New Garmin Edge 810 and 510 launched
8th January 2013
In the 90’s many cyclists used seemingly sophisticated heart rate monitors, but then along came Garmin with all the same training aids, plus GPS allowing you to track your rides, and raised the bar so high that Polar’s and other’s heart rate monitors seemed immediately dated, almost obsolete.
Now we can’t imagine cycling without our Garmin’s. They’ve become an integral part of our cycle training. Even with the proliferation of phone based apps like Strava and online training systems like Bkool, which we reviewed recently, we still use our Garmin’s on every ride, even every turbo session, uploading our data religiously to Garmin Connect, just to be safe…
However, up until now there’s not been a major advance in the various iterations of Garmin cycle computers’ abilities. Sure they have introduced touch screens and full colour maps, but an Edge 305 or 705 would still do pretty much everything that a more up to date 800 can do. So we have been eagerly anticipating the next big thing to replace Garmin but despite competition from Bryton and others, plus all the advances we’ve seen in online training and the focus on smartphone apps, it would seem that only Garmin can really better a Garmin. Someone very clever there has sat down and actually thought about how you use the Garmin head unit and how best you could improve its usability in the real world.
Enter the Garmin Edge 810 and 510 with some shiny new features including LiveTrack, auto upload, social network sharing, improved training metrics and weather updates. But these are all side shows to the real innovation, and its such a simple thing to do but is the most important – smartphone connection.
The 810 has acquired some neat SRAM like graphics and the 510 gets a bigger 2.2 inch screen. If you want to use GPS to navigate rather than just record where you have been, then the 810, with its 2.6 inch screen, is still the only one that does that. As a consequence, the 510 has a longer battery life though at 20 hours compared to the 810’s 17 hours.
Garmin have also launched a new mounting bracket to place the computers more aerodynamically out in front of the stem.
Both the Garmin Edge 810 and 510 have LiveTrack which allows people you invite to view your ride in real time which is fun but also offers a clever safety feature should you get into difficulties and need assistance.
However, the really big news which has got us all excited, is the phone connectivity of the Garmin Edge 810 and 510 via bluetooth which improves usability enormously. It means that you can, with the aid of a Garmin Connect app, use your phone to set up your cycle computer. How handy is that? It is genius. We all have our phones on us 24/7 and being able to use it to quickly set-up the head unit is ideal. The app connects you into the Garmin Connect site, so you can access routes on your phone and send them to the Garmin head unit. Simple.
Once finished you can also upload ride data into Garmin Connect using this phone link rather than having to connect the head unit to your laptop which can be a pain.
Finally the phone link also allows weather data from your phone to be displayed on the Garmin computer which is certainly handy in the UK. This is all great news and we see this as a major step forward.
Add these new features to the far superior battery life and barometric altimeters (even if you do have to employ the elevation correction tool on Garming Connect after most rides), plus better crash and weather resistance of the Garmin Edge 810 and 510 units, then you have really good reasons not to rely on your smartphone as a cycle computer.
The Garmin Edge 810 and 510 may not be hugely different from the 800 or 500 but Garmin have really thought about how they can enhance usability for cyclists like us who use these units day in day out.
To promote this, Garmin and their Team Garmin-Sharp stars, have produced a cool little film designed to make us all jealous of the pro-lifestyle, which you can ‘enjoy’ below, though we can’t help feeling that Vaughters looks a bit Bond-villainesque at the close – all he needs is a white cat! The second video runs you through the main features in more detail.
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