I’ve tracked my rides since I started riding. It had always been with the iPhone, because it was there. The technology and apps continually evolved and I never even considered switching things up. I started adding external sensors that connected via Bluetooth. Then things got complicated. Bluetooth, while amazing, is rather finicky. I had connection problems, crashes and I could never feel like I was going to get everything to just work. I can recall on every important ride I wanted to record, had something go wrong.
Navigating through the world of Garmin has been a wonderful experience. While Garmin is not without it’s quirks, it’s been a much smoother experience. ANT+ has many benefits over Bluetooth. The one that I’m a fan of is that sensors can broadcast to multiple head units. I never thought that this might be something I would desire, but it’s actually come in handy several times. And that is just one of the many perks.
Using the Garmin devices requires you to sync via Garmin Connect. One of the disadvantages of this is that many of us use other services like Strava. One thing that Garmin Connect has done really well is integrate automatic syncing with a number of these services. For example I can auto sync my activities, to Training Peaks, Strava, and Map my Fitness all without having to do anything. It’s unfortunate there is no integration built into Facebook or Twitter though.
Garmin’s are navigators, and they do a great job of that. It’s extremely easy to import a course and follow it. Different devices handle things differently, but they will all get you from point A to point B. A recent hiking trip, I used the fenix3 to navigate a trail that covered the peaks of four mountains. I uploaded a .GPX file I found online and was able to follow the course to navigate my way. It was really convenient. While the trail was mostly obvious, there were some spots where we were second guessing ourselves. The navigation assured us we were on the right path.
This is one instance where a dedicated devices is leaps and bounds ahead of smart phones. The negative is the cost is high, but when you are looking for better accuracy, more features, better batter life and versatility Garmin is the way to go.