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review

Lezyne Mega C GPS Smart Loaded

6
£230.00

VERDICT:

6
10
Very customisable and reliable GPS, but Smart Connect is wasted – and this is only slightly better than cheaper models
Basic data functions work well
Great battery life
Aluminium mount/replaceable steel catch good for longevity
Smart Connect is clever
Awkward to use without a phone
Smart light function is underwhelming
Screen is only colour when backlit
Backlight not visible in the sun
Unlit screen is duller than the cheaper Super Pro's
Weight: 
78g

The Lezyne Mega C GPS Smart Loaded package centres on a unit that's bigger by a few millimetres in every direction, and just 11g heavier, than the very similar Super Pro GPS I tested last year. The Smart Loaded adds a wirelessly-controllable rear light and a fancy alloy mount to the colour screen-equipped Mega C, but while phone apps make customisation easier, the four-button design is starting to groan under the weight of all the features – many of which feel basic and underdeveloped.

The Smart Loaded package gets you the Mega C Enhanced GPS itself, plus a KTV Pro Smart 75 rear light, an alloy forward mount, a charging/data cable, and a plastic bar mount that secures with o-rings. The presentation case is really strong and dustproof, so it's actually pretty useful.

> Find your nearest dealer here

Compared with its smaller, cheaper sibling, the Super Pro, the Mega C's screen is bigger by 1.2mm across and 5.3mm in length and features colour. The 240x320 resolution certainly creates less blocky numbers, but their slimmer look is actually slightly harder to read – especially as the unlit LCD background is far darker than on the Super Pro. When backlit, the Mega C's screen is very clear and the use of colour really helps you spot what you need at a glance, but the backlight is too weak to be visible in daylight.

2020 Lezyne Mega C GPS Smart Loaded - unit.jpg

I grew accustomed to the darker screen and found it usable in any condition, but it's definitely less clear than the black and white version of cheaper models. The Mega C will display between two and eight data fields, but, as with the Super Pro, it works best with three or four – by the time you get to eight there's an awful lot to decode in a glance. Also, it's a shame the Mega C lacks the Super Pro's ability to run in landscape mode.

Smart rear light

The Mega C can pair with a Smart Connect rear light and control it – as can the LED Ally app. As with the GPS Ally V2 app that controls the main device, it's far easier to use your phone's touchscreen to make changes than the Mega C itself. Both apps are simple, clear and easy to use, though it's a shame the LED functions weren't just added to the existing GPS one.

2020 Lezyne Mega C GPS Smart Loaded - rear light side.jpg

While connecting to your light is quick, easy and impressive, the potential advantages of doing it go largely untapped. You can monitor the flashing mode and battery level from your GPS, which is great – saves contorting yourself to see first-hand – but only from a dedicated page. Getting there and back means cycling through lots of other pages.

If there's a way to integrate this info on the main screen (which I would genuinely love), I can't find it. Also, there's no low-battery warning on screen and no mention even if it shuts down and loses signal completely, which again would be genuinely useful for safety. It's all tucked away on its own otherwise useless screen.

Routing

Navigation is functional, if something of a faff. You can load basic line-maps of your area into the device, which makes following the instructions far easier, and the navigation screens can be significantly customised in what they show and where. The GPS Ally app includes an easy-to-use route-making function which involves little more than tapping the screen in the relevant spots and sending it to the GPS, and the upload doesn't take very long. You must rely heavily on your phone for all this, though.

Once riding the result still can't match a full-on navigation device – or even your phone – but the impressive battery life (32 hours claimed, and it's easy to believe) and low weight reflect that. It beats having your probably very expensive phone strapped to the bar, too.

Data recording and displaying

If all this sounds a bit negative, fear not! Underneath all these disappointingly underdeveloped things lies a sturdy, dependable and very customisable GPS that's excellent for displaying and recording data.

2020 Lezyne Mega C GPS Smart Loaded - head unit.jpg

It uses both American GPS and Russian Glonass satellites to give unwavering coverage and what increasingly I can only hope is accurate information, and features a barometer and accelerometer along with connectivity (Bluetooth Smart or ANT+) to heart rate monitors, cadence/speed sensors, power meters and electronic shifters for yet more measurements. All these can be integrated on your main page displays.

Add to that compatibility with Today's Plan, TrainingPeaks, Strava, Lezyne's own live tracking and telemetry service (Lezyne Track) and Komoot navigation and there's little it can't do, to some extent at least.

Try to make the most of the Mega C with just the familiar four buttons and a non-touchscreen and it's likely to end in frustration. Think of it as a standalone data display, or as a head unit for your existing phone, and you'll probably be very happy.

