• Holby City

    I disagree Matt. I think moving away from the troublesome touchscreen is a big positive. The touchscreen could at times be imprecise, especially with winter gloves, and the swiping function was never great. Sure, at first the buttons take some getting used to but I’ve been using it for months and I have to say it’s a better experience on the bike. Setting the thing up and changing settings is a hassle but you don’t tend to do these things on the bike anyway.

    • Daffy

      I agree as I prefer buttons but the layout is terrible. I seem to always press a button accidentally when fitting or removing from the mount.
      Also, why can’t they use Connect to set up the data screens. It is so annoying and cumbersome having to use the buttons on the device.

      • Timiji

        I don’t know coding, or Garmin as anything other than a user, but given the flexibility of things like Di2, I have to wonder if it might be possible to re-code button function on the GPS… if so, patent pending! Feel free to give Garmin my number

  • 8/10? Really? 6/10 at most…. And here’s why…..

    I recently upgraded from an Edge 800. Well, I assumed it would be an upgrade. It was more of a side step that I’m still learning to love. Because for this much coin I have to love it. I need to love it. The alternative would be to piff it off the Kinglake climb and forget about it… and I can’t afford to do that.

    Out of the box, I’d naively assumed it was touch screen. I mean, it is 2015 isn’t it? Nope. Just a stack of buttons. Want to set up your training screens? Then set aside at least 30 minutes of frustration. And try not to kill any pets throwing it across the room when you lose all your screens on the next firmware update.

    First ride impressions? It works. Good enough.Then it randomly rebooted mid ride. And again on another ride. Seems v3.00 of the firmware fixed this minor annoyance.

    The default maps! What the hell were they thinking? Complete garbage. Sure, let’s head off to DC Rainmaker, click around, plug it in, download this, update that…. but honestly. For $400 it is cheaper and less hassle to ride around with a few copies of the Melways strapped to my handlebars, flipping through pages as the ride progresses.

    Live Segments – On by default… beep segment starting… beeep beep beepepepepe “off segment”… That’s all I ever got. It seemed to pick up segments I wasn’t even on. Feature disabled quick smart. Blergh.

    FE-C Equipment Control – A nice gimmick. The actual take up/use would be so minimal this isn’t even worth mentioning. With no touch screen it takes a finger busting billion presses to connect and control a smart trainer. Yes it works, but it is so much easier to whip out your smart phone and use the touch screen on that to control it. Feature is just not practical.

    Device storage – Way way way way too small. One more ‘way’ and the device would be full kind of small. 2015. Damn it Garmin. Don’t cut these kind of corners. Not for this kind of money.

    Compatibility – My Wahoo Tickr ANT heart rate monitor isn’t compatible with the 520. No reason given, it just doesn’t work. That was less than ideal. Nothing from Garmin when asking…. Wahoo support have been going above and beyond giving people a promo code to upgrade to the TickrX or TickerRun which are Edge520 compatible.

    If you’re read this far, cheers for hanging in there…. Now the good bits…..and there are a few.

    – The bluetooth SMS/call alerts are BRILLIANT! And is the one feature that keeps me using the 520 and not giving it an early grave off a cliff. I’ve written a small post on my site about how teams may even use the 520 as in-race communication. Nifty, and evil.

    – The pooling of sensors. No more “Multiple power sensors found” frustrations. It seems to work really well when you’ve got a few bikes / different power meters / trainers / etc.

    – Ride upload/sync to Garmin Connect is also very handy. Something all newer Edge units have, but something I never had with the 800.

    With the Edge1000 being way too big and costly, and the other model Edge units being a little out dated, the 520 is the reluctant choice for me at this point in time as the head unit that’s ok enough to use. (Cheers to Bont model Nick Bensley for proving the PC8 wasn’t worth the wait, and confirming my Stockholm syndrome with Garmin units is justified)

    So all up i 6/10 from me. Hoping this will improve with more firmware/feature updates in the near future.

    • Martin Emptage

      a lot of the points you have made I agree with, especially with the device storage limitation, its 2015 FFS not 1998!

      With the TICKR which model are you using? I have the TICKR Run and I have not had any problems connecting it to the 520.

      • It was the base model Tickr, a few years old. ANT and BTLE, which I’ve always assumed are standard stuff. The Tickr works on everything else I sync it up to. I’ve since upgraded to the TickrX and it hasn’t missed a beat, so to speak.

