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  1. #1
    Senior Member Spld cyclist's Avatar
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    Phone "horsepower" requirements

    I'm thinking about upgrading to a smartphone for the purpose of collecting data for training tracking purposes. Therefore, it would need to interface with speed, HR, and cadence sensors, so I would probably want Bluetooth (although I'm aware that some phones may have internal ANT+ or I could use an add-on ANT+ device). I would want it to be able to store downloaded GPS maps in memory so I'm not locked into needing a data plan to operate it. It would also need to be able to run suitable apps to make all that work. Finally, I would need it to work with wifi at home or free wifi where available.

    I'm leaning heavily toward buying an older used smartphone, which I may or may not want to use as an actual phone for voice/text (more on that below). I'm open to either iphones or android phones.

    My question is, what are the minimum/recommended specifications for a phone that will do all that reliably in terms of operating system, processor speed, memory, etc?

    For more context, I'm pretty frugal and I don't really have the desire or need to operate a smartphone with a data plan at the monthly cost necessary to do so. I have an old flip phone on a Verizon pay-as-you-go plan that gives me far more minutes than I need at $15.99/month (although it sucks trying to text on a number pad). It would be nice to use this hypothetical smartphone for voice/text to avoid carrying two devices around, but I'm learning that there are substantial limitations to making that work (i.e. phones originally provided by one carrier, like Verizon, may not work on any other network).

    My wife's work is offering a killer deal ($50/each) on an iphone 4 because they're about to upgrade to the iphone 5, but I've already determined that these Verizon iphones won't work with my existing plan, nor can I use one on Tracfone. However, it might be worth it to use it for bike use or the occasional game.

  2. #2
    Disco Infiltrator Darth Lefty's Avatar
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    I think just about any phone with the features you want will also have the power - however the problem you might have is that the applications for using all this data are upgraded regularly along with the phones and OS that are on the market now. A smartphone is just a computer with a phone app and cell antenna, so if you wipe it and just install what you want, you can do whatever you like. But you won't be able to use the app store and have the normal consumer experience and so on. Just as an example, a couple of years ago the iOS4 update turned my iPhone 3G into a total turd. The usual life of a smart phone is about 2 years and the companies don't support much older than 3. Instead you might want a dedicated bike GPS that will have a longer service life.

  3. #3
    Senior Member 01 CAt Man Do's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
    I think just about any phone with the features you want will also have the power - however the problem you might have is that the applications for using all this data are upgraded regularly along with the phones and OS that are on the market now. A smartphone is just a computer with a phone app and cell antenna, so if you wipe it and just install what you want, you can do whatever you like. But you won't be able to use the app store and have the normal consumer experience and so on. Just as an example, a couple of years ago the iOS4 update turned my iPhone 3G into a total turd. The usual life of a smart phone is about 2 years and the companies don't support much older than 3. Instead you might want a dedicated bike GPS that will have a longer service life.
    Curious....I've never heard anyone mention that before. There are several people who post up here who claim "not" to have a data plan and use a smart phone for navigation. As far as I know they are downloading apps just like everyone else. Of course not all apps are going to function right without a current "on-line" capability. Depends on the app. If it is designed to work "off line" with just what is stored in the phones memory or SD card then you are good to go ( so I've been told ).

    Anyway, I'm curious about this ( no phone plan ) option as well. Sooner or later I'd love to give it a try as paying for a data plan on Verizon is quite expensive. Hopefully though the plans will go down in cost and be more affordable. I have to admit though that I don't know if I could get by without a smart phone. I use mine for work which in my case makes my job SO MUCH easier. Without it not only would I lose all of my useful apps but when I needed new navigation information I would be relegated to having to call my support people and have them look the stuff up on the internet and then relay the information verbally. That would be a total PITA and that is saying it mildly. Now if I didn't need it for work I suppose I could get by but it's kind of like sex. Once you've had it, you really want to keep having it.

    If there are others out there using smart phones without a phone plan ( for bike use ) I'd like to hear from them. The more information we get from various sources the better our chances are of figuring out something for ourselves.

