Ditching Garmin for android or iphone as GPS

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

  1. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid!

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    #41
  2. mikesova

    mikesova Michigander

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    too bad none of those offer a good solution for charging the unit.
    #42
  3. mikesova

    mikesova Michigander

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    Have you tested its waterproofness?
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  4. dieselcruiserhead

    dieselcruiserhead Long timer

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    I messed around with this and the way I look at it is the smart phone is sort of a like a swiss army knife. Can open cans, cut things, be a screw driver, but is mostly not that good at it.

    The smart phones:
    1) lock quickly so you cant continue to navigate with them
    2) burn through batteries, using usb or other connection ruins them just like it ruins the garmin units that also have to use usb
    3) are not that durable even with the case against vibrations etc
    4) are too expensive when a nice 78 or similar is a much better unit.

    this is why I use dedicated GPS. Absolutely, no questions asked...
    #44
  5. worwig

    worwig Long timer

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    Mine doesn't lock when I'm viewing maps or navigating. You have a setting wrong, or the wrong phone. Non-issue.

    Been using a smartphone on a charger on my bike since before the iPhone. (probably started in about 2005) When does this 'ruination' happen? Non-issue for me.

    Again, probably 100,000 miles and clipped to a RAM universal finger mount. Non-issue.

    Mine are subsidized by my phone company. I carry it anyway for other reasons so the money is spent anyway. Buying a seperate GPS would be an added cost. Using the phone is a win/win IMHO. And latitude is almost like carrying a Spot device, only free, so I saved more $$$$.
    #45
  6. rickypanecatyl

    rickypanecatyl SE Asia adventure tours

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    Thanks for the tips guys!! :thumb Without question if I am going to be carrying both it'd be nice that the phone works as a backup!

    That's a great point! How tough are the smart phones against vibration? I'm betting I'm tougher on the phones/gps than the majority so just consider my experiences accelerated/overdosing lab tests, but I do about 25,000 miles a year on vibrating singles; lots of torrential downpours, lots of harsh 3rd world roads, maybe only 20% off road but that's more miles than most who do 95% of their riding off road.

    I found the garmin 60CSx lasted a couple years till vibrations killed it mounted in a ram mount. The newer 62 series is not near as durable to either vibrations or water; for instance screens dies a lot faster due to vibrations when plugged in as opposed to the 60 plugged in. I've never experimented with somehow rubber/shock mounting the ram mount but I bet that would be worth it!
    Though my rugby smart is advertised water/drop/heat/dust/vibration/shock proof it just means its a bit tougher than the average phone. No experience with vibes on it yet but I don't think it could take what even the 62 takes.
    #46
  7. StuInFH

    StuInFH Been here awhile

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    A remote solves this. Read on for the long answer.

    Looks like most of the standard misconceptions about using a smartphone for nav were cleared up. It does say 101, which is first class in a series so those statements are to be expected I guess.

    I've been using my Samsung Rugby Smart running DualSportMaps (available for Android system only, so if iPhone fan, stop here) for a few months now on my 530 EXC-R, 90% offroad. Love it. It is mil-spec, so no worries from me (yet) about ruggedness. I ride mostly ST and crash a few times a day due to challenging myself on climbs and such.

    My e-Trex used to shut off from vibrating the batts loose (I know I can wedge them tighter) and the Rugby plugs along. And it is submersible to the same standard as my Vista is.

    Yeah, can't move around on screen with winter gloves so that would be an issue on street ride if you needed to scroll (my phone still has the hard buttons on the bottom, some newer phones have the soft buttons), but I've been thinking of the add-on gps glove tips I see advertised. Really don't need to touch it much while riding anyway. The app has a speed-relative auto zoom feature, same for the volume output.

    The remote for DSM when released will solve the glove issue and will provide control when in a case for those with non-rugged phones and it will also handle charging duties. And feed even non-gps chipped devices like some tablets if the remote ends up with its own chipset like the prototype.

    The DSM app is really powerful and the smartphone is basically a computer now and if you already carry a phone, why would you want another device to monkey with? (I'm talking offroad/adventuring, if you are near a starbucks, then yeah, other apps are better for getting around town, as the coder freely admits.) I have cam, vid, medical/survival info/books/vids, bike manual, etc.on it.

