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In A Smartphone World, You Nonetheless Need Devoted GPS

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In A Smartphone World, You Nonetheless Need Devoted GPS

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A number of weeks in the past, I took a motorbike experience with a buddy up Massachusetts’ Trans-Mass Path. We had a pre-planned route, GPS tracks laid out forward of time by riders far older and wiser than we, downloaded to our telephones to information us. Two riders meant redundancy, two telephones meant a greater probability of protection — what might go unsuitable?

Simply in case, nonetheless, I reached out to Garmin about testing the brand new Zumo XT2 GPS unit on the path. I figured it couldn’t harm to have a backup that didn’t depend on cell sign to load maps, within the off probability neither of us had protection. I’m glad I did — with out it, I’d possible nonetheless be caught within the woods of western Mass, consuming berries and tires for sustenance.

Full Disclosure: Garmin despatched me a Zumo XT2 navigation unit to be used on my bike by the Trans-Mass Path, together with wiring and a mounting setup.

Image for article titled Garmin Zumo XT2 Review: In A Smartphone World, You Still Want Dedicated GPS

Picture: Steve DaSilva / Jalopnik

What Is The Garmin Zumo XT2?

The Zumo line is Garmin’s top-tier providing for bikes — the solely providing the corporate will suggest for roadgoing bikes, the truth is, although off-roaders get a couple of extra selections to play with. This XT2 is the highest of the highest, with an even bigger 6 inch display than the bottom 5.5 inch XT. It additionally will get another choices for routing and friend-tracking that the bottom mannequin lacks, making it probably the most feature-dense choice within the lineup.

However, in a extra broad view, the Garmin Zumo XT2 is a GPS unit. It exhibits you the place you’re, on a map, and how you can get to wherever you’re going — the identical factor that any variety of cellular apps can do. Why would you spend 600 of your hard-earned {dollars} on one other machine that you may lose, break, or neglect to cost, when a free app can do the identical factor?

Another device on your bars means another mount, another set of wires to run. Is it worth it?

One other machine in your bars means one other mount, one other set of wires to run. Is it price it?
Picture: Steve DaSilva / Jalopnik

Why Do You Want A Devoted GPS In The 12 months Of Our Lord 2023?

The deadly flaw of cell telephones, for navigation, lies proper within the identify: Mobile gadgets require cell sign to work. Stray too far out of your nearest magic tree, and your thousand-dollar machine immediately turns into about as practical as a brick. The official Tetris app doesn’t even work with out an web connection, navigation is a particular no-go.

Against this, devoted GPS gadgets have a devoted GPS connection. They depend on satellites, which have a broader protection space than your common 5G tower. Cell telephones might be able to retailer small offline areas, however GPS works practically wherever — all the time, and without end.

This may increasingly sound like a fringe profit — how usually are you completely devoid of cell sign, actually? — however it turns into all too actual out on the path. In my Trans-Mass journey, I bumped into a number of trails that had been completely closed as a consequence of rainfall within the space — and have been removed from any cell sign. Backtracing my steps would have been tough, particularly as the sunshine started to fade and the closed trails obtained extra dense, however the Garmin’s mapping made rerouting simple. Typically, there have been different trails that might nonetheless get me the place I wanted to go, with out forcing me all the way in which again to a major highway.

You may not believe it, but this Deliverance-ass scene did not have cell signal

Chances are you’ll not imagine it, however this Deliverance-ass scene didn’t have cell sign
Picture: Steve DaSilva / Jalopnik

What About On-Street Use?

The Garmin’s worth proposition is, to make sure, shakier for pure highway use. It’ll information you thru roads in addition to any cellular phone, however when you’ve gotten cell sign it’s usually simpler to only preserve utilizing the identical machine. Positive, a separate display means much less tabbing again to your map when somebody calls you, however that’s a small profit. So too are the TripAdvisor suggestions once you cease — good, certain, however not a dealmaker.

If you happen to’ve obtained money to spare, and the Garmin’s on-road niceties spark your fancy, I received’t cease you from selecting one up. It’s definitely good to have, day in and day trip, however the system really shines when it’s taken out into extra distant areas. If you happen to’re a motorcyclist who frequents these, the Garmin is definitely worth the value — notably when your different resides the remainder of your life within the Massachusetts backwoods.

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