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Bike Computer or Smartphone?

by Ruby Choi 13 Feb 2023 1 hozzászólás

More and more cyclists, from professional athletes to those who casually ride on weekends to commuters who rely on their bicycle as a primary form of transportation, are faced with a dilemma: which should they use – a bike computer or a smartphone?

While both have their own advantages, it can be difficult to determine which one is the best fit for any individual. On one hand, bike computers are designed to be used while cycling and offer a range of features and data tracking capabilities, such as speed, distance, and elevation.

Smartphones, on the other hand, can provide a range of useful cycling apps, GPS navigation, and even audio prompts. Furthermore, they are also able to do a variety of other tasks, such as making phone calls, taking photos, and using social media.

Ultimately, the decision of which device to use can come down to individual preferences, budget, and the type of cycling you do.

Smartphone

Pros:

  1. Price

Most people have a smartphone, and many use workout software to track their cycling data. You won't get the same level of detail as a bike computer with sensors, but it's a cheap and viable option if you just want to track basic info like ride distance and time improvement. However, it won't be as accurate as a bike computer.

  1. Navigation

Smartphones can be used to access maps and GPS navigation, Even real-time updates on road conditions and weather forecasts, allowing cyclists to plan their route and find their way around unfamiliar areas.

  1. Entertainment

Smartphones can be used to provide an enjoyable distraction from the ride while cycling, with a huge range of audio sources available. Whether it's listening to music, podcasts, audio books, or even radio shows, smartphones are a great way to make cycling more enjoyable. Additionally, with the vast selection of audio sources available, you can customize your ride and make it unique with the perfect soundtrack or audio book.

  1. Safety

Smartphones can be used to call for help in an emergency, or to alert friends and family if you are riding late.

  1. Voice Control

Some smartphones also have voice control, which makes them incredibly useful for when you're on the go. With voice control, you can give commands without having to stop and speak directly during your ride, making it easier and more convenient to get where you need to go.

Cons:

Smartphones still have drawbacks compared to bike computers.

  1. Easy to Drop

Using smartphone when riding has the risk of dropping the phone from its stand. To secure a phone to the handlebars, you need to use special stands to reduce vibrations while riding. Most bike computer merchants will provide a free bike mount and rubber rings. It’s likely that the handlebar mounts slowly destroy your phones over hundreds of miles, from the accumulated bumping and vibrations.

  1. Battery Drains Fast

Most people who ride outdoors will use their phones to navigate and track mileage, and during the ride, it is important to keep the screen on. If you ride for more than two hours, your battery will run out, and this can cause wear and tear on your phone's battery health.

  1. Weather Affects

Additionally, outdoors you will often be exposed to bright light, so the brightness of the phone screen needs to be adjusted to the maximum, which means that power consumption will also increase, causing the phone to become very hot and making it difficult to see the screen content under the glare of strong light.

Even waterproof phones can't be used in the rain, as the falling water can interfere with the touch screen's functionality.

  1. APP

Free cycling apps on cell phones typically have basic features such as mileage statistics and time calculations. Full-featured apps, however, offer additional features like cycling power data or advanced social access, but these often require payment or even renewal. In the long run, this can be more expensive than purchasing a bike computer.

Why Bike Computers?

  1. GPS Positioning

GPS bike computers use satellites to track your position and speed when cycling. The computer calculates the distance you have travelled and the speed you are travelling at by comparing your location to known points in the GPS network. It then records this data so you can track your progress and plan your rides. With the data, you can view your current speed, total distance, elevation, and more. You can also use the data to plan routes, find nearby services and points of interest, and share your rides with friends. With a GPS bike computer, you can make sure you get the most out of your ride.

 

(Coospo BC200 has 3 modes of global positioning, which can provide accurate GPS data all over the world.)

  1. Long Battery Life

Bike computers are highly regarded for their remarkable battery life, which usually ranges from 15-20 hours, with some models offering up to 40-50 hours of use. This means that you can take long rides with confidence knowing that your bike computer won't run out of power. Even more impressive, a single charge can support multiple rides, so you don't have to worry about recharging after every ride. This makes bike computers an ideal choice for people who cycle frequently, as their long lasting battery will provide consistent and reliable performance.

 

 

  1. Comprehensive Data

The bike computer has more comprehensive data than you can imagine. By using bike computer, you don't need to worry about 'apps' anymore because it's already designed for all the sensors and data display you need, and most log data second by second automatically.

The Coospo BC200 bike computer not only provides basic data such as speed, distance, heart rate, power, altitude, cadence, grade, speed, and time, but also measures more precise data. The heart rate data includes Average Heart Rate (Avg.HR), Max Heart Rate (Max.HR), and even One Lap Average Heart Rate (Lap.Avg.HR).

 

It has so many data that you can compare your performance on one ride with the next, gauge the effect of hilly routes with flatter ones, determine what ride length works best for you.

  1. ANT+ Technology

Bike computers used to rely on ANT+ technology to wirelessly connect to other recording devices, while smart phones used Bluetooth. ANT+ allows one device to connect to multiple other devices, while Bluetooth is limited to one-to-one connections. For example, if you had a cadence sensor, heart rate monitor, and power meter, you could only connect them to a bike computer, not to a smart phone.

 

(Coospo BC200 not only supports Coospo brand sensors, also works well with all BLE ANT+ sensor.)

  1. Durability

As well as being a useful tool for cyclists, GPS bike computers are also designed to be durable and long-lasting. They are designed to withstand the elements and are built to be waterproof, dustproof, and shockproof. Their screens and frames are really strong, that means they can withstand the wear and tear of riding in all types of weather and terrain. With a durable GPS bike computer, you can be sure that you won't have to replace it any time soon.


 

Do I Need A Bike Computer?

Most of Cyclists and mountain bikers choose bike computers, even a part of commuters who ride bicycles to work will buy them because they will spend a lot of time on their bicycles.

Of course, if you are the opposite, do not ride a bike, do not like to ride a bike, or spend very little time on a bike, then you really do not need to spend another money to buy a bike computer again.

Or if you just want to plan or follow routes and track mileage or time on the bike, use a smartphone. If you find yourself getting really serious about cycling, you'll want a head unit but to get the important data you'll want power and cadence data.

If you love riding, then we still recommend that you buy the most basic entry-level bike computer to try. We can’t force you to get a bike computer but with the benefits it has to your riding, we are struggling to find a reason why you wouldn’t.

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1 hozzászólás

17 Feb 2024 Simon Dodson
Bike computers used to rely on ANT+ technology to wirelessly connect to other recording devices, while smart phones used Bluetooth. ANT+ allows one device to connect to multiple other devices, while Bluetooth is limited to one-to-one connections. For example, if you had a cadence sensor, heart rate monitor, and power meter, you could only connect them to a bike computer, not to a smart phone.

Not true, I’m using your app on my smartphone and using Bluetooth it is working with 3 separate sensors (cadence, speed and heart) which give good information on my ride.
However, I can’t get your app to record my route or elevation using Google Maps which is frustrating because if I use Google maps alone it will record those, but then I wouldn’t have the sensor data. It would be great if you could fix that.
I understand that you’re in business to sell stuff, but if you can’t get the app to function then I’m personally less inclined to consider buying a computer.
I would love to hear back from you!

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