Hands-on with Garmin’s new Edge 810

We finally get to play with the newly updated Garmin Edge 810. And we're impressed

by David Arthur   January 18, 2013  

We reported a little while back on the newly released Edge 810 (and smaller 510). At the London Bike Show yesterday Garmin UK’s Simon Gilbert gave us a run through of the new features, and we had our first hands-on experience with the first update to the 800-series since it launched a couple of years ago.

In the hand the 810's dimensions and shape are identical to the current Edge 800, the power/start buttons are all in the same place. It’s when you start prodding at the screen that you realise what Garmin have been spending their time on - it is noticeably more responsive and navigating through the various menus is a smoother experience.

The screen is the same, with the same resolution as before, but the software has been totally revamped. As a result, and this is only based on 10 minutes with it, I found it more intuitive to move around the various menus and settings. Things look different from the off, you're now presented with a home screen that lets you choose your bike. This is feature that has been dragged up from the depths of the previous Edge 800 and turned into a top-level feature.  You can have up to ten bikes, so if you regularly swap your Garmin between a road, cross and/or mountain bike, you can separate training data for each bike.

To get going, it’s simply a matter of pressing Ride, choosing your bike, and off you go. It does mean a little bit of extra work to input details of the bike, but it’s obviously easier if you only have one or two bikes. Once it's done though, you're off. It allows you to keep individual mileage and achievements when I’m on different bikes. The data displayed can be customised for each bike, so power measuring on your road bike, navigation on your mountain bike, for example.

At the bottom of the home screen are three icons, a folder, map and setting, replacing the previous menu button. Pressing the folder button gets you into all the categories like course, workouts, activities, achievements and so on. The map icon takes you to the mapping and navigation screen, and the settings lets you fiddle with the guts of the device. It’s worth noting that while the resolution of the screen hasn’t been upgraded, the look of the menus feels similar to smartphone menus, and as such I felt right at home. The look is cleaner and I found it easier to move around the many screens of the Edge 810. I like it.

Of course the other big news is the 810’s Bluetooth connectivity to a new Garmin Connect app. It’s here that things get interesting, and in our demo I was impressed with how easily the Edge synched up with a smartphone. The app allows you to some some cool things that were previously impossible, and one of them will appeal to people who like to share their rides with friends on social networks. With the Edge 810 connected to the smartphone, the moment you finish a ride and hit finish, the data is automatically uploaded to Garmin Connect and shared via Facebook or Twitter. It’s entirely optional, you don’t have to share immediately if you don’t want to.

Other interesting things you can do is LiveTrack a ride. The app will send an email to a friend or partner, or you can share with Facebook and Twitter followers, and will let them see your position, updated every minute, on a map. We can see this appealing to many people, and particular charity riders - you could put a link to the LiveTracking map on your Just Giving page, as an example.

With the rise in the number of training apps that let you track and share rides through a smartphone, it’s very clearly a smart move by Garmin to tap into the popularity of sharing rides on social media networks with an app that cleverly still puts the Edge at the centre of the ride experience. The rugged design of the Edge 810 and its 17-hour battery life is still a huge appeal over using an app on an expensive and fragile smartphone, and their short battery life.

We’ve yet to get any ride time in with the new Edge 810, but one landed at the office while we were at the London Bike Show. So as soon as we’ve logged some miles with it we’ll report back with a proper real-world test. For now, we’re impressed. It’s not quite the big update many were expecting, and some may be surprised there’s been no update to the size of the device and the resolution of the screen, but the changes to the software, based on our short time with it, takes it a small leap forward.

