Good GPS

Discussion in 'GPS 101 - Which GPS For Me' started by Mick88, Jun 30, 2020.

  1. Mick88

    Mick88 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2011
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    Location:
    Riverside, Haverhill ma
    Looking to buy a good GPS, one I can load GPX files in. I do some adventure riding, some single track and long trips on the slabs. Not looking for a bargain necessarily, just something with great features and longevity.

    Thanks
    #1
  2. vince82

    vince82 Been here awhile

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    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Old beat up android phone. Everybody has one in a drawer and they just work great.
    I don't think I'll ever buy a dedicated gps ever again
    #2
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  3. Some_Dude

    Some_Dude Been here awhile

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    +1.

    I recently bought a Garmin Montana, and despite the discount (on sale at Cabela’s, plus Mil discount on top) it still pisses me off with how much money it’s cost me (map upgrades, mounting hardware) and it’s still not as good as a smart phone for most of the stuff I use a gps for.
    #3
  4. Heloflights

    Heloflights Been here awhile

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    Plug for GPS - took a trip thru Canada (back when we could do that) and of course as soon as I crossed the border my carrier wanted $10 to provide service for my android phone...my GPS worked just great...no extra fee...I use Garmin 496 w/XM weather...
    #4
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  5. PineLaneRider

    PineLaneRider Long timer

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    #5
  6. draco_1967

    draco_1967 Spoon!

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    +1 for an old Android phone. Any phone built in the last 5+ years should have a GPS chip that does not require service to use. Load whatever nav app with offline maps (and keep them updated), and enjoy. Bonus for being able to charge the phone wirelessly to avoid destroying the USB port (and potentially maintain waterproofness with a case).
    I'm using my old Galaxy S6 with a Lifeproof case on a wireless charging holder for nav. It works great.
    #6
  7. boulet_boulet

    boulet_boulet Long timer

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    To the OP - I am using Garmin Zumo XT. It's weatherproof and does everything you need. Unlike most smartphones it will not overheat as easily in high temps and it's easy to configure which, if any, notifications it gives you (texts, social media, incoming calls, etc.). The screen is simply amazing and I really like the ability to send tracks to it via Bluetooth.

    OTOH, it has been problematic and has had to be replaced by Garmin already in its short life. A warranty is a good thing.

    Montanas are also great for all conditions, all weather but lack some of the features the newer Zumo has.

    Older Zumos can be had for short money in the Flea Market right now due to many upgrading to the new XT.

    I used a Nuvi car GPS, updated with OSM maps for a couple years and found it to be perfectly adequate and weather-tight-ish. They were cheap enough that I had cloned spares in reserve should a failure occur.

    The phone vs. dedicated GPS thing is a bit like which oil is the best debates, etc. There are advantages to each. Different strokes for different folks; do what works for you, and ride your ride.

    I will be interested to hear how you make out. Good luck!
    #7
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  8. flamingm0e

    flamingm0e Long timer

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    My Android phone will work anywhere I want without service...I don't even have a carrier on it.
    #8
  9. webnetxpress

    webnetxpress DakarEnduro

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    Phones are fine if you are doing easy/casual type riding. If you need a device that wont overheat, can be read easily in direct sunlight, waterproof, waterproof charging connection, wont fail from hours and hours of motorcycle vibration, can survive crash impacts, etc. then you would want a device built specific. A garmin Montana is the standard used for most rallies (if they are gps rallies) here in Africa and EU, but really any garmin outdoor model will work well.
    #9
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  10. Grinnin

    Grinnin Forever N00b Supporter

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    A reply like this is almost always the first recommendation. Read further on ADV and you might find that there are phones that are hard to read, dim the display in bright light, don't charge as fast as they use electricity, etc.

    There are many phones that don't have all these problems. The best may be rugged phones with bright displays although even they may have some issues to resolve.

    Android phones can be a solution for someone looking for GPS. I use a Kyocera Duraforce Pro. There are others that are suitable. I also use a Garmin Montana. The Duraforce and my Montana each have strengths and weaknesses.

    I tried an old Android phone and it was a waste of time. Even having a Kyocera Duraforce in a charging mount, I use the Garmin Montana more often.
    #10
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  11. vince82

    vince82 Been here awhile

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    I have a google nexus 5x as my gps. The camera has been vibrated to death but everything else works. The location of the mount behind my windshield makes the splashproof rating of the phone and charging connection good enough as far as waterproofing goes and I rode through some major rain storms and MANY light rains here in the subacquatic British Columbia.
    I only ride tarmac and forest roads, and those are perfectly mapped by Google. And if I were to drop my bike, the phone wouldn't even be in my worries.

    My point is that in 99% of the cases an old phone is your best bet. Quality of mapping and features beat any expensive GPS unit by miles, with the one exception of durability, but a used phone already lived 2 years with you as your phone and what is doing now is just second life for an extra 2 years.

    Just as in any dedicated GPS, everything can be done entirely offline.. It just does not have to be.

    The overwhelming vast majority of riders everywhere, even in this forum, never rides far enough from civilization to justify needing the features of a dedicated GPS unit and an old hand-me-down phone (assuming it was a decent phone in its first life) is almost always the best option.

    That said, if you can afford a 6 month sabbatical trip through Africa, by all means splurge on the expensive offroad gps.
    #11