Rugged Android vs Cheap motorcycle GPS

Discussion in 'GPS 101 - Which GPS For Me' started by macintosh, Nov 4, 2012.

  1. macintosh

    macintosh Adventurer

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    I'm sure this topic has been covered here many times but after spending couple of days reading here I still have not found anything related to specific problem.

    I'm looking for GPS device for use on my bike (surprise). Will be travelling mostly on paved roads in Europe & UK (90/10) with my Kawasaki Versys. For background: I have used previously my Samsung Galaxy S2 (with Copilot Live) as GPS device in tankbag. Found out that this specific phone/setup is not very suitable as main GPS device on bike, mainly due the unreadable screen in any slightly better light conditions (not to mention under direct sun).

    As price is an issue so Garmin/Tomom bike GPS are out of question. After looking all over Internet for suitable solution finally came to three possible approaches: dedicated cheap moto GPS (Peaklife), rugged Android phone (motorola Defy), Android Tab. Ruled last one out fast as there is too many problems to solve. Still not sure should I prefer not so good dedicated GPS or rugged/splash-dustproof phone. Any suggestions or ideas about that?

    1. Chinese GPS "Peaklife"
    For:
    + weatherproof (almost)
    + has all the connectors and chargers for motorcycle
    + easy to mount and remove on stops
    + can be used with gloves
    + tons of maps around
    + everything to set up on bike is included
    Against:
    - not too good visibility on daylight
    - limited usage (GPS only)
    - limited software options (iGO Primo)
    - quality could be lottery
    - too big to fit into pocket
    - uses A2DP bluetooth profile on my headset, so can not connect phone/MP3 player

    2. Android phone Motorola Defy
    For:
    + weatherproof (almost)
    + wide array of different GPS software available (iGo Primo, Copilot Live, TomTom etc)
    + lots of useful apps
    + wireless connectivity (good for weather and fast data update)
    + small enough to carry in pocket
    + doubles as phone
    + putting it to bike and removing it on stops will be relatively easy
    Against:
    - battery consumption could be sometimes faster than charge rate (can be probabaly fixed)
    - can not be used with gloves
    - need to buy additional equipment to secure it to handlebar.
    - not sure how well USB outlet with plugged in plug will take vibrations on handlebar
    - possible overheating issue
    - no sun hood

    Price wise they both will more or less be the same: 100£/125£/150$ US. Of course Defy does not have all the chargers and connectors included but they can be bought from eBay for quite reasonable price.
    #1
  2. jspringator

    jspringator Been here awhile

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    I've got a Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 (7") that I am going to try to press into GPS duty. I bought GPS CoPilot maps. The route is adjustable via touch screen. I bought one of those touchscreen pens that will hopefully be more precise than my stubby finger. Some guys who use CoPilot on their phone do their route on google maps and copy (manually) it onto the mobile device. I haven't gotten that far yet. I'm hoping the larger size of the tab will make that unnecessary. I just ordered my mount today. I don't know how it will work if powered (or unpowered) in a plastic bag. My iPhone 5s got hot and shut down, but I did put it it the bag way too early when the sun was still shining. The plan is to use the iPhone as a hot spot (I have a portable battery) keep it in a waterproof place, and run Pandora and GPS via bluetooth to my earplugs. If the hotspot shuts down I will just lose my Pandora. Alternatively, I can put music on my tab and not worry about Pandora. I'm hoping it will be easier to plot the route on the tablet, and that the tab will run longer in the bag than the iPhone when it rains. Since I already have it, all it cost me is $20 for the mount.
    #2
  3. FredRydr

    FredRydr Danger: Keep Back 500 Ft.

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    Here are two solutions:
    I've been told this is messy and requires almost daily reapplications:
    http://gizmodo.com/5966270/secret-elixir-makes-any-glove-touchscreen+friendly

    I am going this route:
    http://www.instructables.com/id/Making-A-Glove-Work-With-A-Touch-Screen/

    My Garmin Zumo 665 firmware upgrades are not keeping up with bluetooth technology. Now I have an iPhone on my handlebars for bluetooth connectivity and music, while the Zumo only does GPS duty anymore and is connected to no other device, neither wired nor wireless). I need gloves that work on the iPhone, so I've ordered the conductive thread.

    Fred
    #3
  4. levain

    levain STILL Jim Williams

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    I've thought of doing the same. What mount are you using? A trip to Liquipel and some of that stuff you can paint on to your gloves so you can use it with gloves would complete it.
    #4
  5. storymitchell

    storymitchell Member of the proletariat

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    I have a Garmin Nuvi 2455LMT refurb ($90) and a waterproof RAM case ($50). With the brightness turned all the way up the screen is visible in the sun. It does not have all the features my Zumo had, but it gets me from point a to point b.
    #5
  6. DRTBYK

    DRTBYK All Things GPS

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    You were given bad info. I've been using Any Glove for Leather for almost a year now and it is certainly not messy unless the person using it is. It also does not wear off quickly unless you are using it on work gloves. On my KLIM Adventure Pro's it lasts about two weeks of daily use on the bike. It also works in the rain - of course the screen cannot be completely covered in water or no conductivity. YMMV
    #6
  7. S10S

    S10S Been here awhile

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    i gave up... after almost 9 months of using my Samsung Galaxy 5S and co-pilot I purchased a Nuvi 2797LMT. several issues promted this radical departure from my normal aversion to spending money.
    1) Combination of screen size and my aging eyes made the 7" nuvi screen very attractive
    2) the "putziness" of importing .gpx routes into Co-Pilot
    3) stability of co-pilot software (and/or my phone) found a need to frequently kill and restart the app to get my position updated. Usually this happened if i changed to another app and back to co-pilot, or if I stopped the bike, used the phone to take a picture etc and then reconnected the phone to the on-bike power supply
    4) related to #1 small size of buttons on co-pilot/samsung made it difficult to use accuratly with gloves on.
    #7
  8. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    I've been using android for a couple of years on the bike.

