Since my GF405 and I are no longer in good standing, it’s time for me to explore other options. And I didn’t just found one—I found three at my disposal!
Blackberry Curve 3G (9300)
My old “mistress.” With my GF405 missing in action, it now takes the lead role of monitoring my oh so rare runs. It’s practically at par with any dedicated GPS devices, but it does have an edge when it comes to initial satellite locking time, which is usually just a few seconds. It’s kind of difficult to carry though when running and its platform, BB OS6 doesn’t offer many options when it comes to software.
Samsung Galaxy Note (N7000)
A behemoth of a device with its gargantuan 5.3” super AMOLED HD screen, it’s also the most powerful of the set in terms of hardware. Not only does it feature GPS and A-GPS, it also has GLONASS (Globalnaya Navigatsionnaya Sputnikovaya Sistema or Global Navigation Satellite System) which is a satellite navigation system operated for the Russian government by the Russian Aerospace Defence Forces, complementing United States’ GPS. Even without assistance, it manages to lock onto satellites in under a minute. And because it runs in the Android platform there’s so many options on which software you can use to track your run.
Apple iPod Nano (6th Generation)
The smallest and most portable of the set and the only one without GPS! It made its way into my running lifestyle not because of the music or the looks but because of its excellent pedometer. If it had GPS then Garmin Forerunners would be facing “endangered” status.
It was one of those nights when you just crave to leave the worries of the world with a good run. I decided to run from my office in Ortigas Center to Bonifacio Global City, around 5.6K apart. I was originally planning on making a head-to-head comparison between my two A-GPS devices but as I was about to begin I remembered that my iPod Nano, resting comfortably on my wrist, can also measure distances with its pedometer so it was a three-way battle.
For the A-GPS devices I used the software Endomondo as it’s arguably the best one for Blackberry and is the only one I found present in both BB OS and Android (if you found another one, let me know). For my iPod Nano, it’s the built-in Nike+ Fitness app.
So after running the usual 5.6K route here are the results:
Since I no longer have my GF405 as basis I would just base the distance based on my past logs of this route which usually puts it at around 5.6 – 5.7K. And the closest one: Endomondo on Blackberry Curve 3G with BB OS6. Endomondo on Samsung Galaxy Note with Android Gingerbread was quite off because I forgot that I had turned “auto pause” on so between pausing on and off some distance would not be counted (this was also true with my GF405 so I had it permanently turned off). Quite surprisingly was the Nike+ Fitness on iPod Nano, given that it was purely pedometer-based it was just under 10% off the acceptable distance of the route!
And my heart goes to…
So which one would take the place abandoned by my GF405? Obviously as much as I enjoy using my Samsung Galaxy Note (now with Android Ice Cream Sandwich, yum!) it is quite impractical primarily due to its size. My iPod Nano in its wrist strap is just perfect in terms of portability but its pedometer can only do so much when approximating the distance covered. Therefore, my Blackberry Curve 3G would take the place of my ill-fated GF405, but I would have to tuck it in a belt or a similar container just for the arrangement to work.
I’ll surely miss the convenience my GF405 brought, but at Garmin Forerunner’s current market prices and the not very long product lifespan it’s very expensive! A watch is still the most convenient form factor for a GPS device, but at this day and age there are other alternatives that does the same thing but at a much cheaper price.