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Secret new tech! Garmin set to release solar-powered Edge 540 and 840 bike computers

Has online retailer accidentally revealed next-generation Garmin Edge computers featuring trickledown tech for improved battery life?

Garmin will soon release updates to its popular Edge 530 and 830 bike computers with the new Edge 540 and 840 coming in both standard rechargeable and solar-powered versions. This information was first published on US electronics retail site Adorama and shared on Weight Weenies. The Adorama listings have since been deleted, presumably because they were announced prematurely.

It’s currently only the top-level Garmin Edge 1040 that’s available in a Solar version, priced at £629.99  compared with £519.99 for the non-Solar model

2023 Garmin Edge 540 - 3

When we reviewed the Garmin Edge 1040 Solar here on road.cc we described it as “expensive and big, but easy to use, hugely customisable and the best battery life available – an excellent computer”.

It charges as you’re using it or you can just leave it in direct sunlight when not in use and it will charge too, whether it is turned on or off.

As it’s charging while you ride, the computer uses very little battery power when you’re out and about. Garmin claims a 45-hour run-time on standard mode or 100 hours if you use it in battery-saver mode. 

> Check out the best cycling computers 2023 — on-bike devices for navigation, ride data and training features 

The only real downside is the price, and that’s where the Edge 540 and Edge 840 come in. The non-solar-powered Garmin Edge 540 was listed at $349.99 (around £285) on Adorama while the Edge 540 Solar was $449.99 (around £367).

The non-solar-powered Garmin Edge 840 was given as $449.99 (around £367) and the Edge 840 Solar was $549.99 (around £448). If these prices are correct (Garmin has yet to confirm them and a straight US dollar to GB pound conversion is unlikely anyway) each of these models represents a significant outlay but they’re considerably less expensive than the Garmin Edge 1040 Solar.

Garmin launched the Edge 530 and Edge 830 together nearly four years ago, so they’re both due an update.

> Garmin launch Edge 530 and 830 GPS units 

What can we expect? The Adorama listing included some details on the new Garmin Edge 840 Solar. The battery life was given as 26-32 hours with solar charging and in direct sunlight), or 42-60 hours in battery-saver mode. Solar power is said to add “up to 25 minutes per hour in battery saver mode”.

It also looks like there will be an update to Garmin’s ClimbPro feature

2023 Garmin Edge 540 - 2

Garmin says, “[You can] see remaining ascent and grade when climbing so you can gauge your effort with the ClimbPro ascent planner, now available on every ride – no course required; view on your Edge device and in the Garmin Connect app on your smartphone for ride planning.”

The new models will offer the Power Guide and Stamina (“so you know how much gas is left in the tank”) features from the Edge 1040.

> Which GPS cycle computer is best for climbing? Garmin v Hammerhead v Bryton 

2023 Garmin Edge 540 - 4

The existing Garmin Edge 530 and Edge 830 offer similar features to one another but the 530 uses pushbuttons while the 830 is touchscreen. It looks like the Edge 540 and the Edge 840 will differ in the same way. It’s the Edge 540 that’s pictured here.

> Check out off.road.cc's review of the existing Garmin Edge 530 

When will the Garmin Edge 540 and the Garmin Edge 840 be released? We can’t tell you that, although the fact that listings are apparently ready on consumer-facing websites suggests an imminent launch.

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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19 comments

Avatar
Off the back | 1 year ago
1 like

Still using my Original Garmin Edge 520 and its not let me down after nearly a decade of use. Having flirted with the idea, I cannot find anything in any new head unit that makes me want to upgrade. It does the job and none of the newer ones offer enough new features to warrant me spending more money on them. 

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peted76 | 1 year ago
1 like

I hope they've included USB-C with these upgraded models.

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Capt Sisko | 1 year ago
0 likes

Technoligy is supposed to get cheaper every year, right? TVs, Phones, Watches, you name it that's basically a mobile computer are all now cheaper, better, more reliable than they used to be, despite increases in demands of what what they do and what's into them. Why are Garmin & co still so expensive?

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mark1a replied to Capt Sisko | 1 year ago
2 likes

Capt Sisko wrote:

Technoligy is supposed to get cheaper every year, right? TVs, Phones, Watches, you name it that's basically a mobile computer are all now cheaper, better, more reliable than they used to be, despite increases in demands of what what they do and what's into them. Why are Garmin & co still so expensive?

One would have to ask Garmin about their pricing strategy and how it is made up, but in terms of better/cheaper, the head unit I had in 2015, a Garmin Edge 520 IIRC I paid around £280 for it at launch. The upcoming 540 was leaked at £285. In terms of performance and functionality, it is vastly improved, and taking 8 years of inflation into consideration, much cheaper.

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imajez replied to Capt Sisko | 1 year ago
1 like

Some years back companies [a big wave to Apple here] realised that they didn't have to make newer versions of products cheaper, despite tech costs dropping and folk would still buy them. This applies to premium brand name companies. 
Replacing my £2k MacBook Pro, with an equivalent Apple model 10 years later would cost 2.5 times as much. Costs for desktop Mac Pros also skyrocketed. Wages haven't gone up at all for many folk in that time, particularly in the creative industires. For a long time £2k got you a pretty much top of range computer from companies and with each passing year that same £2k got you a much better computer. Now base Apple models can cost more than that. Their iPhones increased in price too. 
 

