Garmin Edge 820 GPS bike computer

The Garmin Edge 820 combines the functionality of the 1000 with the size of the 520

Sitting just below the now ageing 1000 flagship head unit, the Garmin Edge 820 is about as feature-laden as it gets and is Garmin’s most up-to-date, data-driven, route-mapping marvel.

What it is first and foremost, is a tidy-up of the previous 810, boasting a far superior screen, much quicker performance, internals that include a WiFi chip that allows direct uploading to Garmin Connect, and all the usual refinements including ANT+ support for power meter metrics, heart rate monitors, electronic shifting units, the Garmin Varia light system, and so on.

To be honest, there isn’t much this little unit can’t do – and it is little, now weighing a featherweight 67.7g in the body of the excellent 520. There’s mapping and navigation, the huge range of customisable data fields that previous Garmin units made indispensable, and on top of everything the 820 showcases Garmin’s new Connect IQ system, which allows you to add apps to your device.

We like it because it currently has an app that measures how many beers your ride is worth in terms of energy output (who doesn’t want to know that kind of information?) with others available and many more on the way. Choose the ones you want to customise your Garmin experience, and away you go.

RCUK 100 2017 - Garmin Edge 820 GPS computer

There are other new features built-in too. The 820 will display graphical representations of your pedalling efficiency if you use the company’s own Vector power meter pedal system, display key performance data like your FTP and estimated VO2max and even throw up a recovery time advisor so you can make sure you’re getting at least some of the rest you need to be at your best for your next ride.

We’re also big fans of the new GroupTrack system Garmin have developed for its latest and upcoming Edge units, of which the 820 is certainly one. With it you can have a live view of where your other Garmin-using riders are on the detailed European maps, meaning that if you drop someone, make a wrong turning or want to reel in a breakaway artist wannabe, you can easily find them and track your progress accordingly. Time-checks are so last week.

RCUK 100 2017 - Garmin Edge 820 GPS computer
RCUK 100 2017 - Garmin Edge 820 GPS computer

Garmin Edge 820

The interface improvements over the 810 are stark. Leaving the features aside, the screen is a huge step up over previous generations, and matches the detail the 1000 unit offers, just without the beefed up screen size at 2.3” diagonally. It’s clear, offers great colour saturation and allows you to display up to ten fields with super clarity at any one time.

And, the touchscreen is much more responsive – a boon when previous units could occasionally get laden down with multiple inputs as impatient cyclists try to quickly upload routes and get going.

The improved screen also makes the most of the most of the installed maps, which are clear and easy to read – with the added bonus of points of interest also pre-loaded. This includes pubs, for which we remain very grateful to Garmin for. In fact, the irony is that we could conceivably end up spending more time propping up the bar either mid or post-ride, than we would actually spend riding. Still, at least we can trust it to get us home.

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Selected for The RCUK 100 2017

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