Strava question

Moonbiker
Moonbiker Posts: 1,706
edited October 2013 in Road general
Hi im thinking of upgrading from my nokia brick 10yr old phone to smart phone so i can use strava.

ZTE blade 3 on virgin payg i was thinking of as a bugdet gps phone.

Some questions:

Will using the strava app for andriod phones use my data up end & up costing me extra or will it be free?

Will the battery life be ok do you reckon for say 7hrs rides?

Comments

  • slowbike
    slowbike Posts: 8,498
    Re data - the strava app doesn't require data to be turned on - it records your ride on the phone and uploads it at the end when you stop. There are a couple of options that may use data - like live position reporting and viewing maps on the screen as you ride.
    You should be able to turn data off on the phone and upload the results using WiFi when it's available.

    7 hours is a long time for GPS recording on a phone - I'd say unlikely, but not out of the realms of possibility. I'd be wanting either a dedicated GPS or external power source ...
  • Slowbike wrote:
    Re data - the strava app doesn't require data to be turned on - it records your ride on the phone and uploads it at the end when you stop. There are a couple of options that may use data - like live position reporting and viewing maps on the screen as you ride.
    You should be able to turn data off on the phone and upload the results using WiFi when it's available.

    7 hours is a long time for GPS recording on a phone - I'd say unlikely, but not out of the realms of possibility. I'd be wanting either a dedicated GPS or external power source ...

    Depends on the phone, my S3 handled 11+ hrs this year starting with a full charge.
  • andy46
    andy46 Posts: 1,666
    My girlfriend uses a Nokia Lumia 800 and that lasted for over 8 hours on full charge. My advice would be to get a Garmin though. I got a Garmin Edge 200 for £89.99, even though it's bottom of the range it does everything I want.

    Plus if there's an emergency and I'm miles from home, my phone has plenty of charge in it.
    2019 Ribble CGR SL

    2015 Specialized Roubaix Sport sl4

    2014 Specialized Allez Sport
  • andyk19
    andyk19 Posts: 170
    My experience with Strava is that whilst it doesn't require mobile data to be on for the app to track a ride it helps a lot if it's on, as the phone (I think) is then able to cross reference the GPS data with maps like google maps to get a better fix on your position. I've found that unless the mobile data is on then the phone struggles to detect segments, it'll get some but certainly not all. Whereas with mobile data on it's a lot better. I find I get the best results with mobile data on and power saver off (only matters if your phone has a power saving setting).

    Duration wise I have found that the battery life can be extended if airplane mode is switched on, it's possible to have airplane mode and mobile data on at the same time. However you won't be able to make or receive calls and texts.

    Before someone pipes up that smart phones aren't any good for Strava and only Garmins etc should be used, I've ridden with people using both and whilst the dedicated GPS do seem to be better it isn't uncommon that the phones pick up segments the Garmins miss, or vice versa - dedicated GPS certainly doesn't seem to be 100% reliable for Strava segments.

    My phone is a HTC Desire X, so a mid range smart phone.
  • blinddrew
    blinddrew Posts: 317
    The easiest way to prolong your battery life is just to switch it into aeroplane mode. A lot of people assume that GPS is really battery intensive because they head out for a ride with it switched on and the battery is drained at the end. Most of this will be down to the phone constantly hunting for a new mobile signal and, especially in any remote areas, it will have to crank up it's output to reach the mast.
    Try switching your gps on and aeroplane mode on and see how long your battery lasts, you'll probably be pleasantly surprised.
    Music, beer, sport, repeat...
  • Moonbiker wrote:
    Will using the strava app for andriod phones use my data up end & up costing me extra or will it be free?

    It will use a little bit of data in terms of uploading your ride to the Strava servers. But the GPS tracking itself doesn't use data.
    Will the battery life be ok do you reckon for say 7hrs rides?

    Almost certainly not.
  • blinddrew wrote:
    The easiest way to prolong your battery life is just to switch it into aeroplane mode. A lot of people assume that GPS is really battery intensive because they head out for a ride with it switched on and the battery is drained at the end. Most of this will be down to the phone constantly hunting for a new mobile signal and, especially in any remote areas, it will have to crank up it's output to reach the mast.
    Try switching your gps on and aeroplane mode on and see how long your battery lasts, you'll probably be pleasantly surprised.