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Xenophon2 | 1 year ago
0 likes

I'm drooling over those extra large runtimes and solar charging.  Could really use those on my  multi day long-distance forays, it would save the hassle of schlepping a power bank along.  Don't need almost all other functionality, just a map, displaying a route, speed and distance.  The Garmin units are simply too much for me and I hate the fact that you simply can't change the internal battery.  My 1030 is on its 5th year and the battery's on its way out but swappping it out is not approved and looks like a perilous exercise.

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Miller replied to Xenophon2 | 1 year ago
3 likes

Xenophon2 wrote:

My 1030 is on its 5th year and the battery's on its way out but swappping it out is not approved and looks like a perilous exercise.

I replaced the battery in my 520 but you're right, it's a fiddly job. I wasn't relishing doing the same for an 820, then I found the site http://satnavspecialist.co.uk/product-category/garmin-repairs/  who among other things do Garmin battery replacement for a very reasonable price.

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lawrencefalk replied to Xenophon2 | 1 year ago
0 likes

Yes, I wish the solar technology went to the Explore model because all I am looking for is mapping for multi-day long-distance touring and the rest of the features are just hogging memory & power. 

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wickedstealthy | 1 year ago
0 likes

All nice and well but what I still miss on all those Garmin devices is the possibility to simply reverse a set course ...

Another very annoying thing is that the 830 is not capable of holding more then 100 courses ...

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jaymack | 1 year ago
1 like

I'd settle for replaceable batteries. If Garmin can make the unit solar powered they can manufacture units which utilise consumer replaceable batteries. This product is just green-wash 'cos the unit will still be destined for the bin when it no longer holds a charge.

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IanMSpencer replied to jaymack | 1 year ago
1 like

My ancient Garmin eTrex Legend used AA batteries (so old it had a NiCd setting). You could use rechargeable batteries.

It would cut out every now and again due to the batteries losing connection when jolted.

But, it isn't so long ago we had cellphones with robustly connected batteries that were replaceable. If argue it was waterproofing, but phones aren't particularly any more waterproof with non-replaceable batteries. The eTrex was rainproof, good clamping closure.

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visionset replied to IanMSpencer | 1 year ago
2 likes

My 800 is on its 4th battery. No bin

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DeelitedManchester replied to jaymack | 1 year ago
1 like

I totally agree with you.  I can't believe that manufacturers today still produce technology that is sealed for life and doesn't allow for user-changeable rechargeable cells.  I've got a perfectly functional pair of Bluetooth headphones that sound as great as the day I bought them.  But because I can't change the battery, they work for no more than 25 minutes before they give up the ghost.  Guaranteed landfill for the worst possible reason.

It's all down to cutting costs at manufacture to maximise profits and then guaranteeing future sales when the batteries are no longer capable of holding a charge.

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Terence the Tractor replied to jaymack | 1 year ago
0 likes

I'm impressed you've got a Garmin which lives long enough for the battery to deteriorate. I've had an 800, 1000, 8x0, 530, 530, 530. All but the 1000 and most recent 530 died before the end of the warranty.

I'd love to leave Garmin and I liked the Hammerhead 2 unit but Garmin's battery (and rechargability on the go) is next-level and the Garmin Connect site saves me $125 a year on third party analysis tools which Hammerhead obligates if you want more than speed and distance metrics.

If the 540 Solar is $450 and it lasts 3 years (assuming a warranty replacement around 18 months) im basically subscribing to Garmin Connect at the same price as TP with a free head unit. On that basis if its a bit rubbish, it is at least justifiable (even if environmentally questionable).

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imajez replied to Terence the Tractor | 1 year ago
0 likes

I swapped to Wahoo years back. Like many others mainly because it wasn't a Garmin. 
The original Elemnt had better battery life and display, but more importantly vastly superior interface and usability. Bought two Garmins since as backups and returned both because going back to Garmins horribly clunky interfaces and buggy software was just too painful. 

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matthewn5 replied to jaymack | 1 year ago
0 likes

jaymack wrote:

I'd settle for replaceable batteries. If Garmin can make the unit solar powered they can manufacture units which utilise consumer replaceable batteries. This product is just green-wash 'cos the unit will still be destined for the bin when it no longer holds a charge.

There's a host of people on the internet offering to replace batteries in Garmins of all sorts. Perhaps not quite 'user-replaceable', but then there are also how-to videos of how to replace the battery if you feel up to the challenge.

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lio | 1 year ago
1 like

I'd love to see a combined 5x0/8x0 with both buttons and touchscreen.

A touch screen is useful for scrolling a map but the rest of the time I prefer buttons, especially when it's raining or I have gloves on.

They offer that on the watches now so I'm not sure why it couldn't come to the head units too.

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pneves | 1 year ago
0 likes

Owner of the Edge 530 here. Still too much issues with sensor connections (disconnections...). I was hopping for a bump on screen real estate, maybe 2.8" or even 3" as Edge Explore 2. Touchscreen is not for me (or the rain!) so more interested in 540. However seeing the problems users are having with 1040 and fail to solve sensor connections on series 30 devices its a no go for me right now, even if battery life seems improved.

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mark1a | 1 year ago
2 likes

Dear Garmin,

Please fix firmware version 16.13 on the Edge 1040 Solar before releasing any more x40 models. Everything was working fine on 15.24.

Thanks.

 

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