So I decided to test the Strava Iphone App in comparison to pulling the data from the Garmin edge 500 onto the website. I ran 2 ride tests using both items at the same time.
The Garmin fits into the holder on the bars, and the Iphone is stowed into the seat bag.
The first thing I noticed was as I started the Iphone app there is a record and a pause button. It shows Time, Distance & Average MPH. (not current MPH Curious) None of this mattered much as I dont have the ability to see through my rear into the seat bag.
My Garmin is set to pause at stop lights, stop signs, Ferrys etc. Set currently at 3.0 MPH. I dont want to count the time sitting around waiting for a light to turn etc. The Strava App has no such options to adjust pauses. If you had it on your bars you could in essence push the pause button but why, auto pause is the way to go as we shall see.
the 2 rides include a 37.8 mile rural road ride with minimal stops and a 26.7 mile ride also rural with a ferry crossing.
The 37.8 mile ride data is as follows.
Miles 37.8 both units. Riding time 1 min. 45 seconds longer, thus the MPH was 3 tenths lower on the Strava App. Elevation was 267 feet less.
Maximum speed was 40.5 in the Iphone and 34.6 on the garmin. Obviously the Garmin has cadence and HR data which I dont have the attachments to get these on the Strave but I know they exist.
26.7 miles garmin 27 miles iphone (i assume this was for the ferry crossing)
the iphone time was 8 minutes longer. again partly with the ferry crossing over and back. but this caused the MPH to go from 17.2 to 16.1. the ferry only goes about 4 mph.
Max Speed on the App was 42.1 and the Garmin was 38.3. again for some reason the Iphone tracks max speed as a lot faster.
Elevation on this was one only 30 feet of variance, with 1400 feet total so a nominal difference.
The iphone battery seemed to last ok, I had it in the screen lock mode, (even if accessible would make it hard to pause with buttons as you would have to unlock the screen first) on the 2 hour ride the battery went from 100% to about 70, and on the 90 minute ride it was at about 80%. Not horrible.
Over all the lack of auto pause and the max speed and elevation anomalies make the Iphone Strava app not the best option, BUT if I had a dead Garmin battery or forgot it. I would certainly use the Iphone to get some basic data.
One advantage of the Strava App is that when finished with the ride you just tell it you are done and it posts it to STRAVA automatically.
I know there are other riding apps for the iphone, and I have not had reason to try them. and with the Garmin on my Bars Im not sure I will.