MTB riding in France, Italy, Slovenia and the Swiss Alps.
The Garmin Edge 810 is a cycling GPS with built in mapping navigation that aims to build upon the previous edition of the unit, the Edge 800 and 705. I have been testing the unit for a while now, and have a pretty good grasp on how well it works and how the new features and functionality pan out. Is it worth €379? And are the new features enough to make you want to upgrade? The answer might surprise you…
During the last 5 years I have been a Garmin Edge 705 user and logged all my rides on Garmin Connect. I am not new to Garmin and may look at the device with different eyes than someone who will be a first time user. Having used a bike GPS for half a decade, usage can be categorized; recording rides, trail searching and discovering new areas to ride and guidance, following a loaded course or track.
The Garmin Edge 810 is a cycling GPS and while it works for all kinds of cycling you will get most out of it when you are a road biker. The 810 in this review has been tested mostly while mountain biking and does and excellent job doing so. While using the 810 you notice its features are designed and step up to support road biking and training.
Why should you consider the Garmin Edge 810
The most important feature of the Garmin Edge is its visual map and its ability to route the cyclist similar to a car navigation system. Are you considering a GPS just for recording your rides and tracking your exercises, or you don’t require visual map guidance but just require the GPS to follow a GPS track then the Edge 810 may well be overkill for you.
As the visual map is the most important feature and you consider riding in areas where the map is going to assist you in finding your way around then the Edge 810 is going to be a welcome help during your rides. When riding in either areas or countries where you are unfamiliar with the riding possibilities moreover if you are in an foreign place the map and guidance feature will help you finding your way around and can turn what could be turn an endless staring at a map exercise into an epic ride.
With the Edge 810 and its most import feature, a visual map come a big BUT….the map. The Edge 810 comes standard with a base map that shows you only the base, which will not allow you to navigate accurately. More detailed topographic maps are required for precise navigation, especially for those users that would like to go off-road or are interested to ride the little backcountry roads. Those topographic maps are available through Garmin however depending of the countries and areas that you want ride can be quiet expensive. Keep mind that this is an additional cost on top of the cost of the cycling GPS.
Free maps are available on OpenStreetMap and can be obtain for most areas in the world. The OpenStreet maps are built by volunteering contributors and so the quality can differ from area to area.
Operating the device
Anyone that is familiar with modern devices such as smart phones and modern computers will not have an issue operating the Garmin Edge 810. The Garmin has a touch screen that also works if you are using full finger biking gloves. However normal press buttons would have had my preference, as gloves do not give you the same feel as fingers and can be dirty especially when mountain biking which will make it difficult to operated the device.
Setting up the Garmin Edge 810 and loading maps, course and downloading your rides onto Garmin Connect is fairly easy.
The Garmin Edge 810 can be connected with you Smartphone using Bluetooth. This allows for the Garmin Edge 810 to retrieve and send information on the go. The feature is in my eyes an attempt from Garmin to compete with some of the GPS apps that can turn Smart phones into a similar device. The Bluetooth does not add to the value packages as the additional features minimal if not useless.
When should you consider the Edge 810
- When you are a fanatic and frequent cyclist that like to track progress and have a device that can assist you during training
- When your are comfortable modern technology and are willing to invest a little time to make yourself comfortable with the GPS so you can benefits from all its features.
- Most importantly when you like to explore or do cycling trips outside your normal riding area. Using the GPS while guiding you in an unknown riding area.
- Easy to find your way in unknown riding area
- Excellent GPS for training and road biking
- Will be with you for many years and allows you to record all riding statistics.
- Comes only with base map. Additional topographic maps need to be added which adds additional cost
- Minimal improvement over previous Garmin Edge 705
- Screen size, quality and brightness
- GPS mount is does not provide enough security