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Rugged smartphone for cycle touring?

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Rugged smartphone for cycle touring?

Old 05-13-22, 02:54 PM
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Rugged smartphone for cycle touring?

Anyone tried them? Umidigi, Ulefone, Doogee?

As you might imagine, I need battery life, these rugged phones have like quadruple battery compared to everyday "lifestyle" phones. They're heavy though, but maybe someone of you found a lighter model (less than 250 grams... one could hope)

Thanks for the feedback!
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Old 05-13-22, 04:06 PM
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Why bother ?, use a durable water proof case and bring along some USB battery sticks or packs. Will you be staring at the phone while riding, using for navigation ?.
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Old 05-14-22, 03:07 PM
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I think the best solution is a quadlock case/mount plus an anker powerbank.
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Old 05-14-22, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by gigadeath
Anyone tried them? Umidigi, Ulefone, Doogee?

As you might imagine, I need battery life, these rugged phones have like quadruple battery compared to everyday "lifestyle" phones. They're heavy though, but maybe someone of you found a lighter model (less than 250 grams... one could hope)

Thanks for the feedback!
Chinese battery life is like Chinese lumens. The numbers don't mean anything. You'll never get what's advertised.

Of the brands you mentioned, I have a torrid history with two of them(Doogee and Ulefone) and would strongly encourage you to stay away from them. The Doogee takes the spot for the worst phone I ever purchased. After returning two for issues, when the third one bricked on startup, I demanded my money back. Problems I had with it was buttons not returning after pressing, screen death, battery refusing to charge over 50%, overheating, etc. During my ownership, it also came to light that Doogee's flavor of Android packaged malware that was sending data logged on the phone to a Chinese IP address. It's more than buying a crap phone, it's putting everything you do on your phone at risk. Doogee isn't the only one caught doing this, this is just what came to light as I owned that particular brand.

I would do as Steve B. suggested. Basically all major phone manufacturers sell phones rated for water resistance and when paired with a rugged case like Otterbox, will withstand more than a Doogee S60 ever would(keep in mind the lack of cases for those phones).

Originally Posted by Steve B.
Why bother ?, use a durable water proof case and bring along some USB battery sticks or packs. Will you be staring at the phone while riding, using for navigation ?.
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Old 05-14-22, 06:24 PM
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This is probably totally backwards but this is my method.
Obviously it depends on your carrier and whether you can live with an Android that is ancient (SAMSUNG Galaxy On5 model from 2016 is the model of choice for me)
Why? BECAUSE THAT PHONE is Smaller than Todays NEW typical moderately priced phones, and it will as John Cameron Swaysee said as the pitchman for TIMEX fifty + years ago, it takes a licking and keeps on ticking.
Yeah, it is ANCIENT, but at 14cm (5 1/2" ) x 7cm (2 3/4") x approx 8mm thick, it isn't too big. I don't like anything larger. Yeah, you can get an IPHONE that is about that size or maybe slightly smaller but it is close to $800, and SAMSUNG now makes a really cool phone that folds up multiple times into about the size of a woman's compact for about $1100. My wife gets really into more of that than I do, because she does so much with her phone. Me, I don't give a rats _ _ _ about too much about most things, just that it does what I need when I need it to do it, without any hassle.
Replacement Batteries for that ancient Samsung Galaxy On5 are inexpensive if you buy them online. ( ~ $12 with free shipping). Expect to pay (~$45) from your local Batteries + Bulbs or whatever they are called.
Okay, I know alot about this ancient (2016) SAMSUNG Galaxy On5 model because I have experience with them, but there are OTHER probably as good or BETTER models that you might already be familiar with that you already know, and that have inexpensive replacement batteries & are easy to open and remove/install said battery.
There are thousands of these phones around that are LOCKED to the METRO by T Mobile, prepaid network, because METRO PCS (the name then in 2015-2019 before renaming as METRO by T-MOBILE, although they have always been owned by T-Mobile as their redheaded stepchild, 2nd tier, prepaid network). ...METRO PCS gave these GALAXY On5 phones FREE to anyone, no matter basic the pre-paid plan, for a period of months during calendar year 2016.
Thus you had many folks that were METRO customers for a short time, and then the phone went into a drawer, probably until sold to someone such as "recyclemycellphone"(ebayer) based in Minnesota that has a near 100% ebay rating and hundreds of thousands of sales transactions.
You can buy a guaranteed to be fully functional, excellent condition used old phone such as the Galaxy On5 that is locked to the Metro network for somewhere in the $40 to $45 range with free shipping. Now a Galaxy On5 that is an ex- T-mobile, or ex- ATT and totally unlocked (not bound to any specific network), will likely cost slightly more and probably be more beat up looking with scratches etc.
My reason is that my main concern is that I must have the15gigs of mobile hotspot that my METRO by T-mobile UNLIMITED $60 plan provides. That is $60 total, as that includes, taxes/fees. I also get AMAZON PRIME for FREE as part of that $60 UNLIMITED Metro by T-Mobile plan. It is a better deal than what the parent T-Mobile provides and you get more gigs of mobile hotspot for less total money spent for a single phone.
Hell, I'm old, so I use a nice laptop with 15.5" screen and the MOBILE HOTSPOT from the phone when I am on the go.
Now, you guessed it, using the phone's MOBILE HOTSPOT eats up battery power, UNLESS YOU HAVE THE PHONE plugged in with the charger while you are working.
Now, I have additional NEW replacement batteries that I keep fully charged by the way of having a couple of other functional SAMSUNG Galaxy On5 models that are not currently in phone network use but serve as battery charging devices and "emergency phones", and probably just as importantly as "Backup Quarterback Phones" that can be called into service IF the main use GALAXY On5 gets damaged or becomes problematic. Metro by T-mobile charges ONLY approximately $20.60 to swap phones (de-activating the one, and activating the replacement one). Any Metro location can do this in five minutes.
So, you really aren't concerned too much with an expensive phone getting damaged or broken, because you have a backup quarterback phone or multiple backups ready to do the job if the starter gets hurt.
I know this probably sounds dumb to many of you but it works for me.
I don't worry too much about the phone. Heck, it goes with me to the sand right above where the water and waves are breaking at my place at Hilton Head, and it goes with me to the dock on Lake Murray, and the boat, and on my bikes, in my golf bag, in my tool box and fishing tackle box, and onstage with me resting on my amp, or wherever. I don't worry too much about the dogs knocking it off onto the floor, or into the swimming pool from where I've placed the phone nearby.
Yeah it is ancient but it works decent enough for me for my use.
I carry fully charged new replacement batteries each in its own ziplock baggie and bubble wrap within a very small metal cookie-goodie tin with tight fitting lid with a backup Quarterback exact same model phone and charging chords/adapter(s) etc.
Now, you can do something essentially similar with plenty of other phone models that you may already be familiar with.
I sometimes use a very ancient I-phone to make audio concert recordings from my seat, assuming the seat location is excellent, and if the artist/performer/group is worthy of doing so, when I know the particular venue/arena/stadium will not allow entry (searching-checking-metal detectors) of my state-of-the art, very small, stereophonic digital audio equipment and custom tiny handbuilt mics. Phones are allowed, so the best-adaptable platform that allows for decent enough quality audio recording with control of record levels does work almost decently with certain modifications.
Like I mentioned earlier, I am not that concerned about what a particular phone can do, as long as it does what little that I specifically want it to do, when I want it to do it, without any problems. Now, sure we have several phones and plans but that is all my wife's doing as yeah she has to have a $1000 phone with all the latest stuff, for who knows what, but that is her thing and I guess she knows all of that, but I am more of a simpleton idiot who only uses the features that I feel that I need now.
She does like the free Amazon Prime that comes with my Metro $60 Unlimited Plan, as, no joke, she has Amazon making deliveries just about every single day.
Yeah, she does laugh about the fact that I do use an ancient model (2016) phone and have the same exact back-up spare phones and back-up batteries, but she would even tell you that it has been beneficial on several occasions, but she is still the first to laugh and poke fun, saying, "who in the hell is gonna do that but an old doofus like my husband."
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Old 05-14-22, 10:52 PM
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I use a hub dynamo in combination with a USB charger. When I am navigating, the phone still gets drained but at a so slow pace that it can be tolerated. If the phone is idle, it charges. The phone mounting relies on velcro with interspersed hooks and loops. A power bank has those on its 2 sides, so can be sandwiched between mounting plate and phone. Also, the bank can be put onto my body, with just a cable running to the phone. The bank is just a highly intelligent shell into which I put the highest quality 18650. If it rains solid, e-thing can go onto my body, but an alternative f/navigating is a clear waterproof pouch, again w/velcro.

