What Smartphone / GPS for touring UK/France ?

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Graham
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What Smartphone / GPS for touring UK/France ?

Postby Graham » 28 Jul 2019, 12:20pm

Am I about to step into the world of the evil empire ? . . . enemy surveillance, screen dependency, electricity dependency . . .

1) Map function - e.g. for planning a route on the hoof e.g. cycle.travel/map

2) Internet function - for looking up anything : finding campsites : accommodation : train&ferry times : reservations : etc.

3) GPS - probably fairly low priority, as one is never really lost on near continent.

4) Books / other reading whilst travelling.

I have never owned one and wouldn't know how to choose between the near-infinite choice.
Can anyone advise ?

( P.S. Does anyone own a separate device for cycle-touring rather than for normal, daily use ? )

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Re: What Smartphone / GPS for touring UK/France ?

Postby brynpoeth » 28 Jul 2019, 12:27pm

Cheapest product from your local discount store
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Re: What Smartphone / GPS for touring UK/France ?

Postby philvantwo » 28 Jul 2019, 1:35pm

-1
Buy cheap.......buy twice. :(
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al_yrpal
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Re: What Smartphone / GPS for touring UK/France ?

Postby al_yrpal » 28 Jul 2019, 1:42pm

A Motorola G6 or G7 Android smartphone is a sensibly priced smartphone with an excellent gps. Buy Osmand + for a fiver and install it on your phone choosing appropriate maps of the areas you are visiting.

Plan your route by typing cycle.travel into the Chrome browser window and produce a gpx file of your route.

Via a file manager click on the file of your route, it will be named cycle.travel, subsequent routes will be named cycle.travel(1) (2) etc. Osmand + will automatically find the cycle.travel route and open the route ready to navigate.

Then, in Osmand + click on the direction/ navigate icon and Osmand + will guide you on the track visually and with voice prompts.

You can install Kindle on your smartphone and read your book on that. Some folks dont like that so you can buy a nice Kindle with a backlight for a little over £100.

A stem mounted phone housing like this is a good investment. https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07 ... UTF8&psc=1

Good luck on your tours!

Al

ps...worth investing in a power bank which you can keep in the phone housing and will ensure you never run out of juice :D
Last edited by al_yrpal on 29 Jul 2019, 10:18am, edited 1 time in total.
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HobbesOnTour
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Re: What Smartphone / GPS for touring UK/France ?

Postby HobbesOnTour » 28 Jul 2019, 2:11pm

Graham wrote:Am I about to step into the world of the evil empire ?
Can anyone advise ?

( P.S. Does anyone own a separate device for cycle-touring rather than for normal, daily use ? )


1) Map function - e.g. for planning a route on the hoof e.g. cycle.travel/map

Any internet connected phone or tablet can run cycle.travel.
But.... planning a route on such a small screen is not a very pleasurable experience. (A simple A to B is ok, deviations are trickier).
OSMand will allow offline route planning (so long as the maps are downloaded in advance).

However, a route planned on cycle.travel needs to be followed using another app or a dedicated gps device, unless you wan to use the cuesheet generated by cycle.travel. Again very finnicky on a phone.
Osmand will give turn by turn directions.

Other apps like Komoot or RideWithGPS allow route planning online. I am not a fan of Komoot routes. But you'll need a sub or purchase maps to use that functionality on the phone and you'll need to be online but you can send the route to a dedicated gps device.

Google Maps can be used too - but I do not recommend it for bike route planning. It is good for finding things like shops/campsites etc.

2) Internet function - for looking up anything : finding campsites : accommodation : train&ferry times : reservations : etc.

Again any phone & most tablets can access the internet either through wifi or data. With data you have almost access anywhere (depending on signal strength at your location). With wifi it is only where you have a wifi signal.
Whatever options you use on your home PC should be available on your phone, perhaps with some limitations.
A handy feature of Google Maps is the "saved map". You can download a map of whatever area you want, having researched and highlighted things like campsites etc. Therefore you have access to that info, even offline.

3) GPS - probably fairly low priority, as one is never really lost on near continent.

Nearly all phones & tablets have gps. Without it though there may be issues with any mapping/location services you want to use. I can't comment because all my phones/tablets have had gps. If you want to use your phone to follow any route, it will need gps functionality.

4) Books / other reading whilst travelling.

Simple - a Kindle. Not only books, but also magazine & Newspaper subs as well as - and this is the killer application as far as I'm concerned - a repository of all your notes for your trip. Web pages, articles, blogs, your own documents, photos (think maps) can all be sent to your Kindle. Excellent battery life means that you always have a backup. For long distance/long time tours an invaluable asset. Some Kindles even operate a crude web browser.

The only advise I can give is to think deeply about what you want to achieve and then seek out the solution to that. Then check and double check that what you are looking to buy actually does what you want it to do.
Not all gps devices or apps work the same. What works fine for me may be hell for you.

Then get very comfortable with whatever you are using. Test every single thing you think you might want to do.