The Edge 810 costs £379.99 and should be in shops within the next month.

www.garmin.com/uk

39 user comments

Latest 30 commentsNewest firstBest ratedAll

All I want is a 500 with the breadcrumb route tracing from the 305. Then I'd be happy.

pedalpowerDC's picture

posted by pedalpowerDC [250 posts]
18th January 2013 - 17:51

13 Likes

Nope. Strava they say:

Beware of Airplane mode on the iPhone...
The iPhone requires data to acquire a GPS location estimate. So if your phone is in airplane mode, GPS cannot start. It can CONTINUE to receive GPS updates when in airplane mode, but if the signal is lost (like when traveling through a tunnel) then airplane mode will prevent it from re-acquiring GPS. You should enable either cell data or wifi data whenever attempting to establish a GPS lock.

posted by hirsthirst [17 posts]
18th January 2013 - 17:54

10 Likes

...how does one delete a comment?

I was told there would be Cake. Luckily there's http://TestValleyCC.org.uk

KiwiMike's picture

posted by KiwiMike [618 posts]
18th January 2013 - 18:51

17 Likes

hirsthirst wrote:
Nope. Strava they say:

Beware of Airplane mode on the iPhone...
The iPhone requires data to acquire a GPS location estimate. So if your phone is in airplane mode, GPS cannot start. It can CONTINUE to receive GPS updates when in airplane mode, but if the signal is lost (like when traveling through a tunnel) then airplane mode will prevent it from re-acquiring GPS. You should enable either cell data or wifi data whenever attempting to establish a GPS lock.

This used to be an issue, but the new iPhones (since at least the 4S) are bloody quick at acquiring, data or no. In pseudo-airplane mode (i.e. no data - but can still receive calls) I've never lost GPS yet.

What the GPS is needing on startup is the Almanac info that tells it what satellites it should be able to see, narrowing what it searches for and radically speeding the time to first fix. This download can take up to 12 minutes to get from the satellites themselves if it doesn't have an internet connection. If it has an internet connection (3G or home WiFi) the fix time can be a few seconds, maybe 20 or so from totally 'cold' and 'stale'.

So for a long ride, if you don't already have a fix, fire up 3G or WiFi, get one, then turn data off. You'll be OK even if you loose GPS entirely for up to 3-6hrs, the Almanac data will still be valid allowing the A-GPS fast fix.

That would be one hell of a looooong tunnel to loose GPS this way Wink

I was told there would be Cake. Luckily there's http://TestValleyCC.org.uk

KiwiMike's picture

posted by KiwiMike [618 posts]
18th January 2013 - 18:53

15 Likes

I get the live sharing for charity, ego or spousal purposes. But if you criticise smartphones for poor battery life, how can you in the same review tout always-on internet connectivity as a bonus?

And who rides 17hrs anyway? My experience with Strava on an iPhone 5 is that by turning off WiFi and mobile data, the battery is at over 70% after 4+ hrs. You could (and I have) momentarily flick it back on to check email etc if you needed to without impacting this.

On my iPhone I have every OS map in the UK, courtesy of Viewranger. So iOS beats Garmin for nav hands-down, without spending £380 plus another fortune for on-board maps - £90 for Southern England & Wales, while Viewranger charges £60 for that, and you can choose to buy map-by-map in-app instead of waiting for a DVD or microSD card to arrive. And if you change phone or even OS it still works because the map licence is for you, not your device. Maps are much nicer on a larger, much higher-resolution screen too.

And what about if your 810 hasn't been used for a while? how long does it take to get a GPS fix if it's not connected to a smartphone? You could be waiting for a quarter-hour.

For the weight of the 810 I could carry a Powermonkey 3500mAh external bty that would charge the iPhone twice over, therefore negating any battery life issue in one go.

I like the 'choose a bike' thing, but £380? to replicate 9/10 of existing smartphone technology? really? Just can't see anything compelling to get me credit card out here...

...Oh, and at £380 it's about the same price as all these 'expensive and fragile' smartphones. Having dropped a number of iPhones a number of times, they aren't 'fragile' anymore - especially not in any one of a dozen quite cheap, weatherproof cases, many with extra battery capacity to boot. What I'd love Road.CC to do is an in-depth look at smartphone mounting options for roadbikes.

Good stuff, as always.