    • ok, post my rant about the maps I got off my arse and did something useful. :) Here’s the maps for all of Victoria and most of SA (well, the parts you ride and don’t get murdered in, much). Quick and easy download/install for Edge 520 owners.

      • Nitro

        So to summarise – The review comments about the maps triggered a rant about the maps, which triggered something useful which now fixes the issues which caused the rant about the maps – Love it !

        • heh. I’ve put up with the stock maps for a few months. Finally did something about it after ranting about them. Thought it would help a lot of others too, so new post time! :)

    • scottmanning

      I agree with everything you have said, other than the 810 is a perfect replacement – short of the SMS notification. It will do call notification, but not SMS for some strange reason. Sure – has the base map problem but so does every navigation device that doesn’t have a map subscription included. Putting on OSM maps is really easy actually. Sockholm syndrome probably is accurate for me too – I hate garmin for many reasons, but the closest alternative is the PC8. It has an excellent screen, but the feature set is back in 2005, then there is the cost!

    • Chris

      My training requirements (ie, I’m not ‘training’ for anything) are a lot less than yours, but I’m very happy with mine.
      I run Stages and HRM and have Singapore maps installed and haven’t hit any restrictions at all in storage, function or compatibility.
      Strava live is good only for segment hunting, in my opinion – I have it all turned off and have two or three segments starred at any time, so they’re all that show up ever.
      Buttons are fine, it all works and does what I want it to do without any issues in the past few months.
      No complaints from me at all, so I’m just giving a counterpoint to your 6/10, really.

      • I assume the majority of users are like yourself Chris, where it does everything you need and you’re happy with the features you use. I’ll admit being an outlier when it comes to putting tech to the sword, and being unhappy with what might be an otherwise great option/solution for others. All good. :)

    • Arfy

      Would you recommend the 520 for a first-time Garmin user, or one of the other models?

      • Good question! I’d still recommend the 520 above anything else I’ve used to date. The set up is pretty straight forward, and with the newer firmware it does ‘just work’. There’s plenty of how-to guides and searchable forums with solutions to most issues that crop up once you start getting tricky with multiple ANT devices, FE-C control, Bluetooth pairing with iPhone 6s, etc.

    • Robert Silvers

      It could use more memory, but there is no sense complaining about the base maps since you need to load your region anyway even if it had more memory.

      I think the buttons are a plus. I don’t think touch screens work in the rain or with the thicker winter gloves. They do have the 820 for touch screen.

      My main complaint is that, after using an iPhone for my bike computer for 500+ miles, the mapping on the 520 is just so pre-iPhone. It has no real-time compass sensor to rotate the map as you turn. The screen does not update quickly enough. And the 15-hour battery life is only if the back-light and other features are off. There is no reasonably-fast way to zoom out and look around as you can on an iPhone.

      But I do like it. I like it more at $200 than $300 though, considering my alternative is using an iPhone app that is way better at mapping, though way worse for battery life.

  • Kieran Degan

    Question Matt: When linked to your ‘smart’ trainer, is it able to simulate segments/rides you have uploaded/ridden? If so, brilliant.

    • It does. There are a lot of smartphone and PC/Mac apps that do it a lot more efficiently, more so through the interface than the function.

      • Kieran Degan

        Thanks :) I was aware of the apps etc but I like the idea of having it all in one small unit. I agree though that the interface and screen images enhance the experience.

  • I actually really like the fact that it isn’t touch screen anymore. I’ve had my share of issues with touch screen on a couple of separate 510 units, and feel like I can rely on the buttons. Maybe for a similar reason why SRM PC8 has stuck to buttons over the initial early prototype touch screen? One other thing I enjoy for some reason is the indicator of your recovery during the initial 15 minutes of your ride (contrary to the recovery advisor which tells you how much recovery you should have between rides). It pops up after about 12 minutes saying “recover good/ok/average/poor” etc. I don’t need a garmin to tell me how my body is feeling, but it’s normally surprisingly accurate (ie when I start riding and feel horrible with heavy legs, it says my recovery was poor)

  • Stompin

    I’ll stick with my 510 until they release a 530 with generous device storage and reintroduction of a touch screen, that actually works.

