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by Matt de Neef
June 19, 2014
TECH NEWS BROUGHT TO YOU BY BIKEEXCHANGE
The Edge 1000 is Garmin’s latest GPS-enabled cycling computer and the highest-specced unit in the Edge range which features the existing Edge 510 and Edge 810. CyclingTips editor Matt de Neef spent a few weeks with the Edge 1000 and wrote the following review.
The first thing you notice when you pull the Edge 1000 out of its packaging is just how big it is. It’s noticeably larger than both the Edge 510 and 810, considerably bigger than the Edge 500, and almost as tall as an iPhone 5. Regardless of where you decide to mount the unit — it comes with a stem mount and an “out-front” mount — the Edge 1000 takes up a lot of room and takes some getting used to.
The Edge 1000 has a waterproof rating of IPX7 meaning it can “withstand incidental exposure to water of up to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes” so you don’t need to worry if it starts raining while you’re riding. Garmin claims that the screen works fine in the rain and/or while wearing gloves and they’re right, but with gloves in particular you need to be far more precise and deliberate when using the touchscreen.
When we reviewed the Garmin 510 last year one of the complaints we had was that the touch screen just wasn’t as good as you might expect if you own an Apple or Samsung smartphone. And while the touchscreen on the Edge 1000 still isn’t quite at that level, is considerably easier to use than on the 510.
As well as the touch screen, the unit also has three buttons, just like the 510 and 810: a power button, a start/pause button, and a lap button.
You’ve got two options when buying the Edge 1000: buying just the device or the performance bundle. With the device-only option you’ll get your usual goodies — mounts, USB cable, quick-start guide etc. — and with the bundle you’ll get all that plus a speed sensor, a cadence sensor and a heartrate monitor and strap.
The speed sensor is a cinch to install — you simply wrap it around your rear hub — and the cadence sensor is similarly easy to install– it just attaches to your non-drive-side crank using the rubber bands provided. (Note: if you’ve got a crank with a Stages powermeter installed, you won’t be able to attach the Garmin cadence sensor. But you don’t need to — the Stages measures and transmits cadence via ANT+ already).
When you first turn the Edge 1000 on you’ll be asked to select your language of choice, your preferred units of measurement and your time format, and then you’ll be asked to enter your age, gender and height. Then it will take you to the home screen where you’re able to, among other things, ride a pre-loaded course, do a pre-loaded workout, use the pre-loaded maps to find your way somewhere (more on mapping below), view segments (see below), or simply start recording a ride (justpress the start/pause button on the front of the unit).
Garmin Edge 1000 on the out-front mount with the home screen showing.
I don’t want to think about how many hours of my life I’ve wasted standing at my front door waiting for my Edge 500 to find a GPS signal. But with the Edge 1000 it’s literally done within a second or two, thanks to GLONASS, a GPS network run by the Russian Aerospace Defence Forces. (Note: the Edge 510 features GLONASS but the 810 doesn’t.)
Once you’ve started your ride, you can use the unit’s gigantic screen to display as much (or as little) data as you want. You can have up to five screens with 10 pieces of data on each, with everything from current speed to average speed; from current power to average power for the last lap; from temperature to elevation. These can all be customised through the settings page, or by pressing and holding a data field while riding, then selecting another field from the list that pops up.
In addition to those five screens of data you can also choose to display a map page (which can also have two data fields at the bottom), a compass page, a page showing the elevation profile of your ride thus far, a lap summary (which can show a range of data for the laps on your ride; great if you’re doing hill repeats, for example), and a virtual partner (which will ride at a set speed and show you the gap between you and it).
All these screens and all this data will likely be overwhelming for most riders, but then again it’s always nice to have options, particularly if you’re a stats junkie. For example, you might have one screen set up with basic data (speed, time, average speed etc.), one for climbing (speed, heartrate, power, VAM, altitude, elevation gain, gradient) and one for time trialling (speed, heartrate, power, lap time etc.) I ended up riding with just two data screens with about seven fields on each, plus the map and the profile.
So what’s new in the Garmin Edge 1000 that you can’t get in the 510 and 810? A quick look at this features comparison table on the Garmin website seems to show just two main differences aside from the bigger screen: round-trip routing (which I’ll discuss in a moment) and a training calendar. This calendar essentially allows you to look back through recent rides that you’ve done (and which are saved on the unit) and pull up the stats from those rides, including the map, elevation profile, lap details and so on.
