Which is a Better GPS: the Garmin Montana or a Smartphone?

Discussion in 'Mapping & Navigation' started by Emmbeedee, Sep 21, 2017.

  1. Ogre_fl

    Ogre_fl Long timer

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    I found starting with CN 2016.1 they "updated" the speed ratings on many roads and where my Garmins used to give me fairly reliable routing out in rual areas they didn't any more.

    I have to run "old" CN 2015.4 maps to get reliable routing.
    #41
  2. Marcus I.

    Marcus I. The virtual world can't compete

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    Thank you all. I’m learning a lot here. I’ve got a Montana 610 and an iPhone 6 mounted on the bike with 610 wired in. I’m interested in the 2 smartphone concept. One for GPS without service and data plans on the handlebars, the other tucked away charged and ready for backup & emergencies within tower range.

    As a solo adventure/DS rider not carrying a laptop, working out of a hauling van for slab transport:

    1, What do the dueling smartphone inmates do for traffic reports when riding through congested areas?
    2. Off the beaten track, you’d still have a Spot, InReach for emergencies right?

    Either way, it looks like I’m going to have to add 1 more (another smartphone + InReach - Montana put on Flea Market OR just add inReach) device.

    Answers to the above will be greatly appreciated.

    m. i.
    #42
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  3. BigFatAl

    BigFatAl Been here awhile

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    I don’t use my smartphones for traffic,only for following tracks and to see where I am on a paper map.
    And yes I carry a SPOT also.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    #43
  4. Got_Carbs?

    Got_Carbs? Been here awhile

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    Google Maps, Waze, and distant second Here Maps are indispensable when it comes to live traffic, speed traps, construction, police activity, etc. These features obviously do require a data connection.

    I use my everyday smartphone-has service plan- for that.
    #44
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  5. Marcus I.

    Marcus I. The virtual world can't compete

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    Believe me I know that in NYC, Waze and Google maps are must-haves. Looks like I’ll have to find the best way to keep my backup phone with service contract charging while riding.
    #45
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  6. 919nick

    919nick Been here awhile

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    I primarily use the TomTom app on my GPS (Kyocera Hydro) device. If I feel like I’ll need traffic info I just use the hotspot on my iPhone.
    #46
  7. Maniaxe

    Maniaxe Adventurer

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    I can't say for sure but I feel like after a recent update the crazy routing started. I'll check what version of maps I am on but makes me wonder if its just a ploy to push us consumers to purchase newer models. Would't be surprised from a business standpoint when you put a great product out there to start its hard to have repeat buyers. Like how nearly every piece of electronic equipment I have every purchased starts to die right after the warranty runs out...

    Just checked my maps version and I am on CN 2015.20... can not update...might need to start my own thread lol

    CN and OSM
    #47
  8. Tripped1

    Tripped1 Bitch called me a feminist.

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    With the androids, I usually have my regular phone, which is also IP68 hardened in my tank bag, usually on a charger with the WiFi tethering on, if I need traffic reports (usually only coming home in Tokyo traffic) I just swap to Gmaps by voice (to my navigation phone) and tell it to go home.

    Works well....and that way I don't have to stop to kick on the wifi.
    #48
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  9. Bowber

    Bowber Been here awhile

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    I've been using a Blackview 6000s this year, no data plan or sim, wifi for updates and the tomtom go app for navigation. Me and my wife travel on separate bikes so one will have the phone as a satnav and the other will have the Garmin car satnav. The phone is consistently more accurate, better routing, and quicker to re route as we miss or take other roads. It also lasts for over 8 hrs of navigation on it's own battery.
    I've just ordered another BV6000 so we can both have one.
    We've dropped the BV, soaked it and left it rattling around in a box while traveling and it still looks like new and works well.
    The only downside has been the lack of a glove friendly screen but you shouldn't be messing with it while driving anyway.
    Off road I use Viewranger but I only treat it as a glorified map with my position show so no routing or navigation.

    Steve
    #49
  10. levain

    levain STILL Jim Williams

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    I sold my Montana about 5 years ago for a smartphone and never looked back. The Montana was my 3rd garmin. I loved them for a GPS, but hated basecamp and mapsource before it. The maps were so expensive too, but it sorta is what it is. Then, an Android phone came along and a few apps. So easy!

    I ran a Samsung Galaxy S5 active for awhile. That is a great GPS phone. Currently, a Kyocera Duraforce. The only thing a Montana has on the phone is the charging. That rugged mount is pretty deluxe. I use a perfect squeeze, and its great, but that only holds the phone. I went through 2 S5 actives until I got smart enough to sugru the charging cable into the phone. That solved the vibration issues killing the port, but created its own issues. We're back to charging. Again. Maybe, I need to setup an extra battery to charge, but I'd rather just plug in. Then, I'll kill the port... But, I can't tether to a garmin to stream spotify and raindar so..
    #50
  11. bkoz

    bkoz Been here awhile

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    I have been experimenting with my phone as a GPS trying multiple different apps. I am using a mix of Locus, OSMAND and Avenza. And if my riding consisted of highway and simple 2 track it would be fine. But when the trails get gnarly my Montana trumps the phone. Easier to read in the sunlight, better touchscreen, more rugged, better mount option, no overheats, better cold weather performance (I sled), more reliable in deep bush cover/mountain single track, ease of transfering between bikes, multiple power supply choices etc, etc.

    And the free osm maps are all easily downloaded onto the Montana.

