Offline Maps - Handheld vs. App GPS

bicycle tim

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Jun 9, 2018
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I'm hoping not to spend a chunk of my stimulus check on a handheld gps. However, battery life is a major issue. In winter I may ride for 4 to 6 hours. Temps are typically in mid to high 30s. Does anyone have an opinion on whether I can get 4 to 6 hours out of an Iphone 7 using an app such as Gaia, Guru, View Ranger etc. Tracking will be on as will airplane mode. Thanks for any help
 

Boyd

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The iPhone 7 is getting pretty old (but don't feel bad, I have a 6s+). If you still have the original battery, it is likely to have reduced life. I assume you would need the screen on full brightness. On a bicycle, you could use a large external battery however, so I wouldn't think it would be a problem.

The advantage of the dedicated GPS is the transreflective screen that can be seen with no backlighting. And a dedicated device is only designed for one purpose, as opposed to an iPhone which has a much more powerful processor that draws more power. The Garmin eTrex units are generally acknowledged as the champs for battery life, and you can still get this nice deal on the eTrex 30x

https://forums.njpinebarrens.com/threads/black-friday-gps-deals.13245/#post-158846

But if you're used to the iPhone, you'll probably find the eTrex screen to be a relic from the past (which it is). :)
 
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Boyd

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It will work fine. Goal Zero is one company that makes power packs in every size, and they are also compatible with solar panels for recharging. Have not used the small ones, but I have a big 400 watt-hour Yeti model that I use to power electronic gear like sound systems, computers, etc. Very well-made device. But there are also a number of other companies making external power supplies.

 

bicycle tim

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Jun 9, 2018
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tabernacle, nj
Boyd, you brought up a good point that I never considered. In the winter with no leaves on the trees even if I have power it may be difficult to read an iphone screen without stopping. I'm not stopping. Unfortunately I'm at the point in l;ife where I need a 3.5 to 4 inch screen. I assume this limits my alternatives and raises the price. Thanks for your help.
 

Boyd

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That limits you to the Garmin Montana, which has a 4" screen, and you will pay some serious bucks for these. The next step down would be the Oregon series with a 3" screen, or the GPSMap64 and GPSMap66 series which also have 3" screens, but pushbutton interfaces. Aside from the screen size, all of Garmin's devices have very low resolution screens for today's world. The Montana is 480x272 - the highest resolution handheld that Garmin makes. Compare this to your iPhone 7 at 1334x750 pixels. :clint:


Shop around, you may find a refurb for $400 at a place like gpscity.com or thegpsstore.com. These are big and awkward compared to a phone, but are nice units. Guy and Bob have them and seem to be happy. I was a pretty early adopter and got one 8 or 9 years ago. The switch cover broke off a couple years ago, so I no longer use it. Have thought about replacing, but IMO the Montana is overdue for an update and it's just too expensive for old technology. Of course, when an update finally comes, it will be even more expensive.

All things considered, I'm not sure I will every buy another Garmin handheld. But we shal see... :)