It’s a cool little feature but the question is: how often would you use it when you can do the same thing using a service like Strava, Garmin Connect, Training Peaks, Cycling Analytics, or any number of other options? I know I’d prefer to crunch the numbers back at my computer rather than on the Garmin unit while out for a ride.
The launch of the Edge 1000 coincided with the launch of a new, sleeker version of Garmin Connect, as well as Garmin Connect segments. For anyone that’s used Strava, these segments will be very familiar — they are essentially defined sections of road with a leaderboard showing who’s fastest and how everyone who’s ridden that segment stacks up. This video shows you, in a nicely stylised way, how the feature works:
In order to ride a segment and get live feedback on how you’re going, you need to select the segment from a map in the browser-based Garmin Connect (or create your own from a ride you’ve done), then send the segment to your device using the free Garmin Express software. With the segment loaded on to the Edge 1000 you’ll get a notification when you’re near the start of the segment, an alert when you’re on the segment, second-by-second updates on how your time compares with the leader (or someone else you choose), and then, at the end, an indication of how well you went.
Speaking with our local Garmin rep it sounds like the Segments functionality is still a little way off being completely usable, particularly when it comes to leaderboards for new segments. Indeed, there is a “coming soon” banner over part of the Segments section of Garmin Connect at the moment, plus a noticeably small number of segments visible on the map as well.
The segments feature will also be available on the 510 and 810 in time, albeit only when they’re included in a course that’s loaded to the unit for riding. It’s also worth pointing out that Strava segments aren’t compatible with the Edge’s Segments feature. This isn’t all that surprising — Garmin is obviously keen to keep everything in house and make up some of the ground it’s lost to Strava on this front — but for the average punter it’s a little frustrating. For one thing it means having to create segments again from scratch (can we all agree that we don’t need five segments for every identical stretch of road?!)
But all in all, Garmin Connect Segments is a nifty feature. If you’re setting out to try and beat your best time on a particular climb, for example, simply load up the segment on to your unit and you’ll get real-time updates as you ride it. No need to press anything on the unit to start tracking your progress — as long as the segment is on the Edge 1000 and enabled, it all happens automatically.
One of the main reasons to go for the Garmin 1000 over, say, the Garmin 510 is the routable mapping functionality. From the home screen you simply select “Where To?” and you’re presented with a number of options for selecting where you want to go.
The Route Planner will create a route for you with multiple waypoints, and you can select these waypoints by simply dropping a pin on the map, searching through “point of interest” (POI) categories (such as food and drink, fuel services, entertainment etc.), inputting an address or, if you’re really keen, entering GPS coordinates.
Two ways of selecting where you want to go: dropping a pin on the map as part of the route planner (left), and choosing one of three ride options with round-trip routing (right).
Then there’s the “round-trip routing” feature which appears exclusively on the Edge 1000. You simply enter the distance you feel like riding and the unit will design three loop courses for you to choose from. You can see the map for each and how much climbing is involved before you commit.
I found myself using this function quite a bit. It provides the sort of serendipity I’m often looking for on a ride; the chance to explore new roads and see new areas without having to sit down and map out a route before the ride.
The routing algorithm is solid — it seems to avoid sending you down big traffic-heavy roads (for the most part), instead preferring to include quiet back streets. This is good and bad depending on the sort of riding you feel like doing — if you’re looking for a fast, uninterrupted ride, quiet back streets with lots of twists and turns aren’t going to be all that fun. But if you want something that takes you places you haven’t been before, the back streets option can be safer and more enjoyable.
Once you’ve got your route selected (by the Route Planner or round-trip routing) you press “Ride” and the navigation will kick in. The route is overlaid on the map and you’ll get audio and visual cues when you need to turn. You don’t need to keep the unit on the map screen — if you’ve got one of your data screens showing and there’s a turn coming up, the unit will flick over to the map for you, before returning you to the screen you were on once you’ve made the turn.
Simply put, the navigation on the Edge 1000 is great. Turn directions always pop up with enough time for you to react safely (unlike when you’re using breadcrumb trails on the Edge 500, say) and the instructions are almost always clear. It’s this mapping functionality that’s the biggest drawcard of the Edge 1000 and sets it apart from the Edge 510.