Last edited by 2_i; 05-15-22 at 05:28 PM.
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Old 05-15-22, 04:58 AM
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Your question - have I used them? No.

But, you only mentioned rugged, weight and battery life. You said nothing about why you have a phone or how you use it. Is it to occasionally turn on or take out of airplane mode so you can make a call? Or on the opposite extreme is it always on, use it constantly for turn by turn navigation, etc. Or something in between?

If you do not say how you use your phone you are not going to get much advice here that is relevant.

If you are like me, occasionally turn it on to get a weather forecast or make a call, get a low cost android phone that has user replaceable batteries and carry spare batteries. If you want it more rugged, get a good case. I bought this five years ago and have no plans to replace it, probably won't until 4G networks disappear.

So, if you want some good advice, please briefly mention your phone needs.
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Old 05-15-22, 01:17 PM
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Thanks for everyone's input - I will check and reply in the next few days! (life is pretty wild these days, and not in a positive way)
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Old 05-15-22, 02:31 PM
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The best phone to use as a bike computer is a Sony Xperia Compact. They're small but modern enough to be useable and if you get one unlocked, you can install the latest Android (using Lineage OS). They are also water resistant and have a barometer and ANT support so can connect to other devices if that's required. There are multiple models from old and cheap to more recent ones that are more pricey but fon't get older than a z5.
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Old 06-26-22, 02:32 PM
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I have my smartphone in a plastic case that will absorb some of the shock if I drop the phone onto pavement. Battery life is OK if I have disabled apps from running in the background and have WiFi and Bluetooth shut off. It lasts for a week or more if I shut it off when not in actual use. My iphone X has a battery life when new of 74 hours and a talk time of up to 21 hours. Apps that use GPS draw a lot from the battery and I prefer to use a separate GPS device.

If I was addicted to the phone then I would get a 20100 mAh power cell from Anker. The ones that have USB C charging capabilities sell for around $60 and these can recharge a phone multiple times and they can be recharged overnight when power is available. Be sure to buy a Anker USB C to Lightning or whatever the phone uses for charging as the off brand USB C cables are OK for data but fail at delivering adequate charging current.
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Old 06-27-22, 04:11 PM
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One thing to look out for is operating temperature of any devices, I know just leaving my iphone on a table with direct sunlight it can overheat and display warnings about needing to cool down.
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