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  1. #1
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    Garmin edge 200 vs. iphone app

    I am looking to get a new wireless computer for a new bike and stumbled upon the garmin edge 200 which can be had for around $125 which is more than I planned to pay for a computer. But for a gps, that seems reasonable. The thing I like about the edge is that it has a breadcrumb feature that helps you backtrack in case you get lost (which I am prone to doing). Another option is an iphone app that would offer the same type stuff. For those that use apps, will they work if you are out of range and don't have phone service? How do you like what you are using? Thanks for any opinions.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by basilhayden View Post
    I am looking to get a new wireless computer for a new bike and stumbled upon the garmin edge 200 which can be had for around $125 which is more than I planned to pay for a computer. But for a gps, that seems reasonable. The thing I like about the edge is that it has a breadcrumb feature that helps you backtrack in case you get lost (which I am prone to doing). Another option is an iphone app that would offer the same type stuff. For those that use apps, will they work if you are out of range and don't have phone service? How do you like what you are using? Thanks for any opinions.
    I use iPhone apps with GPS. Strava and MotionX-GPS. I know the Motion X works without cell coverage, but you have to have the map loaded to know where you are. If you have an iPhone, the $ for the dedicated Garmin could be used for a new wheel or rear derailleur.
    My name is Chris and I ride a Prophet 650b with a Lefty.

  3. #3
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    I was in the same boat. My phone is a 10 year old Nokia brick that I don't want to get rid of, but my wife wants me to. The only reason I had any desire to get a smart phone was for the cycling app. When I realized it'd be $200 up front plus $30 a month after that, I got an Edge 500. It lets you track HR, cadence, grade, everything right there on your screen.

    Still love my Nokia! lol

  4. #4
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    I always prefer a tool that is built specifically for what you need. It's better to have something that does its task well than having a tool that that does several tasks poorly or moderately well.

    I've tried using the gps app for iPhone and it sucks your battery down quickly and uses all your data, if you don't have an unlimited data plan. I had several rides where the battery was drained before finishing a ride.

  5. #5
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    as much as I malign cell phones for use as backcountry GPS receivers, I think you'd be better off with the phone than the Edge 200 on the trails. The Edge 200 isn't built to be accurate enough for the trails.

    The Edge 500 (or even something like an eTrex 20) would be very worth the extra expense. I think I even saw the Oregon 450 going for $199 somewhere recently. REI or EMS maybe?

  6. #6
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    I know the 200 doesn't stack up against pricier units, but I've liked mine and it's a damn sight better for my uses than any iphone app that I've tried.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    The Edge 200 isn't built to be accurate enough for the trails.
    Really NateHawk? Care to expand on this for the OP and me? I have an Edge 200 and love it. Are you going to say that it doesn't record your position often enough? I've only seen one person on one thread say this. I kind of wonder if that person got a defective unit. I've never had this problem. Have you tried one and tested it for yourself? I've had this happen numerous times with my other GPS. No disrespect meant, I really am curious because like I've said it's been great for me.

    basilhayden, when I originally purchased my Edge I was looking at getting a nice cycle computer, but by the time you get a few nice features and an extra mount you're practically at the price of a 200. I considered the iPhone but I've never been impressed with the iPhone for mapping accurately and battery life was a concern. I've used the courses feature a few times on the Edge 200, the first time being at night on a brand new trail and it worked great. There is a downside though, it doesn't have a color screen and it's mapping/navigation features are not that detailed, i.e. compared to a 500. If you bought some preloaded maps and etc an iPhone might be better if you want some of the extra features like zooming in on the map. The 200 is lacking in that area. If you can look at a breadcrumb line and backtrack somewhat decent it will probably be okay. As far as accuracy, recording where I am, the 200 has been great. I love the 200 but it's not a fully functional & detailed GPS unit. I think the main factor would be how much map detail do you need/want?

  8. #8
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    If you don't mind spending the money then buy the Garmin. I tried using my iPhone (3GS) for a while, but it runs through the battery pretty quick and was missing parts of the ride. I also got the 200 and it's great. Never had a problem. Haven't tried the backtrack feature, but could be handy if you're lost.

