The Edge 200 is Garmin’s new entry-level computer – and we were given the chance to go for a spin to take a look at the product that aims to open GPS up to a wider market.
The Garmin Edge 800 and 500 are feature-packed GPS computers that have been readily adopted by cyclists. But they’re pretty expensive. The new Edge 200 strips away the navigational functions of those units, as well as the ability to synch with heart rate or cadence sensors, and trades them in for a less-is-more approach. It will track your speed, distance, calories burned – the really important ride data – and let you download and share your ride through Garmin Connect.
That means Garmin can offer the Edge 200 for just £129.99. It’s much easier to use, as we found when we rode with one extensively, making it ideal for those new to GPS or just people who don’t need all the functions of the more expensive Edge computers.
It really is simply a case of taking the Edge 200 out of the box, fitting it to your handlebar with the simple twist-lock mount, pressing the power button and starting your ride. You’ll also be able to keep riding for ages before the battery runs flat too, with Garmin claiming an impressive 14-hour battery life.
We’ve been fans of GPS and its benefits for a long time, so we were super-keen to check out the Edge 200. At a ride organised by Garmin, we got the chance to do just that, and see first hand how the new product performs. A couple of hours riding around the beautiful New Forest trying to keep up with the Garmin-Cervelo team saw us finish in a bit of a state, but more importantly was some valuable time spent using the Edge 200.
With the Edge 200 installed on our bike, it’s simply a case of firing it up after which it instantly locks onto the necessary satellites to pinpoint our location. We’re off.
Existing Garmin users will notice a start screen menu that’s very different to other models. Keeping simplicity central to the Edge 200′s appeal, the designers have opted for a clean and simple layout. You’re presented with just four panels: Ride, Course, History and Settings. Four buttons on the side of the case make for easier navigation through these menus. It’s really that easy. Even people who have never used any other Garmin products were quickly at home with the menu navigation.
Hit the Ride option and you can get underway. The display changes to show, in a large and clear typeface, vital information like current speed and time. There’s much less information displayed than on the Edge 500, just four lines of data. Customisation is limited, but the lower field can be toggled between average speed, ascent and calories burned. It aims to display just the vital info you need when riding, and no more. It does that brilliantly.
We found the screen clear and easy to see when you’re travelling along at speed, and it’s easy to cycle through the different modes even when riding and with gloves on. And once your ride is complete, the 200 can be hooked up to your computer and uploaded to Garmin Connect – essentially an online training diary – as seamlessly as previous Garmin’s.
Though there’s no navigational function, you can still use the Connect website to download a course to the unit, whether one you’ve ridden before or from the huge database of shared routes, and compare your pace and speed with that. A digital cyclist shows your speed relative to your past performance, along with an indication of how far ahead or behind you are, useful stuff and something we like for solo rides.
It’s a shame some of the most useful features of the other Garmin models have been lost in making the Edge 200 more affordable, but the upside is the sheer simplicity. We didn’t even need to refer to a manual and we were away without any hick ups. It’s easy to see who Garmin is aiming the Edge 200 at, not just new cyclists but also experienced people who don’t want the extra baggage that comes with the 500 and 800, which unless you make use of, only serves to hike up the price.
For riders who want a computer that just records their ride with the accuracy and the sharing capability of the Garmin, and without the setup faff of other computers, the Edge 200 is a sure-fire hit. Some may miss the navigational element, but for everyone else the 200 does all you ever need.
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