Garmin Edge 800 - Review

Jul 9, 2014
by Jordan Carr  
With its large screen and full colour display, the Edge 800 brings a new level of geekiness to your handlebars. Designed to be a well balanced, cycling-specific GPS unit, the 800 was the first model to bring touchscreen technology to a bike-specific GPS with a large touchscreen display that measures 3.6cm wide x 5.5cm tall cm. With a focus on navigation, the 800 features a built-in base map that shows major roads and cities, while additional microSD™ cards loaded with region-specific maps that display streets or topo maps. Navigation is done by selecting a destination and following the turn-by-turn prompts and track on the screen. The Edge 800 also gives users all the useful data of a traditional cycling computer, allowing them to track distance, speed, location and elevation change. It can even be paired with additional accessories like a heart rate monitor, speed/cadence sensor or compatible power meter to really maximize your lust for data. All data is easily uploaded via the included USB cord and pairs with both Macs and PCs via Garmin's connect software. If you are looking to upload to other programs like Strava or MapMyRide, an additional downloadable plugin allows for quick and easy uploads to your choice of program. With a claimed 15 hour battery life on the rechargeable Li-Ion battery, the 800 can store up to 180 hours of history and up to 200 waypoints. It is available in black/white and black/blue, and includes a variety of bar or stem mounting options. MSRP: $449 USD www.garmin.com

Garmin Edge 800 Review

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.



Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesGetting 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


The Garmin Edge 800 is available from Mountain Equipment Co-op in Canada: www.mec.ca


79 Comments

  • + 13
 if you want a proper review of bike computers (or other training devices) just go to dcrainmaker.com
Ray is basically the guru for all things tech, and his in depth reviews are the best you can basically find on the internet.
  • + 16
 "For those who go deep with data"
  • + 31
 This reminds me of the time Data told Tasha Yar that he's fully functional (i.e. in the gentleman sausage region).
  • + 1
 ^wins the internet today
  • + 1
 ^ i second that.
  • + 5
 A smartphone battery won't last the length of a ride when you use maps navigation. I've got the edge 810 and it's awesome. Proper sturdy handlebar mount, amazing battery life and very accurate GPS signal. I could use my phone for a quick blast round the block but if I'm venturing out into the mountains I want something more sturdy and reliable, that's going to last the whole day with a map on the screen. It's far from perfect and I'd say definitely over priced but there's no way you can say a smartphone is just as good for proper bike rides. Free maps are available for it too. I would like to see a better interface and a clearer screen, like a smartphone has, maybe they have achieved thus with the edge 1000?
  • - 8
flag taletotell (Jul 9, 2014 at 22:35) (Below Threshold)
 I find that if I use my phone once in a while I can navigate all day no problem. I just save the map, pull it up when I need it using the trails now visible on Google maps or via some other app, check where I am and where I'm going, and then put it away. Why the heck would would want it visible all the time? Why would you want it in your handle bars?
If your phone has a battery issue buy a solar panel! Don't waste time and money with this crap.
  • + 6
 A proper gps is not crap and depending on where you live you can loose signal on a phone where a dedicates gps device does not. Personally I use map screen captures to my phone. Free maps and hope that I have a connection and a gps watch to record my ride. Things like STRAVA are popular in the UK. Phones are great for the boys chasing kom on short segments as the inaccuracy of a phone compared to the likes of a Garmon 610 is nuts. Meaning you can get some super fast times on your phone.... Each to their own though. Would be boring if we were all the same.
  • + 2
 @flappinganimal I have an old LG p500, stock battery, used for a couple of years as a phone, now it's on my handlebar, no simcard, just gps with Oruxmaps and openandromaps. It lasts two days with gps always on, with a screen timeout of 1 minute (usually I don't need the screen always on, just near the waypoints or when I'm uncertain of the path).
It doubles as music player and I can switch to the pdf reader and read the the local trail guide.
It has a poor gps with no barometric sensor but it never failed me, it always manages to get a lock on the sats in less than 20 seconds.
  • + 1
 How long last the battery on your 810 with normal usage?
  • + 2
 @taletotell, as an example, recently I want to do a longish training ride so thought I'd ride to my local spot that I would usually drive to, it's about a 50 mile round trip. So I went onto the Garmin route planner, clicked where I wanted to ride to and it generated a route for me. It was awesome, it took me through bridleways and tiny roads that I would have never have thought of riding for fear of getting lost. At a glance of my handlebars I was able to know exactly where I was going without stopping and interupting my flow. Far from taking anything away from the adventure of mountain biking it added so much to it.
Garmins are also waterproof which is always a bonus for an outdoor sport, so you can keep your phone nice and dry and safe and fully charged in your pack, just incase something bad were to happen.
But to say "Why spend your money on this crap" is a bit silly. Why spend your money on anything? It's like the people that think dropper posts are a waste of money, yeah, if money is really short then you wouldn't splash out on these gadgets, but if you can stretch to it and it gives you extra enjoyment then why not? Sure, you could probably get away with just using your phone, but there are many reasons why a Garmin is better for a bike ride, £300 worth of reasons? I'm not so sure, but if you can afford it then I'd say probably yes, worth it.
After my 50 miler the battery in my 810 was still around 60%.
  • + 5
 It's not crap at all. Smile It's very useful if you do a lot of multi-day exploration. I have an external battery plus my edge 800 which can already last more than 10 hours. It makes everything more epic. I would rather have my phone only for emergencies. When I started exploring the Alps, the edge 800 was the best investment ever. I plan my route with Garmin's software, load it up into the edge, then I'm all set. And yes, the GPS on the edge 800 is more sensitive than a smartphone's.

