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Motorola Moto G vs. Garmin X, anyone have experience with both?

Discussion in 'GPS 101 - Which GPS For Me' started by LightChop, Nov 4, 2015.

  1. LightChop

    LightChop Adventurer

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    I've read countless threads about Garmins, and the Moto G, and still struggling with the decision.

    Background: I'm currently riding 90% back country roads looking for dirt or gravel in NorthWest VA near the BRP. Hope to expand that to multi states in the future. I'd like to have a GPS with a nice size screen mounted above the speedo. I don't need a lot of fancy options, just need to know which road I'm on and where I am on that road. My ideal budget is about $400.
    Options:
    Moto G with 16G for $219 and a mount for about $90. or . . .

    The Garmin 660LM for $325 and about $90 for a mount. I can stretch for the 665 if it's that much better, but a little out of my price range.

    I like the Moto G as I really just want a basic GPS that's low maintenance. Internal battery means no wiring. I have an iPhone 5 for POI and anything else I need cell service for. The iPhone screen is just too small to navigate with.

    I like the screen size and price point of the Moto G. My concern is it seems like not a lot of you are going this way and I'm just wondering why.

    Question for the experts - has anyone used the Moto G or another large screen smart phone and not been satisfied, then gone to a Garmin?

    Appreciate any feedback on pros and cons of both. Or, can you send me a link to another thread if you've already answered this question.
    #1
  2. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    1 taking the place of the speedo is a very good location, above/beside the speedo is ok, but not as protected from roost or sun. do whatchalike though :)
    2 that's fairly easy, covered by almost any standalone gps or smartphone
    3 you could setup 7-8 bikes for that much cash
    4 you do not need the latest generation in smartphones. the first gen moto-g has great IPS displays, fast processor, and very good touch screen. it's not advertised as waterproof, but has been treated well enough to survive riding + rain or dunking, easily.
    5 ouch
    6 yes, it'll do that
    7 you'll want to have a charging cable, if you keep the screen on all the time. the screen EATS battery, followed closely by poor cellular signal. if you use sane screen habits and airplane mode, you should be plenty tired from riding before the battery is.
    8 that's surprising. i thought it was pretty good, but this is very much a personal preference.
    10 ( 9 got skipped today ) according to the google play store, there are about 10million installs of osmand and locus, and 1 to 5 BILLION installs of google maps. not everyone comments, most people just use it. ;-) since it's free, there isn't much reason to justify it's purchase, unlike a $800 garmin. ;-)
    11 i've been using offline smartphone mapping for a few years. the reason was: tomtom, garmin, and magellan wanted me to upgrade hardware, to get new software, which also required a new purchase of maps, and wasn't anywhere near to competing with the user-interfaces of phones. i dumped it, and haven't missed any of it. this is a personal preference, NOT the defacto standard. everyone has stuff they like. :)
    12 there is a very lengthy smartphone vs gps thread here on advrider, a locus thread, an osmand thread, and a few others like rever, backcountrynavigator, oruxmaps, navigon, motion-x, and others. lots of available choices for the smartphones and most importantly

    they
    all
    work
    offline

    ;-)
    #2
  3. snare

    snare sittin and breathin

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    Never used a Garmin X, but have been travelling across the US on my KTM 400 EXC with just my Moto G, using Osmand + (and occasionally Google Maps when finding stuff in a sizable city).

    It works perfectly.
    I find I can easily keep the battery topped off even when the screen is on for many hours (and have even done one full day, all Google Maps, with data service the whole day, and screen constantly on-- without issue).

    I haven't tried Locus yet but likely will in the future just to give it a whirl.

    I have found no need to get a standalone GPS like a Garmin.
    I may get another Moto G just for GPS duty solely from the - I don't want one of my communication devices (phone) on the handlebars, in case I crash/get separated from the bike perspective. I feel the same about emergency medical gear and communicators like the Delorme Inreach.
    #3
  4. zamram

    zamram Been here awhile

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    If I go with a Moto G which one should I get the 1,2,or3.?
    8gb or 16gb?
    Recommend a good mount.
    Thanks
    #4
  5. snare

    snare sittin and breathin

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    I know with Osnand + It is possible to load a state/province at a time, so that allows you to add or delete states/areas to manage device memory if need be.

    With that said, I'd get whichever you can get the best deal on, with the most memory. For my sole Moto G (which is also my phone) I chose the 4G LTE model as it has a slot for a memory card. I'd consider the 8 or 16 fixed capacity if I was using it as a GPS and not a phone/camera. That depends in how frequently you can save the pics to another device, etc.

    I am unsure if Locus allows for the same flexibility with maps as Osmand+

    Bottom line, I think any would work great.