  4. #4
    Senior Member ahultin's Avatar
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    If you want a single phone solution, We use republic wireless which has an unlimited plan for 25/mo and offers the moto g (149.99) and the moto x (299.99)
    If you dont foresee needing the data plans then you could easily use the $50 iphone 4 without a plan as an ipod touch with wifi. I used an old iphone 3 like this for some time until i got a garmin. If you download the google maps area you are in for offline use it works great for navigation as well. You could than use any of the wahoo etc sensors with an app like cyclemeter.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Well, speaking of my limited experience with an Android tablet:

    -Offline maps: Doable. OsmAnd Offline Free caches an entire State for offline use and comes with a bunch of POI's baked in. Not as good as Google Maps w/connection for a search, but doable. Speaking of Google Maps, they have improved their offline mode as well.

    -Integration with sensors: Quite a few apps out there will do that. RideWithGPS, MapMyRide, Endomondo, Strava, even Google's MyTracks will pair with a HR.

    Only thing is, I don't think that you can use a navigation app for directions and a tracker/logger app at the same time. Though I think that it might be possible to get a tracker app to act as a navigation app as long as you stick to one of the predefined 'routes' that is available on the respective tracker service site.



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  6. #6
    Senior Member Spld cyclist's Avatar
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    Thanks for the responses so far - there are a few things to think about.

    Another wrinkle I just discovered is that the iphone 4 has an older version of Bluetooth, and Bluetooth HR sensors and speed/cadence sensors seem to want Bluetooth 4.0 that comes on the iphone 4S and higher. The price for a used 4S goes up to $105 rather than $50, which is edging past my threshold for "what the hell, I'll buy it and see if it works."

    I can buy ANT+ sensors from Garmin along with an adapter, but the adapter appears to plug into the port at the bottom, which I may want to use for an external battery when I'm on the bike. (EDIT: I see now that Wahoo sells a case with ANT adaptor that has an external battery as an option. The ANT+ speed/cadence sensor is bundled with the case. Case + battery is currently $105 at the Wahoo site. EDIT #2 : this equipment has very mixed reviews on Amazon....)

    Still pondering this whole thing....
    Last edited by Spld cyclist; 05-18-14 at 07:35 PM.

  7. #7
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    Bluetooth LE (4.0) is the way to go. That means an iPhone 4S or any of the iPhone 5's (5, 5s, 5c). Quite a number of the Android phones don't support BT LE although I think they are now starting to. Some of the Samsung Galaxy's support ANT+. You don't want to plug a dongle into the phone because then the phone has to power that too.

    The best app that I have found to replace a bike computer is Cyclemeter from Abvio (Abvio |). This supports pretty much the complete suite of sensors from Wahoo Fitness (Speed/Cadence, Cadence, HR).

    I can't imagine not having a smartphone. It's not really a phone, it's a "very personal computer".

    j.

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    The App I use is called Sportrate. It is a Blackberry app that I use on the new Blackberry Z30 that is GPS based and it has 6 different activities to set, from running, skinning, cycling to walking. You can also pause it. I turn it on, put it in my jacket pocket and ride away. On cycling it measures, Distance, Time, Pace , Speed, Calories. It can store data in history, includes a map of your route travelled and a graph of speed, pace and altitude. You can save the map in GPX form and then look at in Google Maps. Very cool. If you turn off data services on your phone, it will still track calories, distance etc. The route also will be saved, but you won't be able to see it on the map until you turn on the internet services which you can do at home via wi-fi. I haven't tried this, but I read that it works. The basic app is free, the upgrades are a few bucks. It will also connect to a heart monitor via bluetooth. Absolutely a great app. You can likely find a relatively new (used) Blackberry Z10 for a great price. Checkout the app at inspirosoft.com http://inspirosoft.com/sportrate
    Last edited by PeterC4; 05-20-14 at 08:10 PM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member mrodgers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 01 CAt Man Do View Post
    Curious....I've never heard anyone mention that before. There are several people who post up here who claim "not" to have a data plan and use a smart phone for navigation. As far as I know they are downloading apps just like everyone else.
    You are correct. You don't need data to download apps nor to use most apps. Any phone can be turned on and connected to a wifi connection without cellular activation and service. You just can't use apps that would need to stream from cyberspace without data outside of a wifi signal as in cycling down through a rural area.

