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iPhone vs cycle computer

ben@31[email protected] Posts: 2,327
edited August 2012 in Road general
Is it worth getting a GPS cycle computer? Or should I mount my iPhone to the bike?

The iPhone with a satnav app and the Endomondo app can offer GPS maps, speed, distance, time, averages, calories and recording of stats and routes onto my laptop. I think I can even get a heart rate monitor and cadence counter that works with an iPhone. The big pro is the cost... I already have the phone and Endomondo is free.

It seems the only cycle computer that offers all the above is a Garmin Edge 800. But at £380 to £400 it's seems ridiculously expensive. Is it really worth it?

The only problem with the iPhone is battery life. Does anyone have any experience of using a solar charger?
"The Prince of Wales is now the King of France" - Calton Kirby

Posts

  • RiggaRigga Posts: 939
    My mate carrys a battery booster thing that plugs into his iphone mini USB socket. When I use strava it only needs the GPS turned on you don't need 3g on until you get home to upload the route to strava website. So it really doesn't use much battery at all on my phone. (htc one x)
  • simona75simona75 Posts: 336
    I use a cateye strada on the bike and keep the i-phone in my pocket with strava running and maps pre-downloaded from everytrail. This gives me everything I need and the battery will run for 5-6 hours. I've toyed with the idea of a Garmin but it would be a luxury at the moment
  • BlakeysFCBlakeysFC Posts: 233
    I just shove my phone (Samsung Galaxy S3) into my back zip-pocket of my jersey with Strava.
  • StillGoingStillGoing Posts: 5,207
    I stick my phone in my pocket and use it for phone calls if I need to and use a Garmin for what it's meant for. If I'm doing a long route, I can't remember every turn so the mapping facility is useful. It will also display as many fields as I like all ride long without draining the battery on my phone or exposing the phone to the rain. A dedicated device can be an initial expense but it is easily worth it.
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
  • t.m.h.n.e.tt.m.h.n.e.t Posts: 2,265
    Wahoo fitness have a package that included speed/cad and HRM + the ANT+ dongle to plug in.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wahoo-Fitness-i ... 320&sr=8-1 (this one is actually a case with built in ant+)

    You wouldn't need the Wahoo HRM, This one is cheaper http://www.amazon.co.uk/Garmin-Heart-Ra ... 20&sr=8-14
  • iPeteiPete Posts: 6,076
    I didn't bother with all the extras, HRM or cadence so picked up a Garmin 800 and free maps for 270.

    Hands down better than the iPhone. I still use the iPhone for short rides in the back pocket but any new routes that require directions and the Garmin is epic. Stopping to load iPhone maps is a PITA, using live mapping would use loads of 3g and battery. The Garmin is happy in bad weather, has a very good mount and is built to cope with hours of rattling.
  • GizmodoGizmodo Posts: 1,928
    What the Garmin 800 gives you is the ability to plan a route on the Internet and then have turn by turn directions as you ride. You could do that with an iPhone but there are 3 major issues:

    1. Battery. Turn by turn directions requires the screen to be on all the time, this means your iPhone battery is only going to last a few hours at best and then if you do get into problems how do you phone for help? You can buy battery boosters but your adding more and more bits onto your bike that have to be mounted somewhere. If your rides are only an hour or two it's not a problem, but when you go for 6 hour rides...

    2. Weather proofing. for turn by turn directions your device needs to be mounted on the handlebars. You can buy waterproof housings for an iPhone, but the Garmin is designed for the purpose.

    3. Crashes. Now that your phone is on the handlebars it is susceptible to damage in the event of a collision, just when you want your phone to call for assistance.

    If you only want to record where you went, then a Garmin 200 or Bryton Rider 20 or an iPhone are great.

    If you want full turn by turn navigation following a pre-planned route, you can't beet a Garmin 800 IMHO.

    And as iPete said, Amazon, basic unit £270 and put Open Street Maps on it for free. I wouldn't be without my Garmin 800.
  • Gizmodo wrote:
    What the Garmin 800 gives you is the ability to plan a route on the Internet and then have turn by turn directions as you ride. You could do that with an iPhone but there are 3 major issues:

    1. Battery. Turn by turn directions requires the screen to be on all the time, this means your iPhone battery is only going to last a few hours at best and then if you do get into problems how do you phone for help? You can buy battery boosters but your adding more and more bits onto your bike that have to be mounted somewhere. If your rides are only an hour or two it's not a problem, but when you go for 6 hour rides...

    2. Weather proofing. for turn by turn directions your device needs to be mounted on the handlebars. You can buy waterproof housings for an iPhone, but the Garmin is designed for the purpose.

    3. Crashes. Now that your phone is on the handlebars it is susceptible to damage in the event of a collision, just when you want your phone to call for assistance.

    If you only want to record where you went, then a Garmin 200 or Bryton Rider 20 or an iPhone are great.

    If you want full turn by turn navigation following a pre-planned route, you can't beet a Garmin 800 IMHO.

    And as iPete said, Amazon, basic unit £270 and put Open Street Maps on it for free. I wouldn't be without my Garmin 800.

    This.

    The most important measurements to have are max/average/current speed, cadence, heartrate...

    Until somebody convinces me that a GPS computer (sans mapping) is significantly more accurate, I'll consider them to be an indulgence; the cost of which I could much better deploy. Full turn-by-turn navigation is something I could use, but that's an indulgence as well, really. We coped with them well enough before they were available...
  • Gizmodo hit the nail on the head, the Garmin 800 is a much better bet than any smart phone IMO.

    Another thought is that if something happens to my Garmin on an unknown route, I've still got the option of my phone to navigate me home.
  • stueysstueys Posts: 1,332
    Gizmodo hit the nail on the head, the Garmin 800 is a much better bet than any smart phone IMO.

    Another thought is that if something happens to my Garmin on an unknown route, I've still got the option of my phone to navigate me home.

    Agree, good summary from Gizmodo. I found my iPhone would go through half a battery on a 3 or 4 hr ride, considering its my only way of getting help should I need it then it wasn't a tenable solution for me on long rides. Got a Garmin 800 and it's great, wouldn't be without.
  • nwmlargenwmlarge Posts: 778
    i have my iphone mounted like this so if i want i can have the screen on and also i know when i receive calls/texts etc

    i use strava on mine to monitor rides i don't really go on long treks requiring a nav.

    376371_10151968431585541_850781467_n.jpg

    i did try to mount it to the stem but the jaw doesn't open wide enough :(
  • anthdcianthdci Posts: 543
    Is there a turn by turn navigation app for the iPhone that is aimed at cyclists? Obviously there is numerous car ones, tomtom, navigon etc etc, but I am thinking of one that would give the same GPS functionality of the garmin 800 where you can upload a route and then follow it? I know you'd be missing cadence and heart rate etc without add-ons but at the moment I cant afford 350+ for a garmin 800 with the extras and would love turn by turn.
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