smartphone as my GPS for a while before buying my Zumo 450 and I just didn't seem to have the features that a good dedicated GPS has such as being able to map your own routes, easily used while riding, waterproof, and so on.

    #2
  3. mpatch

    mpatch Long timer

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    There are apps that are pretty damn good, off line maps, GPX import/exporting, routes/tracks etc.. (I like motionx) but the reason I havent dumped my stand alone unit is you need to have power to your phone and there arent really any practical weather/dust proof cases that allow charging AND allow full use of the phone.
    #3
  4. 10/10ths

    10/10ths Road Trip Fool

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    ...plus a dedicated GPS does one thing, and does it very well.

    Multi-tasking compromises all functions.

    Also, GPS can do loop route mapping.
    #4
  5. rjsurfer

    rjsurfer Been here awhile

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    Agreed, but cell phone aps like Google Maps have real time traffic (free), updated maps in real time (no paying yearly subscription fees), now have the ability to store map data and lastly if you lose you're GPS signal which happens quite a lot to me in the city it can rely on Cell phone data/tower info to continue to guide you.

    For me the ability to carry just one device that handles phone, GPS, camera, weather, remote emergency locating, video player, etc. is priceless,

    My 2610 is gathering dust for the last two years.

    Ron
    #5
  6. worwig

    worwig Long timer

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    It amazes me that people cluelessly hang on to this belief.
    A smartphone does not need a data place to be used as a GPS. A smartphone as a GPS works well where there is no phone service. It is just a matter of installing the right app.
    In fact, most recent smartphones not only have the GPS chip set, they also have a Glonass chip set. Plus as a bonus, they can still give a rough location from the cell towers and WiFi if you are near those. So it is not unusual for them to get an initial location lock must faster then a run of the mill Garmin, and give you 12 or more satellite fixes even in poor sky visibility. Not something you get from a Garmin.

    I used to use a Windows phone years ago with a Garmin app. That worked well.
    Now I am using an Android phone. I like the ability to choice the app I want to use. I like CoPilot for routing. And I like to use OSMand when just driving around and looking for interesting roads.
    And if you do happen to have cell coverage, Google searches can be really handy. And Google maps has a cool feature. I log onto Google maps with my PC at home. I have a number of my own maps stored on Google. For example, I have one called 'places to visit'. I roam around the Google map in the evening on my PC, and put place markers on the map. the next day while out riding, I add a map layer with 'places to visit' on it. I can then go look for these places that I marked on the map. You can easily share those map markups with friends. Admittedly, this does require data, but that is seldom an issue with Verizon.


    The disadvantage is that few phones are waterproof. But there ARE waterproof phones.
    Most waterproof covers like an Aquabox or such add another layer of glare over the screen, making them hard to see in sunlight.
    Other than rainy days, I always just use my Android.
    #6
  7. markgsnw

    markgsnw WTF?

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    I've thought about it, but I've yet to see a secure, weather resistant , ruggedized, practical solution for a smartphone on a bike. My next GPS may be a $100+ Garmin with traffic with a plastic bag tossed over it.
    #7
  8. Hawk62cj5

    Hawk62cj5 2 Cheap 4 a KLR

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    Battery life .


    I have a Casio Gzone smart phone and its water proof and rugged but plugged in it loses its water proofness and unplugged running the battery just isnt going to keep it for a couple of days . Plus when I ride Im tring to get away , if I wanted to look at a phone all day I would be at work and get paid for it .
    #8
  9. victor441

    victor441 Long timer

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    I recently bought a Samsung Rugby Pro which IS waterproof, ruggedized, etc. and Google navigation is amazing plus a large area can be cached for no signal situations...However the screen not nearly bright enough in direct sunlight for gps use so I still use my Garmin on my bike
    #9
  10. kiwi_outdoors

    kiwi_outdoors Been here awhile

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    my Garmin Etrex 20 gets plenty of satellites - way more than it needs.

    Russian and American.
    #10
  11. kiwi_outdoors

    kiwi_outdoors Been here awhile

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    how do you transfer the places between PC at home and the phone?
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  12. Woodduck

    Woodduck Adventurer

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    I've had a lifeproof cover for my iphone and handle bar mount for over a year. It's survived all sorts of weather fine. With the waterproof head phone connection the lady butts into the songs to tell me where to go, then butts straight back out.

