What is the Best Phone for GPS

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by HappyForNow, Jun 17, 2013.

?

What phone has the best GPS?

  1. iphone

  2. android

  3. windows

  4. Quit being so cheap and buy a gps

Multiple votes are allowed.
Results are only viewable after voting.
  1. sarathmenon

    sarathmenon Armchair Adventurer

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    So what's the recommended android app? I am planning a long trip through Canada, and I like relying on my phone for navigation because of a lot of factors:

    1. Has bluetooth, I can get notifications when I am riding
    2. All my music is on the phone.
    3. The phone screen is much nicer, higher res. Sucks in daylight, but liveable
    4. I have to carry less crap.
    5. The phone is usually more powerful.
    I am looking for offline Navigation, and have been demoing through some of them. Here's what I've been through so far:

    1. MayDroyd and other OSM variants: Lousy map data, great price (free).
    2. Sygic: Great POI/map data, lousy interface
    3. CoPilot: Much better interface, hit or miss with POIs.
    I don't mind shelling out $50 or so for the best app, but I'd rather not demo through all of them, and there are a lot to choose from. So, what is the FF recommendation for a good GPS app on android?
    #41
  2. StuInFH

    StuInFH Been here awhile

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    I've been using DualSportMaps for a year, have you tried that one? Several threads (Vendor, GPS forum, etc.) about it. That said, I am trading my one-month old Montana in on the Monterra, for the NOAA SAME alerts. Guess that is the ONE feature someone asked for above, as my Rugby Smart needs a WiFi signal to do the DSM weather radar ovelay. Monterra will be out in Sept, I'll report back.
    #42
  3. sarathmenon

    sarathmenon Armchair Adventurer

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    DualSportMaps is based off OSM, and I've had very sad results with the POI and routing accuracy from the map source. Also, I've seen the vendors post where initially people were put off by the quality. No offence to the dev, it takes very hard work to get a great gps app working. I am mostly on road, and I'd like to have routing working all the time.

    I hear you on the Monterra, and I can't for the love of god understand what Garmin is doing. They built a dedicated device which runs android and costs $700 and yet refuses to release their software on the play store. There is a market for a dedicated device, as well as a for a good (even paid) phone app. Much as I like Garmin, I want my music on a long road trip, and that pretty much means I fall back to the phone. If they refuse to see where the world is going, at some point, they will be taken over by the phone apps. Luckily for them, tomtom is doing a great job of releasing one shitty version after another on android :D. The competition is very equally lack lustre as well.
    #43
  4. tshelver

    tshelver Been here awhile

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    I had the Garmin maps and software on my Windows 6.1 HTC, I would guess one of the issues with moving that to Play, is the relative prices that Garmin asked versus the typical Android app.


    Sent from my A898 Duo using Tapatalk 4 Beta
    #44
  5. sarathmenon

    sarathmenon Armchair Adventurer

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    But they also acquired Navigon and already have a $50 app out there. Somebody is buying it, so there is a market out there for expensive navigation apps. I see how they feel about android apps cannibalizing their core dedicated devices market, but they should also see that customers are voting with their wallet? I think I am going to go with Sygic for now.
    #45
  6. Thanantos

    Thanantos Ride hard.

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    Part of the problem was that Garmin blew their Android load by trying to make a Garmin branded phone. It flopped, but Garmin is sadly still trying with android powered non-phone devices like the Monterra.

    I am sure what is holding Garmin back from putting out a GOOD Android app is their rightful fear that phone's will make their hardware obsolete. That will happen. Convergence is a fact of life.

    I use my phone (Droid Razr Maxx HD w/4.7" screen) as my GPS and it works great especially because I wear ear buds when I ride. I can listen to music which gets automatically muted when I am getting directions, etc. For the few little inconveniences of using your phone vs using a dedicated GPS unit I can't possibly see myself shelling out $600 to Garmin.

    Besides that, Garmin's display of it's maps on the device is just awful. Zoom out once and all you see are a couple colored, unmarked veins. That's helpful, thanks Garmin. I just finished a 2,100 mile trip through the Blue Ridge Parkway and Tail with a friend who had the latest Zumo (350/360?), and trying to use his device to plan a route was useless. When we had a data connection we used Google Maps on my phone and OSMand when we didn't.

    P.S. His device bricked at the end of the trip and is now enroute back to Garmin.

    I have used a LOT of different apps and had a couple review threads going in the GPS forum, but they are probably a bit too outdated now.

    Google maps and Google navigation are just awesome, but there is no easy way (that I know of) to import or use a custom route even though the desktop browser version of Google maps is one of the most awesome tools for creating custom routes. I hope like hell that Google soon adds that feature, and Garmin hopes like hell they don't.

    Speaking of creating custom routes, RideWithGPS.com works great.

    There is an app called Wayfinder that will make Google Navigation follow a GPX track or route, but it's definitely not user-friendly and still requires a data connection for the navigation.

