JUMP TO:

BUY NOW:

  • Amazon.com
  • Clever Training

Garmin Edge 200 In Depth Review

Yesterday the Edge 200 was announced as Garmin’s latest cycling computer in the Edge lineup.  Unlike past Edge series devices though, this one took a notable departure from the pattern of adding new features, and instead choose the route of reducing features while also reducing the price by nearly half.  This matches their moves on the running watch lineup to offer different levels of products at very different price points for very different audiences.  But would this unit cut too far, or would it be in the perfect sweet spot for new users?  Stick around to find out!

Like all my reviews, they tend to be pretty in depth (perhaps overly so) – but that’s just my trademark DC Rainmaker way of doing things.  Think of them more like reference guides than quick and easy summaries.  I try and cover every conceivable thing you might do with the device and then poke at it a bit more.  My goal is to leave no stone unturned – both the good and the bad.

Because I want to be transparent about my reviews, Garmin sent me this Edge 200 for a period of 60 days as a trial unit.  Once that period has elapsed, I send the whole messed up box back to the folks in Kansas.  Simple as that.  Sorta like hiking in wilderness trails – leave only footprints.  If you find my review useful, you can use any of the Amazon links from this page to help support future reviews.

Lastly, at the end of the day keep in mind I’m just like any other regular triathlete out there.  I write these reviews because I’m inherently a curious person with a technology background (my day job), and thus I try and be as complete as I can.  But, if I’ve missed something or if you spot something that doesn’t quite jive – just let me know and I’ll be happy to get it all sorted out.  Also, because the technology world constantly changes, I try and go back and update these reviews as new features and functionality are added – or if bugs are fixed.

Packaging/Unboxing:

The unit is packaged in Garmin’s standard sports device box packaging which includes a plastic window on the front that allows you to see the product you’re about to lay the cash out for.

IMG_1890IMG_1891

Once you’ve opened up the box you’ll find a small assortment of plastic bags – each containing a different part:

IMG_1899

After clearing the scene of plastic, you’re left with the following:

IMG_1901

Here’s the skinny on the different pieces.  First up is the unit itself – which is slightly bigger than a standard Costco chicken nugget:

IMG_1923IMG_1920IMG_1917

Once you’re done admiring the unit you’ve got the quarter turn quick release mounting system.  This system uses industrial strength rubber bands that you can easily move from bike to bike.  It’s the same system that both the Edge 500 and Edge 800 utilize.  In my experience with the Edge 500 for almost two years now – I have yet to find a way to break these bands.

IMG_1905IMG_1909

Then we’ve got the AC adapter that charges via USB.  It actually comes in two parts – first the block itself, and then the country specific wall socket component.

IMG_1903

From there we have the standard mini-USB cable – the same as all your other gadgets like digital cameras and the like.

IMG_1904

And finally, there’s the warranty card and a little software redirection card that tells you to swing over to Garmin Connect to signup for your included/free account and how to download data from the Edge 200.

IMG_1912

Now that we’ve got it all unpacked, let’s get to some comparisons to give you an idea on the size…

Size & Unit Comparisons:

If you’re familiar with the blue (or gray scale) Edge 500 unit, you’ll find this one virtually identical. In fact, there’s almost no differences between the two from a dimensions or weight standpoint.  But let’s go ahead and compare it to some of the other more popular units in the cycling world today.

I’ve got it lined up next to its larger cousin the Edge 800, the Polar CS500, and the CycleOps Joule.

IMG_2239

You can see it’s the smallest of the bunch.  And even when looking at the new CycleOps Joule GPS units that were announced back in June, it remains smaller than those since the size is identical to the Edge 500.

From a height standpoint, the units are all pretty similar:

IMG_2236

Because it’s logical you don’t have all those units sitting in a stash of sports gadgets, I’ve gone ahead and compared it to something that you do probably have handy: A standard business card.

IMG_2245

You can see it barely takes up 2/3rds of the length of the card, and is roughly the same width:

I previously weighed the Edge 500 which has the same form factor and found it weighed less than an egg (Egg was 2.20 ounces).  Curious to see if the weight changed, I went ahead and stuck this on a scale too – and low and behold…still less than an egg (or I started buying bigger eggs).

IMG_2334IMG_2332

While you’re deciding whether the Edge or the Egg came first, I’m going to go ahead and move onto initial power on.

