I am looking for an Android phone or a small tablet to use -- without a waterproof case -- as a navigation device on a bicycle.

The main requirement is that it must be able to withstand hours of pouring rain, and the touchscreen must remain operable when wet. It should also be possible to recharge the device while using it in the rain and without putting it at risk (through exposed charging ports etc).

The ability to use the touchscreen while wearing gloves would be a plus.

I am looking for recommendations based on real-world experience rather than marketing materials (a lot of manufacturers advertise IP ratings, MIL-STD-810G self-certification etc but it's hard to tell what any of that means in real-world use).

  • IP Ratings are usually determined by a third party that specializes in testing and certifying devices. As long as you can trust that the rating is truthful, you can trust that a device with IP67 is completely vacuum sealed to the point that there's nowhere for dust to enter, and resists water pressure up to depth of 1m. That's some pretty tangible, "real world" info to go on. I'd expect the MIL-STD certifications to be even more trustworthy and government controlled.
    – Romen
    Commented Dec 16, 2021 at 16:07

2 Answers 2


I don't know if there are any devices that can be charged while in the pouring rain or wet at all for that matter. But if you just need GPS signal while biking then I suggest looking at the Xperia XZ compact line up. My wife and I have had Xperia phones and they do great even with full water submersion. Just turn on glove mode and they won't interact with water too much. And without a sim card inserted you should be able to use the GPS for ages before the battery dies you'll just have to use google maps offline maps feature or only set up routes when you are on wifi.

  • 1
    Apart from the price one reason I'm not upgrading from a Z3 compact to an XZ is that the magnetic charging point (that I've used in heavy rain) has been dropped. If you've got Qi wireless charging there are IP67 Qi devices that could be stuffed into a handlebar bracket under the phone. Battery life with a sim but with mobile data disabled is good, but limited by needing the screen on at least some of the time
    – Chris H
    Commented Aug 10, 2018 at 8:59

I'd say go for the cheap rugged handsets a lot of mystery manufacturers put out.

I had a BlackView BV7000, which eventually died after falling off the handlebars at 30+ km/h a few too many times on rough roads - in pouring rain and it started to leak.

The replacement is a Ulefone Armor X7, with one big advantage - a lanyard loop so it stays attached if a pothole or vibration shakes it loose.

I don't charge in rain (except possibly very light rain, through a charging port at the bottom). I don't need to. With aeroplane mode enabled most of the time and the screen brightness just high enough to read, I can easily navigate for 200km on a charge. I was close to finishing a 300km ride on the Ulefone when 17 hours in I decided to top up while stopped anyway. Either disable aeroplane mode for stops, or use a Tasker script to run aeroplane mode most of the time, turning your signal on for one minute every quarter of an hour. And turn of WiFi as well. Of course you'll need a bike computer app that works properly offline. I use IPbike with OpenStreetMap for a large area downloaded to it.

These are cheaper than a full-featured Garmin or similar, while doing far more. You could consider having one in addition to a nicer everyday phone

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