Having toured all over Europe without a dedicated gps device (using Osmand as my emergency backup), I don't think I would go back to my pre gps days - it is simply easier - especially in urban areas. I don't have to keep stopping to check which turn to take. Or, more likely, I can cycle where I fancy and when I need to get somewhere the gps will get me there.

There is a comfort to be had to having something like Osmand. It's getting dark, the rain is starting to get heavy, I don't want to waste any time in getting to the nearest campsite. But trying to navigate by phone in the rain is not an easy thing! It's a backup - not an everyday thing.

I use a Wahoo Elemnt for navigating. It is also nice to have a record of each day's ride.
I use cycle.travel for planning, normally on a PC in advance. (I generally plan several routes, wander off course as I like, then choose the most appropriate route when I want to get back on course)
I have a phone for photos & communication
I have a tablet and keyboard for on the road planning (bigger screen) and keeping notes/journal.
I have a kindle for reading & any notes prepared for the trip.

Using Osmand, a cable and my Wahoo I can create routes totally offline and follow them on my Wahoo. There has not been too much need for that functionality to date, but I hope to be using it in the future.

My attitude is that each piece of equipment has a task. A phone or a tablet would cover all duties, but then all my eggs are in one basket, and at certain points I will have to sacrifice one task over another, and no tasks will be completed in the best possible way. For example, my Kindle is far easier and comfortable to read than a kindle app on my phone or tablet. Using the phone as a navigator is not ideal off-road, in bright sunshine or rain.

I use a dynohub to keep everything charged. I like the freedom to wild camp when possible or when I feel like it. The dynohub gives me that.

( P.S. Does anyone own a separate device for cycle-touring rather than for normal, daily use ? )

I pretty much only use my tablet on tour.

If you are new to the smartphone world, you'll need to decide between Apple & Android. Without wanting to start WWIII, I switched to Android and am very happy. All my devices communicate with each other. Backups are made, so that if I lose/break my phone, for example, all I need is a new phone and some wifi and everything is restored on the new phone.

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Re: What Smartphone / GPS for touring UK/France ?

Postby iandriver » 28 Jul 2019, 2:49pm

I'm using a Motorola G7 power (there are a few models of G7, the power is the one with a bigger battery). It's serving me very well. The huge battery is brilliant.
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Re: What Smartphone / GPS for touring UK/France ?

Postby Oldjohnw » 28 Jul 2019, 3:06pm

iandriver wrote:I'm using a Motorola G7 power (there are a few models of G7, the power is the one with a bigger battery). It's serving me very well. The huge battery is brilliant.


I have the same just purchased in the last three weeks. I also always take a PAYGO £7 Nokia as an emergency phone which I take walking/cycling. It can only phone and text. Both are registered with the emergency services.
John

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Re: What Smartphone / GPS for touring UK/France ?

Postby RickH » 28 Jul 2019, 3:13pm

al_yrpal wrote:Plan your route by typing cycle.travel into the Chrome browser window and produce a gpx file of your route.

Via a file manager click on the file of your route, it will be named cycle.travel, subsequent routes will be named cycle.travel(1) (2) etc. Osmand + will automatically find the cycle.travel route and open the route ready to navigate.


Using cycle.travel to plan your route does necessitate have a mobile data connection or WiFi access. Some dedicated GPS units may do the same (Wahoo is one that springs to mind). Some, like the Garmin ones with mapping, have everything internal so it is possible (if not always easy depending on the model) to plan a route with no external data needed). GPS can be useful in unknown territory to tell quickly where you are when faced with an unsigned junction that could be one of several on the map depending on whether you are on the road you thought you were on in the fist place.

If you register on Cycle.Travel & save your route before you create the GPX file then the GPX file will have whatever name you gave it in cycle.travel (I don't know if osmand uses the file name or the internal name but they will both be the same/similar. If you use a Garmin, others may be similar, that uses the internal name rather than the file name - if you rename the file the internal name still shows up in menus).

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Re: What Smartphone / GPS for touring UK/France ?

Postby Tigerbiten » 28 Jul 2019, 3:35pm

Think about how you're going to keep all the devices charged up.
The more you have, the more power you need.
A small solar panel is fine for sunny days off, but not so useful if you're cycling all day or it's not sunny.
A hub dynamo can charge up a cache battery as you go, but no so useful if you have lots of days off the bike.
Otherwise it's trying to find a power socket to charge devices/cache batteries when you stop.
Thats easy if you credit card tour, more iffy if you camp.

I'm setup for minimum power use.
I still use a paper map for my basic route planning and plot the route into my gps by hand.
A kindle does me for books.

Luck ....... :D

rotavator
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Re: What Smartphone / GPS for touring UK/France ?

Postby rotavator » 28 Jul 2019, 3:50pm

Can anyone recommend a smartphone that works when there are raindrops on the screen or if I have wet fingers? Alternatively, recommend a transparent, waterproof case with stem/handlebar mount that allows my fingerprint to be recognised and touches/key entries to be transmitted. The reason I ask is that my Motorola G5 cannot be unlocked if there are raindrops on the screen or my fingers are wet so could be less use than a chocolate teapot in an emergency ( I could at least eat a chocolate teapot!).

