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22-01-2023 | Frank Jansen

iGPSPORT iGS630 review

iGPSPORT is a name you probably don't know. The China-based company makes cycling computers and has been around since 2012. Its portfolio is getting bigger and bigger. I put the new flagship to the test, the iGS630.


Photo: the 2.8" non-touch color screen of the iGS630.

Unboxing

Our review model comes very complete:

  • Speedometer (BTLE + ANT+)
  • Cadence meter (BTLE + ANT+)
  • Heart rate monitor (BTLE + ANT+)
  • Silicone case
  • Out front holder
  • Custom stem mount holder
  • USB-C charging cable


Photo: everything is neatly packed in nice boxes.

A total package, then, and all that is very neatly packed in nice boxes. Of course, you can also choose to buy just the computer. The actual price then comes to a reasonable €199 (the retail price, by the way, is €179.99).

The device makes a solid impression. The buttons are firm, the casing feels robust. The form factor is fine as far as we are concerned, the device is certainly not thick at 15 mm. The USB-C charging port is located at the bottom and has a fine rubber cover. Minor drawback is that the black bezel around the screen is a bit large (12 mm on top and bottom, 6 mm on both sides). The weight comes to 90 grams.

The first impression is more than good.

First impression bike computer

The device is easy to install, without me needing the manual. However, you must be proficient in English, Spanish, French, Polish or Portuguese. According to the manufacturer, other languages might be added later. The menu is simple to use, especially in combination with the buttons. Indeed, the device has buttons and no touchscreen. Personally, I see that as an advantage: the device always does what you want and the screen is not affected by sweat, rain, or winter gloves.


Picture: nice detail is the graphical display of data.

The iGS630 has 6 buttons:

  • Top right: the 'return' key
  • Top left: back, long press is on/off. You can also use this to bring up the drop-down screen. On it you can see sensors, but also GPS range and even the weather.
  • Bottom right the + and - button. These scroll through menus and switch data pages
  • Bottom, right: start/stop
  • Bottom, left: lap

Setting up the data pages is easy. You have to do the initial setup through the companion app, data fields on existing pages can also be adjusted on the device itself. A nice touch is that you don't necessarily have to opt for boring straightforward data pages consisting of rectangular boxes. There are also a number of graphical views available, which Garmin users may be familiar with from the IQ app store. The choice of data fields is huge.

A big plus is that the computer works with bike profiles.

Pairing sensors

Pairing the sensors is quick, via BTLE or ANT+. This can be done via the companion app but also on the device itself. Without any problems we pair several power meters, a heart rate monitor, speed sensor and also Di2 is no problem. The Di2 support is a bit limited. You see your resistance in the 1-2 format (39x12 is not possible) and, if desired, the battery percentage. However, changing pages using the buttons on the shifter is not possible.


Photo: pairing sensors is easy.

The mount

I am less enthusiastic about the out front mount. It performs fine but it is rather clunky. Fortunately, iGPSPORT uses the same quarter turn connection as Garmin, giving you a choice of an almost countless number of alternatives (K-Edge, Barfly, HidemyBell, etc). It's worth a compliment that iGPSPORT chooses to use existing standards, rather than making up its own that you are then stuck with, as Karoo does. If you choose another mount, don't get one that is too short, or you won't be able to operate the front buttons.


Photo: it's a matter of taste, but the mount doesn't make me happy.

Day to day use

Using the iGS630 is self-explanatory. You press start and the ride is recorded. When you get home, you press stop and the ride is uploaded to Strava and/or Trainingpeaks via the app. Somewhat annoyingly, uploading a ride often takes a long time. Uploading can only be done through the companion app, as the device has no wifi. Is that a disadvantage? Not as far as I'm concerned. Wifi chips in cycling computers, in my opinion, cause more misery than they save.

Strava and Trainingpeaks, by the way, are currently the only two platforms you can upload to. Inquiry reveals that it is not clear whether this number will be expanded.

Notifications and Strava segments

If you wish, you can get through apps, messages and calls while riding. That works smoothly. There is no support for Strava segments.

