Last Updated on February 18, 2023
Android smartphones and iPhones are increasingly being used by cyclists and and runners to track their rides and workouts, so you might be wondering why owners of GPS enabled cellphones go to the trouble of using a secondary dedicated GPS device. One advantage (and I can only give the cyclists’ perspective here) is that a dedicated GPS device can be handlebar mounted, making it easy to watch your speed and progress, of course you can mount your phone on your handlebars but do you really want to? Honestly? Really? But there’s an even bigger advantage to investing in a dedicated GPS tracker device.
So I had this big long detailed blog post planned out, but when I ran the comparison test and saw the map data (below) I figure that the results speak for themselves. The two devices used were a Samsung Galaxy S Android smartphone (so very expensive when new) and a Holux GPSport 245 (which was the cheapest GPS device on the market when new). As a caveat I should add that GPS tracking on smartphones has improved a bit, but I think we’ve got some way to go until they’re as accurate as devices designed for solely tracking our movements.
Why does GPS accuracy matter?
Accurate tracking is crucial to generating useful and reliable training data… is what I’d say if I was actually fit or in training, but in reality I want my bike rides to be accurately tracked so that I can compare my cycling abilities to my friends on Strava.com and Strava companion Veloviewer.com My phone GPS is sometimes so ropey that I don’t even show up as being on the same roads as other Strava users – more often than not I show up as not being on any roads at all!
The tracking maps below were generated on a single bike ride; so the same bike, the same rider, the same distance, the same route, the same day, hour, minute (you get the idea). The red line denotes the path I took according to the device tracking it.