Garmin have added the Edge Explore 1000 to their ever-expanding GPS bike computer range, with their newest model built for touring and adventure riding in mind. Exploring, then.
The Edge Explore 1000 is based on the existing Edge 1000, Garmin’s flagship model and a unit launched last year. It’s essentially a pared-down version of the Edge 1000, removing a handful of features, such as Strava Live segments, activity profiles, training calendar, Di2 integration, and the ability to control a turbo trainer through ANT+, and adds one or two, like ‘incident detection’. It’s not dissimilar to the Edge Touring, as that was essentially launched as a stripped back version of the old Edge 810.
As for the Edge Explore 1000’s ‘incident detection’ software – what’s that? Basically, the Edge Explore 1000 uses an integrated accelerometer to manually or automatically send a cyclist’s location (in the form of a map) to emergency contacts in the event of an accident. You’ll need a smartphone with you, and that smartphone will need to be paired with the unit via the Garmin Connect app. Before alerting your emergency contacts, the app gives you a 30-second countdown in order to dismiss the alert. How sensitive the accelerometer is – and whether it will trigger appropriately in the event of a crash, or perhaps be a little over-zealous – we don’t know until we’ve had a go (hands up who’s testing that one?), but, on paper, it’s a potentially clever feature. The Edge Explore 1000 is also compatible with Garmin’s range of Varia accessories (‘smart lights’ and ‘rearview radar’) – another nod to safety.
Like the Edge 1000, when paired with a compatible Bluetooth device and the Garmin Connect app, the Edge Explore 1000 also offers live tracking, incoming call and text alerts, social media sharing, weather, wireless uploads and the ability to send/receive courses.
Otherwise, the new unit comes with pre-loaded, cycling-specific maps, and users can discover new routes by selecting a starting distance and direction, on device, and choosing from three possible courses.
As well as being Bluetooth-ready, the Edge Explore 1000’s ANT+ connectivity also means, as with other Garmin Edge computers, it can be used in conjunction with power meters, heart rate monitors, speed and cadence sensors, and so on. Battery life is up to a claimed 15 hours, while, like the Edge 1000, the unit can pick up a signal via either GPS or GLONASS, which should make for a speedy connection.
Aesthetically, the Edge Explore 1000 looks very similar, if not identical, to the Edge 1000 and size-wise it is the same, with the unit measuring 2.3” × 4.4” × 0.8” and the touchscreen 1.5” × 2.6” (or 3″ diagonally).
Garmin say the Edge Explore 1000 will be available from Q3 2015 (some time soon, then) and the suggested retail price is £349.99, so only a little cheaper than the fully-fledged Edge 1000.
Finally, it’s worth pointing out that the Edge Explore 1000 is far from the only computer that Garmin have launched this year, and it follows the Edge 520 (an update of the Edge 510) and the tiny Edge 20 and Edge 25 computers. Whether that expanded choice gives you the chance to pick your perfect device, or just makes things confusing, is another matter.