It's not for everyone. If you really have no use for it, then don't buy it. It has it's place though. For my use, smartphones aren't enough!
  • - 1
 I poked a bear on this one clearly. I use gps for my work in Escalante pretty much every day. They are not more accurate than my phone's built in gps. They don't have as many features as I can get on my phone. I am pretty sure you guys are all just hooked on a redundant device. I have to go into work now, which means no internet access and no phone for a week. Just a crappy GPS device. I actually prefer my map and compass
  • + 2
 I seem to recall looking into the accuracy specs on some smartphones gps and it's actually pretty poor compared to dedicated gps nav devices.
  • + 1
 I've owned this specific device, found that for the price it was bulky and I had a few difficulties with the usb port rusting out, the screen/monitor (which is too small to see properly as you ride) getting scratched, and the battery life getting progressively shorter and shorter. 500 dollars? Customer service is also sub standard, as I was not able to warrantee the device without spending multiple hours on the phone and spending additional coin on postage.

IMHO these devices are becoming more and more redundant - even if you are doing serious treks into the mountains, in which case you should be buying a dedicated gps nav device from an outdoor shop. My advice is just use your smartphone - there are a ton of very useful apps on the market that do a better job than this device.
  • + 1
 You can get screen protectors and cases for them. They are less bulky on the bars than a phone in a waterproof wallet. And name me a phone that can last a whole day with the screen on tracking GPS? Garmins are dedicated GPS nav devices available in outdoors shops. They're rugged pieces of kit designed for outdoor sports, your phone isn't (unless it's one of those Samsung Active ones or whatever). It's an expensive toy, but definitely so much better than a phone for long rides. If you don't do exploring, long rides then I can see how you would think they're redundant, but honestly, they open up a whole new world for long rides.
  • + 1
 i'd be genuinely interested to know how they open up a new world for long rides - maybe I'm not using the device to it's potential?

my experience was:
a) bulky (on or off the handlebars - it would slip when i took rough downhill sections)
b) hard to configure (getting the output on the screen to look the way i liked it was not easy, and would arbitrarily shift back to default on a regular basis
c) not rugged (usb port rusted out so it wouldn't charge properly or transfer data, and the screen scratched - you're telling me after 500 bucks I gotta spend more for a case?
d) battery life deteriorated significantly over time - and eventually would not charge because of problems associated with c).

i've stopped using all devices for about six months now, and am relying on my smartphone and I've been pretty happy with the results. for long rides i find im prepared ahead of time anyway with a map, so there isn't much a garmin will add to the experience outside of tracking stats, but again, i could be wrong.
  • + 2
 The standard rubber band mount is admittedly poor and probably would slip often. I opted straight away for a barfly mount getting the unit above the stem and out of the way. Bulky? Get one of the smaller models..

My non tech savy mother could be shown how to change the display and get it right first time. It's a piece of pie.

I've stacked plenty of times and got it covered in nice British mud. Still going strong. And no scratches to report. Maybe the above stem position helps here.

