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Cheap Android Smartphone instead of a Garmin?

kammybearkammybear Posts: 500
edited August 2014 in MTB general
While shopping around for a garmin edge, I had a brainwave...

Android smartphones are dirt cheap and disposable. strava, endomondo etc are just as popular as garmin and the phones can be ANT compatible with an adapter so why spend £300 on an Edge 800 when £50 gets you a 5" 1080p smartphone?

Granted the specs are censored but for just the sole purpose of being used in strava/googlemaps, it seems perfect?

I've put an offer in for this:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/5-Touch-Dual- ... 9558&rt=nc

If its refused at £50...I'll happily pay £55 to see if its any good :D

Posts

  • Chunkers1980Chunkers1980 Posts: 8,035
    Shite battery life.
  • CitizenLeeCitizenLee Posts: 2,227
    I'd doubt it's ANT+ compatible for HRMs and stuff, but should work with Bluetooth ones. It's 2700mAh so battery life won't be that bad either if everything you don't need it turned off and it's the screen ins't being used (don't need it for Strava anyway).

    On a typical 2-3hr ride with Strava and GPS running, my Nexus 5 will only loose around 15-20%.
    Current:
    NukeProof Mega FR 2012
    Cube NuRoad 2018
    Previous:
    2015 Genesis CdF 10, 2014 Cube Hyde Race, 2012 NS Traffic, 2007 Specialized SX Trail, 2005 Specialized Demo 8
  • kammybearkammybear Posts: 500
    Yeah, thats my main draw as 2700mh is pretty good!

    The phone wont be used for anything but cycling/health stuff so minimal data/internet/email/game usage so 10hrs strava life should be good enough?

    Not sure why I didn't have the idea sooner. Garmin must be making a killing!
  • Waterproofness...?
  • CitizenLeeCitizenLee Posts: 2,227
    If it's wet out I stick mine a sealable sarnie bag in my backpack ;)

    Different story if you want to bar mount it for maps though, but plenty of waterproof smarthphone cases on eBay and Amazon.
    Current:
    NukeProof Mega FR 2012
    Cube NuRoad 2018
    Previous:
    2015 Genesis CdF 10, 2014 Cube Hyde Race, 2012 NS Traffic, 2007 Specialized SX Trail, 2005 Specialized Demo 8
  • kammybearkammybear Posts: 500
    Looking at some waterproof frame mounts on ebay...looking like a good idea so far!
  • njee20njee20 Posts: 9,613
    A Garmin does more than Strava, but yes, a completely workable solution.
  • CitizenLeeCitizenLee Posts: 2,227
    cyd190468 wrote:
    Doesn't everyone already do this? All my mates seem to strava their entire lives. :roll:

    I guess it can make people quite competitive.

    I like purely because I can keep track of my rides, find new routes and compare my own times. I take my phone with me anyway so may as well :)
    Current:
    NukeProof Mega FR 2012
    Cube NuRoad 2018
    Previous:
    2015 Genesis CdF 10, 2014 Cube Hyde Race, 2012 NS Traffic, 2007 Specialized SX Trail, 2005 Specialized Demo 8
  • tootsie323tootsie323 Posts: 199
    I'm actually seeking to swing he other way, so to speak. Currently using a smartphone but want a GPS watch, largely for the convenience: I can wear it and don't have to stick it out of the way in wet weather - do not fancy bar-mounting mt 'phone as I am bound to break it next time I decide to perform a front-door-exit.

    However, the idea of using a cheap (more expendable!) smartphone with reasonable battery life and GPS accuracy is a good one.
  • jairajjairaj Posts: 3,009
    The Motorola Defy has a little following. It is dust and water resistant as standard so all you need to do it get a mount for it. Its quite an old design now it'll be too slow for your every day phone but if you use it just for GPS tracking and mapping it should be OK.

    Not sure if you can still get them brand new, so might have to look for a second hand version.
  • Mike DeereMike Deere Posts: 4,259
    I picked up a Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini for £12 on ebay last year and whacked a free PAYG sim card in it to use as a disposable riding phone. It runs Strava great, battery life is commendable for something so small and doesn't matter if it gets ruined in a crash as it was so cheap.

    I recommend using the GPS Toolbox app to improve accuracy btw. A lot of the cheaper and older handsets don't have as good/strong GPS receivers as some of the new handsets, but that app helps massively especially with how quickly it initially triangulates your position.

    Edit: It's also worth noting that in the eBay link in the original post, there is NO mention of the phone having GPS capabilities. That is often one of the first things that Chinese manufacturers cut to save costs in these type of smart phones. Just a quick look through all the phones listed in Deal Extreme quickly highlights this issue.
  • Paul 8vPaul 8v Posts: 5,458
    just get a Garmin 200, they're very cheap 2nd hand and you don't look a wally riding around with a phone on your bars
  • orbdemonorbdemon Posts: 12
    tootsie323 wrote:
    I'm actually seeking to swing he other way, so to speak. Currently using a smartphone but want a GPS watch, largely for the convenience: I can wear it and don't have to stick it out of the way in wet weather - do not fancy bar-mounting mt 'phone...