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Re: What Smartphone / GPS for touring UK/France ?

Postby mercalia » 28 Jul 2019, 4:11pm

You could consider a cheap Windows 10 phone like the Lumia 640 that has proved to be very reliable.

https://www.techradar.com/uk/reviews/ph ... 616/review

cost me about £20 on ebay for a mint/very good condition one. You maybe know that Microsoft has thrown in the towel and end support end of this year ( though this one ended in June this year)

I was in the same situation as you , wanting a first phone. I nearly got a cheap Android phone costing £100 or so ( A motorola ) but read user reviews of woe , of unreliable wifi or gps, needing taking the battery out. Also these cheap Android phones dont get much support re secuirty updates maybe one years worth. So they are by nature insecure after a short time.

My 640 has in built Microsoft maps that can be downloaded on to an internal sd card. The maps are free. covers all Europe. These are offline maps.

There are also other cheap or free map options that cover google maps online or offline openstreet/opencycle maps or Mapforge maps liked by hikers as they show all sorts of tracks.

You can get a Kindle app. or apps for un encrypted Epub ebooks. The problem here is apps for eg ebooks from libraries. fortunatley my local uses Epubs & I can "fix" them.


And there are nice apps for transport incl buses and trains ( timetables). Also cheap podcast apps that can provide lots of entertainment

if you are interested I can advice you further.

The only problem with using maps on a phone is the screen not really being bright enough in bright conditions. You would probably have to pay a lot of cash for one that does work well in the sun. Ok for planning though.
Last edited by mercalia on 28 Jul 2019, 4:14pm, edited 1 time in total.

Oldjohnw
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Re: What Smartphone / GPS for touring UK/France ?

Postby Oldjohnw » 28 Jul 2019, 4:14pm

I've had a Windows 20 Nokia for several years but recently changed it because gradually Apps were no longer being supported.
John

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mercalia
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Re: What Smartphone / GPS for touring UK/France ?

Postby mercalia » 28 Jul 2019, 4:17pm

Oldjohnw wrote:I've had a Windows 20 Nokia for several years but recently changed it because gradually Apps were no longer being supported.


Windows 8.1 phones areto be avoided in general unless they can be updated to Windows 10 as Microsoft stopped any updates to 8.1 apps and new ones cant be added to the store. But Windows 10 phones a different kettle of fish. The Lumia 640 came out in 2015 and mine got its last update this June - thats 50 updates over 4 years ( thats for a budget phone, no budget Android will give yoiu that much) I upgraded mine from Windows 8.1 to 10 but best to buy one aleady been upgraded.

well depends which apps? like to mention them?

The ones I have paid for are still supported as they are so called universal apps so work on the desktop or tablet also. The ones that are not supported seem bug free and likely to continue to work for a long time eg my bus and train timetable apps. eg I have a nice London Bus app that displays the same info you find at bus stops, will contiunue to work while the protocol remains the same ( just think the immense task of changing all the bus stops displays in London :? ) and also the same for UK wide trains stations, timetables and platform numbers and bus replacements

The ones that have been hit are the social media apps like Facebook and whatsapp. ( couldnt care less)

Any way I am happy with my £20 phone ( also has excellent 4G capabilities with great voice quality)

The ops situation is like mine I think. I had avoided smartphones not wanting to become a izombie but needs arose.

Last year I was on holiday on my m/c and the battery failed just out side Oxford, luck I had my notebook with me so I could order a replacment from Halfords in Oxford and collect it within an hour.

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Re: What Smartphone / GPS for touring UK/France ?

Postby mercalia » 28 Jul 2019, 4:54pm

Oldjohnw wrote:
iandriver wrote:I'm using a Motorola G7 power (there are a few models of G7, the power is the one with a bigger battery). It's serving me very well. The huge battery is brilliant.


I have the same just purchased in the last three weeks. I also always take a PAYGO £7 Nokia as an emergency phone which I take walking/cycling. It can only phone and text. Both are registered with the emergency services.



Both are registered with the emergency services.

what does that mean?

Oldjohnw
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Re: What Smartphone / GPS for touring UK/France ?

Postby Oldjohnw » 28 Jul 2019, 5:39pm

mercalia wrote:
Oldjohnw wrote:
iandriver wrote:I'm using a Motorola G7 power (there are a few models of G7, the power is the one with a bigger battery). It's serving me very well. The huge battery is brilliant.


I have the same just purchased in the last three weeks. I also always take a PAYGO £7 Nokia as an emergency phone which I take walking/cycling. It can only phone and text. Both are registered with the emergency services.



Both are registered with the emergency services.

what does that mean?



If you text 999 eithe the word 'Register' your phone gets registered. You can then get help if in a remote place and are perhaps lost or injured. Your phone can be located.
Last edited by Oldjohnw on 28 Jul 2019, 6:20pm, edited 1 time in total.
John

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