Garmin Edge 830 Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Awesome features and app environment, Bluetooth Smart and ANT+, good battery life, touchscreen, radar and bike light control
Cons: System might crash, navigation glitches, Strava Live Track integration issues
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Our Analysis and Test Results
For most riders, the Edge 830 will hit the perfect midline between ease of use and practical features and functionality. The touchscreen and intuitive interface and hard to beat. It was a huge relief to be able to easily, reliably navigate out to interesting sites (like the wicked climb you saw your buddy do on Strava a week ago, but can't remember how to get there) and even change out data fields without needing to slow down or stop on the side of the road to screw around with the computer.
We spent many hours staring at the Edge 830 alongside a handful of the best GPS bike computers, so we're confident when we tell you it's the top computer on the market and the winner of our Editor's Choice Award. The rest of this review will take you through our testing and research for this device and explain to you why we think it's the best bike computer for most riders. We also tell you where we believe it could use some improvement and detail the pitfalls you need to avoid or know before dropping cash.
Ease of Use
On the left side of the front edge is a small button for laps, and to the right of that is the start/stop button. Pressing the start/stop button will immediately begin a ride, and pressing it again will pause the ride; you'll receive a confirmation prompt on your screen to confirm you're finished recording. This cool cycling computer will also prompt you to start recording when it detects movement from sensors.
Battery life for the Edge 830 is one of the best among the high-fidelity GPS bike computers. Using its GPS, you can get about 20 hours of performance out of it, with life extended or shortened depending on how it's used and what extras you have turned on or off. With battery save mode, you might be able to double the life up to 40 hours - or you can pony up for the Garmin Charge™ power pack. It charges pretty quickly, a full charge from 0% after a few hours. The one annoying thing is that the computer remains on with the display at full blast when it's charging, which might be delaying the charge time.
For the most part, Garmin does an excellent job of keeping your phone and the Connect app connected to the Edge 830, but there can be some frustrations. The app seems to get particularly grumpy if you have multiple Garmin devices connected. It's also commonplace to find that the connection between your phone and bike computer is lost at some point on your ride, and you might not realize it until you get home and the ride hasn't automatically synced back into the cloud, which it should typically do. The cause here might be spotty cell reception and interference with the Bluetooth signals.
Ease of Setup
The Edge 830 was one of the easier cycling computers to set up, and it's one of the big reasons it received our Editor's Choice Award. We broke this category down into two aspects: physical attachment and programming. We generally take the perspective of the average user here, not a mechanic or techie.Physical Attachment
When you get your bike computer, the first thing you'll probably want to do is get it attached to your bike. The Edge 830 comes with two mounting options. The first is the standard mount, and it's probably the easiest of any bike computer. It's a simple round piece with a few hooked flanges that serve as the anchor points for two rubber bands that affix the mount to your stem.
The second option is an out-front mount. It's easy to attach, but does require a little more effort. It's secured on your handlebars with a hex bolt (hex key included). Garmin includes two optional rubber shims to help it properly fit your handlebar diameter. The beautiful thing about the out-front mount is that its connector is hinged, so you can easily open it to fit over your handlebars and then close it tightly without scraping or possibly snapping it if you're spreading it too wide. There's actually a third option available for mountain bikes. It's similar to the out-front mount, but it bends back in over the stem to be a bit more secure when you're slamming through the woods.Programming
Programming can be super simple for the Edge 830. It comes with a good deal of preset views that will probably suit most riders most of the time. You'll need to create a user profile, which will store your basic biometrics like age, weight, and height. That's linked to your Connect account. Then you'll need to set up at least one activity profile, which will be where you change the data displayed on the head unit.