Navigation

Of course, the iGS630 can also give you turn by turn directions. The maps for certain regions are pre-installed by default, other regions you can download from the iGPSPORT website and transfer to the device via computer. A missed opportunity this cannot be done through the companion app, so if you don't have a laptop, you're stuck. The internal memory is large enough with 8 GB. Automatic syncing of a GPX is currently only possible via Strava. Although it is actually semi-automatic, because you have to perform a number of actions in the companion app for it. Of course, manually loading a GPX is also possible. For example, by just emailing or apping it to yourself and then opening it on your phone with the IGP app. Then you can push it to the bike computer.


Photo: in action.

With the companion app you can also draw your own route. It takes some practice, but works fine. Entering an address or city is also possible. 'Back to start' is also possible, and so is reversing a route.

Howerver, the navigation lacks many setting. For example, one cannot set whether you like main roads and whether or not we want to drive on unpaved roads. The device comes with pre-installed Mapbox maps that have a lot of detail, including street names. The 2.8" color screen does not have the highest resolution, but it is perfectly readable. The screen of the Garmin 830 is just a bit sharper, but the colors of the iGS630 are better. When navigating, it is important to leave the backlight on continuously at a minimum of 40%, especially in winter or in the woods. On a ride when you're not navigating, you don't necessarily need your backlight.

On the map screen, you can put up to six data fields. For people like me who prefer to ride without guidance, that's a big plus. The navigation line is light blue in color, and also includes arrows that come in especially handy when crossing your own route. Your tail is dark blue in color. Both colors are more than clear (to me), but not color adjustable. If desired, you also get on-screen TBT directions in the form of arrows with a count-back number of meters attached. That works fine, and the directions are visible even when a regular data screen is on. The device also produces sounds (e.g. when driving the wrong way). These can be turned off, however, only by turning off all sounds on the entire computer.

Recalculation

In the test period, we've ridden the same short, pre-drawn route several times in a row. The first attempt we deliberately drive the correct route. The iGS630 does that just fine. Occasionally a clue may not make complete sense, but that is no different with the competition. An example: if you drive straight across a roundabout, the computer first says right, quickly followed by left. That doesn't make sense, although it is technically correct.


Photo: If you go off course, the red arrow shows you the way. But you have to do the navigating yourself.

Peronally I prefer to ride without any kind of directions, and fortunately you can. Just follow the line and you're OK. On the second and third attempts, we deliberately deviate from the route at a number of points. Other bike computers usually start recalculating, but this computer solves it differently. You get a sound signal, and a message that you are off course. By means of a red arrow (see picture) you can see the direction in which you have to go to get back on the route, but how to get there is up to you.

Personally, I don't think this solution is so bad, although it's not perfect. For example, what is very inconvenient is that you cannot zoom out beyond 800m. That is, you can zoom out to 3.5 km but then you won't see the map. Nor is it possible to move the map ('panning'). Long story short: to come up with a detour you have to grab your phone.

Companion app with areas for improvement

The companion app does the most crucial operations you expect from it reasonably well. Uploading rides is fine, though slow. Loading routes goes well, but as mentioned, it's inconvenient that routes from Strava don't quite sync automatically. Nor is there yet a link to other platforms such as Komoot and RidewithGPS. You can clearly see that the companion app still has a lot of work to do, many translations are not exactly perfect ('firnware detect' means 'update firmware', 'close' where 'off' is meant, etc.) and also the app is not always clear. Also, the appearance could sometimes be better.


Photo: two screenshots from the companion app.

There's a lot of functionality in the app that you'll probably never use. Think about adding friends, analyzing your rides or searching for routes. These are typically things that almost everyone uses other tools for, such as Komoot, Strava or Trainingpeaks. On the other hand, you miss out on things you would expect in a companion app, such as updating maps.

Another downside is that you can only use part of the app when the bike computer is on. An ailment that the Wahoo app also suffers from, by the way.