    Battery life on iPhone does suck when using GPS.
    #12
  13. NJ Moto

    NJ Moto Long timer

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    I guess it comes down to personal preference. A dedicated gps is what I prefer.
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  14. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Been here awhile

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    I haven't done it because I haven't found an app that works as well as my GPS does. Google maps is ok, as long as you don't get out of cell phone range for very long. Get off the limits of the map Google has downloaded, and the program crashes. Haven't found any others that I liked all that much on the app market.

    For offroad adventuring, I've found things like a Garmin 60 or Delome PN to far exceed the abilities of the smartphone apps, mostly because of their maps.
    #14
  15. TuonoBiker

    TuonoBiker Been here awhile

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    I like the fact the Zumo series GPS units are specifically designed for water/rain and deal very well with the elements. A smartphone is just way too susceptible (sp?) to problems related to exposed touring on a bike.

    I guess if you have the proper mount/case to put it in, that will certainly help.

    Also, your phone screen is not pressure sensitive. I have yet to be able to use my Galaxy S3 phone with gloves on....they work by heat.

    My Zumo has a nice feature to change the keyboard so you can use it with gloves on...makes the buttons larger in size.

    I don't know.....The phone is fine as a backup or maybe primary use in a car, but on a bike? Just seems out of place.
    #15
  16. levain

    levain STILL Jim Williams

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    The thing no one has mentioned is that it's difficult to control a phone with a gloved hand.

    I want a phone that is "ruggedized" as mentioned above, works with a gloved hand, easily mountable, able to upload GPX and I'll switch. The technology just isn't there yet, but I bet it will be in a year or two. Garmin better have something in the works, cos they're gonna be toast soon.
    #16
  17. TuonoBiker

    TuonoBiker Been here awhile

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    I mentioned it in my post. The smartphone screens are not designed to work on pressure sensitivity. They've gotten away from that to provide more precision and accuracy. The drawback is gloves....they simply don't work on a smartphone screen.

    I think the pressure sensitivity is much better on my BMW Zumo than on my 6 year old Garmin Nuvi. I'm sure they've made improvements, but how much better can a pressure driven system be?

    As I pointed out, the Zumo has a specific glove "mode" or setting to enter letters and numbers. It's a wider, taller button than the normal QWERTY setup and makes typing a little easier/quicker with gloves.
    #17
  18. worwig

    worwig Long timer

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    For this you need a data plan (or WiFi). It is automatic. Use the same login on your phone as you use on you PC. Your points and tracks are in both places automatically. And you can actually share the data between users if you wish. So you can plan a group ride and share with others if they have a Google login.

    And my wife can check Google Latitude at any time to see where I am when I'm riding so she can have super treaty for me when I get home as all good wives are required to do. :rofl Free spot like feature.

    And latitude keeps a history online. Great to l look back on where you rode last summer from any PC.
    #18
  19. KLRcaptain

    KLRcaptain Adventurer

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    RoyQ and I were discussing this the other day (we both have Garmins) and the conclusion we came to is its time google just built a GPS.
    #19
  20. 10/10ths

    10/10ths Road Trip Fool

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    ....I have a Zumo 550 with the XM Sat Radio on an RKA "In-Charge" tank bag.

    I get wireless, bluetooth, stereo XM radio, MP3s, and GPS prompts into my helmet, and can voice dial and receive cell phone calls.

    The GPS and XM radio are water proof. I can reach up and touch the unit and control it. I can see it in all weather, day or night. My cell phone is inside the tank bag and is powered via a power point in the tank bag. The bluetooth headset in the helmet has a 14 hour life between charges and can be hot swapped.

    I can ride for 14 hours and have all of this for the entire ride without battery failure. I can listen to Classic Vinyl, hear "turn left on Woodward Ave. in 100 feet", then answer or make a phone call, all with zero wires.

    I can call a hotel on my route and book a room in a strange town.

    I can have twenty loop routes for day rides ready to go anytime.

    I can make FRS radio calls to other riders, use a CB radio, all wirelessly.

    No extra cases needed.

    The whole thing, since it is all contained in the tank bag, can be instantly removed from the bike and carried inside a hotel, restaurant, or moved to another motorcycle. I can take it with me and rent a bike and plop it on and have all of this functionality on ANY motorcycle, anywhere.

    I can mount it on my V-Strom on Monday, my Monster on Tuesday, and my RC51 on Tuesday night.

    Having a dedicated system like this makes it super convenient and easy.

    I am also not stuck with any one type of cell phone. I can use the cheapest or most wiz-bang cell phone out there, as long as it has bluetooth. I can rock an old school Blackberry or a Samsung Galaxy Note 37b.

    That's why I use a Garmin.

    YMMV.
    #20