Garmin Edge 800 navigation evaluation: the best configuration of bicycles Read full article >>

Garmin device detailed analysis

Garmin has a terrific cycling heritage, and their professional road team is among the best in the Tour de France last year (2011). The company also has bicycle-specific satellite navigation products that can accurately take you from departure to destination when you are riding a bicycle.

The more you pay, the greater the return. Top features of the Edge 800 are touch screens and ultra-fast hot-fix satellite positioning systems. The evaluation prototype we received was also equipped with a cadence and a heartbeat.

You may feel that installing a satellite navigator on a bicycle may seem a little strange because most people travel long distances by train or car. The Edge 800 is designed for those who love to ride and plan to ride a long distance. Because of this, Pocket-lint must take this evaluation seriously and try a long journey on the open road.

Designing satellite navigators for bicycles faces some challenges. There is no windscreen at all to place the navigator on the bike, which means that the user needs to look down at the route (very dangerous). Busy traffic will also make it impossible for users to hear the traditional satellite navigation route. However, Garmin has successfully solved these problems and developed a simple, safe, high-precision satellite navigation system that has become a training machine and a full range of bicycle computers.


Unlike car navigators, navigators installed on your bike must be very hard. In the past few months, the Edge 800, which we fixed to the bicycle handlebar, has been very stable. We rode in the wind, in the sun, and on the bike with the Edge 800. We also tossed it one or two times on the ground, but it was unscathed. It is mounted on a piece of plastic that you attach with a rubber band to the handlebars of the bicycle and will never fall off during riding.

The device itself is almost as large as the old Palm Pre phone. Measuring 5.1 x 9.3 x 2.5 cm and weighing 56.7 grams, this device is very lightweight for customers who are concerned about adding weight to the bike.

The 2.6-inch touchscreen is bright enough and can be operated even when wearing gloves. However, we found that there was a slight reaction when switching to the navigation menu.

At the bottom of the Edge 800, there are rubber-capped memory cards and USB connectors. Unless humans operate, these two lids will never open themselves, so rain will not cause any harm to the device at all.

The configuration of the cadence and heartbeat installation and commissioning is very simple. The two parts of the cadence can be attached to the bicycle using straps. No matter what clothes you wear, you can wear your heartbeat under your clothes. Even if you ride for a long time, you will not feel uncomfortable.


For satellite navigators, the battery is the second factor. If you are traveling for a long time or you are exploring in the wild, you certainly don't want the navigation system to run out of battery. Happily, Garmin is very good at battery manufacturing. We use the Edge 800 to navigate around the centre of London every day, charging only once a day after two or three hours of navigation each day. Of course, charging every day is just our habit. Actually, the Garmin 800's official announcement of battery life is 15 hours. This is confirmed by car riders.

However, the more programs that are running in the system, the faster the battery is consumed. When the background light, speedometer, and heartbeat are turned on at the same time, the battery will consume more quickly. Therefore, we recommend that you use the Edge 800 in two different modes. The first is to turn on navigation only. The second is to use it as a trainer when you are preparing for a long journey.


The most important function for bicycle navigators is naturally navigation. The Edge 800 has been very successful in "No longer letting me get lost." Hotfix satellite positioning means that you can quickly continue on the road without waiting for the system to locate your exact location. It responds particularly accurately to any situation where it is wrong, and it is particularly rapid.

If you want to go somewhere, you'd better set the exact coordinates before you go, because sometimes the input location is vague and Garmin 800 can't help you. Once you set the exact coordinates, the Edge navigation system can take you to the destination with the best route. Garmin's path to bicycle navigation systems is very accurate. No matter when you are near a place where you need to turn, the system will have a simple countdown and a zoomed map of your location without the need to tell you to turn left or turn right. As soon as the countdown reaches zero, your turning time will come. Every time you hear a countdown squeak, consciously practise it. Quickly bow your head and see where you are going. After you go the right path, you will hear another confirmation.

You can run all Google Maps and zoom to find nearby street locations. The touch screen response sensitivity of this system can also be improved, but it is still relatively convenient compared to continuously entering the address to let the system guide you to the destination.

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