Phone or GPS Unit?

Discussion in 'GPS 101 - Which GPS For Me' started by kderacing, Mar 2, 2019.

  1. kderacing

    kderacing Been here awhile

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    I know this topic has been discussed frequently. But I myself am just considering transitioning from a dedicated GPS unit to the phone as my primary navigation. I put together a video that discusses this topic and some of the challenges I still have yet to overcome as I consider this. So for anyone interested the video is here:



    If you have experiences with some of the remaining challenges that I'm still trying to overcome, I'd love to hear about your experiences in these areas.
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  2. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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  3. dddd

    dddd Long timer

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    Motorcycle GPS.
    no battery worries, waterproof even while connected, pressure touch screen (no special gloves), shock resistant, solid mount, likely more functions (routes, tracks, trip logs, avoidances, vehicle modes, night mode, etc.), dedicated device means less clogging of phone with GB of maps (though phone usually remains a backup gps), and you can keep your phone ON YOU AS YOU SHOULD for emergency in case you are separated from bike.
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  4. flamingm0e

    flamingm0e Long timer

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    You just described a cell phone with the proper app loaded on it perfectly.

    Don't get caught up in "google maps" as the only form of navigation on a phone. You can use a waterproof cell phone as a dedicated GPS too, and it will still be cheaper, offer more features, with a bigger screen, and a plethora of applications available.
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  5. dddd

    dddd Long timer

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    It is true that gps apps have improved. But I'm just tired of being disappointed so I stopped searching. The argument that they are larger not quite factual, my zumo is the same size as my phone. Tablets would be relevant for argument. Meanwhile, though resolution is higher, it serves no purpose on a shaky screen (shaked helmet really..) 2-3 feet away from eyes in day light.

    But I stand by my stronger argument, resistive touchscreen and the phone should be on you (unless you are buying 2 just so you can put one on bike...).
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  6. flamingm0e

    flamingm0e Long timer

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    Your zumo is 5 inches? My Nexus 6 is 6 (it's dedicated to my bike, and I have an emergency SIM card in it should I need it). My Nexus 6 costs roughly $90-150 depending on where you buy from. Your zumo cost $700. I have more options available to me for GPS, routing, etc. I just don't see the appeal of spending hundreds of dollars more for less functionality.
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  7. Albie

    Albie Kool Aid poisoner

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    No different then buying a phone and a stand alone GPS. Just a much cheaper route, for a much better performing, and more useful device.
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  8. ptgarcia

    ptgarcia Huh?

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    For me, the biggest drawback to using a phone is the poor battery life and charging via USB. When I use the GPS it needs to run continuously off road for 8 hours or more. I haven't used a phone yet that can do this without either overheating or killing the battery. And charging while riding via USB is terribly unreliable. Until these issues are resolve I'm stuck using a dedicated GPS.
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  9. worwig

    worwig Long timer

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    After having TWO overpriced Garmin units FAIL in the rain, I now use a waterproof smartphone all the time.
    I enjoy having more features, more maps, and not being price gouged.
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  10. random1781

    random1781 Been here awhile Supporter

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    All these points are valid. USB cables suck. Garmins are expensive. Phone batteries die quickly. Not being connected with a GPS is limiting, and having to plug it into a computer to add routes is really dumb. There's no universal solution and it comes down to application. If I'm commuting every day in a city, nothing beats Google's routing around traffic or having Waze to warn me about stuff. If I'm planning some backwoods route, I'll toss the GPX on my GPS and not have the hassle of a phone and cables.

    My fantasy is to have an actual ruggedized touch screen mounted on the bike permanently that I could mirror to my phone so it isn't vulnerably sitting on my handlebar. I don't have to worry about being separated from it, it's not exposed to hot/cold, and I don't have to keep popping it on and off. But the ability to mirror the screen AND controls doesn't exist, as far as I know.

    The halfway solution that interests me is the cheap/spare phone option using my phone's hotspot, but to be worthwhile I'd want it safely/permanently mounted with power. I haven't found a case that fits this that's not hundreds of dollars.