    • Robert Silvers

      They did. It is the 820.

      • Stompin

        About time.

  • Sam

    With a wife and a baby, LiveTrack was definitely something that sold me 510, and the SMS notification alone is tempting me to upgrade to 520.

    • Find Friends in the Apple ecosystem is a lot easier to use if you’re an iUser, given LiveTrack has to sync via a mobile anyway. SMS alerts and call alerts for me is the killer app. I love this feature.

      • Nitro

        I was wondering if someone would say this. I’m no Apple FanBoy, but I am in love with the “Find my Friends” app.

        I have no doubt the app has been the cause of some relationship breakups, but when I’m miles from home its nice to know that the other half can checkup on me / see if I’m still moving…

        • MattyP

          I use Glympse from my android phone with the same effect from a tracking perspective.

      • Andrew

        I actually like the Get Home Safe app for its customisable tracking and alerting options. You can choose whether you give full stalker privileges or just if you run past your set time. Also less dependant on needing constant mobile coverage. Recommended

  • scottmanning

    I have an 810 and love the touch screen. There is a certain way they
    liked to be touched for sure but I don’t have any dramas now I have
    learned to use it. Remember it cannot be as responsive as say your smart
    phone because it is not capacitive which would not work very well in this application. I tend to use the side of my thumb, and a firm press.

    • Karl

      The 1000 is capacitive though. (And resistive). Works pretty well except in steady rain where it tends to lock itself half the time rather than switch to exclusively resistive.

      Just as a tip, on all Garmin Edge units it’s worth backing up the settings files (pretty much anything with .fit that’s not an activity). If things go screwy after an update, copy them back to the GarminNewFiles folder and they should be reset next startup.

  • scottmanning

    Just to be stickler;
    IP-X7 rating does in deed warrant the device for continuous immersion in water up to 1m deep for 30min. However IP-X7 and higher are not cumulative ratings. IP-X6 for example, warrants a device against powerful jet against to housing from any direction, and also the conditions of the ratings below 6. What this means is, Garmin have stated that no harmful amounts of water will enter the device if you drop it into a bucket for up to 30min – but NOT if you direct jets of water under pressure at it – or put another way, ride a speed into heavy rain.

    Having said that, I agree that the device is probably fine for the intended application, but would fail IP-X6 (or possibly lower) testing due to the port covers. A water jet would likely dislodge these and fail the test. Since they are pointing backwards, likely not an issue on a bike in the rain, or water splashed from a passing car, just don’t go hosing it off or something like that. I bring this up simply because stating that you can drop it into water can lull the unsuspecting into thinking any water that is not at depth is ok when it is not.

    • jules

      for warranty purposes, you were Just Riding Along so it doesn’t matter in practice ;)

  • jules

    I’m concerned that Garmin are heading towards developing their products as a ‘thick client’ – i.e. with in-built functionality that can be accessed via 3rd parties (i.e. on your computer, once at home). who really has time to use all this functionality while they’re on the bike?

    the maps idea is good, I’ll give them that. the Live Tracking of Strava segments – really? I have these (presumably Garmin segments) that pop up on my 510 and I want to kill it. just leave me with my numbers.. do I really need to know that the KOM already finished when I haven’t got half way yet?

    I like the touch screen. one-touch functionality is just better than two-touch select-and-confirm. sure the swipe action is clunky but surely they can improve on that?

    they need to get some of the basics right too – my 510 doesn’t like me pausing and then resuming rides. it seems that after a significant period in paused mode, the ride data becomes corrupted. hopefully that’s fixed on the 520.

  • Russ

    A question about Garmin devices in general: I recently purchased an Edge 510 after several years recording rides on my iPhone with Strava. I have noticed the elevation reading on the Garmin is significantly less than what I was getting on the iPhone. For example, what I believed to be approx 1,000 metres of elevation on my regular hills route on my iPhone is now about 770 metres on the Garmin. Does anyone know why there is a discrepancy ? And more importantly, which device is correct ?

    • jules

      I think the Garmin uses ambient air pressure to gauge elevation. this is only a rough approximation as air pressure varies with other factors, such as… air pressure.

      I don’t know about iPhones, maybe they also use air pressure but are calibrated differently. it’s possible that they match GPS position to a reference topographical map, which has published elevation levels against latitude/longitude. this is the obvious alternative method anyway. this would be as accurate as the map was made.

