A large colour touchscreen display makes the 800 very visible and intuitive out on the trail. We used the Barfly handlebar mount flipped backwards to keep it out of harms way.
|Getting the 800 up and running was pretty simple, and anyone who can run their television's PVR won't have any trouble. It powers up quickly and then begins an initial search for satellite signal, a step that took some time in certain areas but was rather quick in others - this will depend on direct access to open sky. Once a signal was found, though, the 800 does a good job holding a relatively consistent signal, even in dense tree cover. Moving through the display options on the unit is done via the touchscreen, as are most other commands. We did like the touchscreen, but on the trail, with gloves on our hands, it was pretty cumbersome more often than not. After the initial trial period we stopped scrolling through display options during a ride due to the touchscreen. Without gloves, we found the touchscreen to be more user friendly, offering an array of information and display options. The unit recorded tons of great data that easily uploaded to Garmin's Connect software or third-party software like Strava. We uploaded most of our data to Strava, which detected when the Garmin was plugged in, making the process very straightforward. Navigation was the key element to our interest in the 800 - it's nice to navigate unfamiliar terrain while traveling around in search of new trails. When plugged in using the included USB cable, uploading GPX files to the 800 is as easy as dragging and dropping the files into a folder on the unit. Detailed maps are available from Garmin, and colour maps provide turn by turn directions to a specific destination or provide a guideline in unfamiliar areas. This feature was nice when we planned ahead and made the effort to download data to plan rides, but on most daily outings we rarely used the navigation feature.|
Battery life on the 800 is claimed to last 15 hours, which is pretty close to accurate depending on which features you are using on the unit. We were between 13 and 14 hours of battery life during constant use, which we found to be sufficient for our needs. Non-stop use left the Edge 800 in surprisingly good shape, although we did spot some scratching on the screen after a few months so we ended up stashing it in a spare glasses bag when it wasn't on the bike. At $449 USD, the Edge 800 provides an amazing amount of navigational information and useful data. Pair it with some of the optional accessories like the heart rate strap or a power meter and it can become a helpful training tool. Riders looking to navigate new terrain or routes will find the mapping on the 800 easy to follow and well done, although its touchscreen can be hard to use wearing gloves. We'll admit that while we don't find ourselves grabbing the 800 for every ride, it is a great tool for the job and provides data-driven riders with extensive information. If you like to track rides and mileage and are looking for the next level, the Edge 800 is a great choice. Not worried about numbers and navigation? Then the Edge 800 probably isn't the upgrade for you. - Jordan Carr
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