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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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,