    One thing to keep in mind is that most phones' IP ratings are guaranteed only at the time of sale. Very few (if any) manufacturers cover water damage because those seals don't last, at least in my experience.
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  11. elcabong

    elcabong Been here awhile

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    GPS no question about it. I really thought my phone was "it" until the GPS. My problem was my phone overheating during hot days and I couldn't really see the screen with my bad eyes. The GPS is brighter has more features and dedicated power so it's on all the time.
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  12. kderacing

    kderacing Been here awhile

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    This is primarily why I've stayed with the Montana, but I was wondering if any of the matte screen protectors actually work to make the screen visible in direct sunlight. Overheating is the other item that I'm still not sure would be solved though.
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  13. webmonstro

    webmonstro A Aventura Continua....

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    I've had that idea too in the past but to be mounted in the dashbord would make it realy far from your eyes, making ut hard to see, so unless you riding a big bike that has room for a big screen and riding more open roads then i guess it could work. But for more gnarly off road stuff the handlbar moiunted solution seems more viable to me . Ichose to fit it in the middle of te bars (crossbar) witch seem to keep it beter protected and just use a cheap device with flexable mounting and charging to take the abuse
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  14. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    begin multi-quote:

    your points first, then others in this thread
    1 they surpassed standalones about 3-4 years ago.
    2 this applies how ?
    3 YOUR phone may not be larger, but there are plenty that are.
    4 several phones are larger than the zumos display size, with more (FULLY FUNCTIONAL) antennas like wifi/bluetooth/nfc/barometer/inclinometer/ANT/ANT+/etc and nearly unlimited storage space. it's not really fair to compared a $50 (used) rugged/waterproof phone to a $500 (used) zumo, though.
    5 which is GREAT for looking at and planning with maps, viewing schematic PDF's of bike parts, route planning, taking pictures, playing back gopro videos, etc
    6 my screen isn't shaky, even on the dirty bike bumping through the woods
    7 plenty bright, plenty big
    8 personal preference- the touchscreen works fine unless your gloves have plastic fingertips

    I carry extra batteries, and a 2amp charging source/cord. there are external charging points also, that are waterproof, if I ever want to charge while falling over in a creek. i just change batteries nowadays, and recharge at camp before bed. charging from 10% to 100% in less than an hour is normal. overheating is caused by CASES which means the phone is not rugged/ waterproof without the case. see the kyocera xd, kyocera duraforce pro/pro2 for examples of cheap phones with rugged/waterproof capabilities. i use the xd because it's $50 to replace. i ride with usb charging frequently, it's very reliable, over the last 8 years of using it. you're only stuck with dedicated units if you -want- to be stuck. :-)


    1 sooooo, messing with cables and basecamp is ok for the standalone, but NOT having to mess with basecamp and cables for the phone is bad, how ? ;-)
    2 put-the-phone-on-the-bars. rugged phones don't care about how hot/cold they get. they LIKE being outside. let them be outside. ;-) there's not need to mirror a display, just USE the display.
    3 hotspot is not needed, but of course, you can use a hotspot if you like
    4 if you're looking for cases, you're using the wrong phone.
    5 if you look really close, i think you can see my kyocera xd under the sheets of water. it's five years old. i bought it a year or two ago for $50 used:


    1 what phone model ?
    2 ditto
    3 ok, that's entirely possible, depending on models compared
    4 ohhh, hold on now, let's specify those models so we can compare apples to apples
    5 my phone doesn't sleep






    recap- this is already a thread for 'ultra rugged smartphone as gps' on advrider. there is already a thread for 'phone vs standalone gps', and already multitudes of threads for each of the best navigation applications. if anyone -wants- to find out which are the best, rugged, FULLY ACCESSIBLE (wifi/bluetooth/etc) phones for dualsporting/dirtbiking/camping/hiking/commuting, it's -very- easy to find here on advrider. orrrrr, you can list the things you aren't sure of here, and folks can correct each point one at a time. :-)
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  15. random1781

    random1781 Been here awhile Supporter

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    The problem is that there's no one solution that satisfies everything, so people chose what matters most to them. I love the simplicity of a device with no wires that turns on instantly with a map of where I'm at when I turn my key, and since my bike gets parked outside, I need something lockable or hard to remove. The trade-off is that it's years behind technology-wise. You can get old rugged phones for cheap, but besides the wiring/locking problem, you'd have to swap SIMs or use a hotspot if you want connectivity, and since security is important to me, not only are those a few years behind, but they lose support entirely after a couple years.

