REVIEW: Garmin Edge 800
by Todd Hooper
|Colour||Carbon Weave Black/Blue|
Expensive and feature packed, you'll never need anything else.
I’ve always been impressed with the GPS offerings from Garmin, having had both the Garmin Edge 705 and the smaller more compact Garmin Edge 500. I was very keen to try out the Garmin Edge 800, Garmin’s newest offering, their most feature packed GPS device, and also their most expensive.
Garmin Edge 800
The features of the Garmin Edge 800 are vast. It can practically do everything except turn the pedals. In short, the Garmin Edge 800 is an excellent successor to the Garmin 705 with additional touch-screen functionality and ANT+. If you already own an Edge 500, you’ll be familiar with the menu options and functionality (minus the maps). The mapping abilities that the Edge 800 offers are a significant upgrade from the Edge 500, and would be my main reason for upgrading.
I’ve enjoyed all the features of my compact Garmin Edge 500, but the new form factor of the 800 had caught my eye and having maps on this sleek unit was enticing. The 705 had always looked very bulky to me, especially once it is fixed to your handlebars, negating that carbon fibre aerodynamic integrated stem handlebars you just bought.
Large Display Means You Won't Lose Your Way
The full-colour backlit display is 160×240 pixels, which is large enough to make the mapping functionality useful. It’s more than large enough for every other display function. The resistive 37x55mm touchscreen requires pressure to activate the on-screen buttons and can be used with gloves and works more than well enough in the wet. Sadly, even though it is touch screen, you are not able to use gestures, such as pinching, to zoom out on the map. Instead there are zoom in and out icons on the map; but the system works well.
The Edge 800 comes in two different colour options; both are predominantly black with either white or blue accents. It is a very good-looking unit, with a carbon fibre style front fascia.The two primary things I used the Garmin Edge 800 for was the Training Display (distance, speed, time, power, etc.) and Mapping. I found every function I used on the Edge 800 very intuitive and easy to navigate. There is one physical button on the left hand side of the unit and another two buttons on the front for lap/reset and start/stop. Everything else is accessed via the touch screen, which is very user friendly.
Looking The Part
The one thing I really like about the training display screen is that you can press down on any field to select another function to display. This reduced the need for multiple screens to show different fields (like the Garmin Edge 500 does), but you can still have them if you want (up to 5).I recently took a trip to Bath for the weekend and not knowing the area too well the mapping function proved very useful. It is very easy to load maps onto the unit from various mapping websites, which you can then use to guide you.
The map menus are easy to navigate. The only difficulty is that the navigation route lines presented on the screen are sometimes hard to differentiate at a glance from other map features such as rivers, roads and boundaries. When navigating to a certain destination, the unit does a decent job at notifying you on the screen if a turn is coming up and it will zoom the map to an appropriate scale, very much like a car satnav. It will also tell you if you are going off course for any reason, and will direct you back to your original route. There are the usual navigational functions that are found in car satellite navigation units, such as navigating to the nearest petrol station or points of interest, which can be useful when in times of need or in an unknown country, on holiday, for example.
Coffee Stop Talking Point
Touch screen zoom and navigation of the maps are not that easy to perform while riding, especially as the need to keep your eyes on the road is very important and you probably shouldn’t be doing this while riding anyway. A device that hosts so many features in such a small package will always have compromises.I easily got about 12 hours of battery life out of the Garmin Edge 800. For my everyday routine this would last me about a week, commuting to work and a couple of “long” rides at the weekend. During a holiday in the Alps or the Pyrenees, however, I would probably find myself charging it daily, which is easy via the supplied cable, which can be plugged straight into a USB port in your computer or laptop or into the supplied wall plug.
Installation is a piece of cake, and requires no special tools or zip ties. I only used the Edge 800 for road riding and so can’t comment on the reliability of the mounting for mountain biking but it seemed secure enough to me. The Garmin Edge 800 is a significant step up in price from the Garmin Edge 500 and the now old Edge 705. At over twice the price of the Edge 500 you really are paying a premium for the mapping functionality.
If you just require a GPS unit to track your training and racing, using heart rate or a power meter then the Garmin Edge 800 may posses a lot of features that will remain unused. If you plan to travel abroad or to unfamiliar places with your bike then the mapping that the Edge 800 offers is worth every penny.
You May Also Like...
Leave A Comment
Please login to leave a comment