    Mapping apps will have a limited amount cached. Streaming video or music wouldn't work at all outside of a wifi connection. There are some navigation apps that hold off-line maps that you could use without a data or wifi connection. My phone is old, cheap, and a basic Android from a prepaid service, so I don't have the memory storage to be able to use the off-line mapping stuff. I can go a fairly decent distance with some maps such as Google Maps. I used MyTracks (from Google) twice driving from western PA to Myrtle Beach, about 700 miles, and it did have the map data without any connection the whole way. I was surprised by that.

    Moving on to combining what you are looking to do with a non-service smartphone while also carrying as you said a flip phone prepaid with more minutes than you need at $15/month. Two questions, how many minutes do you actually use? Is it just an emergency thing, or do you actually use it sometimes but just not all that much?

    2nd question, do you text or foresee yourself texting in the short future?

    I have AT&T GoPhone pre-paid service. It can be as cheap or expensive as you want depending on your needs. Costwise, Tracfone is the absolute cheapest I've used which comes out to be about $7/month. You said you're Verizon with more than you need is $15/month. My AT&T prepaid is about in the middle of that. I get more for my money than with Tracfone, but probably not as much as your Verizon. Note, there are cheap AT&T phones available ($50 to 100) but they aren't anywhere close to being as good as the "real" phones that cost $500 without a contract, but you can use any smartphone you can find used if it is set up for AT&T service.

    The lowest cost points you can do with AT&T GoPhone is $10/month every month, $25 every 3 months, or $100 for 12 months. You upload or purchase cards like with Tracfone to your AT&T account.

    Calling - There are 3 calling plans. I only use my phone for calling in an emergency maybe making or receiving 3-4 calls per year. My calling plan is $0.10 per minute and is deducted from the amount I have in my account. $25 will get you 250 minutes which sounds like is more than you need judging by what you said of the Verizon prepaid. You can also do unlimited calling and texting for $50.

    Texting - I assume you don't text much with a flip-phone or you would have gone smartphone already. I do text, but not all that much. We just basically keep in touch within the immediate family with 3 GoPhones (my wife, my oldest daughter, and myself, though the youngest is about to get one as well.) There are 3 price points to have texting with AT&T GoPhone. $5 for 200 texts, $10 for 1000 texts, and $20 for unlimited texts.

    Here's how I do it starting with the first month. I upload $15 to the account. From that $15, I purchase the 1000 minute texting package for $10 and have $5 left on the account for any $0.10/minute emergency calls. I use approximately 300 texts per month, so at the end of the month I have to upload another at least $10. I have 700 texts left that roll over so I upload $10 and buy 200 texts for $5. I now have 900 texts and $10 left on the account. Repeat per month at $10 uploaded to the account and 200 texts for $5. When I reach the point where I have 200 left to roll over and I've bought 200 texts for $5, the following month I'll up the text purchase again to 1000. This keeps me going for about 4 to 5 months between the larger text purchase.

    My wife texts a lot more as, well, she is female, LOL. She texts her mother and her coworkers along with myself and our daughter. I do the same with her account except sometimes she is texting 700-900 for the month so I end up getting 1000 text for her more often.

    My daugher is only 13 and she is just now starting to text her friends from school. I was only giving her 200 texts for $5 and her account from the minimum $10 upload amount was building to quite a bit. I will probably be doing 1000 texts per month for her, but that's as far as I'm doing. She will have to ration them because when 1000 runs out, she's done until the following month.

    Data is available with GoPhone, but you have to at least buy the $25 calling package to be able to buy a Data package. That changed about 5 months after I got the GoPhones and when I did have Data for those first 5 months, I only used it once for something to do while sitting and waiting at the school while my youngest was in play practice (she was a munchkin in the Wizard of Oz, LOL) After they changed the restriction to needing the $25 calling, I lost the data and haven't missed it at all in 3 years.