    As for mounts, I use a RAM X Grip on my KTM EXC . The phone has stayed put on and off road, including a couple significant get offs.
    #5
  6. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    I dunno, that's pretty much up to the user. I like older devices, because their bugs have normally been worked out in both software (firmware) and hardware. If you're not sure, go for 16Gb. 8 was plenty for me, but I don't want anyone upset with not having enough storage. :)


    I make my own mounts/stuff, so I can't recommend a mass produced one really. The RAM stuff gets high praises, and amazon has a really good review system. I would start there. :)
    #6
  7. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    great info there :) thanks

    to add: locus also uses offline maps like osmand does, from openstreetmap developments. the format is different, as osmand wants OBF format, and locus just wants the .MAP but yes, free and easily downloaded is the norm. here's a link to the world: http://www.androidmaps.co.uk/
    #7
  8. zamram

    zamram Been here awhile

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    The Moto G's are glove friendly correct?
    Has anyone tried the Nokia Here app.?
    #8
  9. LightChop

    LightChop Adventurer

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    oh good and snare - thanks for all the input, it's been very helpful; decision has been made!

    I'm going with the moto g, 16gb. Wish my iPhone had a bigger screen, it pretty much does everything I need. It's about three years old and the memory is full, so I'd rather just get a dedicated smartphone to use as my GPS. iPhone can stay in my pocket for backup.

    I'll report back with debrief.

    Thanks again fellas!
    #9
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  10. snare

    snare sittin and breathin

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    I just arrived in Brookhaven, MS on my cross country trip. It was pouring on me as I crossed the Audobon bridge over the Mississippi.

    Been raining steady and often hard on me for last hour.
    My Moto G is not in any kind of a waterproof case or bag.
    And yes, it works with my gloves on probably 98% of the time.
    #10
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  11. DaMonk45

    DaMonk45 I B Da Monk

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    The hear app is a great app for here to there type of stuff.
    It does it all offline with downloaded maps.
    It will not do any gps stuff and that is not their target.
    But if you are looking for point A to B then it is hard to beat.
    #11
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  12. snare

    snare sittin and breathin

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    My Moto G (typing this on it right now) spent the last 7 hours in non stop rain on my EXC. No waterproof case or cover. Had it charging and ear buds plugged in to it. It was upright (portrait mode) in the X Grip mount.
    #12
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  13. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    real world experience right there, good stuff, thanks snare ! :D
    #13
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  14. worwig

    worwig Long timer

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    I spent many many years using Garmins attached to the handlebars. I spent a couple of years with a Garmin AND a smartphone attached to the handlebars. I haven't turned on my Garmin for about two years now. The smartphone just does more. I don't have a waterproof phone, so that is occasionally annoying to deal with, but no problems so far.
    #14
  15. Lee R

    Lee R Man in a Box

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    I've been using phones/tablets on bikes now for over 50k miles. The Moto G would also replace your point and shoot camera for the trip and you can post to this forum in your tent/hotel/starbucks.
    #15
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  16. el tortuga

    el tortuga Been here awhile

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    I have a question for the fans of the cell phone...

    I'm wanting to buy a cheapo cell phone for use as a gps navigator and I will use it strictly for that purpose (without cell service). Also, I want to have voice navigation/directions. Is this possible?
    #16
  17. Lee R

    Lee R Man in a Box

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    Keep in mind many of the cell phones have a micro sd card slot for expanded storage. Mine has a 64gb card installed, cost-20 dollars. It's got 72GB of onboard memory now, so enough to offline the entire United States for street and topo maps. The Moto G 2nd gen is 149 at amazon and it's IPX7 rated waterproof and works with a 32gb micro sd (12 dollars).

    I use Google Now (cell service is required for it!) to voice activate my maps, music, send and have texts read back, phone calls, check weather or ask just about anything to google through my Sena SMH10. My phone/Sena combo will stay powered for 8 hours or more before the phone needs usb support (which I have, or use a external pack).

    Google maps had an update where you can now offline pretty large sections of map (as much as your memory will hold, so states at least) the big change is it now retains the search information and autorouting to new locations.

    Heres a video I made a few days ago for a quick overview of some common apps on a 5.5" phone.

    #17
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  18. DaMonk45

    DaMonk45 I B Da Monk

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    Yes, it is possible.
    No you do not need cell service.
    OSMAND+
    LOCUS
    they are the ones I am familiar with.
    You just need a wifi connection to load the maps and what ever else you want/need.
    #18
  19. el tortuga

    el tortuga Been here awhile

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    That's what I like to hear!
    One of the nice things about Garmin is the screen brightness in full sun. Living in the sunny south west, I'm skeptical that a cell phone screen would be easy to see 100% of the time so voice navigation via BT, without requiring cell service, is a must.
    #19
  20. Lee R

    Lee R Man in a Box

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    Also HERE, free, great voice and easy to offline a continent. Google maps can also offline as much as you have patience to offline and retains it's search function offline. Screen brightness is a non-issue on most phones these days. Mine is not even on half brightness in full sun (Alcatel Idol 3). My previous Nexus 7 tablet on the bike needed full brightness but worked in full sun in Utah in the summer just fine. It needed to be plugged in though past 4 hours.

    Honestly as good as phones are I'm not sure why people pick Garmins for double or triple the price these days.
    #20