Not had any major bother with battery, I tend to get 2-3 rides between charges. It's certainly WAY better than any smartphone with GPS running.

That and as I said in reply to someone else smartphone gps accuracy specs are way lower than a dedicated device.

But, each to their own. I love my 800, piece of pie to use more reliable than my 5S (last few rides where I ran smartphone alongside the 800 the phone lost Gps mid route and had to cycle flight mode, but would've lost a tonne of route data) and load maps to. Navigation instructions are handy. The cadence and hrm addons are great for training if you're into that.
  • + 1
 very helpful, thanks. not a bad idea on the mounting, I'll try running them both at the same time today and see how it comes out. would be interesting regardless.
  • + 1
 Barfly or K-Edge. Prefer the K-Edge stem mount as it puts the GPS centrally over the stem.
  • + 1
 Barfly 3.0 allows over stem mounting. watch out for mounts with metal inserts too as it can wear the plastic male part on the garmin.
  • + 1
 K-Edge has delrin insert which is replaceable but a very good point. Barfly 3.0 an improvement over 2.0 which hung out the front. Need to sell my Barfly 2.0 to a roadie.
  • + 2
 I first started to use my Nexus 4 with Oruxmaps for GPS tracking. N4 has barometric sensor so it was very good at tracking altitude changes. Precision was ok, only lacking sensitivity sometimes, but I only have a couple of sat loss only.
Since maps were offline and I use it only as a tracker (screen off), battery life was very good, enough for 8h at least, maybe more.
HRM was possible with a bluetooth BLE strap (polar H7).

Now I switched to a garmin dakota 20, 100 bucks refurbished one (ie, like new, only box differs). Screen is puny, it's a little big but sensitivity/precision is way better, altitude tracking is better (auto correction) but spiky on regular basis. I use mainly osm maps and raster rendered maps (both free). HRM strap is a noname ANT+ one, better than the polar.

