Thursday 19 September 2013

Garmin Edge 810 and 510

Quite some time ago the very nice people at Garmin UK were kind enough to let me borrow one of their excellent Edge 800 GPS computers. They also kindly let me borrow the newer updated Edge 810.   Garmin kindly let me have the 810 for a full month and it was a very dark day when I packed it up and sent it back to them!

This long overdue review is for the 810 but also for the smaller non mapping 510 which I didn't get to review from Garmin but liked so much decided to buy it myself. I will explain why I bought the 510 later in this blog post. Many of the features cross over both units and I will indicate this throughout the review.

I also have to say that this is a real world review. Garmin had the confidence to simply let me borrow their devices and review it as I found it. There was no editorial control and I was free to write whatever I liked. The only condition was that i had to return it!!

What you get inside the box - Garmin Edge 810

The box is quite small but packed with lots of goodies. Garmin sent me their top of the line Navigator version which has full UK and European road maps on a micro SD card, heart rate monitor, cadence sensor and out front mount.

You can of course buy the unit on its own which makes things cheaper but if you were to do this and buy all the extras as standalone items it would cost you a great deal more.

The contents

Hear Monitor

This si very easy to set up and get working out of the box. The elasticised and adjustable band goes around your chest and the small plastic coasted sensor you can see in the picture below clips on. The Garmin 810 and 510 both have an option that looks for this sensor and picks it up quickly. Once done it  starts recording data straight away.

It is a very useful bit of kit and allows you to see what your limits are and get to know your capabilities even better. Great for more serious training.

Heart rate monitor

Cadence Sensor

Again, very easy to set up. Once fitted this will measure your  pedalling cadence as you ride. It measures and reports to the Garmin your pedalling strokes per minute, providing valuable feedback. It is really good for discovering how your cadence changes over different terrains and points along a ride. It is also a means to improving your pedalling efficiency.

The cadence sensor

A bag of mounts and industrial O rings

The Out Front Mount is new for the Garmin 810 / 510. This allows you to place the device further out than the handlebars and makes viewing the device that bit easier. On the Brompton handlebars the mount proved to be too large on its own but packed with a the rubber protector from an old front light mount it was okay.

The out front mount

The actual Garmin Edge 810

The Garmin Edge 810 is almost identical to its older (and still available) 800. It is the same size, shape and has the same button layout. The screen has not been updated in terms of resolution but I have to say this is probably a good thing. If things had gone high definition the battery life would have surely been a great deal short than its 17 hours.

One clue to the fact that this is an 810 are the words 'Edge' and numbers '810' etched onto the device.

The 510 is smaller than the 810 but larger than the 200. 

The 510's clever mounting system - as seen on the 200, 800 and 810

The 200 and larger 510

GPS / Navigation / Accuracy

After turning the Edge 810 on it immediately starts to hunt for and lock on to satellites. This is very fast and from memory seemed to be slightly quicker than the 800 although there isn't much in it. I have written many times that I am completely useless when attempting to navigate anywhere. It really is a problem for me and I am just one of those people that frequently gets lost. The Garmin 810 with its maps of the UK and Europe allow you to enter postcodes, towns and even search for points of interest. In doing this a route is found very quickly and following it is fairly easy.

The 510 is equally as fast finding satellites if not a tad faster however it does not have the routing function that 810 has.

Bike Profiles

One great feature common to the 810 and 510 is the ability to assign different bicycle profiles to the device. A few items of information is required which then helps the device to provide bespoke data specific to the bicycle you are using. 

Screen Options 

The 810 and 510 can display lots of custom screens. As you can see in the pictures below, the screen on the left has 8 fields of data while the one of the right has 4. Customising them is quick and easy and there is a huge amount of information fields you can choose from. If you like you can have several screens with various information available by swiping with a finger left or right. It useful, functional and clever.

Another screen shows your elevation

You can of course set the brightness, have it say on or turn off after a few minutes. You can even set day and night backlight colours.

Virtual Ride Partner

Common to the 810 and 510 is a ride virtual ride partner. This allows you ride in real time against an imaginary cyclist. This could be you riding against yourself on say your route to work or it could be against someone who has downloaded a route to the Garmin Connect Website.

