Garmin Edge 25 GPS bike computer - review

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Garmin Edge 25 computer – review

Tiny but feature-packed GPS computer ideal for riders who don't need the last word in data

The Garmin Edge 25 is a tiny computer which still packs a punch when it comes to features, making it a great option for riders who don’t need the last word in data readouts.

Lets start with the basics: this is a very small unit. No really, it is. Coming in at about the same size as a 50p piece, and weighing just 30g, it’s hard to imagine how a bike computer could be lighter or smaller than this, yet remain so usable. It uses the same quarter-turn mount as every other current Garmin computer – if you’re not familiar then it’s very simple to use and provides a solid grip.

Interface

The interface uses buttons like the other relatively new unit to the stable, the mid-range Edge 520, instead of the touchscreen format of the top-of-the-range Edge 1000, which serves to speed up the software without detracting from ease of use. It’s intuitive, allowing quick scrolling to functions such as ride, history and device pairing –  so intuitive, in fact, that after a couple of rides even the most phobic of technophobes will be at home with the system.

The Garmin Edge 25 is a new addition to the range, sitting just about the entry-level Edge 20

Data

The unit works like any other modern Edge unit, using GPS (and, making it quicker to find a signal, GLONASS) satellites to track rides and record distance, time, average speed, elevation, total climbing and estimated calorie counts, on a screen which can display three fields of data at a time.

The computer is ANT+ compatible (the main difference between it and the entry-level Edge 20) so can be paired with a heart rate monitor and speed/cadence sensor. That will give you plenty more data and enough to happily fill most people’s needs on ride tracking and analysis platforms like Strava, while the unit itself can display a page with your heart rate and heart rate zones, if you have these set on Garmin Connect.

The 25 also features LiveTrack too, if you like to let people know where you are in real time while out and about, and, because the unit is Bluetooth-enabled, it can also display call and test notifications, and you can hook it up to live segments on Garmin Connect – but, unlike the Edge 510 and 1000, there’s currently no compatibility with Strava live segments.

Other than that, the only major thing the unit doesn’t display is power – which for most general club riders I imagine won’t be an issue. Besides, if power is your thing, the chances are that you’ll be wanting a unit that can display that data alongside other more complex metrics at the same time, meaning that the Edge 25 isn’t going to suit your needs due to the lack of screen real estate anyway, and it’s time to look further up the range for a bigger screen and more complex data fields. The appeal of the Edge 25 is in its simplicity – it won’t overwhelm you with data, but it’s capable of measuring and displaying enough metrics for everyday riding and general training.

The crisp screen can display three data fields at a time

Uploading and charging

Uploading is easy, via a proprietary (and new-style) clip-on USB cable connection. It’s secure, and I daresay probably more reliable than the usual fair seen on other larger Edge units thanks to being clipped onto the unit, rather then slotted in.

  • Specification

  • Price: £139.99 (device only), £169.99 (HRM bundle)
  • Weight: 30g
  • Size: 4 x 4.2 x 1.7cm
  • Website: Garmin
  • UK distributor: Madison

However, it relies on you having the cable with you if you want to charge, whereas in the past it was most people would have had more than a couple of micro USB cables lying around, seeing as they come with just about every electronic device these days. That’s a bit of a pain, as it’s always useful to be able to charge something in multiple locations. If you want to buy a second charging cable, or you lose the original, it’ll cost you £19.99.

Garmin have also done away with any sort of cover for the contact points, indicating a confidence and sturdy construction in that area to compensate, and we haven’t had any problems to date.

The Edge 25 uses a new charging cradle – it provides a secure connection but the proprietary cable limits charging opportunities

Screen

While in use, the display can be held on static, as default showing time of day, speed and distance (as well as a battery indicator), or scrolling through the various pages of data to give you an overall view of your ride. The fields are customisable, so if you don’t like the scrolling action you can choose what you’re most interested in – within the three-field limit, as there’s only space for three lines of data – and stick with that. It’s clean, crisp, and efficient if you want simple ride data at a glance, even if you can’t adjust the settings while actually riding.

That crispness is helped by the quality of the screen. While simply black and white, the pixel count is high, offering great clarity, and the blue-white backlight works a treat when popped on by pressing the on/off button briefly. You can also set it to stay on, useful if you ride regularly in the dark, whether it be on the commute or more adventurous rides.

Naturally, leaving the light does affect the battery life, but you’ll get an solid eight hours with normal use and the backlight on a timeout. We reckon that’s enough for the majority of cyclists, including most looking to do a particularly long sportive with it. It’s well protected against adverse weather conditions, too, with an IPX7 waterproof rating and excellent build quality.

Navigation

One feature which may surprise is that the Edge 25 still offers navigation. It works similar to the Edge 510 and 520, but with a significantly smaller screen size, and there’s lack of an obvious zoom feature, and allows the user to follow a breadcrumb trail, while also offering turn notifications. It works well enough if you want to check you’re still on the route you’d planned, but it’s basic and ultimately the Edge 25 isn’t designed for navigation. If that’s a priority, you should look elsewhere in the Garmin range.

Courses can only be uploaded from Garmin Connect, which is frustrating for users of Strava or other platforms

Also, unlike other Garmin computers, the Edge 25, relies on using .FIT files from the Garmin Connect system if you want to upload a course. As a Strava and RideWithGPS user, this was a little frustrating as I couldn’t drag and drop a navigation file into the unit. If you use the Garmin system it works absolutely fine, but the lack of support for other route builders makes it harder work than it should be if you’re not a Connect user.

Conclusion

If you’re not fussed by power and you want a compact, light and simple unit, with a small but crisp screen still capable of displaying enough data for everyday riding and general training, the Edge 25 will be right up your street.

Pros

– Tiny, lightweight unit
– Easy-to-use interface
– Crisp screen
– Covers all the basics, and then some

Cons

– No power recording
– Reliant on Garmin Connect .FIT files for course uploads

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