Friday, July 22, 2016

Garmin Edge 820

Left to Right: Edge 500, Edge 820, Edge 800

First Thoughts

I am not totally sure why I jumped on the 820 so quickly. The 800 has been my trusty device for a number of years now and has weathered many changing and hard seasons. It has survived through torrential downpours and never skipped a beat. It has always recorded my rides and helped my navigational confusion at strange rural crossroads at times. After reading DC Rainmaker's detailed review I noticed a few new Bells & Whistles that triggered an impulse buy from Clever Training a few days before the first shipping. 

As I waited a few days for the official release and then the quick shipping from Clever Training I was kind of scolding myself for jumping on the 820 so quickly. I mean I already have two very reliable head units in the 500 and 800 and what was the gain? Well to be honest not really a whole lot when one considers the cost and how it is not going to make my cycling fitness any better, but so far I am very happy with the purchase.

Indoor Training

But what I have noticed for this first week of indoor training I am liking some of those Bells and Whistles. Being so familiar with the 800 it took me a few more minutes to break from the traditions to a new format and Activity Profiles, but after I got the gist of things I quickly moved on and setup a Training Profile that will be for outdoor rides and an Indoor Profile for the obvious. However, both have been setup with generally the same screen displays, but with the Indoor Profile the GPS is turned off so that my street address is not going to show up on Strava or elsewhere, hopefully. 

The 820 also keeps a pool of sensors in general and once these sensors are found the first time I have noticed they pair up very fast. As soon as the Quarq ELSA signal is picked up I have the calibration set for auto and it cues me to zero the offset of the power meter before moving on. In general it just seems like the 820 has, in a sense, removed some steps from the moment you power up the computer to the time you are ready to roll. The very first day I spent a little more time trying to sync via Bluetooth post training to Garmin Connect app on the iPhone. However, from the second day on the ride syncs up to Garmin Connect online automatically and sends it on to Strava, which also is saving me some extra steps following my indoor training. I am still connecting to my laptop via the USB cable to upload to WKO. I have not setup the WiFi on the 820 and do not know if this will work yet or not. 

I was also considering the FE-C ability to control the Kickr through the 820, but the more I read it does not sound appealing or it does not read as if it works in the way that I want. So I am not sure I am even going to attempt setting it up. Maybe someday I will.

Although the display is a slightly smaller than the 800 I do not feel like I am missing anything for viewing. I can see all of the display metrics with reading glasses, which I have to use anyway at this point in life. I would need a laptop screen to see without them so indoor I use reading glasses and out on the road I use Dual Wear cycling sunglasses. I have had some minor issues with the touch display sensitivity indoors where a drop of sweat or a slight brush of the towel guarding my bike from sweat changed the screen display, but not a big deal. At this point I have not seen a single hiccup in pairing to sensors or recording training or syncing data post training. 

Outdoor Training

Other than a couple display tweaks that I needed to make roadside the 820 worked really well for yesterday's 80 mile ride. The battery was down to 77% at the end of the close to 5 hour ride. Flipping the screens on occasion with finger swipe is easy with dry fingers. I had a little more trouble a couple times when my hand and fingers were wet with sweat. I wonder how it will be during a rainy ride, but then again it is not like I switch displays much and especially on a wet ride.

Anytime a new Garmin Edge comes out there is a time of hesitation when many will want to see what people's experiences are and if the product is buggy. From the ride yesterday I can personally say that this particular unit worked well enough that I would feel comfortable selling either the Edge 800 or 500. I will keep one of them just as a backup, but from this point forward I feel confident enough that the 820 will be my primary head unit. 

If you are looking for a detailed review and you have not yet read DC Rainmaker's review I suggest taking a look. The link is provided above.

Update 10/16/2016

Firmware Update 4.10 Screen Sensitivity
I was hoping for a good fix, but based on a simple test after the update I believe my unit still may be too sensitive for a raining ride. I will probably need to stick with either the Garmin 800 or 500 for those rides. I've had a few sweaty indoor and rainy outdoor rides with the screen changing display and even settings. Ugh!

Sensitivity Set On Low

Sensitivity Set On Medium

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