    When my Montana finally bites the dust (I am guessing its ~ 8 years old) I will save up for a 610.
    #51
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  12. abruzzi

    abruzzi Long timer

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    I'm more into dedicated GPS's, but I wonder if the inductive charging you find on some phones might get integrated into a cradle? That would be very slick.
    #52
  13. scfrank

    scfrank Old farts riding club.

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    When you say better for routing, do you mean following a route or getting to a destination?
    #53
  14. Bowber

    Bowber Been here awhile

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    I mean more sensable routing, my Garmin satnav comes up with some bizarre routes sometimes. It's only a car one though so it doesn't have many routing options, it was a fairly expensive one when new though.
    I also like the windy route option in the tomtom go app but that's available in bike satnavs anyway.
    We use the phone in the car now as well. It's tough too and we've not had any heat issues yet but we're in the UK so maybe not the best place to test for heat problems :-)
    #54
  15. Tanshanomi

    Tanshanomi Your Favorite Uncle

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    My wife gave me a Montana this past summer, and it's still sitting in the box. I think I've turned it twice. I know it will do lots of things Google Maps on my iPhone 6S won't, but I haven't had a chance to sit down and learn them. It is supposed to replace my old, dead ForeTrex 101, which I used strictly for live-recording tracks. I'm strictly a street rider, but after a couple of times when Google Maps wildly mis-located our destination address, I'd like to start plotting my entire route ahead of time and loading it into the Montana, rather than hoping for the proper route info on the fly.
    #55
  16. 919nick

    919nick Been here awhile

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    You could also just load Scenic (www.motomappers.com) on your iPhone and keep using it. Scenic route was the app that mad me decide to sell my Montana.
    #56
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  17. markbvt

    markbvt Long timer

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    Wow, really? So far Scenic has struck me as pretty but not especially useful. Maybe it's had some updates since I last tried it; will have to reexamine.

    I'm still unsatisfied with iOS GPS app options. CoPilot is good for car use but doesn't cut it on the bike. Pocket Earth Pro comes closest to the feature set I'm looking for, but has a couple of significant drawbacks, especially its need to connect to the server to calculate/recalculate a route (which renders it useless when I'm somewhere with no Internet access, which is often). Any GPS app that requires a data connection for map downloads (Google Maps, the native iOS Maps app, Gaia, many many more) is immediately out of the question for the same reason -- and frankly, those apps actually anger me because in this age of 256GB cell phones, there is absolutely no excuse to not store the damn map in the phone's memory, and no, caching a few map tiles does not count. This is one thing Pocket Earth Pro handles very well, allowing you to permanently download the maps you need, from a small region to an entire country.

    For the time being, the Montana is still the most functional, convenient, feature-rich option. But it's by no means perfect. I keep waiting for someone to release an iOS/Android GPS app that knocks the ball out of the park, but so far no one's come close. If I were a skilled programmer I'd just write it myself, but sadly, I'm not.

    --mark
    #57
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  18. abruzzi

    abruzzi Long timer

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    I suspect that there isn't one set of functions that would suffice for everybody, which it why there are people on this forum that stump for using a cell phone and others that adamantly dislike how they function and prefer dedicated devices from Garmin or others. I sometimes think these arguments are like talking at cross purposes because those needs and desires are implicit at best or unstated and unknown at worst. For myself, I just got a new GPS a few weeks ago, and it is--by a large margin--the greatest navigation device I've ever used. It is very close to perfect, and it was made something like 13 years ago, but my needs and desires are clearly different from a lot of people here.
    #58
  19. Got_Carbs?

    Got_Carbs? Been here awhile

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    Paying 500 dollars or more on a dedicated GPS device people describe as acceptable, okay, decent. And from what I gather/hear the company isn't listening to their feedback. A premium price for a not so premium experience, how is that viewed as okay?

    Do you know what 500 dollars buys in a smartphone? A phone that is a more than capable online/offline GPS device, point and shoot camera, a emergency lifeline even without service, among many other things.

    I want a dedicated GPS (because I love tech) but these companies aren't going to improve with people still throwing their money at these flawed products. They know they have a small, loyal fan base.

    This isn't directed at anyone or the Montana, just a rant.
    #59
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  20. markbvt

    markbvt Long timer

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    Absolutely right, of course -- it all depends on personal preferences. Though a lot of the people stumping for cell phone GPS use seem to be doing it not because they think it's an especially good device, but because they don't want to pay for a standalone unit, and they don't feel they need the more advanced features. Which is understandable.

    It doesn't seem like it would be out of the reach of Garmin -- or the developers of iOS/Android GPS apps -- to create a device/app that offers a wide range of available features and user customization in order to appeal to a larger group. One of the things I like about the Montana -- and especially the older Oregons -- is that the user interface offers a LOT of customization. I think what frustrates me the most is that Garmin has all the pieces -- they've loaded various GPS units with the features, they have the capability to develop a kickass iOS application (Garmin Pilot proves this) -- but they don't seem to have any interest in putting out a really good road/trail iOS app. (The other thing that frustrates me is that Garmin puts a huge price premium on motorcycle-targeted devices -- there's no need for the top-end Zumo to cost almost $1000 and not even offer some of the features available in a lowly Oregon.)

    Out of curiosity, which GPS did you pick up?

    You're not wrong. But at the same time, no one is stepping up and building a killer GPS app for mobile devices. There are some good apps, but nothing that makes someone like me say, "This is it. Don't need a standalone GPS anymore." I'd even be willing to pay $50+ for a really excellent iOS GPS app, and I know other people who would too.

    --mark
    #60
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