Mike

I was told there would be Cake. Luckily there's http://TestValleyCC.org.uk

KiwiMike's picture

posted by KiwiMike [618 posts]
18th January 2013 - 18:55

16 Likes

David Arthur wrote:
No it's not bentos

Bugger!
How do you know? I was hoping that some of these features would be in a software upgrade for my 800 Sad

posted by pwake [312 posts]
18th January 2013 - 19:28

16 Likes

KiwiMike wrote:
I get the live sharing for charity, ego or spousal purposes. But if you criticise smartphones for poor battery life, how can you in the same review tout always-on internet connectivity as a bonus?

because if your phone is in your pocket with the screen on and just data and low-power bluetooth switched on, the battery lasts all day. whereas if you attach it to your bars with the screen and GPS on too, mine lasts for about three and a half to four hours. some are better than others, but let's compare like with like: a bike gps screen is always on, it's sensibly mounted to your bars and the battery lasts for as long as your ride does. unless your ride is *really* long. who wants to ride for 17hrs? mostly not me. but the Dragon ride, for me, is 10...

you make some good points: phones *are* getting better and you *can* get a backup battery for a lot less; i carry one a lot of the time. it's a lot more difficult to mount a phone and a battery though. we've looked at some smartphone mounts over the years but it is probably time for a roundup, so we'll book that one in. Anyone got any favourites?

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7497 posts]
18th January 2013 - 19:42

16 Likes

Dave Atkinson wrote:

because if your phone is in your pocket with the screen on (assume you meant OFF here Dave) and just data and low-power bluetooth switched on, the battery lasts all day. whereas if you attach it to your bars with the screen and GPS on too, mine lasts for about three and a half to four hours.

Yes, a 4" OLED screen will eat battery. If I wanted stats and eternal life from a CR2032, a £20 Cateye will do you right. I see the 810 falling somewhere in between, but not being compelling either way. I regularly ride unknown roads. I can build a cycle-specific route in seconds on the laptop using Viewranger, and have it there to follow, along with warnings if I go astray, sync'd to my phone again in seconds. On the bike it can be set to be on all the time or off after a set period. Or you can just lock the screen after seeing what you need. That greatly extends bty life to the 8-9hr mode, as I've seen during adventure races. Again, for the £340 outlay I don't really see what extra I get over an app, or an app + bty pack. I fully accept that for some riders £340 is irrelevant and the marginal gains of the 810 justify it, and if you don't have a new smartphone it's kind of moot as you don't have the app alternative.

Garmin still haven't convinced me I need an 810, let alone I should weasel £340 out of the household budget to get one Wink. That said, I'm more than happy for them to lend me one to try out and compare against the app alternatives for cycling stats and nav.

I was told there would be Cake. Luckily there's http://TestValleyCC.org.uk

KiwiMike's picture

posted by KiwiMike [618 posts]
18th January 2013 - 20:03

18 Likes

the great thing for me about units like the 800 (i haven't actually tried the 810 yet) is that you don't have to fiddle with it on the ride or worry about the battery life and what your usage is, it's just there to look at when you want to. I've used various phones too, and they get in the way of the actual riding a lot more. that makes a difference to me, but i know other people who are perfectly happy with a phone. horses for courses, innit Wink

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7497 posts]
18th January 2013 - 20:18

14 Likes

KiwiMike wrote:
Dave Atkinson wrote:

because if your phone is in your pocket with the screen on (assume you meant OFF here Dave) and just data and low-power bluetooth switched on, the battery lasts all day. whereas if you attach it to your bars with the screen and GPS on too, mine lasts for about three and a half to four hours.

Yes, a 4" OLED screen will eat battery. If I wanted stats and eternal life from a CR2032, a £20 Cateye will do you right. I see the 810 falling somewhere in between, but not being compelling either way. I regularly ride unknown roads. I can build a cycle-specific route in seconds on the laptop using Viewranger, and have it there to follow, along with warnings if I go astray, sync'd to my phone again in seconds. On the bike it can be set to be on all the time or off after a set period. Or you can just lock the screen after seeing what you need. That greatly extends bty life to the 8-9hr mode, as I've seen during adventure races. Again, for the £340 outlay I don't really see what extra I get over an app, or an app + bty pack. I fully accept that for some riders £340 is irrelevant and the marginal gains of the 810 justify it, and if you don't have a new smartphone it's kind of moot as you don't have the app alternative.