Connecting to an iPhone

On of the best functions of the 810 and the 510 is the ability to connect them to your iPhone, iPad or similar device. This function is quite simply brilliant.

Pairing the 810/510 to my iPhone was very easy. Simply turn on Bluetooth on the phone and it starts to look for devices. Once found it asks for permission to be connected to the Garmin Edge. Allowing this allows you to make the connection. 

Once connected you have lots of great things you can start doing. One great feature is 'LiveTrack.' This allows you to send an email, tweet or FaceBook post inviting whoever you choose to view the route you are about to it! There is a slight delay for the person taking you up on your offer but they can follow your progress on detailed maps. It is a great idea and works well. 

It is one of my favourite features for the 810/510 and I have used it on almost every big ride I have been on. Those on the receiving end tell me that 9 times out of 10 they haven't encountered problems using it.

The start of a LiveTrack route on the iPhone

Staring out viewed on an iPad

You can even get a hybrid view

Loading routes 

With the older 800, you had to plug in a USB cable and connect the device to your computer before routes could be uploaded to the excellent Garmin Connect Website. With the 810 and 510 this is not needed. As they can be connected to an iPhone or similar you can download the route you have just done straight on to your Garmin app. This lists the route and tapping on it brings up ride data and maps. Another click and you can have it loading itself to the Garmin Connect Website.

It works extremely well and on longer rides I have not only viewed the ride data and maps on my iPhone but loaded it up to my Garmin Connect account before I have got home. Along with LiveTrack it is perhaps my favourite feature.

Garmin Connect

The following pictures were taken from an iPad but they can be seen via the iPhone app and website. Garmin Connect is a dedicated website that is excellent. It is a place where you can connect with friends and share routes. You can upload your routes and share with the world, those close to you or just yourself. You can download literally thousands of routes to your Garmin device and then follow them. The scope is endless.

I really like the data and maps and the way it is presented. The Garmin Connect Website is by product of buying a Garmin device but I absolutely love it.




Detailed maps

Why I bought the 510?

It really came down to the fact that I am next to useless at navigating - even with the Garmin 810! One the longer rides I go on there is usually someones else navigating who does a much better job than I could ever do. They do this with a Garmin Edge I hasten to add!

If in the future they had a device that gave spoken audible directions I would almost certainly get it. I personally did not need the mapping feature but I did want the touchscreen, bluetooth connection to my iPhone and excellent battery life. For me the 510 was the best option.

Having used the 510 for several months now I love it. I use it on every ride and it has yet to let me down. Battery life is excellent as is it tough waterproof credentials. It has coped with sustained downpours that have lasted hours. Once a ride has been recoded it keeps going until stop is pressed.

It is a very useful and motivating tool. I have been trying to get round Richmond Park for example at an average of 17mph. It is he 510 that is telling me how close I am going. If I am on a longer ride and need to maintain a certain pace. the 510 does a brilliant job of letting me know how I am doing.

Final thoughts

The 810/510 are brilliant devices that are genuinely as useful as they are fun to use. Don't however forget the 800. It may not have all the bells and whistles that the 810/510 possess but it can be bought for good price if you shop around. For this you get many of the features listed above and good routing / mapping abilities.

For me though the 510 was the device I wanted and I haven't looked back. For the foreseeable future at least I cannot see me using anything else.

Many thanks to Simon at Garmin UK for letting me borrow the 810.

Link to my Garmin Edge 800 review


  1. Many thanks for your informative review. Has helped me decide which model to add to my Christmas wish list. ;-)
    Do you know if the features you use on your iphone are available to Android devices?
    Also Garmin Connect is available to anyone and not just the Garmin owners - however uploads have to be done manually from a .gps file.

    Love the blog. Thanks.

    1. Many thanks Nick. Yes you should be able to get it on Android. Hope you enjoy it.

  2. How did you mount your Garmin on your P-Type handlebar?

    1. On a Garmin out front mount but pointing inwards rather than out. With the new brake/shifters/gear levers I have been able to mount the round Garmin bracket on the metal bit of the bars at the top. Have to say I have sold one of my two Garmin 820's and will be also selling the other. Have moved to Wahoo Elemnt and Bolt and have to say I'm impressed.


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