Dedicated bike GPS or Phone app?

Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by eversorich, 10 Mar 2019.

  1. eversorich

    eversorich Regular

    I know this has been asked a million times but I thought I'd throw this one out as I'm about to make this choice. The reason I ask is due to battery life. I'm happy with mapping apps on my iPhone 7 Plus as I have a dynamo hub and charge point BUT there is the option of bike GPS which would use much less energy and not require so much charge and the screen would be easier to view.

  2. NorthernDave

    NorthernDave Never used Über Member

    I run a Garmin Edge 810 and also MapMyRide on my Phone (Moto G4).

    I've been out on an 9 hour (inc stops) 100 mile ride and both the phone and Garmin were showing around 30% at the end.
    The Garmin had done nowt but use the GPS to map, tell me when to turn left or right and record the route.
    The phone had been doing all the usual phone type stuff (apart from making calls), plus recording the ride on GPS.

    If you've programmed the route into the Garmin the directions / graphics are quite clear, but if you need to use the map it is far, far easier on the phone screen.
  3. Supersuperleeds

    Supersuperleeds Guru

    Satmap, very expensive but is the dogs dangly bits, especially the screen and mapping

    Should have added I work with Satmap so may not be unbiased (bit it is a brilliant bit of GPS)
    Gravity Aided likes this.
  4. Blue Hills

    Blue Hills ^

    I'd look very seriously at the Garmin Etrex 20x.

    I have the 20 (now discontinued with the launch of the above).

    Way cheaper than many Garmins but in my view more fit for purpose than many more expensive Garmins.

    Tough and weatherproof.

    Runs off two AAs which can be rechargeables.

    You can use free regularly updated open street map variants.

    <edited for typo>
    Last edited: 10 Mar 2019
    lane and Ffoeg like this.
  5. I prefer my phone to be safely tucked away in a padded case than exposed on my handle bars, so touch wood its safe if I ever need it.
  6. Ffoeg

    Ffoeg .

    The Isle of Carl
    What he said :thumbsup:
  7. Vantage

    Vantage The dogs chew toy

    Another fan of the Garmin Etrex20x here.
    My etrex 20 recently started acting up after near 6 years of use, often on bumpy knarely trails and in foul weather.
    So I replaced it today. With a newer Etrex20x.
    GPS for navigating and recording rides. Currently going for £143 on amazon compared to other places charging £190+. Phone for calls including that emergency one to emergency services which I hope I never have to make. But if I do, the battery will have more than enough juice to cover the call.
    Blue Hills and Ffoeg like this.
  8. Drago

    Drago Guru

    Dedicated Garmin devices of various types here.
  9. derrick

    derrick The Glue that binds us together.

    You could get a garmin. But then you would wish you had bought a Wahoo. Have used both but the Wahoo is sooooooooo much better.
    lane and Spartak like this.
  10. HobbesOnTour

    HobbesOnTour Senior Member

    The Netherlands
    If your decision is to be made only on battery capacity then I'm not sure that a dedicated gps device is any better than a phone on the assumption that you can charge as you go. Clever power saving management of your phone can extend it's operating time to be on a par with most gps devices +/- 10 hours.

    Having said that, overall I prefer a separate gps device.
    Ease of use in extreme weather - sun/rain (Especially rain!!)
    Security of mounting
    Redundancy - in worst case scenario phone can navigate too.
    Emergency: The phone has juice.

    It very much depends on your cycling/touring style. Dry weather only on smooth surfaces in places where towns and services are not in the far distance means that a phone can adequately double up as a main navigation device.

    If you decide to go down the gps route, then that opens up a whole other debate!.
    lane and Dogtrousers like this.
  11. Ffoeg

    Ffoeg .

    The Isle of Carl
    Sorry to quote you on this, but it's something I've seen time and time again on this forum... recommendations with no supporting reasons. What makes an un-named wahoo better than a un-named garmin? Garmin make a good number of GPS units catering for a wealth of requirements, and I'm sure Wahoo make a few too. So c'mon Whaoo owner/recommenders, what is so good about them, and in what way do they better Garmins?

    Garmin claim up to 25 hours for the Etrex 20/30(x) from a pair of AAs and in my experience it's pretty close in usage. The newer Touch 25/35s are supposed to be around 16 hours but the one I had didn't get close to that, plus the touch screen is annoying if you usually cycle in gloves (like me), hence me reverting to the tried and trusted 30X.

    The one thing that could be leveled at the etrex/oregon/montana handsets is that the bike mount is pretty basic, and it is however with a bit of thought and very basic tools....



  12. LeetleGreyCells

    LeetleGreyCells Cycliste en formation

    I use my iPhone in a case mounted on the handlebars with Komoot app. Only been using the app for a couple of weeks but happy so far. I can’t say about the battery usage as I knew before getting the navigation app that I need a new battery for the phone. Which I’ll eventually get around to.
    Spartak likes this.
  13. derrick

    derrick The Glue that binds us together.

    Much easier to follow while using mapping, Just a basic line to follow, we have recently come back from Calpe in Spain, a large group of us mostly with Garmins. the guys with garmins where overshooting turns ending up on the wrong roads at roundabouts. In the end they just let me lead. i have used a garmin 800 i keep it as a spare but since having the Wahoo elemnt i have not used it.
    And since we have been back from Calpe two of the guys have bought a Wahoo.
  14. avole

    avole Guest

    If you need to buy the phone, and, while they may not be perfect, phones have the best screen, you can watch in-ride movies on them, listen to music etc so they are easily the most polyvalent, caveat emptor! You should wait until later this year or next and buy a 5 g compatible. Alternatively, wait until 5 g is on the market and buy a 4 g , assuming prices slide.

    Had a look at some pretty decent android phones today, of which the much-maligned Huawei stood out, but was disappointed to see that they, who installing the 5g networks in several countries, do not plan to put it on their phones until late this year. Yes, they make nice phones, albeit with captive memory you cannot expand, but the only thing they’re pushing their phones is the Leica lens which is in their most expensive ones. Not that I blame them, Leica make fabulous lenses, but these are, after all, phones.

    All the comments about battery life are accurate, by the way, but the recharging units cost little now and you should ideally have 2, because you won’t just be charging the phone, there’s lights, razor, hair dryer and so on. It doesn’t take much to rig up a cable feed to your phone, and you will need it.
  15. YukonBoy

    YukonBoy Extra solar

    Ultima Thule
    Latest rechargeable AAs are pushing 40 hours use in my ETrex 20.
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