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

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

  1. scfrank

    scfrank Old farts riding club.

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    Agree! And I love the next cross road announcement.
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  2. CavReconSGT

    CavReconSGT Just the right amount of evil.

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    #62
  3. scfrank

    scfrank Old farts riding club.

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    I’ve been reluctant to jump into the android pool. Quite happy with my iPhone. But with all the good reviews here about Locus, maybe. Anyone here have input about loading and using routes made by others? I know the quality depends on the creater, I had bad experiences trying iPhone apps for this.
    #63
  4. BigFatAl

    BigFatAl Been here awhile

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    I use a android as my main GPS but I use my iPhone 7 as a back up with the same maps and tracks.
    The only reason for this is because android cost $60 and the iPhone was $500 !!.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    #64
  5. abruzzi

    abruzzi Long timer

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    I just got a 276C, and it works exactly the way I would want a GPS to work. I’m honestly not surprised Garmin kept this one in production for so long or that they are still coveted. I’ve only found two things I don’t like: the archaic memory card, and the incompatibility with macs with USB3.
    #65
  6. markbvt

    markbvt Long timer

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    I haven't; I don't have any Android devices. I've thought about buying one of the cheaper tablets just to play around with Android GPS apps, but it's still a lot of money just to satisfy my curiosity. From the research I've done, it appears that most apps have pretty minimal differences between Android and iOS versions. The big outlier is Locus, which seems to be the leading Android GPS app and isn't available on iOS. But when I did some reading about that app, it didn't strike me as seeming significantly better than some of the apps available for iOS.

    And for what it's worth, the iOS version of Osmand lags far behind a number of the other GPS apps available for iOS, so it's a developer thing, not a platform thing.

    I'm actually very tempted by the new 276Cx. It seems to come closest to covering the features I'm looking for, and it uses the AMPS rugged mount I already have for my Montana. But after using touchscreen devices for over a decade now, I'm not sure I could go back to a button/menu-driven interface without losing my mind. Also, the damn thing is $700.

    --mark
    #66
  7. abruzzi

    abruzzi Long timer

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    Be careful not to go too old. A few years back I bought a Nexus 7 to try out as a GPS, back then it worked fine (but I couldn’t find any apps that worked for me.). A few months ago I dug it back out to try again, after it was done updating itself it was so slow as to be unusable (i.e. Google Maps takes five or more minutes to start up.). By radically uninstalling everything not navigation related, I got it barely usable with the most light weight navigation apps (but still unusable with Google maps.)
    #67
  8. Albie

    Albie Kool Aid poisoner

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    It's not like you have to give up your iPhone. I got a Galaxy S5 to use exclusively as a standalone GPS. Still use an iPhone for everything else. As I said before, the S5 with Locus, Kurviger, and Here We Go, works so much better than the Montana it replaced for a fraction of the cost. Of course, back when I got it, the phones were subsidized by the carriers, so it was next to nothing. Now days, not the case, but you can still find great deals on very good Android phones.
    #68
  9. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    Last summer I bought a new, but older model, Kyocera on Amazon for $72 to play around with GPS stuff and use as a backup for my Montana. I thought this was a pretty cost effective approach. I don't use it as a phone and have maybe $30 invested in software.

    I have done a few field test rides and think it would be okay as a backup. But my personal preference is still strongly for the Montana.
    #69
  10. scfrank

    scfrank Old farts riding club.

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    I may try the Kyocera. Just cause I’m a techno fool and like new things. Like I said earlier, I share routes with others a lot. It has to work well with basecamp routes.
    #70
  11. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    I use Basecamp and Mapsource to create all my routes and tracks for the Montana.

    I mainly navigate with tracks. I have successfully loaded these tracks into Osmond, Locus, and BackCountry Navigator on the Kyocera.

    I can't remember loading any routes. But I had a pretty exhaustive list of operations to check out each App.
    #71
  12. markbvt

    markbvt Long timer

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    Yeah, that's one of the problems with cheap Android hardware.

    And to be honest, if we look at Garmin's current product line, we can make some predictions about upcoming updates. For example, the evolution of the Oregon line has landed us on the Oregon 700, which includes Bluetooth for connectivity with phones, which in turn enables active weather, displaying weather radar on screen. A number of other newer units have this feature as well. I think it's a pretty safe bet that the next iteration of the Montana will too. And it'll probably have some display improvements. Could end up being compelling enough to get me to update from my Montana 600.

