Garmin Edge 800 review
It isn't cheap, but this cycling computer and satnav will ensure you get where you're going without faffing around with a paper map. It will also help you get fit too
Review Date: 7 Jun 2011
Price when reviewed: £400
Reviewed By: Jim Martin
The Edge 800 is Garmin's latest and greatest satnav for cyclists. It's a formidable device and, although the price will make even hard-core riders baulk, it's packed with features.
The device itself is smaller than you might imagine - more the size of a traditional mobile phone rather than an iPhone. It has a 2.6in screen but, unlike just about every other satnav around, has a transflective screen. This means it's perfectly viewable in bright sunlight without the backlight turned on. Viewing angles aren't particularly wide, though, so you may not be able to mount the 800 on your bike's stem as the bundled mount has no adjustment. In order to tilt the screen to the right angle, you'll have to mount it on your handlebars. Fortunately, it's waterproof, so you can use it in the rain.
There are various bundles available. This is the top-of-the-range package which comes with a wireless speed/cadence sensor, a 'premium' heart rate monitor with a soft strap, plus a 4GB microSD card pre-loaded with City Navigator: detailed road maps of Europe. The basic package, which contains the Edge 800 only, costs £310. Adding a heart rate monitor and speed/cadence sensor brings the price to £355. Another £40 buys the City Navigator maps. Alternatively, you can have the Discoverer maps, which contain full Ordnance Survey coverage of Great Britain. This is around £100 more expensive than the City Navigator maps.
As there are no wires, installation is straightforward. Just bear in mind that the speed/cadence and heart rate sensors may not be detected until you rotate the pedals or rear wheel, and actually put the heart rate monitor on. The quarter-turn mount for the Edge 800 is superb, holding the device secure but allowing it to be removed in the blink of an eye. Configuring the 800's settings will take a while longer, a process that's not helped by the poor documentation.
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