    I first used a waterproof bag, which I pierced with a USB cable for charging.

    then I used a box with a glove friendly membrane.

    now I use a rugged ( Casio commando) phone, and am completely happy. it has external charging points, and is completely water/ dust/ vibration proof.

    copilot was terrible, I use locus, Osmand, or oruxmaps. everything works OFFLINE work no cellular signal needed.

    GPS accuracy is about 9feet.

    the charging points mean is very quick to remove, put in my pocket, or make/ take a call.

    I've activated it on straight talk, for$43/ month with unlimited calls/ text/ data.

    the 4g version is even faster, with a larger screen.

    I'm sold.
    #8
  9. Albie

    Albie Kool Aid poisoner

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    Really? Kinda odd considering there' no such thing as a Galaxy 5S, and the Galaxy S5 wasn't released until April of this year. :lol3
    #9
  10. S10S

    S10S Been here awhile

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    my mistake it is an S4. Regardless of the model number, I just want it to work and not have to be putzing around with issues. Thus the capitulation to buying a dedicated GPS and hoping for a better experience. That and the fact that with ageing being what it is, I just needed a bigger darn screen.
    #10
  11. jspringator

    jspringator Been here awhile

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    I have an old (4 years old) Garmin in the console of my truck. Does Garmin have downloadable software for me to create routes and download them to this Garmin?
    #11
  12. DRTBYK

    DRTBYK All Things GPS

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    Garmin does have software, BaseCamp, but whether you can download data to the GPS will depend upon the model you have.
    #12
  13. SloMo228

    SloMo228 World Class Cheapass

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    +1 on the Casio Commando. I had the 3G version and used it as a bike GPS with Osmand. I now have the 4G version and it is even better. The screen even works with gloves on without having to paint goop onto the fingers.

    It's not the greatest phone out there in terms of processor speed, camera resolution, image quality, and so on, but it's unbeatable if you're looking for a rugged smartphone that is going to be used and abused. No need for bulky cases, either (though the phone is fairly bulky to begin with).

    And you can get them dirt cheap. My 3G and 4G were both free with a Verizon contract renewal, and I'm sure you could scoop up a used 3G for next to nothing.
    #13
  14. SloMo228

    SloMo228 World Class Cheapass

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    Did you make a mount that charges via the side charging points? Or is there one out there on the market that I haven't seen? I always used the USB port to charge while on the bike. At home, I had the cradle that charged via the side contacts, but I didn't know there was any way to do it on the bike.
    #14
  15. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    yeppers

    used some thermo plastic stiff and some springs. I'll put up pictures tomorrow
    #15
  16. Albie

    Albie Kool Aid poisoner

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    This is the EXACT reason I finally gave up using Garmin's crap. :lol3 Oddly enough, my S5 has been great using OSMand and my aging eyes don't need to see the screen because I get voice prompts giving me directions. :clap
    #16
  17. S10S

    S10S Been here awhile

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    two weeks into using the Garmin I am dissapointed. Perhaps I just can't be made happy :), but the gyrations needed to import routes with basecamp are vexing. I like the size of screen, I hate the fact that my Garmin will NOT pair with my headset.
    #17
  18. jspringator

    jspringator Been here awhile

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    I tried to use Basecamp. I plugged my 2009 Zumo into my mac. It downloaded the maps, but froze the mouse.

    Before I spend money and a new GPS it has got to work with this one first.

    Basecamp did not look to be user friendly; even less so without a working mouse! I had to turn it off and turn it back on.
    #18
  19. TRZ Charlie

    TRZ Charlie That's MR. Asshole

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    Ummm, get a working mouse.
    #19
  20. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    i understand this so very well. :(



    tried to bluetooth three routes (red-hard, yellow-ds tires, green-street) to a buddy and his garmin. fail, bluetooth doesn't work so well if it's not pairing to a headset.

    tried wifi-direct. fail, service doesn't work on his garmin.

    tried microsd card in a sdcard adapater. fail, too many points. (really, WTF is a gps for, walking in the backyard with 3 points or less?)

    gave up, handed him my extra phone, bluetoothed the track/waypoints over in 30 seconds, set it to the yellow route his tires could handle, to follow and meet up with us later. he held the $500 garmin in one hand, and the $80 android in the other. shook his head, and rode off.

    i'm sure if i had a few hours, a really fast computer, a printed manual for basecamp, another for the garmin in question, one tutor familiar with each, and some good coffee from jproaster i could have gotten the track onto the garmin, but i'm ignorant of how.

    if i can release one person a month from the clutches of garmins mess, i'm happy.
    #20