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    The recording interval on the 200 is not good enough, period. It is not adjustable and is only on "auto" which puts more points on the curves and fewer on the straights in theory. In practice it doesn't work in some situations well at all.

    Every other gps has this option as a setting (originally the 500 was auto only and it sucked on the trail, too, until Garmin added 1sec recording in a firmware update), and I have used it on mine.

    The whole reason I own a gps is accurate tracking. I want to know where the trail is. I make maps of the trails I ride and I share them. I occasionally use these to create new routes by linking trails together with road segments and whatnot that others are not aware of.

    This requires accuracy in laying down a track. Auto recording is not good enough for that. It provides really poor results on dense networks of trails (like mine) to the point that the gps is saying you shortcut switchbacks and took every turn too tight. If you are relying on a gps track to find a turnoff, relying on this kind of track will be worthless.

    Which comes to the next problem. In those cases, the inaccurate tracks also result in awful ride stats. Distance, speed, all messed up.

    If you live out west and ride only straight trails in open country, you will never notice this problem because you need to be on dense networks of trails packed tightly into small parcels, like almost every trail in the eastern half od the country.

    I am also what you might call a power user. I expect certain things from my GPS. One of them is a recording interval that can be changed. 1 sec is good for mtb rides in dense networks of trails but it is memory hungry and in some cases it is unnecessary.

    When I hike, I put my GPS on auto or even slower if I want to track my progress. The slower speed of a hiker does not present an issue with inaccuracies you get when moving at mtb speed on auto setting. Speed is a huge variable with recorded track accuracy. The slower you go the more accurate it will be on the turns because it will place more points there and you can find the outliers more easily. The faster, the less accurate. So you need more points when you go faster to make up for that on the curves. On auto, you might be lucky to get one point recorded during a fast turn.

    If you need to save memory and battery life on really long rides you might want shorter recording intervals, too.

    These general issues about auto recording interval on the bike have been getting addressed here for years. Nothing about it has changed in that time.

  10. #10
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    search the Forum for the Egde 200

    There have been several discussions about the recording interval on the edge 200. I use my edge 200 for MTB riding all the time and it works great. Much Much Much better then any phone app. While better gps units might put down more points then a 200, the 200 puts down about 10 times as many points as my iphone using strava. The breadcrumb trail feature on the edge 200 is complety useless. I don't think it has the option to display you current ride to find your way back to your car either. You might consider an edge 305. The 305 can do 1 sec recording, and has useful basic navagation functions.
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  11. #11
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    This may or may not matter to you, but the Edge 200 doesn't have Ant+ which is the wireless network protocol used to connect to a heart rate monitor etc. So you can't use a heart rate monitor with it. But the iPhone 4s and 5 have Bluetooth 4.0, so you can use a Bluetooth HRM like the Wahoo Blue HR Heart Rate Strap. But obviously that costs bucks as well.

  12. #12
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    Generally "REAL" GPS Units connect to higher levels of satellites and will get you much more accurate info. Also depending on if you live in a remote location, service is / can be an issue.

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    um, what are these "higher level satellites" that supposedly "real" gps receivers use?

  14. #14
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    Regarding the Edge 200 and the breadcrumb feature. How does the breadcrumb feature work? I would be using it for road riding so, If I leave my house and I eventually get lost on country roads, It will show me the way back? What do you see on the screen when using this feature?

  15. #15
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    This story is anecdotal however I don't think the results are unusual. My friend and I recently rode Fountainhead. He had his Garmin Edge 500 running and I had Strava on my iPhone. Neither was 100% accurate however the Garmin did far better than my phone.

    The official trail length for the loop is about 17.6km (11 miles). The Garmin read 13.8km (8.6 miles) and my iPhone read 10 km (6.2 miles).

    On other rides, my phone consistently registered around the same distance for the loop.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by scorchedearth View Post
    This story is anecdotal however I don't think the results are unusual. My friend and I recently rode Fountainhead. He had his Garmin Edge 500 running and I had Strava on my iPhone. Neither was 100% accurate however the Garmin did far better than my phone.

    The official trail length for the loop is about 17.6km (11 miles). The Garmin read 13.8km (8.6 miles) and my iPhone read 10 km (6.2 miles).

