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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 4:11 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2016 5:33 am
Posts: 99
Location: Prescott, AZ
I am upgrading to a stages power meter for my new bike and got to thinking, maybe I could use my Samsung Galaxy S7 as a head unit instead of buying an expensive Garmin?

With the power and versatility of a smartphone, you would think it would make the stand alone bike head units obsolete, just like it did to the wrist watch and mp3 player.

In theory, I can have my beautiful Samsung OLED display attached to my handlebar running Strava whilst paired with my Stages, which can then track my ride with GPS and record and display wattage real time , as well as recording wattage statistics over various segments for post ride analysis. This would allow me to save data files automatically and share with friends, making everything high tech, modern, and convenient vs. having to hook up the unit to the computer after every ride, back up the data files, and delete old files when the memory is full.

And with the money I save over buying a separate unit, I can buy a nice bluetooth headset and listen to music and answer calls on the fly. I could even view txt messages on the fly without having to stop to check if its important. And no more bulky smartphone to carry in the jersey, I could save pocket space for more food or tools and possibly getting rid of the saddle bag and saving some weight. Sounds like a real winner!

Or am I missing something??? Is it worthwhile to shell out for a nice Garmin or can I easily get away with the smartphone? Any Caveats? Would the smartphone idea end up being a poor decision?


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Posted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 4:11 pm 


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 4:51 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2016 1:59 am
Posts: 44
eyedrop wrote:
Or am I missing something??? Is it worthwhile to shell out for a nice Garmin or can I easily get away with the smartphone? Any Caveats? Would the smartphone idea end up being a poor decision?

Sure you can do that, but the whole point of the power meter is to do logging, Which the stages app does not record GPS/Effort data. Its simply a heads up dispay of current readings. IMO you going to spend the $$$ on a power meter you need to support it with a nice GPS head unit to supplement it.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 5:01 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2016 5:33 am
Posts: 99
Location: Prescott, AZ
airpoppoff wrote:
eyedrop wrote:
Or am I missing something??? Is it worthwhile to shell out for a nice Garmin or can I easily get away with the smartphone? Any Caveats? Would the smartphone idea end up being a poor decision?

Sure you can do that, but the whole point of the power meter is to do logging, Which the stages app does not record GPS/Effort data. Its simply a heads up dispay of current readings. IMO you going to spend the $$$ on a power meter you need to support it with a nice GPS head unit to supplement it.


Does the Strava app record GPS/Effort data as well as display current readings?


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 5:15 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 16, 2010 7:28 pm
Posts: 1166
My experience with Bluetooth with stages was one of massive dropouts. Just found ANT+ way more reliable.
Just my experience.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 5:27 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2016 5:33 am
Posts: 99
Location: Prescott, AZ
kulivontot wrote:
My experience with Bluetooth with stages was one of massive dropouts. Just found ANT+ way more reliable.
Just my experience.


Is it possible for Stages to connect to my smart phone through ANT+ instead of Bluetooth? My phone is ANT+ capable...

And after some research, it appears Strava can display live power, speed and cadence in real time, as well as log power/gps profile for complete rides as long as you have Strava premium. It all gets saved on Stravas servers so will never be lost which is great...

Some people say the battery drains fast when using a smartphone as your computer. A possible solution to this might be to upgrade the phone battery to a higher capacity. Or, buy one of those cases with a built in external battery. Then use the "Quad Lock" universal mount for mounting.

Weather protection is another concern. I live in AZ so we dont get much rain, so shouldnt be a big issue. Besides, my phone is "waterproof" from the factory. But I think I would just stick it in my pocket if the weather turns bad. Not a big deal as Strava could still continue run. Just wouldn't be able to see power readings real time...


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 5:38 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2016 1:59 am
Posts: 44
I've only used the stages app for updating the app/meter and calibration, not sure if you can connect to strava then log through that though.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 6:07 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2013 4:42 pm
Posts: 859
Location: Pa USA
Try the wahoo fitness app, it logs just like a headunit.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 6:07 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 05, 2014 9:20 pm
Posts: 100
it looks like the S7 have got Ant+ so you should be ok, might have to down load an Ant+ app though.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... s&hl=en_GB


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 6:21 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:52 pm
Posts: 1525
One thing to consider if the replacement cost of your phone if you crash. Personally, I'd never mount my expensive phone on the front of my bike.