2020 Lezyne Mega C GPS Smart Loaded - head unit side.jpg

I'm pleased to see the button prompts on the face of the Mega C (some models put them on the side), because even with them, navigating the menus can be awkward. The physical buttons are good and well sealed beneath rubber covers, but even after years of these devices they rarely feel intuitive – screen prompts can appear to point to buttons, when in fact they're not.

Charging

The charging port seal is Lezyne's old style that's wedged in by plastic horns and retained by a rubber tongue, and while I've never had any problems with even very heavy rain getting past these, it's both harder to get a cable in and harder to get the seal sitting flush than with their new design. An update here would be welcome.

2020 Lezyne Mega C GPS Smart Loaded - head unit USB port.jpg

Value and conclusion

At £230, this bundle represents a £20 saving over the contents bought separately. If you already have a mount – this alloy one is lovely, but the plastic forward mount is precisely as good – you're better off looking at the unit alone for £180.

2020 Lezyne Mega C GPS Smart Loaded - mount.jpg

For £180 you could get Lezyne's own Mega XL GPS with its larger screen, especially if you're more interested in the core data functions than anything else. The £200 Mio Cyclo 210 lacks ANT+ or Bluetooth, but does have a large colour touchscreen and much better mapping, while £260 gets you a Garmin Edge 520 Plus and, once again, a touchscreen. Alternatively, you can get 95 per cent of the functionality of the Mega C with a £135 Super Pro, and enjoy the smaller but brighter screen.

Of course, the Mega C Smart Loaded comes with that clever Smart Connect rear light – itself well made and securely if clunkily sealed against water – but while it works impressively, it's very limited in what it actually brings to a ride. It could be genuinely useful, but it feels more like a simple proof of concept.

> Buyer’s Guide: 13 of the best cycling GPS computers

That aside, the Mega C is a very well made, dependable and usable ride computer that's great for displaying and recording data, and can – at a push – guide you around. To make the most of it, however, you need a phone. And if you just put that phone on the handlebar, it blows the Lezyne away in most respects.

To my mind, Lezyne has pushed the four-button design to its absolute limit, and really needs to switch to touchscreen to make its hundreds of features usable. Dropping some and concentrating on the more promising ones, such as Smart Connect itself, could also work.

As it is, the Mega C GPS Smart Loaded bundle is simply trying to do too much at once, and leaving several good ideas underdeveloped. It's a good, solid and enjoyable unit at heart, but it's hard to recommend when almost the same thing can be had for significantly less.

Verdict

Very customisable and reliable GPS, but Smart Connect is wasted – and this is only slightly better than cheaper models

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Lezyne Mega C GPS Smart Loaded

Size tested: 50.5mm (W) x 77.2mm (L) x 26.9mm (H)

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?

Lezyne says: "Highlighted by a large 2.2-inch, 240x320 high resolution color screen with color graphics that help you quickly and easily identify specific data fields. When paired with an iOS or Android handheld through the free Lezyne Ally V2 app, the device provides turn-by-turn navigation, Strava Live Segments and phone notifications (incoming calls, texts and message app notifications). Additionally, the GPS device can be instantly customized through the app and it has on-screen preloaded maps, provides turn-by-turn navigation and off-line navigation."

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

Lezyne lists:

WEIGHT:

73g

RUNTIME:

32

hours

MEMORY:

800

hours

max

DIMENSIONS:

Computer 50.5mm (W) x 77.2mm (L) x 26.9mm (H)

Screen: 33.8mm (W) x 45.1mm (L)

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Really solid bolt-together plastic construction and a replaceable steel X-Lock mount plate.

Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10

Extremely good at its core data functions, reasonable at navigation and very good for battery life.

Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10

Very well splashproofed and tough enough to withstand crashes.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
8/10

It's 115g for the device and alloy mount; 53g for rear light and rubber mount. Weight weenies will care, but it's undetectable in use.

Rate the product for value:
 
3/10

It's outperformed by similarly priced devices, held back by the lack of touchscreen and burdened by the underdeveloped Smart Connect light in this bundle – the unit on its own would score a four.

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

Reliably and pretty effectively, if not masses better than its smaller/older/cheaper siblings.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Clear and highly-customisable display.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Smart Connect rear light could be much better integrated.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

The Loaded bundle doesn't help its cause against the basic units, but it's still cheaper than a lot of Garmins.

Did you enjoy using the product? Mostly

Would you consider buying the product? No

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Probably not.

Use this box to explain your overall score

The Mega C is extremely good at its core data functions, reasonable at navigation and very good for battery life, but the new functions, while decent, need work before they're compelling – which makes this £230 package less impressive than the £180 standalone unit. It's almost exactly the same to look at and use as the £135 Super Pro, and is only really good at the things the Super Pro was good at, too. All in all, that keeps the score down to a six.

Overall rating: 6/10

About the tester

Age: 48  Height: 183cm  Weight: 78kg

I usually ride: Vitus Zenium SL VR Disc  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: general fitness riding, mtb,

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