Garmin still haven't convinced me I need an 810, let alone I should weasel £340 out of the household budget to get one Wink. That said, I'm more than happy for them to lend me one to try out and compare against the app alternatives for cycling stats and nav.

I think you've clearly established a Garmin isn't for you. And that's fair enough, they're not for everyone, many people manage to ride their bicycles just fine without.

Me? I have a Garmin and use it for most of my riding, road and mtb. I wouldn't dream of mounting my phone to the handlebars; the large size (I like how compact the Edge 500 is on the stem), battery life and risk of smashing it,just doesn't appeal to me. The Garmin is robust, I've dropped, drowned and sat on it and it's been fine.

I do carry a smartphone with my on all rides, but it's there just in case I need to make an emergency call. And so I don't want to drain my battery recording my ride and haven't nothing left if I need to make an emergency call

David Arthur's picture

posted by David Arthur [1749 posts]
18th January 2013 - 20:36

14 Likes

pwake wrote:
David Arthur wrote:
No it's not bentos

Bugger!
How do you know? I was hoping that some of these features would be in a software upgrade for my 800 Sad

I know because I asked the man from Garmin. He said no

David Arthur's picture

posted by David Arthur [1749 posts]
18th January 2013 - 20:36

17 Likes

RouleurTwo wrote:
Two big fails on the 810

2) Why no closer integration with Strava? - how cool would it be for the 810 to tell you you are at the start of a segment, then track your effort live against the leaderboard?
/quote]

As Dave said, it's not in their interest to promote a third party app really is it. They've got Garmin Connect

Now if Strava made a GPS device...

David Arthur's picture

posted by David Arthur [1749 posts]
18th January 2013 - 20:38

14 Likes

Can't quite see sufficient justification to upgrade fro my Edge 705 at that price - without maps!!!

posted by DAG on a bike [52 posts]
18th January 2013 - 21:19

15 Likes

David Arthur wrote:
pwake wrote:
David Arthur wrote:
No it's not bentos

Bugger!
How do you know? I was hoping that some of these features would be in a software upgrade for my 800 Sad

I know because I asked the man from Garmin. He said no


Should've asked the man from Del Monte... he say "yes" Smile

posted by pwake [312 posts]
18th January 2013 - 23:00

16 Likes

Dave Atkinson wrote:
incidentally, i've set up live tracking before now using opengeotracker on my phone so my wife can track me on long rides; she likes to know i'm okay. so it's not a gimmick for everyone. i'll be using it.

oh dave, tell me more! what is this? this is something i need to be honest. i ride a lot and my girlfriend doesnt have a clue where i am.

divulge please xx

posted by russyparkin [578 posts]
18th January 2013 - 23:33

18 Likes

Live tracking on iPhone - enable the Find Friends app. Ok it's live location rather than live tracking but for spousal peace of mind just as effective.

I waited for the 810 to be released then bought a new 800 for £240 when I saw how small the upgrades were. I've been using an iPhone with Cyclemeter for over a year, which is a brilliant combination. Mounted to the bike in a Wahoo case with their addon battery it works great, but a smartphone is a chunky piece of kit. When you understand the aero benefits of shaped frame tubes, concealed cables etc, do you really want a 6" x 4" sail mounted on your stem versus the Garmin on a K-Edge bracket mounted in line?

I echo Dave's point about still carrying the phone for emergencies, and now not having to worry about conserving enough battery to make an emergency call.

