o-synce navi2coach GPS computer  £186.00

3/10

German GPS contender that just isn't waterproof enough to cut it

Weight 68g   Contact  www.o-synce.com

by edwardbmason   February 27, 2014  

o_synce navi2coach

o-synce is a German company that makes cyclometers, watches and GPS units. In a market currently pretty much dominated by Garmin it is nice to see another GPS manufacturer come into play, but the navi2coach needs its mount and waterproofing improving before Garmin need to worry.

First off, the mounts. My fellow road.cc tester and BathuniCC member Liam managed to have at least one o-synce fall off his stem. However the stem mount that I used was not going to let the unit go without a serious fight. And that was the problem, it was a struggle to remove the GPS from the mount at the end of my rides, because the fit was tight and the release button awkwardly placed. Still, I'd rather have a mount that is slightly too secure than one that is constantly at risk of letting my precious device go.

Two mounts are provided, and switching between them involves the use of four tiny phillips screws. They felt like they might round out if you are going to be swapping them over regularly, for example if you have more than one bike.

In terms of the user interface, I found the o-synce to be pretty easy to set up with the fields I wanted to see. I managed to set it up without any instructions. The unit did come originally set up to display in Germa but the language setting was easy enough to find.

There are multiple pages you can scroll through with the buttons on the side of the GPS, so if you like your data you can have plenty of fields going on without having to squash them all on to one screen. The o-synce also has an auto-lapping feature, which I often like to set to a certain time to remind me to eat and or drink while out riding.

Out on the road, speed and distance readings were extremely similar to my personal 810 down to two decimal places - not that you would ever need that kind of measurement level. (I used both units on my bike at the same time, turning my winter bike's stem into the bridge of the enterprise, and me into apparently the worlds biggest stats nerd). So precision is good, but what about accuracy? Well my various mapped out routes seem to be pretty much equal distance to the routes logged by the o-synce, so that's good too.

One difference I did notice between the Garmin and the o-synce involved Bath's excellent Two Tunnels route. Both units would lose reception in the tunnels (unsurprisingly) but only the Garmin would auto account for the distance covered in the tunnel once satellites had been found again at the other end. This is only a small thing as the vast majority of riders won't be riding underground but it was a bit of a niggle for me as it is a regular commute home for me.

Finding satellites took a noticably longer time than my Garmin 810. Again this is only a small thing but if your mates are ready to go and you still have to wait for your GPS to find satellites, it's annoying. Riding along while waiting for satellites only prolonged the time taken to get a decent lock too, so I lost the start of my ride on more than one occasion.

In terms of using the navi2coach while out riding, it was relatively easy to see any data I wanted to without having to take my eyes off the road for too long. The screen was not quite as clear as my Garmin's but it was fine nonetheless.

The stem mount is attached by zip ties so using the buttons on the side of the navi2coach pushed it round the stem. Another minor inconvenience. However if you were to use the other mount, which sits the unit over the stem cap, this would solve the problem.

On to uploading. I use Strava to keep a log of all my rides. When uploading there was no auto-recognition of the device in the same way that Garmins are recognised, so the file had to be taken off the unit and then manually entered. To be honest this really didn't bother me though, it was an extra 30 seconds to do. Interestingly, there were often a couple of seconds difference in individual segment times compared to my 810. The difference in times were not faster or slower consistently, but they were often different, and often considerably so. To be honest this probably just shows that competing on Strava shouldn't be taken too seriously.

Don't get it wet

There was one serious problem with the navi2coach though, caused by the biblical conditions we've been having this winter. On a recent weekend club ride, I set the fully charged o-synce off at the same time as my Garmin. Ten kilometers down the road I looked down again and the unit had turned itself off. I turned it back on and set it off again. Twenty minutes later, again it had turned itself off. By this time I was a bit frustrated and so I left it as it was. From this point on the o-synce seemed to cycle itself between on and off, and at the end of the ride I found that the unit had also recorded none of my ride.

At £186, the o-synce navi2coach is comparable to the Garmin Edge 500, which is a pretty solid bit of kit. With all the difficulties and niggles I've had, I would definitely plump for the 500 over the navi2coach. And possibly over both I would look for an old Edge 605 on amazon or ebay, which has the option to add maps, a big plus for a rider like me who likes to get lost on a regular basis.

My experience with the o-synce navi2coach has had some good moments, but the overall impression is that there are still a lot of niggles that need to be ironed out, and it is seriously flawed in rainy conditions. If these problems could be sorted, the o-synce navi2coach could perhaps be a contender. At the moment though it's just not there.

Verdict

German GPS contender that just isn't waterproof enough to cut it.

road.cc test report

Make and model: o_synce navi2coach

Size tested: black

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

The navi2coach claims to be a unit with "individually configurable data view... offering the athlete navigation, training control and geocaching [capabilities]"

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

The unit has a fairly standard but perfectly legible black and white screen, with chunky buttons on the side making navigating through the menus and training pages fairly easy.