    Tablets with a gps chip set are easily used with the app too, so any discussion of screen size and garmin loses.

    An extra batt is like $15 and can be swapped easily (if non-iPhone) and charged off the bike overnight or on the bike with the the mini-USB while riding. I use a RAM mount and glued a ring to phone for a tether.

    As for not being able to get to bike/phone after crash, if you are riding alone, maybe good idea to add a family plan and bring a 2nd phone in case one quits anyway. And the smartphone can link with spot connect too. And provide live-tracking if in cell range. I ride out of range and don't have a dataplan anyway. (I cache tiles at hotspot.)

    I was fixin to get the Montana (it is thick!) for the screen size, discovered the DSM thread, and ended up with something more powerful for half the price, no going back for me. What do you think will be feeding your goggles' or visor's HUD in near future? not a gps-only unit

    could go on for hours, so will end with just go read some of the DSM thread on vendor site and watch the intro vids on youtube and you will see why a smartphone is the future now (unless the gps-only units incoporate a phone and WiFi into their features) :-)

    I still carry my garmin (in my pack) as backup when going off the grid, as redundancy is always wise.
    #47
  8. rickypanecatyl

    rickypanecatyl SE Asia adventure tours

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    Stu sounds like you have the same phone I do. Have you found a cradle for the ram mounts that holds it securely?
    #48
  9. twowheelpilot

    twowheelpilot Adventurer

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    #49
  10. StuInFH

    StuInFH Been here awhile

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    Hmm, not sure about that one for the riding I do. I see that some say this one is solid, bit more $ though. http://www.amazon.com/RAM-B-149Z-PD...IU/ref=sr_1_23?ie=UTF8&qid=1332959929&sr=8-23

    I actually just followed an inexpensive tip on the DSM thread and use HD velcro on one of the RAM rectangular plates. Planned to get something beefier when I was sure it was all good, and just haven't needed to yet. Works fine unless I have the phone steeper than horizontal, then needs a rubberband around the screen to snug it up. I usually don't run the phone sticking up like that in the rough stuff as brush and me flying over the bars will hit it. I put it flat and low behind bars. I've knocked it off twice now in really rough slow-going ST when I hit it with my knee or something and the tether catches it. Tether is attached to stick-on retaining ring for electronic gear I found on Amazon that uses automotive adhesive.

    You watch an intro DSM vid yet? Very cool app.
    #50
  11. 8lives

    8lives Dharma Bum

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    Well I dumped COPILOT and downloaded OSMand it does seem like its gonna work as it shows the forest service roads,and I just noticed the post that listed DUAL SPORT MAPs its 20$ but it does look like it may be the answer as I don't need a full time unit to get me around as I said before paper is my main nav tool,but the last 2 apps mentioned really seem to be a good solid solution via a android phone.Please keep the good informative posting happening,thanks all!
    #51
  12. uberaudi

    uberaudi Adventurer

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    I have the new Nokia Lumia 920 with Otterbox case, making not water proof, but water resistant. Which is okay because it never rains here. Then I have a ram mount holding it all up. The best part about the 920 is you can use it with gloves on. I use the garmin app which works great!
    #52
  13. rickypanecatyl

    rickypanecatyl SE Asia adventure tours

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    Thanks for the links! I hear you on not running with things sticking up... I've been thinking about a GoPro but wondering where to mount it. A ton of my riding looks like this:

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    Believe it or not this is actually part of a work commute - not for the masses of course but 4 miles on this shaves 17 miles off the freeway. Issue here is bamboo is always falling and the locals are always clearing the trail BUT the average local man is about 5' 2" and the #1 bike is the KLX150 (street legal KLX140) which puts their heads about a foot lower than mine.

    Was crossing this last week when it looked like this, but came back in the dark after the rain and it was a foot deeper. Almost went down in the river with the GPS in the open.

    [​IMG]

    When that happens the 62 gets water in the battery compartment but should be fine when opened up and dried out. The 60 was worlds better. My new samsung rugby smart ("Military grade waterproof!" :rofl) got water in it when an AC unit started dripping on it. Speaker sounded funny but it was all good after taken apart and I let it dry out... and yes all the ports and battery cover were firmly in place!