Excellent sensors

Our test sample comes with a heart rate, speed and cadence sensor. All three make a solid impression, with the speed sensor clearly inspired by Garmin's model. We did not manage to break the silicone strap by hand, which is good. During the testing period, we did not experience any problems with either. Pairing to another brand of bike computer (or to a phone) also proved no problem.

Meters of elevation and climb profile

On Lanzarote, we had the chance to compare the barometric meters of elevation with a Wahoo Bolt v1 and an iPhone 14 Pro. Our measurements showed that the meters of elevation produce similar values. The same goes for the temperature sensor. Of course, this computer also features a climbing profile. This, like all competitors except Karoo, only works if you have a GPX loaded. The screen is clear and looks fine. You can see how long the climb is and what the percentages are.


Photo: the climbing screen in action in Lanzarote.

Battery

The battery life is one of the great USPs of the iGS630. It's definitely outstanding. With the backlight at 50% you effortlessly reach 5% per hour (and that on a cold winter day). Impressive! For the real mile-eaters, there is the battery save mode<, which also turns off some GPS networks. Then you get up to a whopping 35 hours. Speaking of GPS networks, the iGS630 supports more of them than I knew of.

Live track

From the app, you can turn on live tracking and share the link. That works reasonably well. Again, clear areas for improvement in the companion app: turning it on only works within 30 seconds of starting the ride. If you want to do it on the go, you have to restart the app.

Workouts

It is also possible to complete a workout with the iGS630. There are a number of set workouts (including an FTP test) in the companion app that you can send to the device, but you can also sync a workout via Trainingpeaks. It is also possible to create your own workout in the companion app and send it to the device.

Riding a workout works well in itself. It is possible to pause the workout, but unlike the competition, you immediately pause the entire ride. This is not convenient. Skipping an interval is possible, though. If you have another data screen on, you can get a beep when a new block starts.


Photo: doing a workout.

Controlling a smart trainer

You can link the iGS630 to your smart trainer. Via a separate profile, you can then ride freely, or (in ERG mode) complete a workout. Here again, the competition is just a step ahead. For example, you cannot set the trainer to a fixed power (e.g. 150W) in ERG.


Photo: on the left the iGS630, on the right the Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt 2.

Conclusion

In terms of hardware, the iGS630 has things pretty well together. Sturdy buttons, perfect build quality, great battery life and a fine screen. And all for under 200 euros excluding sensors. In terms of hardware, I dare even put the i630 above direct competitors on the market.

The software and menu structure on the device itself are also fine. The user interface is simple use. Here and there you still miss settings, such as being able to determine which sounds are on and off and various options related to navigation such as recalculation, adaptive routing, zooming and panning.

The fact that recalculation is not possible must be mentioned as a minus point, although I must add that this certainly does not apply to me. I've always said I'm not a fan of it, with any bike computer (even Karoo). I therefore prefer to turn it off.

The biggest downside for me, however, is the companion app. It contains far too many errors, and it's just inconvenient sometimes. In my opinion, it would be better to get rid of some parts and focus on basic functionality:

  • Uploading rides to other platforms
  • Updating maps
  • Setting up data pages and settings
  • Pairing sensors
  • Syncing routes from Strava and Komoot, for example, without extra clicks
  • Live tracking
  • Create a route to an address or place
  • Update firmware

That's all a companion app should have to do. Make sure this works perfectly, without language errors and preferably in more languages and you have a perfect alternative to the big players on the market.

Most of the cons in this review are in the area of software. In my opinion, the software is still too immature. At the moment, for that reason, it is definitely not yet a Garmin or Wahoo-killer. But it could potentially become that. Whether it will? Time will tell. With the competition, we have seen that software development takes an enormous amount of time. But if iGPSPORT is going to come up with some solid software updates soon, this computer could really start to make waves.

Plus and minuses

+ good build quality
+ looks
+ great battery life
+ user-friendly
+ very fine sensors
+ price/quality ratio
+ buttons and no touchscreen
+ supports numerous gps networks
- lacks certain features
- mediocre companion app
- out front mount not so nice
- large bezel
- few platforms can be linked in the app
- limited language choices (no Dutch, German, Italian)

Buying this computer? You can buy ithere

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