    On other rides, my phone consistently registered around the same distance for the loop.
    That's unusual compared to my experience... I've had "consistent" luck running Cyclemeter on iPhones since my 3gs (and now on the 5). I rode all of Fountainhead a couple months back and recorded 10.86 mi total distance with my iPhone 4 (AT&T network). Another rider has a wheel sensor and I compare my distances against his occasionally and find that my mileage is low by up to ~8% which works for me.

  17. #17
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    I have the Edge 200 and find it a good we unit - I use it in open country and forest and seems very consistent with ride info.

    When I compare stats with other guys I ride with - we are usually close with respect to distance (+/- 200m) for a 30Km ride.

    I like the Garmin Connect web app and thats a great way to record and compare rides. It doesn't suck too much power and lasts ages between charges. It has a great mount and fits nicely on the bike and copes with getting wet and muddy.

    I also use my iphone - mainly as a GPS tracker when doing solo rides (after big crash last year and some broken bits) - this sends my position every 5mins to my email address so my wife is a happy camper. Problem is all depends on having cell coverage for this to work. I find the iphone sucks thru the power fast with this app going. I have to put the iphone in a ziplock bag and a pocket - bit risky if hit something hard as may smash a phone??

  18. #18
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    Erg....My bad

    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    um, what are these "higher level satellites" that supposedly "real" gps receivers use?
    Ah! Sorry! got my topics mixed up. I was thinking about the diff, between PLB's and the services they use. example: Spot vs ACR.... sorry!

    The cons I see for Cell phones are:
    -Battery life
    -durability

    -use with gloves / in cold on wet
    -coverage and having to depend on the APP you have or what type of phone you have.
    -variance of accuracy depending on device.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paranoid_Android View Post
    This may or may not matter to you, but the Edge 200 doesn't have Ant+ which is the wireless network protocol used to connect to a heart rate monitor etc. So you can't use a heart rate monitor with it. But the iPhone 4s and 5 have Bluetooth 4.0, so you can use a Bluetooth HRM like the Wahoo Blue HR Heart Rate Strap. But obviously that costs bucks as well.
    Try Beets BLU heart rate monitor strap, it's almost the same as wahoo, but newer and costs less Beets BLU Wireless Heart Rate Monitor for iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S

  20. #20
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    Hey, the 200 was $75 after the $30 rebate this summer. $ for $, it's great, but if you want more data points, then buy the edge 500 for $250. You get what you pay for. My 200 is great...for the price and cable free goodness.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by edubfromktown View Post
    That's unusual compared to my experience... I've had "consistent" luck running Cyclemeter on iPhones since my 3gs (and now on the 5). I rode all of Fountainhead a couple months back and recorded 10.86 mi total distance with my iPhone 4 (AT&T network). Another rider has a wheel sensor and I compare my distances against his occasionally and find that my mileage is low by up to ~8% which works for me.
    Interesting. My iPhone is a 3G and I am not sure if there are differences between the GPS chips in the different models. I'll have to try Cyclemeter to see if I can get more accurate data with that app. My experience has been with Runkeeper and Strava. Runkeeper is the better of the two for tracking rides, imo however it has ceased working my phone entirely.
    Free people must travel the road to productive social relations at the speed of a bicycle.- Ivan Illich

  22. #22
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    New to the thread and the whole garmin idea. I am looking for something that I can use a cadance/mileage monitor with. I do a lot of trainer riding when Im lacking the time to drive to the trailhead and I want to know how many miles I ride while going nowhere. Does the 200 have this feature or will I need to go up to the next model? Thanks

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by dhouse View Post
    New to the thread and the whole garmin idea. I am looking for something that I can use a cadance/mileage monitor with. I do a lot of trainer riding when Im lacking the time to drive to the trailhead and I want to know how many miles I ride while going nowhere. Does the 200 have this feature or will I need to go up to the next model? Thanks
    no. the Edge 200 is GPS only. no extra sensors.

  24. #24
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    thanks

  25. #25
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    The Edge 510 just came out, or does within days?, so perhaps there will be some good deals on the Edge 500 around. The 500 works with sensors.

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