Thursday, September 01, 2011

Long Term Review: Garmin Edge 800

(Please also see First Impressions)

I've now lived with the Edge 800 for over 1700 miles, including quite a bit of hiking. The unit has survived a tour of the Alps with rain and plenty of sweat. A few notes:
  • The unit's pairing with the cadence/wheel sensor is great. The only time I've seen problems with speeds being inaccurate is if the magnet is misaligned and hits the wheel sensor instead of zipping past it. When that happens expect to see speeds of 100mph or more. The cadence magnet slips easily, but is easily solved if you tape the magnet to the crank instead of relying on the zip-tie.
  • Battery life is good. At 15 hours, you can expect 2 full days of touring on a complete charge if you forget to charge it one day. The battery drains at the rate of 5% per hour if the unit is not routing, which in practice means 20 hours. With routing, the drain is around 7% per hour.
  • Routing is the same was other Garmin units, though sometimes address searches can get wonky.
  • The unit really does work with full fingered gloves. This is due to the display technology, which also means that button pushes on screen are sometimes clunky. That's not a bad thing.
  • In tunnels the wheel sensor pairing works well. In particular, Phil, who had the same unit, had his unit confused in tunnels and locked up, so I'm not sure how optional the wheel sensor is. A reboot solved the problem.
  • Unit uploads are fast!
All in all, I'd say that this unit performed as expected and is reliable. Most people would probably buy an Edge 500 since most people don't tour, but for the touring cyclist, it's clear that this is the unit to get. Recommended
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