Garmin Edge 810 – first look

Garmin unveiled the Edge 810 and Edge 510 GPS computers last month and we’ve just had the top-of-the-range 810 land on the RoadCyclingUK desk for review.

While the Edge 810’s physical unit is virtually identical to the Edge 800, there have been some updates under the bonnet.

The Garmin Edge 810 has had a significant update under the bonnet

Garmin have added bluetooth connectivity to the Edge 810, alongside the existing ANT+ protocol, which means it can be linked to your smartphone. That brings with it a number of benefits, including live tracking, live weather updates, on-the-move ride analysis using your smartphone and the ability to wirelessly upload your ride to Garmin Connect without plugging the unit in to a computer, although some users would have perhaps wanted the Edge 810 to offer the same level of connectivity with third party software like Strava

Most interesting are the live tracking and live weather features.You can send a link to friends and family which allows them to track your progress, be it to make sure you’re safe on a solo ride or to follow your progress on a big sportive. It sounds like a neat feature on the face of it, and Garmin put together this video showing Jonathan Vaughters tracking his Garmin-Sharp riders’ training, but how useful it is in real life terms is to be seen. As for live weather, you can pull in real-time forecasts and warnings when your Edge 810 is paired with the Garmin Connect smartphone app. Again, we’re looking forward to trying this out on the road.

The Edge 810’s other big upgrade is user interface. First, it worth mentioning the Edge 810’s touch screen is the same as that of its predecessor – same size, same resolution – and we would have expected a higher resolution on the new device. Garmin have worked, however, to improve the usability of the Edge 810.

The Edge 810 is virtually identical in appearance to the Edge 800

As a result Garmin claim the user interface is more intuitive and, out of the box at least, it’s dead simple to setup. Most interesting is the ability to create profiles for ten bikes and five categories (e.g. training, racing, cyclo-cross, mountain biking etc), which in turn allows you to pre-define what data is displayed on the five customisable data screens for each ride. We’ll be getting to grips with that, and the rest of the Edge 810’s features, through the course of our test.

Like the existing Edge 500 and Edge 800 computers, there’s little difference between the Edge 510 and Edge 810, other than the more expensive unit’s ability to offer mapping and navigation. However, the level of mapping you get depends on the bundle you buy.

The cheapest Edge 810 package at £379.99 only comes with very basic mapping, as does the performance bundle, although you also get an out front bike mount, heart rate monitor and speed/cadence sensor for £429.99. The all-singing performance and navigation bundle comes with an out front bike mount, heart rate monitor and speed/cadence sensor, as well as upgraded mapping for Europe, for £479. If you buy the basic package you can upgrade to better mapping at a later date and use it with your own ANT+ compatible heart rate monitor and speed/cadence sensor.

The out front mount puts the Garmin in an ideal position in front of the handlebar/stem

We’ve been sent the Edge 810 pre-loaded with upgraded European mapping and in the box you also get an instruction manual, mains charger, USB cable and two tool-free mounts with two different size o-rings to use depending on how fat your handlebar or stem is.

Garmin have also sent us an an out front mount. These have becoming increasingly popular over the past year or so, with SRAM among others producing versions of their own, with the idea that it places the Garmin in an ideal position in front of the handlebar/stem, although it requires a 2mm allen key to switch the out front mount between bikes.

Third party smartphone apps which track your progress and, in some cases at least, provide navigation are becoming increasingly sophisticated but dedicated GPS units offer a level of usability which is difficult to beat, as well as improved weatherproofing (Garmin say the Edge 810 is fully waterproof) and up to 17 hours of battery life in case of the Edge 810.

With that in mind we’re looking forward to hitting the road with the Edge 810 to try out its upgraded features and to find out whether it has enough about it to represent a worthwhile upgrade for Edge 800 owners.

You can read the full review of the Garmin Edge 810 here. 

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