    That's what I did - had been using the blackberry, but bought the Forerunner 210 with HRM on a great deal towards the end of last year and have never looked back. I use it for running and cycling.

    The GPS accuracy is much better, the tracks actually match the path I took, battery life is great, is's a usable watch, and the ability to glance down and see pace / speed is really useful.

    :D
  • Paul 8vPaul 8v Posts: 5,458
    ^^^ This

    The GPS on smartphones is no-where near as good and you can't view your average speed/curren speed or anything like that.

    With a proper mount they are also smaller, lighter and less likely to fall off
  • njee20njee20 Posts: 9,613
    Actually the latest iPhones support GLONASS, so should be pretty damn accurate, only the better Edge GPSs have the same technology. No idea about Android phones, and I do agree about having the display in front of you.
  • When comparing the same track taken at the same time on my android phone to my garmin, the phone is miles off.
  • larkimlarkim Posts: 2,323
    There is NO reason why a phone GPS should be worse than a dedicated Garmin GPS. Yes, some phones put their antenna in odd places which mean that they are not quite as good, but fundamentally if they can see 6 or 7 satellites then they'll do exactly the same job as a dedicated GPSr. Trust me, I use my phone GPS to track things down in the woods (www.geocaching.com) and my phone can accurately get me to within 2m of a pointless plastic box under tree cover, it will be fine for riding / running with.

    HOWEVER

    Not all apps that track your progress are created equally. Some will record a point once per second, some more, some less. That will affect overall precision.

    But different apps do different things. For example, the one I use most is Sportstracker. That has a really nice display, options to allow the screen to be permanently on, and the display can be customised to show current speed, average speed, speed for the last mile, heart rate (with their own custom HRM), max speed, time, total distance, total time, cadence (with their own custom cadence sensors), altitude, etc etc. They can probably fit more on a screen than any Garmin can, if constant data is what you are after.

    Battery life is the main issue, primarily because your phone will be doing lots of other things besides GPS - maintaining network signal, online downloading maps, checking your email, facebook, powering the bright, colourful, large display, etc etc. You can get past this for some phones by buying a cheap chinese bigger battery (depends on the phone), or you can buy an external battery charging pack which should (if you get say a 7000mAh one) provide enough juice for a whole day of screen on, GPS on action.

    So I'd agree - whilst a smartphone has some compromises (battery and location on bike), you get far more value for money picking up last year's model (even with no sim card) for about £50 than you do with a Garmin.
    2015 Canyon Nerve AL 6.0 (son #1's)
    2011 Specialized Hardrock Sport Disc (son #3s)
    2013 Decathlon Triban 3 (red) (mine)
    2019 Hoy Bonaly 26" Disc (son #2s)
    2018 Voodoo Bizango (mine)
    2018 Voodoo Maji (wife's)
  • CitizenLeeCitizenLee Posts: 2,227
    If you root your Android phone then you can edit the gps.conf file so it has UK as default location, this should then mean you get a quicker GPS fix. Most Android phones have North America as the default location, hence why they take a while to lock on.

    You can do it manually with a root enabled file explorer (the gps.conf file is located in /system/etc) or use an app like Fasterfix.

    GPS Test is also a handy app.

    Really though, unless you're training, is a bit of GPS drift really that bad? Especially if you're always logging on the same app as the margin of error should always be the same.
    Current:
    NukeProof Mega FR 2012
    Cube NuRoad 2018
    Previous:
    2015 Genesis CdF 10, 2014 Cube Hyde Race, 2012 NS Traffic, 2007 Specialized SX Trail, 2005 Specialized Demo 8
  • I've just started riding again after some years away.

    I'm currently tracking my (pathetic) rides using my Android Smart Phone, safely bagged up in backpack, RunKeeper (though I'm experimenting with other apps) and my Pebble Watch.

    The Pebble puts my ride time, pace and distance on my wrist for at a glance info and RunKeeper (annoyingly?) keeps me audibly informed of progress.

    As the Pebble is a bit last year in terms of smartwatch tech, but no worse for that, it's quite cheap to pick up on eBay and as I, like everyone else, carry my shartphone with me anyway it's been a very good solution.

    I'll be buying a new Android Smartwatch soon, but to be honest they look pretty fragile and unlike the Pebble don't offer the same level of water resistance.
  • CitizenLeeCitizenLee Posts: 2,227
    This is a cracking deal on another forum I use...

    http://www.avforums.com/threads/cycling ... 3.1900748/

    Usually quite a few Pebble, Galaxy Gear. and Sony Smartwatches for sale too, along with Garmin stuff. Worth checking out the other sections for cheap phones too. It's a great forum with an excellent classifieds complete with trader rating system and any scammers are usually weeded out pretty quickly. I've bought and sold loads of stuff over the years and it's much better than eBay.
    Current:
    NukeProof Mega FR 2012
    Cube NuRoad 2018
    Previous:
    2015 Genesis CdF 10, 2014 Cube Hyde Race, 2012 NS Traffic, 2007 Specialized SX Trail, 2005 Specialized Demo 8
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