Garmin Edge 705 GPS computer review
- £359.95 (including European road map); GSC10 speed/cadence sensor £41.99
Garmin’s latest bike-specific GPS unit – the Edge 605/705 – combines all the training facilities from its previous 205/305 devices and adds all the navigational and mapping features from the more outdoor-oriented GPS receivers.
The Edge 705, tested here, is the top-of-the-line unit. It is marginally bigger than the Edge 305 in order to accommodate the new 1.4″ x 1.7″ colour screen, which is needed for a decent view of the map, the one feature that was firmly lacking from the 305. The maps are stored on a MicroSD card that slots into the base of the unit – cards pre-loaded with various maps covering most of the world available.
On the outside, the unit is still small enough to sit unobtrusively on your handlebar or stem, mounted via a simple bracket and two zip ties. New too is the small joystick at the bottom of the screen, which makes moving through the option menus and around the map a doddle, even when on the move and with gloves on. The on/off button is located on the top left side, with a menu and pair of zoom buttons on the opposite side, and a new lap and start/stop buttons either side the joystick. Construction and build quality is second to none with knocks shrugged off admirably, and it’s even water resistant – a good job too with the summer we’ve had.
The 705 comes with an HRM, and you can add a wireless wheel speed/cadence sensor. It’ll communicate with third-party ANT+Sport-enabled power meters, to you can track your power output in watts, good for those who take their training very seriously. Battery life is improved on the 305, with Garmin claiming 15 hours on a full charge, and in use that’s a fairly realistic figure.
You get two bike mounts in the box, which allow attachment to the handlebars or stem via zip ties, the latter has seemed preferable in our testing as its size is well supported on the stem. Optional speed and cadence sensors also zip tie to the frame, and it’s an easy step to get the Edge communicating with them.
The actual GPS functioning is superb, quickly locking onto the satellites the moment it powers up and never losing connection during a ride. The routing capability is quite impressive: simply tell it where you want to go and turn-by-turn instructions will pop up along the route. While this method works well, using the Courses facility seems preferable and more flexible, with a route pre-planned and the file downloaded to the Edge you can race against a Virtual Rider. You can even transfer data between two 705 units wirelessly, opening up the opportunity to share routes with friends.
Once your ride is over, all the data, including the route in all its detail, with speed, distance, average speed, cadence, heart rate and more can be downloaded the supplied Training Centre software, which acts as a useful training log. Notes can be added to each ride. The Training Centre software doesn’t show you your rides on a worthwhile map, but Garmin’s Motion Based website uses Google Maps which is infinitely more useful.
There’s a dizzying amount of potential with the Edge 705 and unlocking some of it can take some time when starting out, but there’s a wealth of opportunities for both the casual/touring cyclist hoping to explore new areas and the serious athlete interested in tracking and monitoring every aspect of a workout. Add in support for power metering, and you’ve got a very serious bit of kit.