Giant did not develop the NeosTrack from scratch. It is a result of a partnership between bike GPS manufacturer Bryton and Giant. A comparison of the specifications shows that the NeosTrack closely resembles Bryton’s Ryder 530 in functionality. Giant received input from the riders of Team Sunweb who raced with the device during the 2017 season.
Getting started with the NeosTrack is simple. Enter some statistics about yourself and off you go. There are some advanced settings that require a connection to the NeosTrack companion app on your smartphone via Bluetooth. For instance, the app is required for giving Giant permission to upload your activities to 3rd party services like Strava or TrainingPeaks.
Once you hit the on button, the NeosTrack boots up in a matter of seconds. Something I wish my Garmin Edge 520 would learn.
In the box and mounting
The Giant NeosTrack arrives with two mounting options: an out front mount and o-ring on handlebar or stem mount. Both systems will be familiar to those who have used similar Garmin mounts. The NeosTrack simply twisted into place on both mounting systems. Out on the road or trails, the mounts were steady throughout testing.
Aside from the mountings, the NeosTrack arrives with a USB charging cable, a manual in the box, and a helpful hex key.
The first impression is that the NeosTrack is a fairly large device. Fortunately, the added bulk does not mean extra weight as it feels light in the hand (it weighs in at 78 grams). On the road bike, it fits neatly on the stem between the steerer and handlebar. For rough mountain biking, I would ideally prefer something a bit more compact on the handlebars. Although the out front mount does well at removing it from the cockpit.
The NeosTrack does take advantage of its form with a sizeable 2.6” LCD screen. The screen proved clear in all conditions with the backlight providing good vision in the dark. The resolution is fair - with the units displayed clearly but the metric labels are a bit tiny to read clearly at a glance, meaning I had to rely on the number being displayed to work out what was being reported. But once I had learned the layout, this became less of a problem.
The NeosTrack is operated using five buttons located on the edges of the device. The bottom button is on/off, while the left side starts and stops recording and on the right side buttons are used for navigation and accessing the settings menu. Using the NeosTrack took some practice and consultation with the manual, but after a few rides operating the NeosTrack became much easier.
In case you get caught out in the rain, the NeosTrack also boasts IPX7 waterproofing.
The NeosTrack is packed with a full suite of connectivity options: ANT+, Bluetooth 4.0, and WiFi. After having to consult the manual to find where in the menu I needed to be to pair my sensors, the process was quick and seamless. The NeosTrack connected to my Garmin heart rate, speed, and cadence sensors as well as a Stages power meter without issue. It is also worth noting that the NeosTrack supports Di2 drive systems over Bluetooth.
I thoroughly enjoy bicycle computers that can connect to wifi for uploads and firmware updates. During my six week stint with the NeosTrack, I downloaded four firmware updates. To my frustration, I was unable to find release notes for these updates but it is comforting to know that Giant (or Bryton) are releasing regular updates.
The NeosTrack smartphone application provides additional functionality to support the device and allows for uploads of activities to the app via Bluetooth.
Once the latest activities are uploaded, the app will display your ride with a map and all the important metrics. It keeps record of all your rides, which can be accessed from a calendar for later reflection.
As explained, it also acts as a point for the handshake between Giant and your 3rd party services.
The app allows you to plan your trips which are sent to your device to be followed with navigation (more on this under Navigation below).
As far as I could make out, there are no base maps, and true turn-by-turn navigation is only accessible through the NeosTrack smartphone app. Creating a route on the mobile app is done with limitations. You can only enter at a start point and end point and then rely on the route options it provides. You can not create your own route with multiple points.
The tracking feature is pretty nifty, especially for racing. It will track your movement along a route (signified by a snaking line on the screen) and report on remaining distance with a route profile to warn you and show the progress up or down any hills. These tracking routes can be created using previous rides stored on your device, loaded from an activity on Strava, or a good old-fashioned GPX file.
My only real benchmark for comparison of accuracy is with the devices used by my riding buddies. In this regard, the NeosTrack matched (within a reasonable range) with a number of devices from other manufacturers.
My only niggle was with altitude. The NeosTrack has a barometric altimeter, meaning it can measure altitude changes. However, at the start of a ride, the NeosTrack did not always know the starting altitude. While the total altitude gains and losses were always accurate, the reported altitude was a bit off. For instance, after looking at a ride along Main Road going through Fish Hoek, Kalk Bay, and Muizenberg, the profile graph reported that I had ridden this stretch at 15 to 20 metres below sea level. If this is something that might bother you, the NeosTrack does allow you to set your altitude before setting off on a ride.
The NeosTtrack has an impressive claimed battery life of 33 hours. I was not able to match that during my real life use which included lots of tinkering with settings, playing with wifi and Bluetooth, and some healthy backlight usage. With this type of use, the NeosTrack achieved well over 20 hours on a single charge, which is impressive. I’d guess that under ideal conditions the 33 hour claim is within reach.
You might be thinking that the NeosTrack sounds like a good mid-range cycling computer putting up a respectable fight against the likes of the Garmin Edge 520 or WahooElemnt Bolt. The NeosTrack, however, has one massive advantage, its price. The NeosTrack retails at approximately R2,399. Other than the Bryton Rider 530, you’re going to struggle to find a bicycle computer with this range of features at this price point.
The Giant NeosTrack is stuffed with advanced features at an entry-level price. Although the NeosTrack does have some quirks, it can hold its own against devices that go for twice the price. In the six weeks of testing, the NeosTrack proved to be reliable and up to the task as an everyday GPS cycling computer.