    BTW I think all pictures were with said Rugby which personally I'm pretty impressed with.
    #53
  14. mikesova

    mikesova Michigander

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    Lets see some pics of how you guys are mounting the cell phones and such...
    #54
  15. StuInFH

    StuInFH Been here awhile

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    Will get that Monday. But I can tell you I sure couldn't run it like above for very long. I have my mount on the left bar just outboard of the left-hand inboard bark buster clamp. It is rotated down and the two ram clamps are used to swing the phone to the right and down low, just clearing the tank and my knee when I am all the way forward. It would be in-line with the top of the left fork in above pic, and below the horizontal level of the bars/barkbuster.

    For GoPro, same issue, overhead obstructions here too with treefall. My buddy has luck with his mounted on chin of his helmet, gives good shot of controls/bar too. They sell a chest mount that would be similar, I guess.

    Re Mil grade waterproof comment, I really don't know how/who tests for stds, but it is rated (by Samsung?) at IPX-7, same as most Garmin units I think. 30 mins at 1 meter. Maybe I should stop washing the mud off in the sink under running water? Nah (my speaker sounded crappy from new as it has to overcome waterproofness)
    #55
  16. StuInFH

    StuInFH Been here awhile

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    I didn't get hung up on the $20. The coder explained he priced it like that so he wouldn't have non-committed guys giving it a thumbs down after a quick spin, as like anything that is powerful, it has a learning curve. If it were $1 it would be only $19 cheaper and that is not much when the whole nav package is considered. For ex, when I was looking at the Montana I think the Birds Eye subcription price was $20/yr for sat view? When I am following a track (pre-cached) on the trail or planning routes on the website I have all these views for no extra cost; Vector Osmand maps (entire world), G Maps Sat, MS E, G Maps Terrain, G Maps, MS Maps, and USGS Topo. And any raster (like an OHV map or MVUM) can be viewed as an overlay with a slider switch for transparency over any of the above maps.

    I guess the $20 investment made me committed. :-)
    #56
  17. Rob.G

    Rob.G Mostly Harmless

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    One point I haven't seen mentioned (or I missed it) is that the screen resolution on smartphones is so high that they're impossible to read while moving. Plus their displays aren't nearly as readable in sunlight as a real GPS.

    I have a Zumo 665, which is the biggest POS I've ever owned for a GPS, but I still use it because it's better suited to navigation than my phone. I hate the low-res maps and how slow the thing responds, but it's tough, waterproof, and works with gloves. I do still use my phone when stopped to doublecheck locations and routes, since it does have a nice high-res display, and I've downloaded tons of maps to it so I don't have to be in a coverage area.

    Rob
    #57
  18. StuInFH

    StuInFH Been here awhile

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    You are correct that smartphones in direct sunlight aren't even close to a gps unit screen. My matte screen saver that I put on immediately helped in this regard, but then I found that I was never really hampered by direct sunlight while riding anyway. With a RAM mount it is easily tilted toward vertical to reduce glare and when I am going slower offroad I can simply put myself between sun and it by leaning forward or standing or even blocking sun briefly with hand (if easy trail!). Honestly has never been an issue and certainly wasn't enough to make me want a $600 Montana. That said, if I were crusing around on the road, I would go with some kinda zumo I think, but I am talking riding DS where studying/fiddlying with anything while riding ends with me separated from the bike.

    What do you mean re smartphone res too high to read while moving? That sounds like opposite would be true, provided there is a zoom feature (DSM has speed controlled auto-zooming). Are you referring to drawing/refresh rates for a data intensive display? The app allows one to choose res and max zoom levels before downloading, but that is more a function to control file size, not really affecting viewing at speed.
    #58
  19. rickypanecatyl

    rickypanecatyl SE Asia adventure tours

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    Excellent point on anything you buy and intend to keep for a while. If it does what I want well I'd happily pay $50 before buying 5 programs for a buck each or free that only sort of did what I wanted!
    #59
  20. FakeName

    FakeName Wile E Coyote SuperGenius

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    phone, hell.

    I want my iPad mini as the dashboard with not only GPS, but all engine functions as well EFI, Temps, RPM, fuel use, temps.

    OK, back to the subject.
    #60