Day’s Verse:
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.
James 1:2-4

I have NaNoWriMo brain right now, but I’m shifting gears because I want to talk briefly about the replacement I bought for my sad, squashed Garmin Edge 605.

REI is having a 20% off sale right now, so I decided to go there and buy a Garmin Edge 800. Garmin has changed their Edge lineup significantly, and the 800 is the only one that still displays maps, a feature I really want (as per my 2008 blog post, Directionally Inhibited). As it turns out, the 20% off excluded “devices using GPS,” so I didn’t get my $90 off. As REI members we’ll still get $45 back at the end of the year, though, so that’s something. Plus I was able to obtain it in time for the Sunday’s ride. After a mere one day on the data wagon, I fell back off again, gladly.

I bought the Edge 800 on Saturday afternoon after we finished moving dirt. I used it on my short Sunday ride, and while out Monday and Tuesday for errands. I have not yet used the navigation features, but I can speak to using the device in general. Oh, and I didn’t buy the heart rate monitor, cadence monitor, power meter, or rocket pack, either.

My experience so far with the Edge 800 all by itself:

1. I love the touch screen. I always found the little toggle button on the 605 irritating to use, but got used to it because in 2008, when I bought it, touch screens weren’t exactly mainstream. Now if it’s not touchscreen, you wonder why not. Garmin did pretty well with the touchscreen features; my only complaint is the hard-to-use vertical scrolling. But being able to change the data display by pressing and holding more than makes up for any annoyances.
2. The elevation data is noticeably more reliable. By now I have a sense of how big hills are, and about how many feet I can expect to climb on a given ride. My 605 would report head-inflatingly large climbing values, I think because it relied entirely on GPS satellites for vertical data. The 800 (like all new Garmin bike computers, I think) uses a barometer for a more accurate elevation estimate.
3. The user interface is improved. Features are listed in logical places. Sometimes the sub-menus seem excessive, but mostly they’ve organized it into many menus with a few sub-menu options each. This may be annoying in the future, when I don’t want to go 4 menus deep to simply turn a thing on or off again. That said, on to number 4.
4. There are many shortcuts to the most frequently used features, so you don’t have to go 4 menus deep to change those features.
5. The device itself feels sturdy and well-built, although I’m skeptical about whether it can take the same kind of beating my 605 took before finally giving up the ghost. Being a touchscreen, I won’t be able to abuse the screen as thoroughly as I did with the 605.
6. It finds satellites just fine.
7. I like that I can put my own background picture on it. That is a neat feature. The background in the screen shots, below, is I took in Ashland this summer.

Here are some screen shots (yet another neat feature).
The home menu.

Main training screen.

Second training screen.

Settings menu.

Training screen sub-menu.

Training screen sub-sub menu. This would be annoying, except that the navigation goes quickly thanks to the touchscreen.

Summary: I’ll have to see how the navigation features work before I confirm that it’s worth $450 + sales tax. But so far it’s performed well and I anticipate that, once I get used to the screen configuration, I’ll find it as useful a tool as its predecessor. (I would set the screens up the same as my old one, but despite having looked at the old one thousands of times, I still can’t remember exactly what went where. I just know when I look at this new configuration that data isn’t displayed quite right.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.