Motorcycle Navigation: Phone vs GPS


Thanks to satellites and the internet, navigation is so easy these days: just pick a route, and follow your navigation device! But what about the phone vs GPS debate, and which one should you choose?

Smartphones are amazing: they have incredible amount of functions and uses, they keep you connected, and if you ever get lost, your phone apps will find the way for you. Phones are also a lot cheaper than GPS units; Google Maps are free to use, and if you want to use your smartphone as your motorcycle’s GPS device, all you need is a handlebar mount.

phone vs GPS navigation

So why bother with GPS units at all?


GPS units have sensitive receivers which lock on to satellite signals, and unless you’re in a tunnel, your GPS will pinpoint the location much more accurately than a smartphone. In addition, a GPS unit will re-route you or offer an alternative much faster than a smartphone: phones usually have other apps running in the background, so it may take a few minutes before your phone’s system realize you’ve missed a turn.

phone vs GPS

Battery Life and Visibility

Let’s face it: smartphone batteries die much quicker than those of a GPS unit, even if it’s put on a charge. Your GPS unit, connected to an energy source on your bike, won’t die, an its battery will hold out much longer.

On top of that, with the GPS unit, you’ve got a nice big screen to look at whereas your smartphone screen might just not be enough.

Motorcycle Navigation: Phone vs GPS


I remember watching my  Garmin Zumo falling off my bike and bouncing down the road in horror. I was going at 30 mph at that time; I’d forgotten to lock the unit in,  and I was certain it would be smashed to pieces. But it wasn’t – I stopped, went back to retrieve it, and apart from a few scuff marks, there was no damage done. That old Zumo lasted for another few years!

Sure, we all want to avoid crashes and smashes, but if you’re planning to ride off road, chances are, you might lay your bike down – and your smartphone might not make it, whereas a GPS unit will.

Motorcycle Navigation: Phone vs GPS

Access to Maps

Your phone maps depend on internet connectivity to be able to load and direct you, which means they will be useless once you get out of the cell phone service range. A GPS, however, will load maps and route anywhere in the world regardless of internet or cell phone service availability! Sure, you can pre-load maps to your phone, but that creates extra work, whereas a GPS unit will do it all for you.

phone vs GPS

What do you prefer: phone or GPS? Let us know in the comments below!


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