The unit has all the standard training and navigation functions I expect from a GPS these days, along with the ability to set up multiple training pages.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
5/10

The unit hardware was solid and the mounts were good, if at times a bit fiddly to get the O-Synce out of. I did find that if the zipties provided weren't done up snug, the whole lot would rotate around my stem a bit. Use of the other mount provided would have stopped this.

Rate the product for performance:
 
2/10

In heavy rain, the O-Synce would turn itself on and off every ten minutes or so, loosing all ride data I had collected. Not good.

Rate the product for durability:
 
5/10

The unit itself was solid, it took a few knocks and still started up. However it really didn't seem to like rain - somewhat of an issue in the UK.

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
7/10

At 97g, the O-Synce was pretty light actually. A hell of a lot lighter than my Garmin 810 and just a touch lighter than a 510 I was using not so long ago too.

Rate the product for value:
 
3/10

Difficult to rate something that doesnt work for value. If the O-Synce had worked consistently, it might have been a different story.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Initially well in the dry, and then pretty much catastrophically in the wet.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Simplicity to set up.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The aforementioned water-based catastrophies.

Did you enjoy using the product? Sadly not.

Would you consider buying the product? Not while it has water issues.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? No.

Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?

I wanted to like it, but it just wasn't to be for me and the O-Synce.

Overall rating: 3/10

About the tester

Age: 21  Height: 182cm  Weight: 73kg

I usually ride: On-One Carbon Whippet Single Speed MTB/Kinesis Pro6  My best bike is: Scott CR1 Pro

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,

 

11 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

I'm guessing that it's pretty naff then Surprise

posted by JDebuse [5 posts]
27th February 2014 - 9:01

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Pretty generous giving it 3/10

posted by jimc101 [56 posts]
27th February 2014 - 11:06

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Ouch!

blog rowerowy - my blog about bicycles (written in Polish, but feel free to visit me! Smile )

mikroos's picture

posted by mikroos [179 posts]
27th February 2014 - 12:48

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Why would anyone make a non-waterproof GPS device anymore? New Garmin devices are fully waterproof

posted by jarredscycling [436 posts]
27th February 2014 - 16:18

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I've had one of these for a couple of months, having picked one up for exactly half the price shown above.

Have endured a couple of soakings now, and been on a couple of filthy sportives, and not had any problems with it turning off when getting seriously wet from either above or the wheel in front. I'd agree that the satellite pick-up is frustratingly slow, but it seems to keep hold of the signal pretty well, even when riding through wooded valleys and urban sprawl.

Haven't uploaded any courses to try out the navigation function yet, but was a doddle to sync with my ant+ speed/cadence sensor.

posted by Capt Caveman [4 posts]
27th February 2014 - 17:07

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I also have one of these and have been using it for the past 6 months or so. The review is obviously based on one persons experience, as is mine, however I have had a completely different experience.

Mine has been faultless no matter what the weather. It has IPX7 waterproofing standards so I can only believe the reviewer had a faulty unit. Yes the mounts are poor however this can easily be solved with a bit of DIY (which I realise is not what most people want to do when spending £150 on a bike computer).

I live in London and get a GPS fix within about 1 minute. Not Garmin quick but I don't really see it as an issue. In non built up areas it fixes within 10-15 seconds. It then seems to record very accurately, strava uploads are very straightforward and in reality require 2 extra mouse clicks to upload. It should also be noted that the N2C has navigation function that includes turning arrows. For me this adds a decent amount of value over the breadcrumb only nav on a Garmin 500/510.

One of the big things for me is the customer service from O synce. They reply quickly and are keen to help. I heard via another website of a revised mount. I emailed them to inquire about getting one. 3 days later it arrived by post at no cost. I don't see Garmin doing that, it's hard enough getting them to reply to problems. O synce are also very receptive about add on features and firmware updates are not uncommon.

It's not perfect but in my experience it is much much better than 3/10. I would encourge anyone interested to read the very in depth review on DC Rainmaker. There are also loads of comments from real world users.

posted by dextervelo [2 posts]
27th February 2014 - 18:22

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Agree with most of the positive comments above.
Ive had one of these and its very comparable with a Garmin, be it has actually has some extra fetures, and its cheaper. The mount, I will say, is a shocker but I modified that so that it would work on an out-front garmin mount.

As the water proofing. Its IPX7 so it is water proof. The only time I had the unit repeatedly turn off, when I first got it, was because I didnt click Start. It was showing all my data (Cadence, speed, distance) ... and then would turn off and I noticed the timer wasnt going. Purely USER ERROR! I would almost gaurantee this is what happened with this reviewer.