Also even the less than perfect Garmin screen should be more durable than the one on the Wahoo, and that one only works with gloves if you wet the end of your finger Big Grin

PS even though I've done a rubbish sales pitch, if the iPhone route is for you my Wahoo case and battery is for sale on that auction site! Wink

posted by mbrads72 [138 posts]
19th January 2013 - 7:51

18 Likes

The best thing about using a Garmin rather than a phone is, a Garmin isn't a phone. I love being uncontactable when on my bike. I sometimes ride with a guy who takes his phone with him. He stops and answers whenever it rings. We don't ride together much any more.

posted by andyp [1063 posts]
19th January 2013 - 7:59

18 Likes

Only sensible to take a phone in case of emergency.
Cant fathom why they haven't increased the screen resolution, its very very poor compared to ANY smartphone on the market. It would make the maps easy to read and allow the screen to actually show place names and road names, as it is its ok as a navigation device, but when lost and trying to use it to fathom where you are, its pretty useless as the resolution allows for only minimal map detail.
Poor show Garmin after so long in the waiting. Wouldn't upgrade my 800 for this.

posted by pmr [175 posts]
19th January 2013 - 9:49

16 Likes

russyparkin wrote:
Dave Atkinson wrote:
incidentally, i've set up live tracking before now using opengeotracker on my phone so my wife can track me on long rides; she likes to know i'm okay. so it's not a gimmick for everyone. i'll be using it.

oh dave, tell me more! what is this? this is something i need to be honest. i ride a lot and my girlfriend doesnt have a clue where i am.

divulge please xx

more deets at http://opengeotracker.org/

it's a very basic android app linked to an equally basic website. works pretty well though.

viewranger does buddybeacon, which is the same thing but a bit slicker.

there's various other options too

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7497 posts]
19th January 2013 - 10:52

14 Likes

The Screen on my Edge 800 I find to be perfectly adequate - ie I can see the few large numerals I have setup and when switched to the map (City Navigator) the roads are legible. I stopped using OS mapping as I found the the maps were too detailed for me when actually riding - I like to keep my eyes on the road Smile

Touch wise it works really well with gloves or not, couldn't ask for more really.

I tend to leave the backlighting on all the time, at the lowest setting, this helps with being able to see the screen a lot in poor light, especially in winter!

Now I'd update to the Edge 810 if it played well with Strava, but as it doesn't, there is no point for me. Strava, with it's competitive segments and large community is where the action is for me. Locally to me all the roadies use it exclusively. So I'll wait and see if the Strava app will be updated to communicate with the 810. All I'd need it to be able to do really is upload my ride immediately after it's finished, without having to get to a desktop (or laptop) PC.

I personally can't see the attraction of Garmin's version of live tracking as there are so many smartphone apps out there that do this already, including ones that will track lots of people at once, ie for group rides.

I have zero interest in registering myself on the Garmin Connect website - does anyone use it? No-one I know does!

Where there is room for improvement I guess is 2 way communication between phone and GPS. Eg sending text alerts to the GPS screen, or other riders position appearing on the GPS screen. This kind of thing would depend on Garmin, so I wouldn't hold your breath!

But like someone else said, if you use a GPS, the phone can be off or on standby to save battery for when it's really needed.

I ride to get away from too much complexity in my day to day life. I like to keep things relatively simple on the bike, so this kind of development doesn't really excite me too much Wink

Keith57's picture

posted by Keith57 [3 posts]
19th January 2013 - 15:40

10 Likes

russyparkin wrote:
Dave Atkinson wrote:
incidentally, i've set up live tracking before now using opengeotracker on my phone so my wife can track me on long rides; she likes to know i'm okay. so it's not a gimmick for everyone. i'll be using it.

oh dave, tell me more! what is this? this is something i need to be honest. i ride a lot and my girlfriend doesnt have a clue where i am.

divulge please xx

Glympse is one of the best out there at the moment. All that's needed at the other end (the person looking out for you) is a web browser. You send a text or email (or Tweet if you want the whole world to know where you are), all optional, which contains a link to the web page showing your position. The 'Glympse' you send is set to time out after a fixed period you decide on so it's not left on indefinitely.

