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Old 06-19-11, 07:37 PM   #1
edtrek
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Droid / Verizon touring GPS advice?

Hello Folks, I've been carrying a Garmin 76CSX on my Surly LHT since 2006, but it's given up the ghost and died, and now I'm trying to figure out what to replace it with.

First question seems to be: a dedicated GPS or a Droid Smartphone? I'm inclined to say: Droid Smartphone. I love the idea of touring and bring able to search for hotels etc. on the go.

I'd like to ask if anybody has any recommendations/warnings on either hardware or Apps. Key needs: waterproof/resistant, store tracks and generate maps, plan trips and routes in advance, get turn-by-turn audio guidance while touring, love to be able to mount it on the bike.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 06-20-11, 04:20 AM   #2
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I've got a Droid Thunderbolt and the gps is a good one. There is a bike mount for it but don't remember where I saw it online. Iphones seem to have more accesories then Droids and think the gps is good on iphones also.
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Old 06-20-11, 05:25 AM   #3
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A smartphone with GPS is fine as long as you tour where there is always proper cell service (3G or better) and does not rain. Otherwise, I suggest a waterproof gps.
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Old 06-20-11, 11:39 AM   #4
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Two problems with a smartphone are water resistance, and battery life. Conquer those, and android would be the ticket. I tend to use the smartphone for things like web access, finding locations etc while on the road, and a Garmin GPS (Edge 800) for navigation etc.
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Old 06-20-11, 01:01 PM   #5
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I've used my >1yo Motorola Droid on a few training rides. I was running CardioTrainer, kept the screen off most of the time, and slipped it into the back pocket on my jersey. After four hours, the battery was critically low, but I did have all of the data from my ride. Notably, I was riding in Woodside and Portola Valley, along streets with many trees and still had great logs of the ride.

For touring, where you'll have long days in the saddle, I'm not sure this is a good solution, without some form of additional power, such as an external power pack. I think they have rechargeable packs for this, now.
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Old 06-21-11, 08:50 PM   #6
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I have a Casio Commando droid smartphone - waterproof, shock resistant (military specs), rubberized case. I use a universal mount and run cardio trainer, sporty pal pro, my tracks, endmodo, and mytracks - often 2-3 simultaneously and battery life has not been an issue. Granted, I don't usually ride for more than an hour, but it barely moves the battery life in that time. Cost $79 via Amazonwireless. Runs 2.2

Thanks,
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Old 06-22-11, 08:45 AM   #7
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Smile

Oh, you're right: I guess your Android really IS bigger than my Android.
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Old 06-22-11, 09:03 AM   #8
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I have ATT but I have the inspire which is very similar to the thunderbolt. I put it in an otterbox commuter case, and then I just put that in a ziplock sandwich baggy in my back pack when I ride. I use endomondo, and mytracks, and they work great! I don't think anything makes the battery run down fast - it does that by itself. It's brand new and I have to charge it every day anyway. I just went on a three hour ride and everything was fine.
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Old 06-25-11, 05:30 PM   #9
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For waterproof, you could look into these:

http://www.ram-mount.com/NewProducts...3/Default.aspx

http://www.arkon.com/accessories/phone_bike_mount.html

I have an igo charger to extend the battery while I am on the train.
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Old 06-25-11, 05:58 PM   #10
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I've used both the GPS feature on the iPhone and some dedicated Garmin units. For touring where battery life is critical and cell coverage can be spotty I found the dedicated units to be far superior.

Seems like the 76CSx already meets all of your criteria. Why not use Garmin's flat-rate repair service? $110 and they either fix your old unit or send you a refurbished one.
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Old 06-25-11, 07:05 PM   #11
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Your battery life will be a big problem, especially on long touring days. Having the GPS on tracking satellites or spending a lot of time running your screen nonstop on youtube just kills the battery. You can expect a charged battery to last as little as 3-4 hours with the GPS on. To solve the problem I bought 3 spares for my Droid X from Amazon for something like $5.49 each. I also bought a universal PowerGen charger. The charger is great, I can't recommend it enough! You can plug it into the wall or use a USB port, and it also comes with a 12V car adapter. You can even charge a spare and plug your phone into it via a mini USB cable, then plug the whole works into the wall charging two batteries at once. Pretty sweet for $14.

http://www.amazon.com/PowerGen-Multi...9047268&sr=8-2

And I second the Ziploc bag trick, works great. I use a freezer bag, they're tougher.

Last edited by Guitarrick; 06-25-11 at 07:08 PM.
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Old 06-30-11, 02:13 PM   #12
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REI has the Garmin eTrex Vista HCx on sale for $159 http://www.rei.com/product/752629/ga...-vista-hcx-gps

It runs about 25 hours on a pair of AA batteries, is water proof, and shock resistant. With the North American Navigator map set it does a fair job of routing. It mounts on the bike but does not have audio directions, other than beeping and showing the text. The unit is getting a little old, but still gets consistently good reviews at CGOAB.
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Old 07-01-11, 09:34 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prathmann View Post
I've used both the GPS feature on the iPhone and some dedicated Garmin units. For touring where battery life is critical and cell coverage can be spotty I found the dedicated units to be far superior.

Seems like the 76CSx already meets all of your criteria. Why not use Garmin's flat-rate repair service? $110 and they either fix your old unit or send you a refurbished one.
+1 This option sounds good to me. Garmin battery life is hard to beat and if I want to make a call I don't worry about if I have enough juice left.
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