Bike Computer Vs Phone: Which Is the Better Choice? | 2024

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The market share of bike computers is going to reach a number of around 577M by the end of 2023! Though this number was 542.5M by the end of the year 2021. The market is expected to grow by a number around 5% every year.

This rapid growth proves to us, the user count of bike computers is growing very fast. However, most of the features of a bike computer are also available in smartphone applications, In spite of that cycling enthusiasts always prepare cycling computers. Because Bike Computers are designed for long-distance road cycling.

As a cyclist, I always love bike computers, and even so, these days smartphones or smart watches could replace bike computers.

In this article, I will discuss the comparison between bike computers and mobile phones, and also try to come up with a decision on which is best or if both of the two technologies are the same!

Why Do Cyclists Need a Bike Computer or Smartphone? 

A bike computer is a device that monitors every single piece of data while riding a bicycle. If you are in professional cycling and you need to monitor your speed, time, lap stats, cadence, heart rate, GPS location, and other data related to your rides then you will need a bike computer or a smartphone.

Some of the key features, you can utilize by having any of these technologies,

  • GPS and Navigation Global Positioning System (GPS) and navigation service allow you to find the place where you are, and how you can go to your target location. It also works like a digital compass.
  • Speed Reading Cycle is a classical transportation that can not measure the speed you are riding but when you have a bike computer or mobile app it will let you know your cycling speed.
  • Location Both the bike computer and smartphone app let you know the exact location where you are and your nearby places.
  • Movement Tracking The technology records your movement data, so you can see your entire trip routes with details.
  • Sensors: A Cycling or Bike Computer can use dedicated wireless sensors like speed, and cadence to provide the most valuable data
Bike Computer_Bikecomputer Icon_bike computer vs phone
A Bike Computer

Bike Computer Vs Phone

Bike Computer Core Features And Benefits

A bike computer is an especially designed and programmed device that tracks detailed data of cycling. The use of a bike computer is not bounded just to the cycling information but also it can measure physical conditions like heart rate, and blood circulation flow and show you the data. The main features of a bike computer are discussed below,

  • GPS and Navigation Information: A bike computer shows you the Global Positioning System (GPS) data like location, navigation, trip routes, time, and other GPS functions.
  • Ride Details: Your highest, lowest, and average speed details are monitored by a bike computer. A cycling computer also records the total distance traveled, and the duration of the ride.
  • Display Quality: There are two types of displays available on bike computers the B&W display and the color display. Most bike computers are now built with color displays like LCD or LED (touchscreen) but a few casual bike computers are available with Black and White displays.
  • Fitness Data: Power Zones, Average Watts, Calories Burned, Average Heart Rate, and maximum Heart Rate Are Recorded by a bike computer also it collects the time and distance traveled data that can help to measure your physical strength.
  • Dimensions: On average, the bike computer’s body measurement is like 60*100*20mm
  • Connectivity: ANT+ ANT+ FE-C, Bluetooth, USB, WiFi (Indoor Cycling Device during the workout)
  • Battery Life: Average bike computer battery standby between 15-30 hours

Phone Core Features And Benefits

An invention that is developing beyond human imagination is the android phone or you might call it the smartphone. The work capacity of smartphones is increasing every day, a smartphone can replace a computer smoothly so it can also replace a bike computer in near future!

The facilities that a smartphone can offer you instead of a bike computer, are discussed below

  • GPS and Navigations: Global positioning and exact location with the navigation to the targeted location
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth, USB, WiFi
  • Ride Details: Trip route, duration, average speed, and highest speed can be monitored
  • Dimensions: 14.7 to 16.3 cm
  • Battery Life: Average phone battery standby is between 10 and 20 hours
Smartphone Icon (Photo by Canva)

Bike Computer Vs Phone – Main Similarities

The Similarities Between Bike Computers Vs Phones are:

  • Both devices are capable of tracking speed, distance, time, and other essential data.
  • Both devices have GPS functionality.
  • Both devices are able to utilize Maps
  • Both devices are wireless 
  • Both a bike computer and a phone are capable of utilizing GPS navigation to give turn-by-turn directions.
  • The battery life of both devices is comparable, but when it comes to GPS usage, high-end bike computers consistently perform better in terms of lasting longer.

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Bike Computer Vs Phone Pricing

Bike Computer: Bike Computer prices start at $60 to $900

Smart Phone: Phone Prices start from $100 to $2000

The drawback of Phones when compared to the bike computer 

Here are a few drawbacks of using a smartphone as a bike computer:

Battery life: Smartphones have shorter battery life compared to dedicated bike computers. This can be a problem for longer rides where the phone may run out of power.

Mounting: Smartphones need to be securely mounted on the handlebars, which can be challenging, especially in rough terrain. Some cyclists use a specialized phone mount, but it can be more difficult to install and remove compared to a simple bike computer mount.

