P1040046
After looking at several GPS options for a six week cycling trip around Europe, I finally settled on buying a Lifeproof Phone Case ($AUD79.95) for my iPhone4s with a Bike Mount Attachment ($AUD39.95).

I then used the ViewRanger App for viewing larger country scale maps for planning (all downloadable for free), and Gaia App ($AUD19.99) for more detailed regional and town level planning.

It was a brilliant combination and will be my 'go to' solution for future trips until I find something better.

I've now had my phone encased in it's LifeProof case for three months and it's not only survived the European trip, but has come back to Tassie with me and survived several mountain bike races, hikes and a few kayak paddles and it's still going strong.

Everything fits together and holds securely.  The bike mount is incredibly easy (think 10-15 seconds)  to mount or remove from a bike and inserting the case onto the mount and locking it in is quick and easy, and becomes automatic very quickly.  There's also none of that movement I've seen with cheaper bike mounting systems.

I've never had a problem with the case leaking and would have no hesitation buying another one when I next upgrade my phone, but there are a few limitations worth knowing about:

  • My screen was scratched within three days of purchase, and it was scratched simply by being in my jacket pocket with my keys.  You can't just replace the screens, you have to buy a whole new case so this is worth knowing about, however after that first incident (and despite pretty rough handling) I have had no further problems.
  • A really big issues that took me by surprise was that the touch screen won't work when it gets wet.  So if you get a drop or two of sweat on it cycling up a hill, or it's a rainy day, or you want to head out in your kayak and use it to take some photos ... good luck because you probably can't.  I now generally carry a piece of tissue or rag with me so that I can dry the screen when I want to use it, but this could be a real limitation for some people.
  • The plug which stops water coming into the ear piece plug is the size of a small screw and it is not attached to the case making it extremely easy to lose.  The case does however come with an earphone cable extender which both allows you to plug in bulkier earphone jacks and also has a clever spot for this little plug.  However, I've found that from a practical perspective I don't tend to carry this extension cable around, so I don't tend to use my earphones.  When riding, if I want to listen to music I just listened to the music through the speaker.
  • The case wasn't compatible with the retractable power cord I normally use for travel because the cable head was too thick to slot through the case and into the iPhone.  I now just carry a normal iphone charger cable.
  • The sound is muffled by the case, but for me  it was one of those things that I initially noticed, and then just got used to.
P1040040

In summary I love this thing, and it's now firmly on my core list of accesories.

In case you're wondering, this review is completely independent.  I purchased everything myself (I bought mine through Surfstitch.com.au and managed to get both case and bike mount for under $100 delivered).