    It sounds complicated and it was complicated for me to figure it out when I switched. I was with Tracfone and a basic flip phone when I wanted to get one of the touch screen phones for easier texting and found out about the true Android GoPhone (Tracfone didn't have Androids yet when I switched.) For $10/month vs. about $7/month on the Tracfone, I saw I would get a lot more from GoPhone than I did for Tracfone due to not using it for calling and using texting.

    Hopefully that helps you out. A GoPhone service would eliminate carrying both a non-service smartphone for the bike apps and another prepaid phone for cellular service.
    Ride no faster than your Guardian Angel can fly!

  10. #10
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    You know, I consider the smartphone for cycling to be pretty fundamental safety equipment. That's not a whole lot of money for the safety provided (as well as the other benefits).

    1. You can use your phone as a locator in the event that you get capacitated. Apps like Glympse, Find my Friends and some of the cycle computer apps will transmit your location so that someone can find you if you are hurt and unable to contact them.

    2. You can use the GPS to get "un lost" or not get lost in the first place.

    3. You can call for help if you need it for yourself or others.

    4. If you want to get deluxe, there are things like ICEDOT that will notify a list of people in the event that you have taken a serious crash.

    5. If you have to make the "call of shame" on a breakdown, it's easy to show people where you are to come and get you.

    So I sort of consider a lot of this in terms of marginal benefit. In other words, you may think it's expensive now but when and if need it, suddenly it doesn't seem so expensive. We've had some experience with incapacitating accidents that has causes us to re-think our approach to personal safety when skiing and cycling and smart phones are some tools that make a lot of sense.

    If you want to save money, just get a GPS style bike computer and upload the data to Strava or one of the PC apps and keep track of it that way. The GPS may be expensive but it will ultimately be cheaper than the cell phone thing. You give up a lot in the process however.

    J.

  11. #11
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    My experience with apps on my iPhone 4 has not been so great. Cyclemeter is a fantastic app, but the GPS uses too much battery power. I brought along a high-capacity external battery, and that presented problems of its own, mounting and wiring it. Still, it was not suitable for a long ride. I gave up.

    I use a Garmin Edge 200, which can go a very long way on a charge. The user interface isn't so clever when it's on the bike. However, uploading my rides is quite easy, and it gives me an insane amount of data. I can also set goals and track how I'm headed towards reaching them.

    Here is my home page of ride records that Garmin created for me.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
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  12. #12
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    Taking up where mrrodgers left off in his excellent summary, there is another rather intriguing option from a relatively recent class of products. Use a smartphone with no data plan AND no cell plan, with a pocket size wifi hot spot and pay as you go data.

    These devices are little boxes two and a half inch square, and about a third to a half inch thick. It would fit in my wallet if I removed the clutter. The device simply takes 4G data which you buy by the gigabyte and transmits it on a local WIFI network. I keep thinking what if ... you just ditch the cell service - tracfone, AT&T go phone, contracts, whatever - ditch the text minutes and all other data plans, don't even activate the phone. Just use it in WIFI mode, get a VOIP account from any of several good options, and carry your own wifi network around utilizing the wifi network for everything?

    It currently costs from $10 to $15 per GB of data so you wouldn't want to watch movies or Youtube or anything streaming, but for everything else. If I recall correctly, $10 GB of data making voice calls is just about the same as $10 worth of Tracphone minutes+data assuming a standard bitrate on the VOIP. I could be wrong in either direction and I need to refresh those calculations but my hazy recollection is that $10/GB was around the break-even point for voice data. Not to forget, as far as I know there are usually costs involved with the voip service end of it - mine is 2 cents / minute for outgoing calls, everything else is free.

    The advantages are that it works with any device, the data never expires, and you don't have to worry about service days like with Tracphone. Also it's 4G, that's a plus over tracphone and some other options. And you wouldn't have to deal with obnoxious "support" from these companies, throttling, changing contracts and service levels etc.