    Unfortunately not an option for iPhones because it switches off GPS reception.
  • cougie
    cougie Posts: 22,512
    I've had 5 hour rides fine on my iphone - but 7 hours would be too much.

    You dont need to use any data recording the ride - and just upload it when you have wifi after ? Thats what I was doing on holiday in France this year.
  • Schoie81
    Schoie81 Posts: 749
    Other have given you the answer about data usage - it doesn't NEED to use any at all.

    With regard to battery life - if you're just using it to track and record your ride (which is what I do - phone in my saddle bag)) the battery life should be fine. A 2hour ride uses about 12% of the battery on my Samsung S3, which suggests more than 10hours from a full charge before the power goes. If you're using it to view the map as you ride, this will be significantly less. The screen itself is a high drain on the battery, so with the screen turned off, you should be fine, screen on to view maps (especially as you'll probably need the brightness turned up in daylight so you can actually see it) the battery will get wiped out much much quicker.
    "I look pretty young, but I'm just back-dated"
  • blinddrew
    blinddrew Posts: 317
    Unfortunately not an option for iPhones because it switches off GPS reception.

    I did not know this.
    Music, beer, sport, repeat...
  • thegibdog
    thegibdog Posts: 2,106
    Why not get a Garmin Edge 200? They're available for under £80 now.
  • Moonbiker
    Moonbiker Posts: 1,706
    Thnaks for all the info
    My experience with Strava is that whilst it doesn't require mobile data to be on for the app to track a ride it helps a lot if it's on, as the phone (I think) is then able to cross reference the GPS data with maps like google maps to get a better fix on your position. I've found that unless the mobile data is on then the phone struggles to detect segments, it'll get some but certainly not all.

    Thats sounds annoying does anyone else find this while using the strava phone app also?

    If that is the case maybe garmin is better as don't want to pay for data just so i don't miss segments.
  • andy46
    andy46 Posts: 1,666
    I've also read that the Garmins etc are more accurate as they track every one second where the phone apps track every 3 seconds. That could make a difference on segment times.
    2019 Ribble CGR SL

    2015 Specialized Roubaix Sport sl4

    2014 Specialized Allez Sport
  • ju5t1n
    ju5t1n Posts: 2,028
    I recorded my Marmotte ride with the Strava app on my iPhone and that was over 8 hours, there was about 20% battery still left at the end
  • kwi
    kwi Posts: 181
    You can get a holux plotter for about £40 which works great and has an IP rating so no worries about getting wet, unlike most smart phones. The advantage of the Garmin is the computer side of things, cadence and heart rate are both something that may become important enough to you to track.
  • Buckie2k5
    Buckie2k5 Posts: 600
    galaxy s2 gps worked well for me. If its still available it will be cheap as s3 and s4 are out now.
  • Re those saying get a Garmin, my favourite thing about using the Cyclemeter app on my iPhone is that I can plan routes in advance then have the map on-screen during my ride with my route marked on it, so I can follow it like a sat-nav. As I understand it, you have to go quite a way up the price range of GPS units to get full mapping with route-following?

    Re computer, just recently I've got a HRM that connects to the Cyclemeter app via Bluetooth.

    I already had the iPhone when I started riding so had no outlay there. Cyclemeter app was £2.99 and I've just spent £50 on the HRM. I still consider the whole thing a bargain. :D If you're buying a smartphone purely for cycling, the cost may not be worth it compared to a GPS.

    I get 4-5 hours out of my iPhone with both GPS and bluetooth running.

    Re wet weather, I've been out in all weathers using the Topeak drybag and never had a problem. In fact, I've now bought another drybag for when we go hill walking in the Lake District as we use a GPS mapping app on my phone for that too!

    http://www.wiggle.co.uk/topeak-iphone-d ... 5360429316
  • chris_bass
    chris_bass Posts: 4,913
    blinddrew wrote:
    Unfortunately not an option for iPhones because it switches off GPS reception.

