There has been much speculation and twitterings about the Garmin Edge 900, the replacement for their top-end cycling GPS, the Garmin Edge 800. Well, as we stated back in November and Garmin confirmed on Twitter, there never was an Edge 900 as such and so today we see the announcement of the Garmin Edge 810 (right)!

Less of a major new product and more of a technology-enabler.

Naming conventions apart, what new functionality does the new 810 model deliver for its near £400 price tag? It doesn't look that different to its predecessor but it does have some new functionality and connectivity including Bluetooth and a new Garmin Connect Mobile app for iOS (iPhone/iPad) and Android phones. So, what does that give you?

Firstly, it makes it easier to upload your post-ride data to Garmin Connect via your Smartphone and then tell the world about it via Twitter and Facebook. The upload can be carried out automatically and wirelessly which is less fuss than plugging a USB cable into your PC from the Edge though you’ll still need to login to your Garmin Connect account to carry out some of the more detailed editing of your ride. The connectivity also means you can search for courses and routes on Garmin Connect using your smartphone and then download them to your Edge unit.

Another aspect of the new smartphone connectivity is that ride data can be incrementally uploaded to Garmin’s new LiveTrack feature. In this way, the progress of your ride can be uploaded in near real-time so your loved ones can follow you and see how you’re doing – assuming, of course, your loved ones are interested in your cycling exploits! It can also let your Twitter followers and Facebook friends see how you’re doing – assuming of course…

A feature we particularly like the look of is the automatic weather notifications which will display an alert to the rider on the Edge 810 screen of an impending weather front. Maybe not so useful in the UK where we always have impending weather fronts but when on long rides in the mountains it could come in handy providing the (undisclosed source of) weather data is accurate.

Also launched is the new Garmin Edge 510 (left) at £249.99 to replace the Edge 500. The Edge 510 has a better display than the 500: it now comes with a larger screen – up from 3cm to 4.4cm high – and improved resolution – up from 128x160 pixels to 176x220 pixels – though the most noticeable improvement is that the display is now colour and touchscreen. The update does add a bit of weight (weight-weenies look away now) as the 510 is an extra 23g over the 500.

The 510 also offers the same smartphone connectivity and social sharing as the Edge 810 but without its big brother’s navigation maps

For the most part, the new features of the Edge 810/510 address the elephant in the room: lots of people are now using GPS smartphones and free apps such as Strava to record their routes; some are even mounting their phones on the handlebars to provide read-outs of speed, cadence etc. This undoubtedly loses Garmin sales of Edge units from riders that don’t do the big miles (try to run Strava on your smartphone for more than a couple of hours – the Edge units will run for at least 17hrs on a single charge) or riders that aren’t that concerned with the less accurate tracking provided by GPS smartphone apps.

It’s unlikely that existing Garmin Edge 800/500 users will swap-out to a new version (like-for-like) given the cost versus benefits but if you are buying your first one (including anyone that was holding off for that mythical Edge 900), you need wait no longer. Also keep eye open for second- hand Edge 500 units at knock-down prices as people upgrade from the Edge 500 to the Edge 810.

Here's a slick promo video featuring Ryder Hesjedal, David Millar, Dan Martin and Andrew Talansky:

 

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Comment by Rafe Aldridge on January 10, 2013 at 18:45

BTW if anyone owns an Edge 800 and wants a step-by-step guide on getting navigation working... see my website at www.forgot.co.uk

Comment by Rafe Aldridge on January 10, 2013 at 18:44

Garmin's reputation for releasing updates to "obsolete" products is very poor. Come to think of it, their reputation for releasing updates to existing products isn't great - seem to put their efforts into the next thing rather than their existing customers.

I've had a 205, a 705 and an 800. None got an update after the successor was announced.

The Edge 800 is amazing but not without it's faults - most of which could be rectified with a software update (this is my area of expertise) so it's annoying that they don't.

The "follow me" feature would be useful to me as I often do long solo rides and my wife likes to be able to check up on me if I'm not back when she expects or if it's a very long ride, see how I'm progressing. However an app on my iPhone does that just fine, though not using the iPhone GPS would help save battery life, the bluetooth would use more and I'm not sure the net result would be significant enough to help.

Comment by Phil Crow on January 10, 2013 at 17:33

Agreed- great film but how many of us need that capability!? Txt my mates, meet as arranged and off we go. A software upgrade to th 800 would be nice but I won't be holding my breath.

Comment by Dave Nash on January 8, 2013 at 10:12

Good point about Garmins lack of customer loyalty Jonathan, though I guess theyfeel that majority of Garmin users will upgrade (though both your comment and Andy's suggest otherwise). I think  I'll hold off investing in either at the moment as I hope prices for the 500/800 will tumble as stockist look to offload. If not, I'll be searching ebay for some bargains from other cyclists who are tempted by the new models! 

Great film - makes me want to live in Girona, though I have a feeling that Vaughters little cameo might come back to haunt him - ripe for satire!

Comment by Jonathan Davis on January 7, 2013 at 18:22

I like the increased social functionality and own the 800 already, so won't be doing a like-for-like swap (as you say). I also like to share my ride data, but will the Garmin Connect app work with the slightly older device? Surely a knod to existing (and loyal) customers would involve the release of a patch, new driver, etc. to allow increased searchability, data transfer and sharing.

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