My Garmin exploded during my last crash and, at least, the replacement cost through Garmin was only $85.

_________________
Colnago C59


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 8:27 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 24, 2009 10:26 pm
Posts: 182
[quote="eyedrop"With the power and versatility of a smartphone, you would think it would make the stand alone bike head units obsolete, just like it did to the wrist watch and mp3 player.
[/quote]

Actually its lot better to have a purpose built device for cycling. Smartphones are generally bad bike computers for a variety of reasons, but #1 on my list be they are just too bulky to be mounted on a road bike.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 8:35 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2017 10:56 am
Posts: 36
My experience is that phones don't handle the cold or heat very well. So there's that too.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 10:19 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 22, 2016 8:03 pm
Posts: 15
In theory you're right but there are a few fall downs to this that I've summed up for a few people over the years. It's changing, but not perfect yet. You can certainly do this but this isn't the workflow that most companies promote.

Durability - Due to the trend, phones are anti-bezel. This is a major weakness and a contributing factor to current phones being fragile compared to first gen. Mitigate with cases or in your situation, a case mount. But seriously way more fragile and it's heavier meaning that your mount might not keep it from skidding off the road in the event of something terrible. I demo'd this all the time to people by taking my edge 500 / 510 / 520 and literally throwing it across a room when questioned -- then I say do the same to their phone - zero takers so far. Though I've followed it up with throwing my ancient Galaxy S (first).

Screen brightness -- So most people don't realize it, but most head units are Transflective meaning light goes down through a small hole next to the pixel and reflected back. Colour screens tend to suck and higher resolution is impossible. This is what allows daylight viewability and what makes B/W have way higher contrast than colour. That being said you need a about 700mcd rating to get mediocre daylight view-ability. It's also more glassy meaning reflections are worse.

Touch screen is capacitive -- Yes, you can tune a capacitive screen like Garmin has in the 1000, but it's not perfect and in a lot of cases it won't work at all.

Waterproofing -- More phones are but they all have caveats (Sony was notorious for stating the caps had to be inserted correctly for IP ratings). While some head units have bad or weak designs, phones tend to be more fragile. The touch screens tend to do worse with water on them. Some sweat or water in a connector. I've had to replace the flex on my Nexus 5 twice because of this.

Battery life -- You phone might be rated for all day life, but crank the brightness and put it in screen always on mode. Your current draw will do two things -- phone dies more quickly, but increased battery wear (higher current + deeper discharge).

Apps -- The great thing about head units is that you usually get file access directly (fit files), you then usually hit a difficult situation if you use an app (like strava). As far as I know, last I checked and it may have changed, you can't get a fit file back. You can get GPX or TCX, so your data is being massaged. So most head units will allow you to manually upload while you are relying on online synchronization platforms that might be changing your data or interpreting things differently. Most won't offer the customization you'll likely want.

Nerd stuff -- ANT+ Energy correct recording. If you have a newer (garmin edge 510, 520, 810, 820, 1000) you get energy correct recording. Essentially, before these if you recorded the exact same powermeter to multiple head units the data may not line up. I've personally seen up to 3% differences between multiple edge 500's, 800's and an FR910xt. Newer units don't have this problem. While this was a problem found by engineers at Quarq years ago, BLE is still a mess and most people don't know of these problems. There are similar problems with BLE but since it's compatibility is bad they can't get to these problems.

Headset? My biased opinion -- as someone who was hit by a truck and survived flying across a 4 lane divided intersection into oncoming traffic while wearing headphones while biking -- Take a look at the new cycling friendly stuff meaning that they don't block sound -- bone conduction usually. If you're training with a powermeter you are already busy focusing on zones, route, and the ride. However, this stuff can get pricey.

Safety -- most people I know take their phone and throw it in the jersey pocket. Screen off, low current, so it lasts hours and hours or even days. So in the even you flat 3 times and need a pickup, you tend to reduce the risk of running out of battery.


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Posted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 10:19 pm 


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2017 5:27 am 
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Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2007 12:41 am
Posts: 1847
I use my iPhone with Strava mounted using a Quadlock and it works fine...I just use the silicone cover for wet weather.

Admittedly I dont bother with any type of wattage reading etc but it works fine, I dont worry about battery power and have no issues with it working in hot or cold weather. On my mtb I have a dynamo hub so never an issue there either...

_________________
"It's not the destination...it's the ride!"


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