Garmin recently introduced the latest product in its successful line-up of Edge bike computers. Replacing the Edge 810, this new device sports all the latest technologies you could want from a bike computer… plus a few more.
As I opened the box of my new Garmin Edge 820, happiness was in abundance, because enough stuff came with it to look after my two bikes right away. The out-front mount was perfect for my TT (Time Trial) bike and the standard mount fitted my mountain bike perfectly. The single cadence meter that bundles with the Edge 820 got mounted on my TT bike right away, along with the speed sensor which is also included. But the Garmin Edge 820 is about much more than the cool bits that it bundles with, it rings in a new era of technological wizardry.
So, where does the Edge 820 fit into the Garmin bike computer line-up? While it is actually an update to the Edge 810. It is technically an upgrade to the Edge 520. Well, simply put, it’s a larger screen Edge 520 with a touch screen, mapping capabilities, 16GB internal storage, wifi upload, Group Tracking, crash detection. For those who think touch screen on a bike computer is a waste of time, do yourself a favour and check out what the Edge 820 can do. It works in all weather conditions and paired with its beautiful user interface makes using the Edge 820 so much more fun.
So what makes it better or different to the Edge 520 or the Edge 1000? The Edge 1000 offers 99% of the functions, but it is big. (The Edge 1000 actually has an SD card slot and screen rotation which the 820 does not have.) The Edge 520 is small, but does not offer the latest tech compared to the Edge 820.
As a dedicated triathlete, I always wanted a bike-specific computer to better gauge my pace during a long bike leg. Having to turn my arm out of its socket whilst in TT bars to get a view of my multisport watch has never been fun, while a quick release system makes you lose at least 5 seconds in a race. With the out-front mount, all my data was right under my eyes. As for mountain biking, its capability to display 10 data fields on one screen is everything I need to focus on my ride and get what I need at a glance. Distance, speed, heart rate (plus their averages), time, total elevation, grade, temperature and the time of day gave me all the info that mattered, on one screen. Simply awesome! With my multisport watches limited to four fields per screen, I had to search Connect IQ for screens offering more, and honestly, most of them did not live up to my expectations. The Edge 820 has this sorted out. If it is data you are after, be prepared for data overload. As you know, the Edge series devices allow you to create multiple bike profiles. Now paired with the multiple screens feature on the Edge 820, you will always have the data that matters most at hand.
When it comes to heart rate monitoring, I am not a big fan of heart rate straps. Since I started using the Forerunner 735XT and Vivoactive HR, I have found that its wrist-based heart monitoring more than adequately keeping track of my heart-rate during training sessions or a race. As is to be expected, the Garmin Edge 820 can use both Garmin’s HRM straps and Garmin’s wrist-based Elevate hear rate sensors to keep you in your zones. All you do is set your device HRM to broadcast mode and the Edge 820 will pair with it.
But don’t let these wow factors distract from the business side of cycle computers. The Edge 820 hits all the check marks. In times gone by, time, distance and speed were all that was necessary to make us happy. These days even the most basic cycling computers are ticking those boxes and much, much more. For top cyclists and pros, even power meters might be deemed as basic needs. The Garmin Edge 820 caters for all of these, but the difference is that the 820 incorporates technology that allows you to cycle with a much more creative approach that not only makes you a better cyclist, but also boosts the fun factor during your rides.
Gamify your ride
We all know that the toughest way to challenge yourself is to create workouts or time/distance related training targets. The Edge 820 allows you to create these and sync them to the unit. How you live up to the targets you set can be monitored with the virtual partner. That is tough, dedicated training. For me, the most enjoyable way to inject intervals into my ride is with the live Strava capabilities built into the Edge 820. I find the Strava segments more unpredictable than programmed workouts, and in that way less rigid in terms of interval work. As the Strava segment alerts come up, I can choose which ones to challenge according to what my legs have in the tank at the time, but I force myself to attack quite a few segments during a ride. In that way, any ride turns into an interval session with a much higher fun factor. If you manage to you beat your own PB (Personal Best), a Strava buddy, or even achieve a KOM (King of the Mountain), the rewards are even greater. Star the segment you like on Strava, sync it to your Edge 820 and go for it. If you want a chilled ride, simply disable Live Strava Segments and your Garmin Edge 820 won’t alert you to upcoming Strava segments.
Another great feature built into the Edge 820 is crash detection. The accelerometer is designed and programmed to detect motion indicative of a crash. After your crash, you get thirty seconds to cancel the automated message, failing which your contacts will receive in case you cannot speak for yourself. This is a very handy safety feature and one, I am sure, most cyclists will find invaluable.
With the Edge 820…any ride turns into an interval session with a much higher fun factor.
As far as navigation goes, the Edge 820 is on par with the Garmin Edge 1000. It offers routable mapping which allows you to create routes for exploring, touring, racing or any other purpose. If you enable navigation audio alerts, you get turn-by-turn audio prompts if you have headphones connected to your smartphone. These audio prompts can also be assigned to other parameters like pace, speed, power, heart rate and laps.
The group track feature, which is at the time of publishing this article, unique to the Garmin Edge 820 (it will be rolled out to the Edge 1000 with updates in due time) allows you to see where fellow riders are. For now, only the Edge 820 device can see tracked riders, although most of the Edge range over the last few years can broadcast their position. So, if you do a stage race or group ride, and lose sight of a fellow rider, you will be able to see his whereabouts on the map of your Edge 820. This feature will obviously get more traction as more people get to use the Edge 820 but I can see it serve a purpose soon enough in mountain bike stage races where riders often lose sight of each other if a two minute time gap is allowed, especially if you or your partner has a mechanical breakdown or a puncture.
