/ wrist gps or new phone - any advice?

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
control freak on 14 Feb 2013
Does anyone have advice about whether to get a phone with a GPS or to just buy a cheap-end running specific wrist GPS? All I want is:

- Basic GPS so I can track my running and as a back up to map and compass when I’m in the hills on my own
- a phone that makes calls and texts, anything additional is a luxury that I’m not interested in (my current phone was 30 quid and on a £10 pcm contract…)

I always carry a phone for any non-local runs and I have a cheap but perfectly adequate HRM so I thought it would be cheaper to kill two birds with one stone and get a new phone contract but am confused at all the options and whether it would not just be easier/cheaper to buy a new HRM/GPS/watch. I just don’t need more STUFF in general and certainly not in addition to the phone, Ipod, HRM and various medical items that I currently carry when running. And I don't want to spend loads of money...

Any advice re the merits of either option welcomed, thanks
balmybaldwin - on 14 Feb 2013
In reply to control freak:

A wrist watch GPs is much more likely to have a battery that lasts long enough to record your runs depending on how far you go out for. If you are only running for an hour at a time, phone might be a better option. you can now get hrm's that link to a phone if you go down this route
control freak on 14 Feb 2013
In reply to balmybaldwin: Ah now the battery is something I hadn't thought about at all and definitely important as my shortest runs are an hour so phone might be useless for most of the time I need it. Thanks for that.
Ridge - on 14 Feb 2013
In reply to control freak:

Not a expert on this, but my 2p worth.

If you want to use it for nav I don't think the cheaper GPS watches will do this. They record your postion but only the more expensive models (Garmin 310XT?) allow you to pull out a grid ref. That would put you down the cheap dedicated GPS or phone route.

As regards phones, (it's what I use):

GPS works well, lots of apps such as strava and sporttracker available. In terms of nav can use very simple app to get grid ref or go the whole hog with mapping from memory map or anquet, (pirated maps may be available...)

Hammers the battery, probably good for maybe 6hrs? depending on phone and app used.
Fragile in terms if weather resistance
control freak on 14 Feb 2013
In reply to Ridge: Thanks Ridge, that's helpful. Sounds like phone battery might not be good enough for days in the hills. Might go down the route of selling my HRM and buying a cheaper GPS device instead. I'll be a walking (running) technological-pharmacy at this rate!
thedatastream on 14 Feb 2013
Android Smartphone + GPS + Strava + Maverick = win.
The New NickB - on 14 Feb 2013
In reply to control freak:

See if you can pick up an old Garmin FR 205/305 second hand. Decent navigation functions, should be dirt cheap.

Phones as a GPS are a PITA when running.
control freak on 14 Feb 2013
In reply to The New NickB: So can I link to strava etc with a basic garmin or just to the garmin connect thing?
redscotti - on 14 Feb 2013
My solution? Android phone + Backcountry Navigator (free OS map downloads) + spare battery. Does me for long days even in summer. Also car phone charger for journey home - never needed it yet! Use an Aquapac case, totally weatherproof. No problem in 2 years.
Rekotin on 14 Feb 2013
In reply to control freak:

It's not the cheapest option by far, but I've been absolutely super happy about my Suunto Ambit. It's so versatile for whatever you do that I'm just chuffed to bits I don't have to deal with any of the smartphone crap anymore. But that's just me.

I think both Suunto and Garmin have a pretty cheap entry-level option with GPS, but they are severly limited - ie. all you can use it for is running and I'm not sure how much GPS data you get out of it. Suunto Ambit + HRM is a great combo.
matt.ridgway on 14 Feb 2013
In reply to Rekotin:

I got a suunto ambit at christmas, cant rate it highly enough. Its been perfect for everything i've thrown at it, or myself at. but as rekotin says, its not cheap.
balmybaldwin - on 14 Feb 2013
In reply to control freak:
> (In reply to The New NickB) So can I link to strava etc with a basic garmin or just to the garmin connect thing?

