Smart phone GPS bike apps

Lawrence

Speeding Up
Jul 23, 2011
124
2
36
Chiba City
#1
May 22, 2007
3,630
1,469
143
Kawasaki
halffastcycling.com
#2
I will be getting either an iphone5 or a SoftBank Android Smart Phone to use as a GPS cycling computer (and for my new cell, of course).
I have a few of the free ones loaded on my iPhone, but I rarely use them because I have a Garmin GPS.

The main problem with all these apps is that they rapidly drain your battery, leaving you without maps, phone, email and everything else on a ride of any significant length. So you might think about battery-boosting strategies too.
 
Sep 2, 2009
5
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#3
What Mike said.

I would chime in that as the simplest option on a phone, just use Google Maps.

Oh yeah, and why are you set on Softbank? The Docomo Samsung Galaxy S 2 is currently the best Android phone out there.
 

Lawrence

Speeding Up
Jul 23, 2011
124
2
36
Chiba City
#4
I'd also get another battery or some kinda battery booster (maybe a solar charger thingie?).

Set on SoftBank cause my father is a dog and my whole family is on the white plan.
Wife picked SoftBank a long time ago and so my whole family (son too) is usin SoftBank.
Many of my buds have SoftBank too.

Wife won't OK the mullah 'just' for a bike GPS while I'll be OKed to get a smart phone as soon as I decide which one I want (waitin to see what iphone5 is like).

Now I have a dumb phone so even Google Maps isn't much of an option.
 

tarepanda

Speeding Up
Sep 23, 2011
56
0
26
Maebashi
#5
I have the S2 and the GPS takes a LONG time to lock on sometimes and can be wildly inaccurate for a while. It also drains the battery something fierce and heats up the unit pretty badly.
 
Sep 2, 2009
5
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0
#6
Time and time again I have this conversation with people;

There is no point keeping the whole family on a single network now that smartphones are the standard. This is a hangover from the days of SMS.

ANY smartphone with a packet-hodai plan, if set up properly will not cost you any more money than keeping the family on the same network.

Example;

My friend is on Docomo and I am on Softbank.

(and yes, get yourself an extra 2 batteries when you sign up for any smartphone. They are only about 1600yen each for any of them)
Emails; Gmail. FREE. Uses packet-hodai
Calls; Skype. FREE. Uses packet-hodai

The end.

With docomo now, they will actually pay you 1300yen(ish) a month to transfer your phone number from Softbank over to them. So, you will be saving money on each unit, have a better, cloud based system, and a better phone.
 

Lawrence

Speeding Up
Jul 23, 2011
124
2
36
Chiba City
#7
I could see usin Gmail but with the quality of calls bad enough as it is sometimes isn't a Skype call even worse?

I'm happy enough with SoftBank though.
Was thinkin of the Aquos The Premium (009SH) or Yahoo! Phone if I didn't get the iphone5.
 
Sep 2, 2009
5
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0
#8
Surely you jest?

A Skype call is MUCH better in quality than anything the Japanese networks can offer native. Compared, for example, to the UK, the Japanese call quality is appalling; feels like I am listening to the entire call through some kind of bit-reduction plug-in. Dreadful.

Skype has a very decent audio summing engine (trust me, I know what I am talking about when it comes to audio), and leaves anything native to the Japanese networks scrabbling in the dust.
 

stanc

Maximum Pace
Sep 4, 2011
255
41
58
Brighton
#10
I have used Cyclemeter

by Abvio on IOS. Its generally quite good for route plotting but no real replacement for a dedicated gps unit and the speed /altitude plotting is awful. Some days it looks like the alps have moved to Sussex (biggest hill round here was a 4th cat when the tour came through) and I apparently regularly hit 80kmh even on flat rides. I nearly bought a Garmin last weekend but missed the special offer on Wiggle. pooh!
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
5,528
538
193
Yokohama
#12
Hate to burst your bubble but Softbank lost the deal on the new iPhone 5 and only AU KDDI users will be able toget it. No more free calls! :eek:
 

Gunjira

Maximum Pace
Oct 2, 2009
1,004
177
83
Tokyo
#16
My two cents:
For iOS hands down the best GPS app is motionx gps. I wrote about it in other posts.

For a battery boost, Sanyo got some goodies in their eneloop line. I use the L54D for longer trips, gives around two full charges. You still got to find a way to attach it to your bars though.

For Android indeed endemondo seems to be the best option currently. The latest Sony arc/acro models from Docomo supply it with ANT+ data, so it is should be just a question of time before the software catches up and you will get a featureset closer to a Garmin.


I am biased, but Docomo has by far the best network in urban AND rural Japan. Smartphone apps require a connection to download map data, so if you are out and the data is not cached, all you see is a dot on a white map. For iPhone you can try and do a finger slide-over over the route you are riding manually beforehand, so hopefully the map-tiles will be cached, but since you cannot actively influence it, sometimes it won't work. (I remember losing half a day cursing the iPhone in the mountains of Shikoku)

I enjoy planning my rides beforehand and looking at maps trying to figure out routes. So far I haven't missed a bikecomputer, because your body also tells you what is going on: Am I going 36 or 39? I don't care, as long as it feels right. Still I got a Garmin recently and along with a hrm strap and some reassurances when riding roads for the first time, that still seems to be the most expensive, but best package.
 

Lawrence

Speeding Up
Jul 23, 2011
124
2
36
Chiba City
#17
Thanks for the tips!

Ya I think Docomo has the best (but probably most expensive) network too.

Lately I don't care about speed (either) but RPMs. I kinda know if I am in the right range though.
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
945
242
103
tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#19
I rode with an iPhone for awhile - but found that the crappy SB coverage combined with the poor battery life was just too annoying. The best app was GPX thanks to Gunjira for pointing this out. As for navigation - everyone I see on iPhone just falls back to the Google maps. Otherwise Id suggest the best combo is a Garmin 500 and whatever you need to find your way thang. I hate heavy Jersey pockets and on any climb am ready to even toss out my wallet, let alone a phone that weighs more than it gives back. So, I'll stick to the Garmin + feature phone for awhile. Besides the camera in my feature phone is far better than any Smartphone or iPhone. (8mp water-resistant)
 

microcord

Maximum Pace
Aug 28, 2012
914
294
83
Tokyo
#20
I would chime in that as the simplest option on a phone, just use Google Maps.

Oh yeah, and why are you set on Softbank? The Docomo Samsung Galaxy S 2 is currently the best Android phone out there.
I strolled in to an Au shop yesterday. As always (and as KDDI no doubt intends), I was made dizzy by all the prices and plans, but I think switching to the Casio "G'zOne IS11CA" would cost me 15 thou. It's the vaguely macho-looking Android model, adverts for which show it artistically sprinkled with water. Hmmm.... Unaccustomed though I am to paying more than a thousand yen for a phone (for which my requirements and use so far have been minimal), 15 thou would be palatable.

Of course the running costs would be something else. Actually I've never used a GPS (other than on the missus' Ipad) and can't even figure out whether GPS costs more than perhaps a monthly rate of a few hundred yen if I go with a lowball service plan. (Which I'm inclined to do. I now pay about 3000 a month, including everything, for my phone; I'm sure that a cheapo Android is KDDI's tool to extract much more from me per month.)

Googling tells me that this phone is pretty much the same as the "Commando", marketed outside Japan. This seems to get a pretty good press. But I'm a bit puzzled by the non-mention (I think) in this BBS of this "G'z One IS11CA" cellphone, which purports to be resistant to water and vibration. Does anyone here know something about it that I should know about?