GPS Unit Vs. Cell Phone Navigation
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Thread: GPS Unit Vs. Cell Phone Navigation

  1. #1
    Member indadman's Avatar
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    GPS Unit Vs. Cell Phone Navigation

    Does anyone have an opinion on whether I need to invest in a GPS unit or just mount my cell phone and use WAZE for long trips?

  2. #2
    Senior Member billsim's Avatar
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    For occasional trips I would simply use the phone an save cash. If you plan on a lot of trips to unfamiliar areas, a dedicated GPS would be worthwhile.
    I reused an older GPS to fit the bike with a mount to see if it was any better than my phone. It wasn't.
    If you have a low limit on your phone data plan, then the GPS would be a better choice.

  3. #3
    Member indadman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billsim View Post
    For occasional trips I would simply use the phone an save cash. If you plan on a lot of trips to unfamiliar areas, a dedicated GPS would be worthwhile.
    I reused an older GPS to fit the bike with a mount to see if it was any better than my phone. It wasn't.
    If you have a low limit on your phone data plan, then the GPS would be a better choice.

    Very thorough answer. Thanks a bunch!

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    Actually the amount of data a smartphone mapping app uses is relatively low and the GPS "data" is free. I wouldn't think it's a issue unless you have a REALLY low data limit plan on your phone.

    IMO, the main difference is map availability. If your using a smartphone and your far from cell towers and off network you cannot download map data where the GPS has ALL the map data (from the latest update) on the device all the time. You can re-route with a dedicated GPS if you need to detour or you get lost AND your off network with your phone.
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  5. #5
    Member indadman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeaSteve View Post
    Actually the amount of data a smartphone mapping app uses is relatively low and the GPS "data" is free. I wouldn't think it's a issue unless you have a REALLY low data limit plan on your phone.

    IMO, the main difference is map availability. If your using a smartphone and your far from cell towers and off network you cannot download map data where the GPS has ALL the map data (from the latest update) on the device all the time. You can re-route with a dedicated GPS if you need to detour or you get lost AND your off network with your phone.
    SeaSteve,

    I live in Dallas and ride in the Hill Country a great deal. Where do you live...perhaps we could ride together at some point.

  6. #6
    Senior Member 2wheelsforme's Avatar
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    Voiced directions from someone, a hand drawn map from someone, a purchased paper map, a cell phone, an older plain GPS, a newer motorcycle GPS. Each one will get you to a location and each one is better, does more and cost more. Choose your level you need. I build routes for several days in advance often and a Zumo is a requirement for me.

  7. #7
    Senior Member F6Dave's Avatar
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    Some map apps let you download entire state maps to a phone's storage so complete maps are always displayed even if there is no coverage at all. I don't use Waze but it may do that.

    Personally I like having a dedicated GPS. They work with gloves and you can leave them mounted on the bike most of the time.

    With a dedicated GPS you should update the maps every now and then. My 5 year old Garmin took me through a lousy part of Memphis last month because the original maps didn't show either I-22 or I-240.
    Last edited by F6Dave; 10-16-2019 at 10:13 AM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member rdbonds's Avatar
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    For what it's worth, Google Maps can pre-download the area you'll be in while on wifi, so even when away from cell towers it'll work seamlessly. You can do it manually, but also if your login notices that you have reservations (hotel, flight, etc), it'll actually RECOMMEND downloading the area map for where you are headed proactively.

    I do have an old Garmin in the saddlebag of my Wing, and the Garmin Motorrad Navigator that came on my BMW R1200GSA, but on both I use the phone as a GPS near 100% of the time. Did a ~1000 mile trip last week and never missed a beat even with no signal for extended periods. YMMV.

  9. #9
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    For years, I've used a RAM mount system to use an automotive GPS unit. I recently started using the Beeline product; comparing its "following the arrow" method of guidance to the map guidance method of a traditional GPS unit. Unfortunately, the weather has turned here in the PNW.. so not too many chances to field test it fully. Will update the Forum at some point in the future....

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  10. #10
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    I had the newest, largest Zumo on my previous FJR. I sold it with the bike. I find that the iPhone maps app works plenty well enough for me.

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