Getting back to the basics of the Edge 820 as a cycling computer, it has to be said that there is nothing it does not do in terms of what is vital and important for a cyclist. Other features which by now have almost become a given on any Garmin device are live tracking, multimedia, and caller notifications, customising your Edge 820 via Connect IQ, and so on. As mentioned before, with Vector power pedals connected you will have in excess of 40 parameters to analyse.
All of the above reflects my personal experience with the Edge 820. If you want to find out more about the surgical stats and details have a look at the stats and comparisson tables below. The Garmin Edge 820 is a pleasure to use. The size, intuitive user-friendliness and creativity it adds to my training are the main attractions and deliver lots of happiness. It gets a big thumbs up from me. – (c) 2016 NavWorld
Specs and Comparisson Chart for the Garmin Edge 820, Edge 520 and Edge 810
|Edge 820||Edge 520||Edge 810|
|Physical dimensions||73.0 x 49.0 x 21.0 mm||49.0 x 73.0 x 21.0 Mm||51.0 x 93.0 x 25.0 mm|
|Display size, WxH||58.4 mm||35.0 x 47.0 Mm||36.0 x 55.0 mm|
|Display resolution, WxH||200 x 265 pixels||200 x 265 pixels||160 x 240 pixels, touchscreen|
|Weight||67.7 g||60 g||98.0 g|
|Battery||Rechargeable lithium-ion||Rechargeable lithium-ion||rechargeable lithium-ion|
|Battery life||Up to 15 hours GPS training mode; up to 24 hours UltraTrac mode||Up to 15 hours||up to 17 hours|
|Unit-to-unit transfer (shares data wirelessly with similar units)||Yes|
|Smart notifications (displays email, text and other alerts when paired with your compatible phone)||Yes||Yes|
|Maps & Memory|
|Ability to add maps||Yes||Yes|
|Accepts data cards||microSD™ card (some versions include a City Navigator microSD card)|
|Routes||0||0||Limited by memory space available|
|History||Up to 180 hours||Up to 180 hours||up to 180 hours|
|Compatible with Vector™||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Multiple bike profiles||Yes||Activity profiles||Yes|
|Bike speed/cadence sensor||Yes (Some versions)||Yes (optional)||Yes (optional)|
|Heart rate monitor||Yes (optional)||Yes (optional)||Yes (optional)|
|Virtual Partner® (train against a digital person)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Courses (compete against previous activities)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Auto Pause® (pauses and resumes timer based on speed)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Auto Lap® (automatically starts a new lap)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Auto Scroll (cycles through data pages during workout)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Advanced workouts (create custom, goal-oriented workouts)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Time/distance alert (triggers alarm when you reach goal)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Interval training (set up exercise and rest intervals)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Heart rate-based calorie computation||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Calculates calories burned||Yes|
|Power meter compatible (displays power data from compatible 3rd party ANT+™-enabled power meters)||Yes (records data approx. 1 per second)||Yes (records data approx. 1 per second)||Yes (records data approx. 1 per second)|
|Temperature (displays and records temperature while you ride)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Garmin Connect™ compatible (online community where you analyze, categorize and share data)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Automatic sync (automatically transfers data to your computer)||Yes||Yes||By phone only.|
|Compatible with Varia™ bike radar and lights: Yes||Compatible with Varia™ bike radar and lights: Yes||Operating temp: -20°C to +55°C|
|Edge® remote compatibility: Yes||Edge® remote compatibility: Yes||Connected features via smartphone: yes|
|LiveTrack: Yes||LiveTrack: Yes||GLONASS: no|
|Advanced performance and power analysis, including VO2 max, FTP/Watts/kg tracking, Performance condition/lactate threshold/stress score as well as advanced cycling dynamics, GroupTrack, in-ride challenges through Strava live segments and connected features||Advanced performance and power analysis, including new Time in Zone, FTP tracking, cycling-specific VO2 and recovery and cycling dynamics||Compatible with Garmin Connect™ Mobile: yes|
|Bike trainer profile for compatible Turbo trainer data display and control: Yes||Bike trainer profile for compatible Turbo trainer data display and control||This USB mass storage device is compatible with Windows® XP or newer and Mac®|
|On-device segment compatibility for dynamic and engaging in-ride competition: Yes||On-device segment compatibility for dynamic and engaging in-ride competition||Integration with Shimano Di2 electronic shifting: Yes|
|Operating temperature: -20°C to +55°C||Operating temperature: -20°C to +55°C|
|Connected features via a smartphone: Yes||Connected features via a smartphone: Yes|
|Compatible with Garmin Connect™ and Garmin Connect™ Mobile: Yes||Compatible with Garmin Connect™ and Garmin Connect™ Mobile: Yes|
|Integration with Shimano Di2 electronic shifting: Yes||Compatible with VIRB® action cameras: Yes|
|Weather alerts: Yes||Integration with Shimano Di2 electronic shifting: Yes|
|Preloaded Garmin cycling map: Yes||Weather alerts: Yes|
|Wi-Fi® compatible: Yes||Preloaded Garmin cycling map: No|
|Ambient light: Yes||Wi-Fi® compatible: No|
|Round-trip routing: Yes||Round-trip routing: No|
|Route planner: Yes||Route planner: No|
|Incident detection: Yes|
|Training plans/workouts: Yes|
|Connect IQ™ store compatible: Yes|
|Audio prompts: Yes|
|ANT+™ electronic shifting compatibility: Yes|
|¹ Advanced workouts require a Garmin Connect account||¹ Advanced workouts require a Garmin Connect account|