      • Arfy

        I’d guess that for iPhone it will use the GPS coordinates only. As long as you have a minimum of 3 satellites, you’ll get a location in 3D space. The more satellites the better, as they can factor out other variables that affect GPS signals such as atmospheric conditions to get a higher accuracy. This is also the same reason why GPS doesn’t work so well in mountains and in “urban canyons”, as you don’t have a wide view of the sky to receive signals from many GPS satellites.

      • Rodrigo Diaz

        That is correct. And in fact, Strava (and trainingpeaks, maybe others as well) allows you to “correct altitude” when using a Garmin or another source with barometric pressure. Mine is always off. Heck, mine says I’m climbing when on the trainer in the basement. So they always get the correction treatment.

    • Jeff

      Russ – here’s a pretty comprehensive explanation of why elevation measures can be taken with a pinch of salt:

      • Karl

        Nice article

    • Karl

      And, sorry to disappoint, but the 510 is usually the most “generous” of all the Edge units too…
      (edit. If you use Golden Cheetah, you can control the hysteresis – how much smoothing the altitude gain includes).

    • Ben Greeve

      The strava app on my android phone phone reads ~50% more elevation than my 510. Main example is riding up Mt Donna Buang and showing 1500m gain. I have had my 510 show exaggerated elevation gain in extremely strong winds, probably caused by my handlebar bag producing a low pressure zone.

  • Mr T

    I would never buy a Garmin again until they change their mount design. It is crap and all three of my Garmin’s went bouncing down the road when the tabs let go just after being a year old of course with no warranty claim possible. Never again, you need to be so careful when twisting it off mounts you don’t prematurely weaken those crap tabs although I think they wear out slowly anyway “about 12 months to wear out enough to make the unit fly off down the bitumen with no warranty”. Have a Pioneer Head Unit now and is still perfect with intelligent mount design!

    • Never good to watch $ bounce down the road! I’ve seen solutions like this: but not used them myself.

      • Daffy

        I just use the safety cord and loop it around the bar mount. Works for me

    • Chris

      Really? I’ve had three different Garmin units, three different mounts (Barfly, Garmin and K-Edge) in two countries on four bikes both road and serious MTB and I have never had a Garmin come loose, or even slightly look like coming loose. At risk of sounding like a fanboy (I offered a counterpoint to someone else above), I’d say either I’m very lucky or you’ve been very unlucky.

      • I’m the same as you Chris. I’ve ridden with the Edge 500, 510, 1000 and now 520 at different times, on a range of different bikes, only ever using the Garmin-supplied mounts. Never had a Garmin unit slip out of its mount. I’ve had my Edge 500 for maybe five years now and haven’t had any issues with it or the mount.

        • Chris

          Cheers Matt. My 500 started to have few issues after 4 years of constant use in Singapore and Australia (in that I lost data from two rides towards the end of that time after rock solid performance), so I was keen to upgrade when the 520 was launched. When I think of how many phones I’ve had in that time I’m very happy with its lifetime.

        • RayG

          I went OTB on my MTB, resulting in a lot of scratches on the screen of my 500 as it scraped along the ground. It stayed in the mount, though.

          I had it for 2+ years before upgrading and mounted and de-mounted it on an almost daily basis (>1 bike), even with one of those aluminium mounts that are supposed to wear through the tabs like a hot knife through butter. No issues with the mounting for me.

      • Mr T

        Troll the cycling web forums you will find heaps with the broken mount problem it is a poor design in my view. I guess you have been lucky or are naturally very careful when you twist it off. For me it was 3 strikes Garmin is out of favour now… I have used std and aftermarket mounts all with same effect eventually.

        • Ben Greeve

          More likely that people with broken tabs have been unlucky. People don’t post about things when theirs nothing wrong.

    • jules

      are you using an aftermarket mount? I’ve not had any issues with the Garmin mount and I’m a heavy user.

    • MattyP

      Replaced my 500 with a 510 earlier this year. The 500 was 6 years old & had very regular use & the tabs have both slowly worn off so it wouldn’t lock in to the mount on the bike. I’ve only ever used Garmin mounts. 6 years though is a lot longer that 12 months. That the dogears product exists suggests the problem isn’t isolated.