    There would be a few downsides that need to be worked around. For one, voip is not as good as voice from the cell carriers. It's just not, I don't want to argue about it. Second, these services use Sprint service so coverage is spotty in places. Third, and this could be the dealbreaker for me, is that the hotspot battery only lasts 6-8 hours and you'd have to leave it on to receive calls. It's one more thing to carry around and keep charged. And finally, you may not be able to text over the voip so you'd need some kind of android app workaround for texting.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    My experience with apps on my iPhone 4 has not been so great. Cyclemeter is a fantastic app, but the GPS uses too much battery power. I brought along a high-capacity external battery, and that presented problems of its own, mounting and wiring it. Still, it was not suitable for a long ride. I gave up.

    I use a Garmin Edge 200, which can go a very long way on a charge. The user interface isn't so clever when it's on the bike. However, uploading my rides is quite easy, and it gives me an insane amount of data. I can also set goals and track how I'm headed towards reaching them.

    Here is my home page of ride records that Garmin created for me.
    Yeah, wiring batteries is not a great choice.

    I use the iBattz Refuel for the iPhone 5 battery case. Then I mount the case to my QuadLock case bike adaptor. The Refuel uses Samsung i9300 2200maH batteries that are interchangeable and are pretty small (about the size of a business card filed in half and about 1/8" thick). You could carry enough batteries to last three weeks in your jersey pocket if you wanted to.

    In your case, using an iPhone 4, just get any of the battery cases and do the same thing. You wouldn't have the interchangeable batteries, but you'd have enough for 10-15 hours of active usage.

    I think that Cyclemeter really is much better than the Garmin's I was using (700 series) and the battery life as described is much better. I also don't have to manage the data anymore, it's uploaded automatically or I just use Cyclemeter's summary data. So with the battery issue solved, that's my favorite bike computer of all time. Even more so since I'd have to bring the phone anyhow but now I don't have to use a GPS *and* the phone.

    J.

  14. #14
    Senior Member blacksapphire08's Avatar
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    I have found that using the GPS function on my to track my cycling stats uses a lot less data than say GoogleMaps navigation. I use MapmyRide app and I used 2.5Mb of data for a 32 mile ride. You could probably get away with a prepaid service as long as you use the data for this purpose. Just be sure to track your data consumption.

  15. #15
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    wphamilton, I tried one of those mifi devices and hated it. The data ended up being expensive, and my device was on the Sprint network, which is the pits. Coverage was poor, and so was performance! Also, the battery didn't last long at all. Then the unit died. Terrible.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
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  16. #16
    Senior Member Spld cyclist's Avatar
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    Thanks again for all the replies. Looking a little more deeply into Bluetooth LE, it looks like the lowest version of Android that supports LE is Android 4.3. That eliminates most of the cheaper phones available through pre-paid carriers, which tend to have Android 4.0 and 4.1 phones right now. I may put off this purchase for a few months to see if that changes. Unless the present phone dies, and it is adamant about surviving so far (despite occasional flakiness, it keeps working).

    I'm not sure how many minutes my current plan gives me, just that I use way less than I get. I think I have 40 hours of accumulated minutes right now after having the phone for several years. It's not just for emergencies. It's on continuously, and I do use it, but I don't give the number out for work purposes and don't have a lot of long personal conversations (usually just "don't forget to take the girls to dance class", etc.). I rarely text, but I would a lot more if it wasn't such a PITA on this phone.

    I also discovered that I'll need to carefully verify whether the new phone has a gps satellite receiver. I assumed before that most of them have one (instead of relying on the cell network), but that's apparently not the case. Sometimes the owner's manuals are not clear on that. There is a vague term they use called "assisted gps" that can mean either that the phone uses the cell network to *help* find the phone's position, or that there is no satellite receiver at all.

    Some of the cheaper phones come with very limited memory. For example, they might list 4 GB but if you look at the owner's manual it says that 2 GB or whatever is free. Many will take up to a 32 GB SD card. Is there any practical difference between using internal memory vs an SD card?