I often send a Glympse to the wife when I'm an hour or so way from home on the bike so she can watch my progress and have a cup of tea ready at the right time!

http://www.glympse.com

Keith57's picture

posted by Keith57 [3 posts]
19th January 2013 - 15:51

11 Likes

I'll stick to my Garmin 500 fro GPS data and smart phone in back pocket for emergency calls...

The_Kaner
FREEEEEEEEDOM!

The _Kaner's picture

posted by The _Kaner [494 posts]
19th January 2013 - 18:04

14 Likes

GPS, of itself, will work fine in aeroplane mode in Android. There is no dependency on having a data connection in the system.

Though, that's not to say applications that use the GPS might want data before working - but that's nowt to do with the GPS.

posted by Paul J [675 posts]
20th January 2013 - 8:17

17 Likes

'Only sensible to take a phone in case of emergency.'
The only places I'd be likely to be in an emergency when on a ride in the UK are the sort of places which don't have mobile reception.

posted by andyp [1063 posts]
20th January 2013 - 9:25

16 Likes

Keith57 wrote:
russyparkin wrote:
Dave Atkinson wrote:
incidentally, i've set up live tracking before now using opengeotracker on my phone so my wife can track me on long rides; she likes to know i'm okay. so it's not a gimmick for everyone. i'll be using it.

oh dave, tell me more! what is this? this is something i need to be honest. i ride a lot and my girlfriend doesnt have a clue where i am.

divulge please xx

Glympse is one of the best out there at the moment. All that's needed at the other end (the person looking out for you) is a web browser. You send a text or email (or Tweet if you want the whole world to know where you are), all optional, which contains a link to the web page showing your position. The 'Glympse' you send is set to time out after a fixed period you decide on so it's not left on indefinitely.

I often send a Glympse to the wife when I'm an hour or so way from home on the bike so she can watch my progress and have a cup of tea ready at the right time!

http://www.glympse.com

I use google latitude, it updates your position only when you move significantly so saves on battery life. You can see it on the web or even add a 'widget' to your blog or charity ride website (in my case). It runs in the background on my iphone and dosnt noticeably affect battery life.

STATO's picture

posted by STATO [423 posts]
20th January 2013 - 15:38

13 Likes

@pedalpowerdc .... the 500 already can" bread crumb" route follow!!

still on the 3rd switch-back of Bwlch !

posted by therevokid [765 posts]
20th January 2013 - 20:23

17 Likes

Buggy according to Garmin Forums, anyone bought one that can challenge these assertions?

https://forums.garmin.com/showthread.php?33786-Bugs

dodgy's picture

posted by dodgy [135 posts]
22nd January 2013 - 10:30

15 Likes

dodgy wrote:
Buggy according to Garmin Forums, anyone bought one that can challenge these assertions?

https://forums.garmin.com/showthread.php?33786-Bugs

Dave is testing one at the moment so he'll let you know how he gets on

David Arthur's picture

posted by David Arthur [1749 posts]
22nd January 2013 - 12:59

15 Likes

Having crashed last summer and breaking my wrist in the back end of no where I can 100% say use your smartphone for making calls and thats it! - turn it off when your riding to save the battery.

I was in the cotswolds (hardly that remote) and yet it took several one handed phone calls to let the ambulance know where I was...without sufficient battery...well I don't wanna consider that one...I was in a lot of pain and believe me the quicker you can get relief the better..

I use a Garmin 500 and its not bad...bit fiddly & sometimes take an age to get a GPS signal.

posted by NeilXDavis [113 posts]
22nd January 2013 - 14:21

17 Likes

Just ordered the 800 with another speed/cadence sensor and the HR strap. I looked hard at whether the 810 additions would have really made much difference but Latitude works well and my trouble 'n strife is the only person I need to know I'm ok when I'm out and about.

Moved to a new town not that long ago and there are a lot of roads I don't know around here - the ability to always get home is going to be a welcome one.

davecochrane's picture

posted by davecochrane [105 posts]
14th May 2013 - 21:01

22 Likes