    I did not know this.

    you can kind of manually do it by switching off data, wifi, bluetooth, 3g, calls etc but leave gps on.

    should work
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  • akc42
    akc42 Posts: 43
    I tried using Strava on my iPhone 3Gs, but not only was battery life pretty useless, the accuracy of the GPS plots were off.

    I obtained (for other reasons) a Nexus 7 Android tablet, and discovered that it fits in my Jersey Back Pocket. When I record Strava on that, not only does the battery seem not to deplete - even on a 4-5 hour ride - but the accuracy is much much better. You can look at a trace and see where I got off the bike on a cycle track in some woods to pee behind a tree. Travelling down roads always has the track on the road even with corners (whereas the iPhone would often be way to the side of the road).

    Only downside was on holiday I stood up from a chair in an outside cafe and the unit fell out on to the ground, denting the corner and cracking the glass. It still works though.

    Now that tesco seem to be doing tablets for £100 - this might be a viable and cheap option.

    It might also be worth pointing out that I can plan a ride on http://www.ridewithgps.com - and ensure that there are plenty of cues in the cue sheet list. There is then an app "Cue Sheet" which connects with my account, downloads my planned rides - and with a cheap (between £1 and £2) in app purchase will then read off the cue sheets to me as I go along. I regularly use this - in conjunction with Strava recording the ride - to travel new routes.
  • akc42 wrote:
    I tried using Strava on my iPhone 3Gs, but not only was battery life pretty useless, the accuracy of the GPS plots were off.

    iPhones 3GS and older had pretty terrible GPS receivers - this is where the reputation of iPhones having poor quality GPS comes from. From the iPhone 4 onwards and especially the 4S, it's vastly improved.
  • chris_bass
    chris_bass Posts: 4,913
    akc42 wrote:
    I tried using Strava on my iPhone 3Gs, but not only was battery life pretty useless, the accuracy of the GPS plots were off.

    I obtained (for other reasons) a Nexus 7 Android tablet, and discovered that it fits in my Jersey Back Pocket. When I record Strava on that, not only does the battery seem not to deplete - even on a 4-5 hour ride - but the accuracy is much much better. You can look at a trace and see where I got off the bike on a cycle track in some woods to pee behind a tree. Travelling down roads always has the track on the road even with corners (whereas the iPhone would often be way to the side of the road).

    Only downside was on holiday I stood up from a chair in an outside cafe and the unit fell out on to the ground, denting the corner and cracking the glass. It still works though.

    Now that tesco seem to be doing tablets for £100 - this might be a viable and cheap option.

    It might also be worth pointing out that I can plan a ride on http://www.ridewithgps.com - and ensure that there are plenty of cues in the cue sheet list. There is then an app "Cue Sheet" which connects with my account, downloads my planned rides - and with a cheap (between £1 and £2) in app purchase will then read off the cue sheets to me as I go along. I regularly use this - in conjunction with Strava recording the ride - to travel new routes.

    GPS on phonse has moved on a lot since the iphone 3gs days! I don't think a tablet would be a good option for most (the enormous pocketed amongst us aside) should be abel to get a pretty reliable phone for under £100.

    as for battery life, its probably because i'm guessing it was the wifi only nexus 7 and therefore did not have data or phone signal to worry about.
    www.conjunctivitis.com - a site for sore eyes
  • thistle_
    thistle_ Posts: 7,148
    andyk19 wrote:
    My experience with Strava is that whilst it doesn't require mobile data to be on for the app to track a ride it helps a lot if it's on, as the phone (I think) is then able to cross reference the GPS data with maps like google maps to get a better fix on your position.
    I think having data turned on helps to get an initial GPS position fix (either uses the phone signal to get a rough position to start with, or looks up satellite data on the web) and this is what's advertised as A-GPS.
    I've got an Xperia Ray and it usually gets a GPS fix within about 30 seconds with data turned off. Sometimes it takes longer, and turning data on doesn't seem to help.

    I've not used the Strava app for a long time now but it shouldn't need data for segment matching unless it tries to match segments as you ride (i.e. to tell you that you are riding a segment in realtime). You can upload any GPS data to the Strava website and the segment matching is done on their servers.