    OSMand is a good all-arounder, but it has it's issues. The maps are decent, not great. It will also do turn-by-turn directions, even over an imported GPX route, but it can be buggy.

    CoPilot is a really nice app and the ability to add waypoints and have your route take you through them is really nice. Plus you can drag your route kind of like Google maps so you can do some really nice route planning right from your phone or tablet. PLUS, when you download it you choose what maps you want cached on your phone. I chose all of North America. No data connection needed after that.

    Navigon I hear is good, but they don't have a trial version (that I'm aware of) and I'm not shelling out $50 to find out if it sucks or not.

    The ONLY feature I haven't been able to find is an app that will import a custom route that you have created off-line and give you rock solid, turn by turn directions through that route.

    But, for me, my phone is the way to go.

    AND even though I am not a fan of Garmin hardware I would give them $100 for a fully functioning Garmin Android app.
    #46
  7. Grreatdog

    Grreatdog Long timer

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    I don't use a mounted GPS on my bikes. I just fish my phone out of a pocket at a stop for the rare times I want to see a map. But I have officially retired the marine chart plotter in our boat in favor of a waterproof 7" Android tablet running a $10 app. I have a different $10 app on my phone as backup. Garmin wants well over $1000 for a marine GPS with a decent sized screen and the same features. Right. I am into this tablet for less than $250 and the only feature lost is ability to see it in bright sunlight. My own experience with iPads is that they are pretty fragile. So far this Pantech Element has been unbreakable.
    #47
  8. sarathmenon

    sarathmenon Armchair Adventurer

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    And back to my question. CoPilot's POI and routing can be funky and I've decided to ditch it. I've also given MapFactor a spin. While spartan, it does get the job done, and I assume that with the paid update to Tomtom, the POI and routing will dramatically improve.

    But all things said and done, I've decided to go with Sygic. I hate the app's layout, but the routing and POIs are impressive and on par with Garmin and Tomtom. I think they use Navteq, so it's pretty much the same footing as tomtom. All said and done, they have something which works reliably, so they get my $60 for the NA maps.

    This bring me back to my rant about garmin. They have what I want in the monterra, and if only they'd release that darn app standalone, I would have gladly paid them what I am going to pay Sygic. I agree with Thanantos, I'd gladly pay them 100 bucks for an app that works like their standalone devices rather than forking out for Sygic. But I guess they don't want me as a customer.
    #48
  9. SnowMule

    SnowMule [angry moth noises]

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    Just buy a real GPS.

    It's about ease of use. To flag a waypoint along a route ... I don't even know how to do that on my phone, it takes so many menu, press-and-hold, click this, drag that operations. With my GPS, "Mark" button, "Enter" button to save the point. Don't even have to look at it.

    The few times I've been in my truck and left my GPS at home, trying to find and navigate to an address takes for-fucking-ever on the phone. GPS is a little more difficult for data-entry, but a lot more forgiving than the tiny-ass touch screen keys on the phone. And the GPS doesn't try and auto-correct street or city names.

    [​IMG]

    Right tool for the job n' shit.
    #49
  10. sarathmenon

    sarathmenon Armchair Adventurer

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    I guess it's one of those cases where we'll have difference of opinions forever. These are my main reasons for not wanting a standalone GPS:

    1. Another thing to carry. A GPS isn't really heavy, but that's another thing to mount, another device to hot wire, and another thing that can break down.
    2. 600 frikking dollars for a decent one. Garmin's hardware is easily 2-3 generations behind current smartphone technology, and is on par with cell phones 6-7 years ago. The display is 240p, dim, and is not even a comparison at all with a Galaxy S3 which is last year's tech by now. The SIRF chip used for GPS is the same, and it comes with a measly 4gb storage (I am guessing). I'd still be willing to put up with this if they were priced accordingly, but Garmin wants 600 dollars for the outfit. I am all for paying good money for well engineered products, but this in my opinion is just ripping customers off because they can. Especially when the car GPSs start at less than 100 bucks.
    3. Did I mention old hardware? The CPU on most GPS' I've looked at are too slow. Searching POIs take forever, and is an exercise in frustration.
    4. Integration with my music. If I am on a long ride, I'd like to listen to music. I prefer my GPS to lower the music volume when it's relaying some instructions. I also like to listen to Spotify, streamed over 3g. I also like to switch between Spotify, Pandora, and my collection of lossless FLACs. No GPS does this.
    5. I don't take phone calls when riding, but I like to be alerted about them with a ring tone so that I can pull over and take an important call. I also like my music to be paused during the phone call and resumed afterwards. All without having to monkey around.
    6. This is a personal preference, but trying to input an address into a GPS has always been frustrating to me. I like the voice prompts of a phone, and vastly prefer the key pad on a phone to the GPS' keyboard.
    I could go on with this topic, but I'd rather prefer a navigation app. The value add from Garmin and TomTom is due to their software, and there is no technical reason why an app cannot have the same or better feature sets compared to the standalone devices.