Most of the biometric data should be pulled off of the Connect app, so there's no need to input that information from the device. What you can't do from the app is change the data displayed the way you can with Wahoo's ELEMNT app, so it's not quite as easy to make changes, but it's still easy enough if you're not doing a complete revamp of all your screens in the same sitting.For an individual field change, all you have to do is touch the field and hold for about 3 seconds, then press it again. You'll be taken to the category overview page to select from Speed, Distance, Timer, and a range of other broad data categories. Selecting a category will drill down into specific data fields for that category. For example, under Speed, you'll find things like Average Speed, Max Speed, Lap Speed, and quite a few others. Select from here, and it now pops up on your display screen.
The cool thing about the Edge 830 is the way you can download and interact with data fields, apps, and widgets, found in the Connect IQ™ Store. Happily, the download and management process for apps is relatively quick and easy. You can download these new items with your computer using a USB cable or by downloading the IQ app on your phone and using Bluetooth. Rearranging and organizing all of your new fields and apps is also pretty intuitive; simply navigate to the profile, select data screens, and use the arrows to move up or down. For all the customization available, the process is not too cumbersome, but depending on your degree of engagement, it can be hours of fiddling and distractions.
One of the strongest features of this computer is its communication capabilities. It uses Bluetooth Smart, ANT+, and Wi-Fi, making it possible to connect with just about anything, anywhere. Uploads, downloads, syncing, messaging, notifications, sensor-pairing, updates, it's all really easy with this device. We break the remainder of this section down into Connected Features, Navigation, and Training. There will likely be some overlap, so the categories are just meant to help break up the features, don't panic if it's an inexact filing.Connected Features
- ACTIVITY UPLOADS: Once you're finished with your activity, uploads are immediately uploaded.
- BIKE ALARM: Crazy. You can set this so that an alarm goes off and sends you a text alert if your bike moves.
- FIND MY EDGE:
- VARIA™ COMPATIBILITY: This allows you to pair with Varia™ rearview radar and lights, which tip you off to approaching cars and also get brighter and flash faster the closer the car gets to make you more visible.
- INCIDENT DETECTION: This is an awesome safety feature that will send you location out to your emergency contacts if it detects a crash.
- ASSISTANCE: Similar to the Incident Detection feature, this allows you to send out an automated message to your emergency contacts from the Connect App.
- WEATHER UPDATES: Real-time weather updates.
- STRAVA SEGMENTS: This is a downloadable widget that pops up on your 830 so you can challenge your PRs and hunt KOMs.
- LIVETRACK: This allows your contacts to follow your rides in real-time.
- GROUPTRACK: This allows you to follow others from the Edge 830 in your group on screen through the LiveTrack feature…and of course, everyone needs to be on a newer Edge like the 830.
- GROUP MESSAGING: this allows you to send out preset messages to those in your group.
- GARMIN CYCLE MAP: The device comes pre-loaded with searchable maps that include elevation and points of interest.
- TRAILFORKS APP: This is a free app found in the Connect IQ store. It integrates into the 830 to give trail information for MTB and offroading.
- FORKSIGHT MODE: This piggybacks off the Trailforks app to showing upcoming forks and greater trail detail.
- ROUTE CALCULATION: Routing is pretty quick with the Edge 830, but sometimes it can get a little confused as to where you are and takes some time to recalibrate.
- BACK TO START: This is exactly what it sounds like. Reroute back to the starting line from wherever you are.
- TRENDLINE POPULARITY ROUTING: This is something like an automatic heatmap. Garmin will use the most-used roads and paths to get you where you want to go.
- HEAT AND ALTITUDE ACCLIMATION: Ever wonder if you're still a flatlander struggling with the mountain air or if you're just out of shape or a snowflake who's maladapted after flying down to Florida in August? This feature will tell you if you've had enough time to run out the acclimation excuse.
- TRAINING STATUS: Easy to understand dashboards and analysis that give you feedback on training history, training effectiveness, and trajectories.
- DYNAMIC PERFORMANCE MONITORING: Get feedback on VO2 max, recovery time, training load, and all sorts of other interesting, ever-changing datapoints.