I keep my phone on my bag with raster maps, this way I can look at them with HD screen. But I prefer to have the dakota on the bar. It saved me quite some time when track diseappeared in the alpine meadows.
  • + 2
 I've been running one for over a year and love the reliability and simplicity of the unit. If you find one that has been refurbished it's a better deal than the $450 MSRP. I like being able to download GPX files of trails so as not to get lost. It's also a great way to assess your overall progress.
  • + 2
 Just got a GPS watch for $50. Can't see maps and stuff while using it, but can upload to Strava at the end of a ride and its super easy to use. Also looks just like a regular watch and keeps track of everything you need. In Strava you can see your elevation gain and loss. Pretty sweet and doesn't look like a tablet on your handlebars.
  • + 4
 $450 bucks... good lord. I figured with the smartphones coming out with $1 apps these would drop in price. It almost makes it seem worth it to cave in to the smartphone.
  • + 5
 they are getting pretty good, as long as you start in cell service range. If that's not possible, thats where these units shine.
  • + 5
 so does a compass lol Big Grin
  • + 2
 but... but... you can get wi-fi on the moon.
  • + 1
 Scott lol
  • + 4
 Smart phones can be had cheap as hell these days, and are honestly pretty damn useful too. I hate walmart, but you can buy a $30 smart phone there that has gps, internet, touchscreen.. It would rival a computer from just 10 years ago. There are free apps for damn near anything, and here's the kicker.. It can download AND play death metal!
  • + 2
 Beam me up Scotty!
  • + 0
 Plus you can save maps and don't need to have cell signal. GPS are dead dinosaurs.
  • + 3
 Garmin GPS is a solid product line. Their customer service is top notch and it only costs $50 USD to get a unit refurbished. If you can afford one get one.
  • + 3
 Smartphone gps isn't amazingly accurate, I did a comparison of my garmin 800 and iPhone 5S and the iPhone data was all over the place with route recorded/distance/elevation.
The garmin battery is far superior to smartphones too, enable gps on an iPhone/android device and you can almost watch the level drop.
The garmin is water and shock (and crash!) proof too.
  • + 1
 how do you go about getting a unit refurbished? bought an 800 (pretty sure it was an 800, it was expensive as all hell is all i remember) years ago, found it to be substandard and replaced it with a polar, and have since replaced with my phone...this discussion thread is getting me interested in potentially giving the garmin another try, but my battery is killed, and the usb slot is rusted, and my screen is pretty scratched up - any advice?
  • + 2
 Typically repairs are done through Garmin unless you can find a trusted 3rd party Garmin dealer to work on it. If its like any other electronic, it's going to be pretty expensive. May be worth just purchasing a refurbished one to replace it but always worth checking around for prices, especially if there's a small time local electronic dude who can do it on the cheap.
  • + 5
 I would rather have a plane ticket to BC.
  • + 1
 I own the Oregon 650t and it is total crap. I now got the third one on guarantee and it has the same failure out of the box. And noone at Garmin knows it. They just keep sending you a new one. I'll never buy a Garmin again. Perhaps the 800 (and the successor) is a better product.
  • + 1
 Love my 800. Yea a decent phone app makes sense but I don't want to bust my iPhone in a crash and I've killed my phone battery half way through a decent ride using the gps and been left without a way to call in an emergency. Didn't like that.
  • + 1
 I use OsmAnd - osmand.net - Free app for Android. You can download local maps, use .gpx files for navigation, and cache a route for offline maps. The best thing about it though is that it has turn-by-turn voice navigation in many different languages. If I'm going on a new route, I just load it up, stick my headphones in and ride. The annoying woman tells me to turn left, right, make a u-turn, slightly right etc. Only when there's multiple choices of paths to take do I have to even look at the screen on my phone. The only problem with it is if the phone drops gps signal and the route you're following uses the same bit of trail for out and back, it will re-route you to the latest point in your route - potentially missing out on a chunk of your ride. It took me 3 attempts to follow a full route a while ago. Can't beat it for free though. I'm thinking about one of these smart watches and a different app called viewranger. Viewranger apparently sends directional arrows to the watch, so all you have to do is look at your wrist every now and then. No armband to hold the phone, no headphones, just the trail, your thoughts and a sodding great big green arrow on our wrist telling you the way to go.
  • + 4
 Just got a 800 for $275 new. At that price point it's the best Garmin has out currently.
  • + 4
 Old product reviews are my favorite
  • + 27
 No kidding eh, Garmin has released 3 different mapping GPS since the 800. The 810, The 1000 and the Touring option. Stay tuned for a review of the Garmin 500.
  • + 19
 Out of date gadgets is where it's at. Can we get a review on an 8 function Cat Eye wired speed computer from 1998 next. That shit is deep in the data.
  • + 3
 This must be a joke. This is old unit.
  • + 1
 The 800 is still available... might as well review it. The 810 admittedly is an upgrade from the 800 but don't write the 500 off as obsolete, the 510 isn't exactly an upgrade... it's big, clunky and has a small screen for the body size. The 500 is for racers (who aren't on SRM obviously) not GranFondo riders. I don't see the problem with reviewing products that are still available...
  • + 2
 If you own an 800, you are in for at least a decade of use, and you will still not use the maximum benefits of it. So a review 2 years after its release is still acceptable... Im still rocking and learning from my 500 which to me is more than you will ever need...
  • + 1
 Though we asked for the most recent GPS release, this was the unit Garmin passed along for review early this year. They must feel the unit still has relevance in the market.
  • + 1
 Only thing that a smart phone can't do, which is why these are sellers with shops, is Cadence and Power. ANT+ is still a new thing to be intergrated with most smart phones.
  • + 3
 My Samsung Galaxy S5 has ANT+ but the GPS receiver on the Edge 800 is much more accurate and has immensely better battery life. Keep in mind that once you buy your GPS from Garmin there is no monthly or yearly service bill.
  • + 3
 I would like to have one. It would be cool
  • + 3
 Getting lost is where its at!!*Thats an adventure for you..
  • + 1
 Viewranger app costs £14 with downloadable OS map tiles and battery life on phone will last me 8hrs. Works anywhere and always accurate. Save your money.
  • + 2
 Keep your weird beeping computer thing at home and lets ride.
  • + 1
 Garmin?? Naaaa... I'm Hapy with my Xperia X8 with Maverick GPS and Endomondo...
  • + 1
 Its all fun and games until your $450 Garmin breaks of the handlebars in an otb incident.
  • + 2
 "Television PVR" ?
  • + 1
 "Personal video recorder"
  • + 3
 Guessing it is like tivo, but more polite, seeing as how it's Canadian.
  • + 0
 Maverick Android App. That is all!
  • + 1
 What year is it?
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