  17. #17
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    Internal memory might be faster.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spld cyclist View Post

    I also discovered that I'll need to carefully verify whether the new phone has a gps satellite receiver. I assumed before that most of them have one (instead of relying on the cell network), but that's apparently not the case. Sometimes the owner's manuals are not clear on that. There is a vague term they use called "assisted gps" that can mean either that the phone uses the cell network to *help* find the phone's position, or that there is no satellite receiver at all.

    Some of the cheaper phones come with very limited memory. For example, they might list 4 GB but if you look at the owner's manual it says that 2 GB or whatever is free. Many will take up to a 32 GB SD card. Is there any practical difference between using internal memory vs an SD card?
    If it uses the term "gps" then it is using the GPS satellite system. "Assisted GPS" with cell towers enables the GPS chip to get a position fix much faster than if it had to start from power up. The GPS chip is turned off for when it is not used because it is a power drain. Therefore, when it wakes up, and if all it knows that it's on planet earth, it has to wait until it sees enough of the constellation of satellites to successively interpolate in on it's position. If it knows about where it is from known positions and time delays from cell towers, it can get to that position fix much, much faster. Assisted GPS is not some sort of navigation system that is devoid of GPS satellite data.

    As for memory internal vs SD, it's almost always better to have internal on the motherboard memory over SD card memory. It's faster and, IIRC, will consume less power.

    This sort of started from "What's the newest old smartphone I can get to turn into a bike computer?" into more of a review of available lower end smartphones. That feature creep is going to land you into a current smartphone offering pretty quickly. Might as well just bite the bullet and do it.

    J.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Spld cyclist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post
    If it uses the term "gps" then it is using the GPS satellite system. "Assisted GPS" with cell towers enables the GPS chip to get a position fix much faster than if it had to start from power up. The GPS chip is turned off for when it is not used because it is a power drain. Therefore, when it wakes up, and if all it knows that it's on planet earth, it has to wait until it sees enough of the constellation of satellites to successively interpolate in on it's position. If it knows about where it is from known positions and time delays from cell towers, it can get to that position fix much, much faster. Assisted GPS is not some sort of navigation system that is devoid of GPS satellite data.

    As for memory internal vs SD, it's almost always better to have internal on the motherboard memory over SD card memory. It's faster and, IIRC, will consume less power.

    This sort of started from "What's the newest old smartphone I can get to turn into a bike computer?" into more of a review of available lower end smartphones. That feature creep is going to land you into a current smartphone offering pretty quickly. Might as well just bite the bullet and do it.

    J.
    I may have misunderstood about the meaning of assisted gps, but there seem to be some phones that *need* cell data to work. See the bolded part of this article: Assisted GPS - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia I'm clearly no expert, but I'll do a little more reading to make sure I get something that does what I want it to. One phone users manual I looked at seemed to indicate that cell data was needed to make it work. The manuals seem to say as little as possible about the technology in the phones and how it works, though....

    I'm not going to end up with a current smartphone offering. The thought of spending even $100 on this (not to mention the HR monitor and speed/cadence sensors for at least two bikes - and then there's some kind of phone mount...) is already making me feel a little woozy. You're looking at a blackbelt cheapskate here.
    Last edited by Spld cyclist; 05-22-14 at 08:05 AM.

  20. #20
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    Spid, I felt the same way, but I'm an obsessive bike collector. I have six or eight bikes and keep switching from bike to bike. (I don't even remember how many I have.) A $20 computer on each one gets expensive, and it makes aggregating the statistics cumbersome. I finally realized that one computer that I don't even have to mount on the handlebar costs the same or less. I don't have to calibrate it to my wheel sizes, either. Please take a good look at the $100 GPS units.

    Until recently, I could not fathom why anyone would buy one of these. Now I have an inkling of why people buy the upper models.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

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  21. #21
    Senior Member Spld cyclist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    Spid, I felt the same way, but I'm an obsessive bike collector. I have six or eight bikes and keep switching from bike to bike. (I don't even remember how many I have.) A $20 computer on each one gets expensive, and it makes aggregating the statistics cumbersome. I finally realized that one computer that I don't even have to mount on the handlebar costs the same or less. I don't have to calibrate it to my wheel sizes, either. Please take a good look at the $100 GPS units.