Yes, in fact you can upload to all sorts of things - map my run, endomondo, strava.

Don't know how much you want to spend, but my old watch (sorry, just sold to a mate) was a 405cx, gps, and hrm cost me £150 from amazon, and works perfectly for the sort of thing you describe, and could easily record for 10hrs (longer with GPS off) and required a recharge every 20 days or so of "watch only" use.

It also allows an addition of a footpod step counter or a speed/cadence sensor for a bike if you want to add at a later date.

I think this is the current version:

Kelcat - on 15 Feb 2013
In reply to control freak: might as well add my t'uppence as I've had both.
Had an early Garmin watch, was pants, lost signal lots, very little useabilty. Am sure they e come on, but its another thing, whilst I need a phone.
Now have a HTC sensation phone & run Endomondo which is a great ap.
I live & run in the middle of nowhere. If I fupducked then no-one would find me, so a phone is a must. Battery isn't an issue on my level of runs - certainly plenty of juice up to 3hrs (phonehas 1900 battery)
Endomondo tracks, plots & compares. U need to make sure you switch gps on & off.
RedFive on 15 Feb 2013
In reply to control freak:

I've recently got a Garmin 310xt from Amazon for 170 quid which is a bargain. It has been replaced by the 9 series but they are 3 times as much money.

All the normal running stuff but it also records a track of where you have been which could be a life saver if you needed to reverse from an unknown point.

I've also uploaded tracks to it to follow which works just as well as on my dedicated Etrex 10 which is now demoted to backup device in the hills.

Other main advantage is its properly waterproof unlike a lot of running watches as it can be used in open water.

I used to use runkeeper but the Garmin plus Sporttracks for my data fetish is a winner.

steveriley - on 15 Feb 2013
In reply to control freak:
I started using strava on my HTC Android phone last year and had problems with dropped signals and truncated runs. To give you an idea on battery it packed up around 4-5h into a 6h bike ride. I had some help from one of the strava developers on twitter and we decided it was the raw data from the phone, not strava.

I got a cheap Garmin from an Amazon flash sale and it's been lots better. The 110 gives me recording rather than navigation, but pretty good for 70 quid. Unfortunately I don't think I'll ever beat the 3 minute mile run PB the phone gave me

markk on 15 Feb 2013
In reply to control freak: based on advice from someone else, I went for a Garmin forerunner 305 together with endomondo for logging runs - works really well for me. Took several failed bids before getting lucky, but got the forerunner for £70 on ebay.
Indy - on 15 Feb 2013
In reply to control freak:

Currently using a Garmin FR610 with a Wahoo dongle for Apple. Do my run/cycle can then upload the workout directly to Garmin Connect, Strava, Training Peaks or a load of other sites via the App.

The FR610 is more expensive than all the other Garmin watrch type GPS's BUT it blows them all out of the water. Garmin perfected the genre with the FR610 in my view.
davegs - on 15 Feb 2013
In reply to control freak:

I have a Garmin 305 in very good condition you can have for £70.00 posted. Only selling because I have a Garmin Fenix now.

Let me know if you want pictures.

control freak on 17 Feb 2013
In reply to control freak: thank you everyone for the advice, really helped me decide. going to look for a cheaper end of the market watch to replace my current hrm. just don't think i'd be happy with the battery life using a phone.
steelbru - on 17 Feb 2013
In reply to DefenderKen:
The 910XT can be had for less than twice price of 310XT, Amazon £265 http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B005SPCJ74/ref=asc_df_B005SPCJ7411983430?smid=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&tag=goog...
RedFive on 18 Feb 2013
In reply to steelbru:

That's a bargain, they have come down in price since Christmas, well worth it.
jethro kiernan - on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to control freak: phones can be a pain when running, today I used my iPhone and strava on a bike ride and it seemed to record the last part of the ride zig zagging through some random estate when I was riding along a country lane/cycle track.
People are always upgrading keep an eye out for something second hand

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.