    It's true by and large for Google Maps. But Sygic, CoPilot and MapFactor are incredible and are almost on par with a GPS. I'd give it a couple more years before they fully catch up. Sadly, that doesn't help me because I needed some shit that works within this month.
    #50
  11. Thanantos

    Thanantos Ride hard.

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    I suppose its what you're used to. My wife has a Nuvi and everytime I try to use that thing I get annoyed.

    I'll stick with my phone.
    #51
  12. Mat

    Mat Long timer

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    Don't they have maps on Nokia Windows phones as well? Anyways, it is one of the better GPS (road-) navigation systems around (I prefer it to Garmin's stone-age mapping). They own Navteq and offer all the maps for free.

    I have the whole world, or at least what is mapped of it for navigation system use, in my phone and usually don't have to worry about maps when I travel somewhere. I also don't have to carry around a clutzy dedicated GPS device.

    As for ruggedness, my Zumo died after leaving it in the car during daytime in Winter once. That did not impress me much...

    Still, I guess the ease of use and other advantages will make me buy a Montana soon for the motorbike. No need to hassle about with waterproof cases, plugging in the phone after each stop, etc. Plus Topo maps and so on.
    #52
  13. señormoto

    señormoto Supermoto Abuser

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    It's already possible. You can create GPX files from Google Maps very easily: http://www.elsewhere.org/journal/gmaptogpx/


    1) Create your Google Maps, car or walking work fine.
    2) Add the GMapToGPX to your favorites icon bar, http://www.elsewhere.org/journal/gmaptogpx/
    3) Click the GMapToGPX favorite and select FULL, copy all the text output and save in a file as YourFile.GPX
    4) Go to www.GPSies.com, Track Creator, import a file and load YourFile.GPX
    5) Once loaded click the Refresh Elevation button
    6) Now export it as a GPX Route
    7) Viola, you now have a route that you created in Google Maps as a full fledged GPX file with elevation. You can import it into the GPS App/Device of your choice.
    #53
  14. Jan from Finland

    Jan from Finland Been here awhile

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    I went for Sygic for the simple reason that it was the only one available with world wide map swhich you can install to memory card instead of phone's internal memory. It tried also Route66 and Navigon. Sygic interface is a bit different but you get used to it. It actually has lot of good functions.

    About the original poll. I prefer delicated GPS (Montana) for riding. For driving and other uses I have waterproof Android (Sony) and non waterproof Windows (Nokia). I have ditched my old Symbian (Nokia Navigator) and Magellan.
    #54
  15. tshelver

    tshelver Been here awhile

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    OsmAnd and others will let you download the OSM maps. 10 regional downloads on the free version.

    Sent from my A898 Duo using Tapatalk 4 Beta
    #55
  16. Sparrowhawk

    Sparrowhawk Long timer

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    Phones are okay for navigation where there is data coverage. I use a Samsung Galaxy 3 with both Google maps and Backcountry Navigator. Both are great apps, Google for main roads and BCN for the boonies. Google is great for finding a local bar or restaurant. It's more up to date than any GPS software available.

    Phone deficits - hard to mount, keep charged, and use while riding, and not the best screens in bright sun. You can pre download maps for use beyond 3/4G but that only works if you don't change your plans. Preloading maps requires a higher level of tech savvy on an app than loading stuff on a GPS.

    GPS units work better in most ways, especially while in motion with gloves on. Phones are okay if you can't afford a GPS and that's all you have. Phones are pretty good in a car where you don't have to worry about weather and can work a touch screen but you still need data service. Most GPS units don't have voice recognition but that hardly matters rolling down the road wearing a helmet.

    My preference, belt, suspenders, and duct tape: GPS, smartphone, and paper map.

    Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk 2
    #56
  17. revrandy

    revrandy The Riding Rev.

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    You missed the point where Nokia doesn't require a data signal. Their built-in GPS can be set to satellite only. If you like it can also talk in one of many languages & dialects. My favourite is surfer dude. :D
    #57
  18. Thanantos

    Thanantos Ride hard.

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    Android phones don't require a data connection either.
    #58
  19. SgtDuster

    SgtDuster Long timer

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    I guess it's one of those cases where we'll have difference of opinions forever. This is my main and only reason for not wanting a do-it-all device:

    1. Break/lost it and you lost everything.

    One job, one tool. I'm this kind of guy. Even if I'm an IT tech.

    You prefer a dedicated smartphone as your GPS? No problem with that. If you prefer the ergos, the software, if you find it more responsive, whatever.


    I can lost/break my GPS. I won't be happy but it's not the end of my life. I mean, I can wait few weeks and take my time to read some reviews and wait for a deal to buy another. Same for a camera. But my phone? Everything at the same time?

    Anyway, to each his own
    #59
  20. ErockPDX

    ErockPDX Adventurer

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    Good thread.

    MotionX has been good to me, for phone and for ipad, as I mentioned. All of this has gotten me to look into GPSs though, even as I curse at my Nuvis, audibly. Really liking the look of the Garmin GPSmap 62st for versatility...
    #60