For Strava, there is NO NEED to transfer the file from the unit. You plug it in, go to Strava and use the upload file ... browser to the unit and select the FIT file. Done.

What this reviewer hasnt mentioned about the data fields, is that if you have multiple bikes (eg some with power, some without, some with ANT+, some without) you have fully customiseable screens per bike and yes ... you each bike profile has its own sensors.

Another HUGE plus is its replaceable battery. If you go on Tours lasting longer than, say, 20 hrs all you do is carry a spare battery, pop it in .. and away you go.

As to updates ... these occur on a far more regular basis than anything from Garmin. Users feedback that they would like XYZ Screens, or data fields and soon enough it is provided.

Not all units are without problems, especially the 810. The number of users in our area with auto reset issues with their Garmins is HUGE .. and all have the latest firmware.

Personally the o-Synce is a real competitor to the Garmin from a feature point of view. Its mount is totally naff, but everything else is awesome.

posted by thekiwi [3 posts]
28th February 2014 - 0:52

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If you read the review on DCRainmaker its almost as if they are reviewing a totally different bit of kit.

He can's speak highly enough of it, more in line with the comments above and as for being waterproof he rode it quite a few times in the rain so whilst not exhaustive, I think it shows you must have tested a duffer!!

I seem to remember on Amazon a few same comments about waterproofing on the Garmin 500!!

posted by Matt1967 [1 posts]
28th February 2014 - 11:30

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As long as its better made than my Garmin, I'm interested.
At 14 months old my Garmin 500 has no power button, I have turn it on by plugging it in to charge, and it isn't recognised by any computer, so I am manually uploading anyway. Garmin will replace the unit for £70 or so, pah! not fit for purpose I say

posted by lolol [115 posts]
28th February 2014 - 13:36

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Confused Confused
This review isn't about the Navi2Coach i've been using for over a year now. It must be a dud or something else.

It is definitely water proof, if you close the USB port on the back.

The device will shut off after a period of 'inactivity', which could happen in a very strong rain storm (with no GPS signal), if you had no other sensors attached.

In your testing, you fail to mention whether you were using a speed sensor or ONLY the GPS signal, since there can be huge differences depending on the accuracy of your GPS signal (think traveling in a straight line vs. zig zag). I have tried both and the N2C unit seems to intelligently switch between using a sensor or GPS to determine distance. The only time it had a hiccup was when during the ride, the wheel magnet was moving and not giving me a constant speed reading. So the unit was trying to make a decision which numbers to use...very erratic recording, obviously.
From the picture of the N2C it shows only a HR signal and no power, speed or cadence, so I would have to assume your testing was using only the GPS.

I use Strava all the time with the N2C and it takes me about 3 seconds to find and upload the file on a Mac. It mounts on the desktop just like a USB stick and it remembers how I had it sorted (newest file first) the last time, so the most recent Activity is right at the top where I want it.
It should also be mentioned that by attaching the computer you can also copy over .gpx route files, which you can then 'follow' on the navigation screen. You didn't even mention the display screen which shows your elevation profile (either ridden or to be ridden on a Route).

The removable battery is also a huge plus for people who do 24hr or longer rides/races. You can even set the device to charge only from USB, plug in computer, swap battery, unplug USB and continue with the same file recording... slick.

What about a mention of the handy ANT+ remote that allows using the computer without taking your hands off the bars?

The only thing I have to agree with you on in the horrible mount. The 2-arm mount is weak (but newer version was much stiffer!!), and mounting it directly on bar/stem puts it too low to push the release button. One way to fix this is to use a thin 1-2 mm rubber spacer under the mount. From your description, it sounds like you didn't use this, since then the computer wouldn't slide back and forth when pushing buttons. The coolest mount I've seen is a SRAM computer mount that is cut in half and glued on the back with epoxy. Then the computer can be mounted in any of the barfly or other garmin-type twist mounts that are very common.

Another huge plus for the N2C is how many display screens and user profiles can be configured. Each Profile could be a separate user or simply another bike with it's own sensors.

And if the tester did have a dud device, why didn't they test out the customer service at O-synce and turn it in for a working device??

posted by srmcon [1 posts]
28th February 2014 - 20:27

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I know of one guy who had a leaky garmin, but on the whole they are reliable and pretty much industry standard, I don't know anyone who has any alternative unit.

It's very difficult given Garmin's vast budget for new entrants to get in, they either need to completely best the Garmin alternative, or compete on price.

I can see why the replaceable battery is a benefit for long distance rides, though perhaps this is where, if you aren't careful, you can end up with a leak.

All that said, Garmin's recent update has messed up the log in page and other linked apps don't work automatically any more!

All Campag

posted by Flying Scot [480 posts]
1st March 2014 - 10:11

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