Motorcycle GPS vs Phone

motorcycle gps vs phone

There is no doubt that a navigation system is essential when you are on the road with your motorcycle. However, most motorcycle users have been torn from using motorcycle GPS vs phone during the ride.

To some, a navigation system from their phone is enough, but others like using a dedicated motorcycle GPS for their navigation. But is it better to use a GPS or phone? Find out in this article.

Point of Difference Motorcycle GPS Phone Navigation System
Price $300 Up Free
Maps Real Time Updates Depends on Mobile Signal
Durability More Durable Less Durable
Battery Life Last Longer Drains Phone Battery Quickly



motorcycle phone gps

The most obvious difference between these two navigation systems is the amount of money you will be spending when using them. A phone navigation system can be downloaded for free on your phone. Although, you may spend a few dollars if you want to add additional and more advanced features.

On the other hand, a dedicated motorcycle GPS starts at around $300 or more, depending on the brand or model. But with this high cost comes more advanced navigation features and functionalities that help to navigate the road so much easier.

Today, most smartphones offer many features that promote convenience, including the ability to download navigation system applications. However, the last thing you can do is put your phone on the handlebar of your motorcycle because it might accidentally fall and get damaged.

Map Feature

If you use a dedicated motorcycle GPS, you will be able to maximize its pre-downloaded maps while you are on the road. Most of the premium dedicated motorcycle navigation systems allow the user to pre-load map files that you can find online. This feature lets the user pin waypoints and specific stops and download them to their GPS units.

With the dedicated motorcycle GPS, the user can plan the entire trip ahead, including all the stops and other related plans. On the other hand, when you use navigation through your phone, you can obtain maps in real time as long as there is a cellular signal. If you lose the signal, you will also lose navigation.

When your phone is out of reception, it can be a problem since you cannot use the navigation apps. A dedicated motorcycle GPS does not rely on cell towers and can be used in areas with no signal, especially in the backcountry.


is it better to use a gps or phone?

When it comes to durability, it is obvious that a motorcycle GPS is much more durable and strong compared to a cellular phone. Manufacturers of dedicated motorcycle GPS units built these devices to withstand the vibration in the motorcycle. The device is also developed to stand other tough conditions in a motorcycle setup.

Motorcycle GPS is also weather-proof which means the device is resistant to the effects of various weather conditions, such as rain or too much sunlight. These devices also come with a touchscreen display built with toughness and allows usage even if the rider is wearing gloves.

Meanwhile, if you talk about the smartphone’s durability, you cannot compare it with the motorcycle GPS. For one, the smartphone was not built to be mounted on the motorcycle; hence you cannot compare its sturdiness and durability.

You can have the option to shell out some money for a protective casing that will somehow enhance the durability of the smartphone should you decide to use it for your navigation. But do not expect the vibration not to have a negative effect on the phone in the long run.

Today, many smartphone manufacturers are claiming to have waterproof products. On the contrary, these so-called waterproof phones are actually water resistant only. All of these phones were not built to be used on adventure riding.

Battery Life

Comparing the battery life of a dedicated motorcycle GPS and the navigation apps on the phone is quite easy. In your phone, using any applications can drain the battery life quickly. So, if you are using your navigational app along with the other applications while on the road, it can drain the battery of your phone quickly.

On the other hand, a GPS-based app is built for only one purpose, navigating. So, the battery consumption of this device is longer since it only operates with a single task. When comparing the battery consumption, it is safe to say that the motorcycle GPS performs better than the mobile phone.

Other Related Information

Most motorcycle GPS users have some issues with privacy when using smartphone navigation apps. A good example is Google maps and how Google, the parent company, collects data from all of its users.

On the other hand, the GPS privacy issues are limited since nothing is being transmitted away from the navigational device. In addition, the device gets its coordinates from satellites and not on the web.


Comparing motorcycle GPS vs phone will give you various points of views regarding the usage of these devices to motorcycles. I feel that a dedicated motorcycle GPS performs better compared to using a navigational app on the phone since it is built for this specific purpose. But then again, it’s all about personal preference.

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