    • Robert Silvers

      There is a wrist-loop in the box that you are supposed to put on the unit and then loop it through the handlebars. It makes bouncing off just about impossible.

    • Gavin Barrett

      If you bought your Garmin in Australia, the warranty isn’t limited to just 12 months. Since 2011, all products sold in Australia by law must come with a Consumer Guarantee which lasts variable length depending on the quality promised and price paid. For Garmin products, I would expect that to be at least 3 years.

  • rosscado

    Matt, would you consider the Edge 520 a worthwhile upgrade from the Edge 510? The differences between them appear small (i.e. SMS notification, a slightly better screen and a smaller form factor).

    • I reckon it probably depends on how important maps are to you. The 520 has a pretty decent mapping setup (once you upgrade from the basemaps!) compared to the 510 which, if I’m remembering correctly, has no mapping at all.

      • jules

        510 has no mapping. like others before it e.g. 200, you can pre-program routes and it will guide with breadcrumbs. this has its limitations, including the time I found myself in the middle of a cow paddock on someone’s farm in Balliang.

  • pedr09

    I have an Edge 800 and was seriously looking at the 520 as a chrissy present for myself even though the 800 is still chugging along without a hitch. My biggest beef with Garmin is their HR straps of which I have had many over the 4 years i’ve owned the Edge 800. Every single time they start out great, then slowly, after about 2 months of light to medium use, they start throwing up nonsense numbers. Each week, the nonsense data lasts a little longer at the start of each ride until it’s all nonsense. My supplier generously ships me a replacement strap each time and as soon as I roll out with the new strap, it’s all good again for about 2 months… I wash the strap regularly, I unclip the transmitter after each ride and I have tried putting a new battery into the transmitter when it starts acting up but nothing seems to work. I don’t have a PM as yet and so it makes training almost impossible. Anyone got suggestions about what could be happening or perhaps a third party strap which would be more reliable? Garmin have proven to be useless in terms of help.

    • Had the same issues myself. I went with the Wahoo Tickr (ANT and BT) and haven’t looked back. There was a small issue of the older Tickrs not being compatible with the Edge520 (and 1000?) but an upgrade to the TickrX (thanks to Wahoo support!) fixed that. Highly recommend you try the TickrX/Run. And let us know somewhere/somehow your results!

    • GT

      pedr09 – I had same issue with the Garmin Premium soft strap with the clip on Sensor. I purchased a Polar Soft strap, which has the clips /stud things in the correct place and the Garmin sensor clips straight on and never had a problem and is probably 2-3 years old now

    • pedr09

      Thanks Shane and GT. I had a feeling the fix was going to be a different strap. I’ll try those out.

    • ktula

      Try an optical-based heart rate monitor like the Mio FUSE. With a battery life of about 20 hours (with the display off), i find the Mio FUSE a good replacement for chest strap. Nowadays, i only use my Wahoo TICKR X when i am racing cyclocross. For all my other cycling activities, the Mio FUSE works well.

  • Bikefreek

    Is it worth noting that Gamins radar will work with the 520 and the 1000 but not others? I dont have the technology myself (still rocking the 500) but from what I have read, the 520 could be a good purchase if you ride in traffic and plan to utilise the radar option in the future.

    • Karl

      Does it detect magpies?

  • Sammy

    Loving my 520, except for a few little criticisms:
    – Start & lap buttons on bottom of unit make it very hard to press them with garmin mounted out front very close to stem (so rearward location on barfly).
    – Setting up data fields is painful (touch screen would help). Can’t make data fields so there is one or two big ones with small half width ones at the bottom (like the edge500). I’d usually have HR & power up top and big with other metrics smaller.
    – live segment screen can be obtrusive at times, popping up when you want to look at data. simple enough to turn off though as required.
    – notifications work for sms, calls and email, it’d be nice if they could work with FB msgs, even snapchat or other social media (this is getting super picky but!). It’d be cool if it controlled music player on phone too.
    – maps are pretty much useless, as panning and zooming is really not user friendly, touch screen would help.

    • jules

      why why why do you want facebook updates on your Garmin???!!!!!!!

      • Sammy

        haha, was actually waiting for a response like this :P I did says facebook ‘msgs’ haha! Me and my mates pretty well use snapchat of FB messenger to communicate, sms is dead! (only use that with my parents now!)

