The first touchscreen GPS-enabled cycle computer has certainly been highly anticipated. We whet your appetite several weeks ago when we previewed the Edge 800 and some of its key features.
However, the wait is now over as we’ve received our first batch of Garmin Edge 800’s. To provide you with a greater idea of what to expect from Garmin’s latest offering, this blog will give you a run-down of the Edge 800 in greater detail. We’ll also give you a summary of some the stand out features which might entice you to make the upgrade from an Edge 205, 305, 500 or 705, or even make your first foray into the world of Garmin cycling computers.
First and foremost, the unit is certainly pleasing on the eye. Garmin have clearly advocated the old adage ‘if it’s not broke, don’t fix it’, in terms of design, with the shape and styling being very similar to the Edge 500. However, the 2.6” screen is considerably larger than that of the Edge 500, by around 20-30%, ideal for those whose eyesight is starting to lag behind the ability of their legs! While some were worried about the width of the Edge 800, it’s certainly not noticeably wider than the Edge 705, and reduced depth means the unit is fairly unobtrusive. The brand new touchscreen functionality means all but three physical buttons have been omitted. All in all, the Edge 800 is a compact, lightweight, stylish bit of kit.
On your bike!
In terms of setting up on your bike, the Edge 800 requires no calibration. This is also useful if you regularly switch the unit between bikes. The unit is also easily attached to Garmin’s latest quarter-turn handlebar or stem mount, meaning you’ll be up and running (or cycling) in no time.
The touchscreen itself is bright and extremely responsive. Anyone who has experienced an iPhone touchscreen will find the Edge 800 especially intuitive, with all programming, display modifications and commands being carried out with simple taps. In addition, a familiar swipe motion is used to flick between the displays status screens, with up to ten pieces of information being displayed on each. Of course, these status screens can be customised to present as much, or as little information as you require. Crucially, navigation is a breeze, thanks to the well-proportioned on-screen buttons. Even when you’re travelling at speed, the Edge 800 performs admirably.
Let’s not forget, the Edge 800 can also be operated by gloved hands, perfect for use in harsher conditions without having to subject your fingers to the cruel cold!
Is it functional?
The Edge 800 features the kind of functionality you’ve come to expect from Garmin products including accurate tracking of speed, distance, time, GPS position, elevation and calories burned. However, this is only the beginning. For instance, a barometric altimeter provides extra-precise climb and descent data and records temperature changes. The unit also features a built-in basemap which shows major roads and cities. This can then be expanded with a range of compatible MicroSD cards, loaded with a choice of maps. Then all that’s left is to enter your destination on the touchscreen and turn-by-turn prompts will guide you to your journey’s end.
Your training partner, literally.
Training features are also in abundance. A much improved Virtual Partner feature is definitely worth a mention. Essentially, the Virtual Partner is a digital depiction of a pre-determined goal speed against your speed in real time. A new user interface for this feature is a welcome addition and now comes complete with animated graphics to represent your position in relation to your Virtual Partners. Other training features such as detailed workout planning and Auto Lap are present along with the useful movement warning system and Auto Pause. The Courses feature also allows you to compare successive rides over the same route, excellent for tracking your performance over time.
It doesn’t stop there!
While on the subject of routes, Garmin’s BaseCamp software lets you create personalised routes on your computer at home, before transferring them to your Edge 800 in incredible levels of detail, with 2D, 3D and elevation views. For a small additional fee of £21.99, you can subscribe to Garmin’s BirdsEye Satellite Imagery service, which, when used with the BaseCamp software, allows you to select an area of interest and then send the satellite images to your Edge 800. The maps are essentially the same as the maps you would find on Google, but are certainly an excellent touch once they are seamlessly integrated into your Edge 800’s maps, and provide a much more realistic representation of your surroundings. BaseCamp even allows you to Geotag photos, essentially pinning them to a waypoint on your map, and these photos can even be uploaded to your Edge 800 so you have them out on your ride.
Review, replay, share.
Once you make it home and you’ve logged some miles, it’s time to review, replay and share your ride. This is done by simply connecting your Edge 800 to your PC or Mac using the included USB cable. From there, simply load up Garmin Connect and then upload the data from your device. This excellent feature allows you to review the route you took on a map, view a summary of your ride, create new goals and share your rides and data with other cyclists around the world to name but a few.
As if you needed convincing any further, but here’s the Garmin Edge 800 in action.
So how much?
The Garmin Edge 800 will come in a total of five different forms.
- A standalone Edge 800 GPS-enabled computer, if you’re upgrading from another Garmin and already have all the accessories, or for those who aren’t concerned with any additional data. This package comes in at an RRP of £349.99.
- Edge 800 GPS-enabled computer with MicroSD-Discoverer 1:50 U.K. Again, ideal if you’re upgrading but want the additional maps. This package retails at £399.99.
- Edge 800 GPS-enabled computer with cadence sensor and HRM. This packages comes with both of the accessories, but without the maps. Perfect if you’re unsure whether you’ll need the extra maps. This package also retails at £399.99.
- Edge 800 GPS-enabled computer with cadence sensor, HRM and European MicroSD-City Navigator NT. The full package including the European City Navigator NT MicroSD. This package retails at £449.99.
- Finally, the Edge 800 GPS-enabled computer with cadence sensor, HRM and MicroSD-Discoverer 1:50 U.K. All that’s left is to decide which set of maps you’d like! As to be expected this retails at the same price as the other full package, £449.99.
The Edge 800 syncs wirelessly through ANT+ technology with the HR monitor and speed/cadence sensor. This technology also allows the unit to connect to compatible third-party power meters, providing a fantastic all-in-one solution.
The recent Garmin acquisition of MetriGear means that an official Garmin power meter is likely to be on the cards in the near future. MetriGear’s Vector, the power meter which will be used, is a pedal-based power solution that integrates MetriGear’s custom force and motion sensor platform into the spindles of bicycle pedals to measure a cyclist’s performance. It even enables the independent measurement of pedal force for each leg. All in all, when combined with the HR monitor, speed/cadence sensor and a power meter, the Edge 800 will be one of the most complete packages available on the market.