- GARMIN HEATMAPS:
- NUTRITION/HYDRATION TRACKING AND ALERTS: Ever get in the zone and forget that there are all sorts of responsibilities outside of hammering, like taking swigs from the bottle, then realizing after an hour of work that your bottle's full, your skin's dry and caked with salt and you're coughing up dust? Sounds like you might need an alert to remind you to sip sip.
- CLIMBPRO FEATURE: This allows you to check out climbs on a saved course, and once you start the climb, you get real-time data on gradient, distance, and remaining.
- CYCLING DYNAMICS: This allows you to see where you're applying pressure throughout your pedal stroke, but requires dual-sensing pedals.
- MTB DYNAMICS: This is similar to Cycling Dynamics, just geared to mountain bikes. It includes unique metrics for MTB like jump count, jump distance, and hang time.
- GRIT AND FLOW: These two data fields allow you to track the difficulty of a ride using GPS information (Grit) and how smoothly you descend (Flow). It's part of Garmin's cool suite of MTB measures.
- ADVANCED WORKOUTS: An integration with TrainingPeaks that will sync to your device where you can view and launch the workout.
The Edge 830, like many other GPS computers in Garmin's cabinet, is super easy to swap between bikes, terrains, and disciplines. You'll have no problem transferring between your road bike, track bike, and mountain bike. Its robust suite of navigation features and third-party apps make trail navigation much easier too, but you might encounter some issues if you're out in more remote areas and your phone drops service.
When it's all synced and service is strong, you'll be hard-pressed to find a better, more useful device. It even has MTB dynamics to show all sorts of interesting comparative measures like Grit (ride difficulty), Flow (descent smoothness), and jump counts, distance, and hang-time.It even has integrations like bike alarms, group messaging, incident detection, and Varia™ rearview radar and lights. That's before we even get into the Connect IQ™ Store and its dozens of apps that do everything from showing you weather radars to connect with Strava to track your calories and hydration and so much more. It's a true workhorse, but it's not so complex that it overwhelms or limits what you can practically do with it, and that's why it remains at the top of our list as our Editor's Choice Award winner.
The Edge 830 is rated at IPX7, which means it's resistant to incidental water exposure and can take a meter of water for up to 30 minutes. That means it won't die if you drop it in a puddle or shallow creek, but it's not a dive computer, so don't try to take it out to the local reef or lake. If you want more details on the IP rating system, this electrical interconnect contract manufacturer does a fine job of explaining with a bit more detail. So far as these go, it's about the highest rating you'll find, even among the best GPS bike computers. It's about all you'll need for your bike. For that reason, it earns our de-facto highest rating.
The thing to keep in mind about most of these advanced touchscreen models is that their screens still don't like water. A little rain or sweat and conductivity tends to go all screwy. For the Edge 830, the best thing to do might be to put your screen in battery saver, so the display turns off, or to remove the head unit and put it in the plastic Ziploc you keep in your jersey pocket (we all know better than to leave home without a Ziploc, right?).
It's true that the Edge 830 comes with a premium, but it's also true that it's chock-full of premium features that are worth that price if you're a serious rider or do a ton of exploring in unfamiliar areas. If you're looking for a basic GPS bike computer, there might be some other models out there that will get you on the map and rolling, but if you have the extra cash to drop, you might as well pay up and get the Edge 830.
The Edge 830 is undoubtedly one of the best GPS bike computers out today. It's not the most expensive and might not have as much interactivity as top-end models like the Edge 1030. Still, it's the right computer for most serious riders who need a functional device with a decent amount of bells and whistles. It's not going to analyze soil samples or survey property lines, but it's perfect if you're out there trying to find new local routes using heatmaps, not get lost when you're exploring new areas and looking to collect good performance and biometric data like speed, power, heart rate, VO2 max, water loss, and an array of exertion metrics. And did we mention it's a touchscreen? It's an incredibly simple device to use on the road when you'd rather not stop by the side of the road to cycle through a bunch of different screens to adjust navigation or metric displays. We named this our Editor's Choice because it quickly became our go-to computer, and we suspect it will be the same for most other riders.
— Ryan Baham