        • Kids these days! haha. For anyone wondering, the SMS alerts on the Edge 520 work with iMessage too. (That messaging thing most of the older non Tind….er… SnapChat generation use)

          • Sammy

            Haha, maybe if it had touch screen I could swipe through tinder mid ride, wicked!! ;)

            • Slippery Pete

              Imagine the diversions you would end up making ;-)

  • Dbmurray

    I’m consistently baffled why Strava live segments is considered a good idea…

    • Because marketing! It is pretty cool in theory. It’ll appeal to the eager KOM hunters. It’ll get the device/Garmin noticed. It being used or not doesn’t really matter.

    • Chris

      I’ve used it. It’s handy if you care about Strava segments and want to test yourself by that metric is pretty much all it is. It tells you when the segment starts, which is nice as it’s not always clear when you’re out there and it gives you a simple “3 seconds ahead” or behind or whatever on your target, your PR or the KOM or whatever you want. It counts down the distance to the end of the segment, and then tells you how you went.
      If you don’t care about Strava, that’s fine. Turn it off and you’ll never see it.
      Even if you don’t care about KOMs for segments and whatnot, I imagine it might be handy to set literally anything as a private segment and then use it against goals you set yourself.

    • Shane Ingram

      I was seduced by the marketing and thought Strava live segments it would be a good idea. The novelty lasted about three days for me before I turned it off.

    • Karl

      They do tend to be annoying. If you want a little more control (but more fussing around). will let you set up Strava segments without having to link to Garmin Connect. It does mean you won’t get updates until you manually do it and doesn’t embed segments in courses yet. (Segments only work when following a course if they are embedded in that course).

  • thomasrdotorg

    I like it- dont miss the touch screen- but if one was able to set up the data screens on your computer and then just send them straight to the device via Garmin Connect that would save a lot of anger!

  • Roger That

    All I want on a Garmin interface is three settings:
    1. How long before my legs hurt?
    2. How long before my legs really, really hurt?
    3. How long before I’m completely out of breath?

    Sometimes the obvious is overlooked.

    • Soon… haha. As @brendan_canty:disqus mentioned, the ‘recovery advisor’ is kind of along these lines. It’ll tell you how long until your legs won’t hurt. Accuracy aside, they are doing some interesting things with the data these units collect. A few years down the track your request might not be that far off the mark.

    • RayG

      How many more turns can I take before I get dropped? Except that, if you’re already thinking that, the answer is none.

    • Karl

      Sounds like an application for Connect IQ :-)

  • Eat More Lard

    Anyone used it for navigation (I’m talking turn by turn) reliably? I’ve been running a 800 for almost 2 years and I’ve had too many occasions where the things has shut itself down mid ride and refuse to power back up. It happened to me on unfamiliar territory on a C2C in the UK one time and I had to follow my nose across deepest North York moors (which was actually kind of fun!). It’s got to the stage where if I am using the nav function I also have the old (as in almost 6 years and still going) 500 in my back pocket to at least capture the ride even if my route is hosed! I only bought the 800 on special for the navigation :(

  • Dom

    Garmin have also done away with touch screens in many of their new marine depth sounding units as well, as have other electronics companies with devices that are used in the open elements. Just because you’re phone and laptop are touch screen doesn’t mean every device should be, they (touch screens) are one more thing to go wrong, don’t work in certain conditions, and can be a right pain in the arse to fix.

  • Paulo Casacão

    Wath Edge do you think is better, The 520 or the 810, the price diference is small, and I want to make a good buy, Thanks!!!

    • ktula

      If you need turn-by-turn navigation, the 810 will be a better choice, granted that device is 3 years old. If you don’t need turn-by-turn navigation, i would go with the 520.

      • Paulo Casacão

        Why would you go with the 520?

        I do not know if i´m going to use de turn-by-turn navigation, but I thought that for the low price diference it would be a better choice,what’s best in the 520 that will be useful? Thank you!

  • Hamish Moffatt

    Buttons?! My Edge 305 is going to be cool again any year now.

    I hope there’s an 820 soon. My 800 is dying, and I need maps.

  • Paolo

    Hi was wondering if u can help me.. My garmin esge 520 is currently in 2.6 version.. I want to update it but the problem is my garmin express on my MAC say its up to date..


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