The Garmin Edge 1000 comes with all the connectivity options you would expect in a GPS unit in 2014. As well as ANT+ connectivity (to pull data from heartrate monitors, power meters and other sensors) and a micro USB port (for charging and for uploading ride data to your PC and/or the web) the Edge 1000 has WiFi connectivity for uploading rides directly to Garmin Connect. If you’ve got Shimano Di2 and the SM-EWW01 Wireless Unit, the Edge 1000 can also display real-time gear information, including the gear you are in and the remaining battery charge.
The Edge 1000 also features Bluetooth Smart connectivity which, when connected to a smartphone, opens up a range of features. These include having text messages or phone-call notifications pop up on the Edge 1000, being able to upload a completed activity to Garmin Connect via your phone’s data connection, weather updates, and LiveTrack.
With the Edge 1000 connected to your smartphone via Bluetooth Smart, you can open up the Garmin Connect smartphone app and start LiveTrack. You can then send the link to people via email or via social media and they’ll be able to see a map like the above. The map seems to update every 30 seconds or so.
LiveTrack was debuted with the launch of the Edge 510 and Edge 810 last year and we discussed it in our reviews of those products. LiveTrack doesn’t appear to have changed much in the past year, and it’s still a nifty little feature with a couple of drawbacks (including the fact it drains your phone’s battery).
It’s clear that Garmin is still in the process of ironing out a couple of issues in the Edge 1000 firmware, the most noticeable of these is the “touch screen locked” bug. Quite often I would go to swipe between screens or press something on the touchscreen and a banner would pop up on the unit saying “Touch screen locked” and I’d be unable to do anything. I tried updating the firmware but that didn’t help. In the end the only solution I could find was to pause and resume the activity, and even after that it would still happen intermittently.
I’m not the only one that’s had this issue and Garmin tells us they’re working on a bug fix.
I also had an issue with some incorrect navigation when riding courses I’d created and uploaded to the Edge 1000. This seemed to happen on bike tracks in particular, especially when those bike tracks were near major roads and the Edge 1000 thought I was riding on the road rather than the bike track.
These issues aside, the Garmin Edge 1000 is a great device that does virtually everything you could want in a bike-mountable GPS unit. The navigation and mapping features are solid, the connectivity options allow you to connect the Edge 1000 to a range of sensors and smartphone features through Bluetooth Smart, and generally speaking, the unit just works as you’d expect it to.
The mapping works just as you’d expect it to, giving you clear instructions with plenty of time to react. In this case I’m doing a U-turn at a roundabout and approaching a segment that I’ve loaded on to the device (designated by the green line).
The question you need to ask yourself is whether it’s worth going for the Edge 1000 over the 510 and 810. As mentioned above, Garmin’s own comparison table suggests that the only major differences between this unit and the others are the bigger screen, the round-trip routing feature and the training calendar.
Of course it’s also worth factoring in the price: roughly $650 for the performance bundle or $629 for just the unit, compared to roughly $544 for the Edge 810 bundle or $370 for the Edge 510 bundle.
You should also consider where the Edge 1000 sits in relation to comparable products from other brands. We recently reviewed the Magellan Cyclo 505H, for instance, which sits between the Edge 510 and Edge 810 in terms of price, but features mapping like the higher-specced unit.
Does the Edge 1000 have enough to set it apart from the Edge 510 or Edge 810 and justify the higher price tag? Probably not in my book. If I wanted mapping I’d likely go for the 810. That said, there’s no doubt that if you’ve got the funds to pick up the Edge 1000 you won’t be disappointed, particularly once the next firmware update comes out.
Edge 1000 on the stem mount. Chris Froome would be shattered — no stem is visible.
From left to right: Garmin Edge 500, Garmin Edge 1000 and an iPhone 5.
The new Garmin Connect dashboard.
What segment leaderboards look like on Garmin Connect.
Creating a new workout. Workouts comprise a series of efforts or rest periods which can be designed according to your training needs.
Here’s a workout I mocked up. You can then upload it to the Edge 1000, select it from the menu, and follow the prompts. Handy.
Segment leaderboards still aren’t 100% functional.
Compared with the number of Strava segments, there are very few Garmin Connect segments so far.
The cadence sensor mounted to the non-drive-side crank.
The speed sensor, mounted to the rear hub.
I’m falling behind on the segment.
Want to know how we arrived at the final score and what each of the ranking criteria mean? Click here to find out.