    Until recently, I could not fathom why anyone would buy one of these. Now I have an inkling of why people buy the upper models.
    Just to clarify, when I said "current smart phone offering" I meant that I wasn't going to spend $$$ to get a new latest-generation smart phone. I still might buy a new lower-end smart phone that's a couple generations back in technology, provided it does what I want it to. Those are running around $100 now, but they don't have Bluetooth LE at that price from what I've seen so far. My motivation in looking at this is to be able to collect and analyze training data, so I would need the ancillary "stuff," which needs to be dedicated to each bike (except obviously the HR monitor is the same for all bikes). I would likely put a speed/cadence sensor on whatever bike is on the trainer, and another on which of my other two single bikes will get used the most during a given season for longer rides. (Maybe I would buy three speed/cadence sensors eventually to avoid having to switch them around.)

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    FWIW I use Runmeter and keep Bike Caculator app on the phone for messing around with power calcs. My iPhone 4 is on its last legs but still works. My old 3GS has a copy of Runmeter too and I use it wireless to share data via email. 5 hour rides are ~their limits. Been debating about adding a Bluetooth HR monitor. But...as I'll need a new phone soon the real issue is do I hang for Iphone 6 or move over to a Galaxy, etc. I want a waterproof phone! Tired of wasting $$$ on cases (otter, defender...they are junk, cost $ and fail eventually).
    Amerika, Land of the Very Brief.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spld cyclist View Post
    Just to clarify, when I said "current smart phone offering" I meant that I wasn't going to spend $$$ to get a new latest-generation smart phone. I still might buy a new lower-end smart phone that's a couple generations back in technology, provided it does what I want it to. Those are running around $100 now, but they don't have Bluetooth LE at that price from what I've seen so far.
    You can go too cheap. If you can get a nearly free phone, it would be worth trying that. You don't need BTLE unless you are need to connect to sensors. I would not buy anything with less than 16 GB.

    This might be reasonable for $220 (not the LTE version but you you don't want to have a cell plan anyway). (If you want cell data, LTE is much faster.)

    Moto G by Motorola - A Google Company

    The iPhone 4 is slower than the 4S and the 4S might be a bit slow.
    Last edited by njkayaker; 05-22-14 at 09:21 AM.

  24. #24
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    wphamilton, I tried one of those mifi devices and hated it. The data ended up being expensive, and my device was on the Sprint network, which is the pits. Coverage was poor, and so was performance! Also, the battery didn't last long at all. Then the unit died. Terrible.
    Yep, the battery (advertised for 6-8 hours so it's probably good for less than that even) and Sprint network is what holds me back on those. It's a great idea but just not quite there yet imo.

  25. #25
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spld cyclist View Post
    I may have misunderstood about the meaning of assisted gps, but there seem to be some phones that *need* cell data to work. See the bolded part of this article: Assisted GPS - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia I'm clearly no expert, but I'll do a little more reading to make sure I get something that does what I want it to. One phone users manual I looked at seemed to indicate that cell data was needed to make it work. The manuals seem to say as little as possible about the technology in the phones and how it works, though....

    I'm not going to end up with a current smartphone offering. The thought of spending even $100 on this (not to mention the HR monitor and speed/cadence sensors for at least two bikes - and then there's some kind of phone mount...) is already making me feel a little woozy. You're looking at a blackbelt cheapskate here.
    I'm using the Samsung Centura which was about $80 on Amazon and works with Tracphone (also Straight Talk). It's a gen or two back, adequate but IMHO under-powered but about the best you could do with tracphone. I'd really prefer something like the Moto-G currently about twice that price, but I wouldn't go below the Centura specs regardless.

    The thing about the external SD card is that you can't really move applications to it (some but only a few) and a lot of application data stays on the internal memory no matter what.

    I think that assisted GPS also uses WIFI locators as well as the cell, in later Android versions at least. I'm not sure how it's affected without cell, but I'll put mine in airplane mode and turn on wifi and gps and see how strava handles it on the way home.

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