Size and weight: Smartphones are generally larger and heavier than bike computers, which can make them less convenient to carry and handle while riding.

Durability: Smartphones are not as rugged as dedicated bike computers, and are more susceptible to damage from water, dust, and impact.

Interference: Smartphones emit signals, such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, which can interfere with GPS signals. This can affect the accuracy of the GPS tracking and lead to inconsistencies in the data.

Distractions: While using a smartphone as a bike computer, there’s always the risk of being distracted by incoming calls, texts, or notifications. This can be dangerous while cycling.

These are some of the drawbacks of using a smartphone as a bike computer. Ultimately, the choice between a smartphone and a dedicated bike computer will depend on the individual’s specific needs and preferences.

Bike Computer Vs Phone Comparison: Head to Head

Before you end up the decision on using a bike computer vs a mobile phone, we should have a final look at the key comparison between using a dedicated bike computer and a smartphone application. I am arranging a table that might help you to decide which option is better for you,

FactsBike ComputerMobile or Smartphone App
Price$60 to upOne-time installment to buy the device$100 to up for phone$3 to 19/monthly for AppYou have to pay monthly or annually
Preferred ForDedicated cycle racing or professional cyclingCasual cycling or hobby
Battery LifeAround 15 to 20 hoursAround 4 to 6 hours
AccuracyThis uses a built-in hardware sensor so provides more accurate dataUses GPS tracking, and sometimes data are not relevant
WaterproofBike computers are waterproofN/A
Body Size60 x 100 x 20 mm14.7 to 16.3 cm
Extra FeaturesHeart rate and calorie calculatorN/A
Weight35 to 100 Grams130 to 200 Grams
Setup HassleBuiltin with clips or screw systemRequiring extra mobile mount
Bike Computer Vs Phone Comparison: Head to Head

Bike Computer Vs Phone – Which is best?

Though dedicated bike computers and mobile applications both can provide the data of GPS, navigation, traveled distance, and speed records. We can not come to the conclusion that a mobile can replace the place of a bike computer. Because it depends on the user.

If you are a professional cyclist then you should go for the dedicated bike computer but if you do cycling as a hobby or for a test session then a phone or mobile app like Strava might be the best option for you.

Related: Bkool vs zwift : Pick The Best Apps 2023


Bottom line

It is clear that bike computers and mobile both can be used to measure your cycling speeds and keep location tracks. But in-depth analysis I have found that dedicated bike computers are more useful for professional cyclists like me.

For getting accurate counts and health information like heart rate and calorie brunt, long battery life, and hassle-free ride you should go for a bike computer.

I trust this article has been informative and beneficial in helping you make a well-informed decision for your cycling device. If you found it helpful, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or share it with others who may also benefit. And if you have any further questions or concerns, I am available to assist you. Please feel free to reach out to me at any time.

FAQ On Bike Computer Vs Phone

Can smartphones replace bike computers?

Yes, smartphones can potentially replace bike computers, as many smartphones have built-in GPS and fitness-tracking features. However, it ultimately depends on the individual's needs and preferences.

How accurate is a bike computer?

The accuracy of a bike computer can vary depending on several factors, including the quality of the GPS receiver, the environment in which it is used, and the type of sensor it uses to track speed and distance. In general, high-end bike computers use high-sensitivity GPS receivers and other sensors that provide fairly accurate tracking of speed, distance, and other metrics. 

Do bike computers and mobile work the same?

Bike computers and smartphones can perform similar functions, such as tracking speed, distance, and route, but there are some differences in how they work. Bike computers typically use GPS and other sensors to track the movement of the bike and calculate various metrics. They are designed specifically for cycling and often have features like waterproofing, long battery life, and easy-to-read displays that make them well-suited for the sport.

Smartphones also have GPS and fitness-tracking capabilities, but they are not specifically designed for cycling. While they can be used for cycling, they can also be used for a variety of other tasks, such as making phone calls, sending text messages, and accessing the internet.


1. (Cycling computer vs Smartphone)
2. (Bike Computer VS Phone: Which Comes Out on Top?)
3. (Phone VS Cycling Computer: Does A Smart Phone Do The Job?)
Ferdy Wilson
Ferdy Wilson

Hello, I'm Ferdy. I've been passionate about cycling since I was ten years old, and it remains a major part of my life. As a cycling enthusiast, I am constantly inspired by the sense of movement and freedom it offers.

Previously, I worked for a tech company that specializes in creating cutting-edge cycling smart devices, including bike computers, GPS, and HRM. During my time there, I had the privilege of working alongside a highly successful CEO.

In addition to cycling, I have a keen interest in reading and typically enjoy a few cups of coffee each day. Writing for my personal blog is also a favorite pastime of mine whenever I have free time.

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