    Meanwhile I'll continue watching the development of iOS GPS apps in hopes someone makes that one killer app. But I'm not holding my breath.

    --mark
    #72
  13. Addapost

    Addapost Adventurer

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    This issue has been mentioned only a few times here so I'll throw my 2 cents in for it: you really need to be good at technology to use a gps, all of you sound like tech wizzards to me, I am a tech dumb-ass, really really stupid with tech. I bought a Montana 680 and spent a couple months trying to figure it out. I have never used a gps before and was utterly unable to do anything with the montana, all I could do literally was turn it on. In the process of researching how to use it I discovered that folks are using smart phones for dedicated gps. Hmmmmm, since I couldn't figure out how to use the gps and already owned an iPhone I tried that. I spent the $10 for Gaia and within an hour or so had it all figured out, no problem. EASY! I sold the Montana and used the $$ to but a new pair of Sidi Adventure Gore Tex boots. My plan is to do the TAT next summer with the iphone. I'll admit he Montana problems were all me but Gaia on the iPhone is easy.
    #73
    Dan Alexander, Albie and 919nick like this.
  14. Shawnee Bill

    Shawnee Bill Long timer

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    Interesting. I have the exact opposite experience. I picked up a Garmin GPS several years ago and just started using it. I now have a Nuvi in the car and a NavV on my GS, use them without ever looking at the manual. Took me to Alaska and back and over a large part of the US using both routes and tracks.

    Last April I bought my first android to use as a GPS, my son spent about 2 minutes helping me with the OS, I installed Osmand and started using it literally in just a few minutes, 30 more minutes I was using Locus.

    A month ago I installed Gaia on my iPhone and it has what to me is a very poor user interface. I just gave up wanting to learn how to use it.

    Point being I have no idea how to answer the question as to what is the best GPS device for any individual person.
    #74
  15. Albie

    Albie Kool Aid poisoner

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    So you will have a very expensive GPS that has to interact with your cell phone to get you information, that your cell phone can do on it's own................... Uh huh.
    #75
  16. markbvt

    markbvt Long timer

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    Just be aware that Gaia requires a cellular data connection to download maps as you're moving. For the TAT you'll want to download a GPS app that stores maps directly on your iPhone, such as Pocket Earth Pro.

    But as we've already established, there is no software out there for the phone that accomplishes what I want it to. Plus the phone is vulnerable to the elements. So I'd still rather have the dedicated GPS that's capable of withstanding whatever abuse the conditions throw at it, that has the features I want (for the most part), and that can get weather data through a Bluetooth connection with the phone that's tucked away safe in my pocket (which is going to be there no matter what kind of GPS I'm using).

    --mark
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  17. Shawnee Bill

    Shawnee Bill Long timer

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    I have a NumuS10 android phone that I bought to use as a dedicated GPS. It is rugged, weatherproof, waterproof so will take whatever abuse it gets mounted on the bike. I think I paid $125 delivered, put in a $20 SD memory chip and have spent maybe $20 on GPS apps including maps. I primarily use it on my Husky, it does everything I want, just has it's own way of doing things, no better, no worse than my Garmins - Except the Locus app handles tracks much better than anything else I have seen.

    I carry my iPhone in my pocket for use as a phone and if necessary I can stop and check the weather on it. Rarely do that.
    #77
  18. Addapost

    Addapost Adventurer

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    You can download Gaia maps onto the phone's memory for use without cell service. But I will also look into Pocket Earth Pro, thanks for that.
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  19. markbvt

    markbvt Long timer

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    Gaia only lets you download an area by marqueeing it, which is an incredibly inefficient method. Pocket Earth Pro lets you download a whole state or country as detailed vector maps. Far better solution. Several other apps let you do that too -- Galileo Pro, Scenic, Osmand, Copilot, and others.

    Speaking of Osmand, the iOS version just got updated with road navigation capability, so is now much closer to par with the Android version.

    --mark
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  20. Addapost

    Addapost Adventurer

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    Thanks for that I will definitely check out those options.
    #80