    Each problem has its workarounds, and you can make anything work if you work hard enough, but that doesn't make one way the right one, or one to settle for. Given the sheer number of possibilities and the pace at which things change, new discussion should be happening all the time.
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  16. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    if you're referring to software updates of the operating system when you mention "security" and being behind.... it really doesn't matter.

    the applications still get updated (if you care about updating them ) and the phone is going to be used as an offline gps, so it's secured by not being used online..

    wires are not an issue , use the external charging points or change batteries when needed.

    physical security, ie not getting stolen is a joke. if someone wants your gps/phone/seat/motorcycle, they will simply take it.
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  17. Albie

    Albie Kool Aid poisoner

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    Agreed, theres not one solution that satisfies everyone. That's why I use 3 or 4 apps, to cover all those bases. My S5 doesn't have any wires connected to it. I don't need to lock it down as it takes about 2 seconds to slip it out of the cradles and slide it into my pocket.

    I don't worry about browser, or email security as it doesn't have a sim card. The only time I need connectivity is if I want to update the apps, or maps and I don't use anything else on the phone aside from nav apps. And those apps routinely get updates making them more useful and user friendly all the time. I picked up the S5, 7 years ago. Still has a faster chipset than most Garmins and I can still run all the latest releases of the apps I use.
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  18. random1781

    random1781 Been here awhile Supporter

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    Yeah, this is what I do now essentially, except I am online and I connect to computers, so device security is important. That along with the BMW GPS work, but I'm always looking to improve.

    I'm putting together a small single board system to be my all-in-one solution, slowly because I'm scavenging for parts. Right now I have Chrome OS running with the android apps I use, plus I have a simple gps logger that starts immediately on getting a fix. I'm really just missing a screen right now.
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  19. Tripped1

    Tripped1 Smoove, Smoove like velvet.

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    You phone maybe

    20170730_043058.jpg

    That is a 6" viewable Experia Z Ultra in a powered mount.

    External power, IP76 water and dust resistant etc etc. Completely offline my day to day phone sits in my tank wsterproof bag on a charger with the WiFi tether on just in case though I usually use locus or OsmAnd in offline mode.

    It is handy for weather and off "get me here now" type events like gas stops not working out or camp ground searches.

    Daylight photo
    20170814_173131.jpg
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  20. cascade63

    cascade63 Gone.

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    Ok I am an absolute newby to the GPS scene. Done my time in the Army using the old school wa of navigating with paper maps and compasses years ago and have now dived into this new world. All I can make of it thus far is a time eater in trying to get everything to work right. I have a Zumo 595LM and am trying to use Basecamp to use for planning.

    Now I have received a GPX Download file of a track here in Western Australia that I imported into Basecamp. Then I chnanged them into a route and there are two areas that have 'straight' lines going off into the yonder for some reason.


    So I am sitting here at work and decide what the hell, I'll open the link on my Samsung S9+ and see what happens when I click on the GPX file once i extract it.

    Well I'll be stuffed, I did the above and expanded the GPX file and as soon as I did OSMAnd Mapping opened with the track as true as possible and as designed. So for me Im going to be selling Zumo techno heavy system and go down the phone / tablet road purely because it appears to be so bloody simple to use and you arent locked into the GPS roundabout that seem to be making navigation secondary to tyre monitoring, music, what resteraunts are around you and alot of superfluous rubbish. ( in my view )

    Now when I go the phone / tablet route can I still use Basecamp to create routes and transfer them to GPX file to export to the phone or is there a better method ?
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