    I found the Strava app to be pretty bloated, taking a long time to start up, generally unresponsive and gave a reduced battery life yet was full of features that I didn't want (and didn't have features that I did want). If you just want to record a route and upload it later, consider using another app. Any app which records your latitude, longitude and time which can be exported to a file will work with Strava with some faffing around. I had one that worked on a Nokia 5310 with a Bluetooth GPS but it meant a lot of faffing around.
    In some apps you can reduce the frequency that your position is recorded, the theory being that fewer points will give longer battery life at the expense of accuracy (e.g. doing 40mph around a bend might show you cutting across the corner).

    I use IPBike now (free demo but you have to pay after while) which seems to give longer battery life, is ANT+ compatible and you can upload straight to Strava form it.
  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 40,502
    Rode a 12 hour with Strava running on my Galaxy S2 last year (with the ride back to HQ it was more like 12.5 hours) and still had just about enough charge when I finished to make some phone calls. That said, I switched it into airplane mode whilst riding but then I never hear / answer my phone whilst riding in any case. I don't know how good battery life is on the phone mentioned but 7 hours should be possible if you switch on airplane mode (you can always turn it back off if you want to check for messages).
  • andyk19 wrote:
    My experience with Strava is that whilst it doesn't require mobile data to be on for the app to track a ride it helps a lot if it's on, as the phone (I think) is then able to cross reference the GPS data with maps like google maps to get a better fix on your position. I've found that unless the mobile data is on then the phone struggles to detect segments, it'll get some but certainly not all. Whereas with mobile data on it's a lot better. I find I get the best results with mobile data on and power saver off (only matters if your phone has a power saving setting).

    Duration wise I have found that the battery life can be extended if airplane mode is switched on, it's possible to have airplane mode and mobile data on at the same time. However you won't be able to make or receive calls and texts.

    Before someone pipes up that smart phones aren't any good for Strava and only Garmins etc should be used, I've ridden with people using both and whilst the dedicated GPS do seem to be better it isn't uncommon that the phones pick up segments the Garmins miss, or vice versa - dedicated GPS certainly doesn't seem to be 100% reliable for Strava segments.

    My phone is a HTC Desire X, so a mid range smart phone.

    The reason your ride doesn't match segments properly is because of rubbish GPS connection which you get using a phone. If I ran Strava I would ban all phones as they aren't accurate enough both in terms of GPS fix and the rate at which they track position meaning any time they record on a short section is worthless.
  • cougie
    cougie Posts: 22,512
    andy46 wrote:
    I've also read that the Garmins etc are more accurate as they track every one second where the phone apps track every 3 seconds. That could make a difference on segment times.

    Not been a problem for me on my iphone.
  • adr82
    adr82 Posts: 4,002
    PhunkyPhil wrote:
    The reason your ride doesn't match segments properly is because of rubbish GPS connection which you get using a phone. If I ran Strava I would ban all phones as they aren't accurate enough both in terms of GPS fix and the rate at which they track position meaning any time they record on a short section is worthless.
    The same thing applies to Garmin data as well, although usually to a lesser extent. For any short, fast segment on Strava you may as well ignore the leaderboard. All they do with your data is take the nearest GPS trackpoint to the start and end locations of the segment and calculate your time between those two points, so the actual distance you cover can be significantly shorter or longer than the "true" length of the segment, with a corresponding impact on your segment time. For a segment that's a couple of hundred metres long and done at 25+mph, these errors become very important (3 seconds off over a 30 second segment is a lot). On the other hand for a 5 minute long hill climb at ~15mph, it's not a big deal if it strays by a second or two. There's no real way around this because virtually all consumer GPS devices I'm aware of don't support position updates at more than 1Hz. If you're doing 30mph you will cover a significant amount of ground in the second between updates. Add to that the inherent uncertainty in the calculated GPS position and you might begin to realise that the whole idea of getting accurate timings on Strava for short segments is a bit of a joke. If you want to time yourself more accurately you need to do something different.
  • PhunkyPhil wrote:

    The reason your ride doesn't match segments properly is because of rubbish GPS connection which you get using a phone. If I ran Strava I would ban all phones as they aren't accurate enough both in terms of GPS fix and the rate at which they track position meaning any time they record on a short section is worthless.

    Nonsense.