Initial Setup:

When you first power on the unit, it’ll go through asking a few questions.  The primary purpose of these questions is to ensure that the settings you have are appropriate for your country and language.  The secondary purpose is to assist in basic calorie calculations.  First up – determining language and unit format.

IMG_1924IMG_1925

You can change the unit format to Miles, Kilometers and Statue UK.

IMG_1926

Then you’ve got the selection of 12 hours or 24 hours for time display.

IMG_1927

Once you’ve given the Edge 200 a rough idea of how you want information displayed, it’s time to enter in your personal details so that it can make some calorie calculations.  This will include gender, weight, height and age.

IMG_1928IMG_1930IMG_1931IMG_1933

So why does it need this?  Well, in order to do basic calorie math it’ll use your specific information combined with simple distance calculations to determine calories.  Of course, out of all the methods of calorie burn that the different Garmin units offer, this is the most basic.  More advanced methods move to heart rate based options, and then heart rate based options with a New Leaf test.  But since the Edge 200 is unable to connect to a heart rate strap, the more basic “Weight multiplied by Distance” type calculations are used here.  I previously wrote up a pretty detailed post on all the options available on all Garmin units today from a calorie measurement standpoint.  I encourage you to hit it up if calorie burn is of importance to you.

The Quick Release Mount System:

The Edge 200 uses the same quick mount system that its brothers the Edge 500 and 800 use.  I’ve found this system to be hands down the best mount platform out there.  Instead of the pain in the butt zip ties that others use, this goes the way of industrial strength rubber bands.  The bands come in two sizes – smallish and largeish.

IMG_1908

Each Edge 200 unit includes two mounts, and enough rubber bands to mount 7 units (in other words, you can lose 10 rubber bands before you have to buy more).  Each mount requires two bands.  I’ve yet to find a bike that these don’t fit on, and I’ve yet to find a way to break them – and we’re talking thousands and thousands of miles of riding each year.

IMG_1922

The Edge 200 simply slides onto the mount, and then with a quarter turn it’s locked in place.  I will point out that when I got hit by a car, my Edge 500 using the same mount system stayed on my bike just fine.  The same can’t be said of either me or other pieces on my bike.

If I’m riding my road bike, I just mount it on the handlebar, and for my triathlon bike I prefer the aerobars.  You’ll find that in most cases your arm will actually wrap around the Edge – so it really isn’t in the way.  On my mountain bike, it’s back on the handlebars.  And for my two turtles, I can hook four rubber mounts together and make it all the way around their shells (they aren’t as slow as people think!).

IMG_2073IMG_2081

If you happen to need more mounts, they’ll be the cheapest thing you ever buy from Garmin.  It costs $9-$10 for a box of two mounts and a gazillion rubber bands.

Functionality and Features:

The Basics & Data Screens:

Now let’s get to the good stuff – actually using the unit!  The primary goal of the Edge 200 is to track where you’ve gone and your speed and lap information.  Essentially ‘where and how fast’.  Additionally, it can also provide directions on getting where you want to go.  When you first power on the Edge 200 it’ll bring you to this main menu screen with four options.  We’ll talk about courses, history and settings in a bit – but for now, let’s just ride.

IMG_1996

Once satellite acquisition is complete, you’ll be ready to go.  I found this to be the fastest acquiring Garmin unit I’ve ever tested it.  Every time I turned it on – including the first time, it acquired within 3-5 seconds.  Really astounding.

IMG_2097

As you ride you’ll find that the display has four main areas.  The 3/4ths of the screen is dedicated to your current speed, your total distance and your total time.  These are non-configurable.

IMG_2071

The bottom quarter of the screen is changeable by pressing the page button (lower left button) and this controls a scrolling data field that displays: Average Speed, Ascent (total), and calories.

IMG_2115IMG_2122

Additionally, the bottom field will display your lap time and lap distance once you press the lap button – though it will not display it until the button is pressed.

IMG_1988

The lap button is used to demark portions of the ride.  For example, if you have a 10 minute warm-up, followed by 10 minutes of moderately hard, and then 10 minutes of very hard – you may want to separate those out later on for better analysis online.  By pressing the lap button (lower right button), it’ll take care of the separation for you.  Everything will still be part of a single ride file with total length/time/etc, but those different chunks will show up as subsets available.

image

You can pause your ride at any time by pressing the upper right button, which temporarily stops recording.  You can then either resume the ride, or end it by pressing Save or Discard (to save or trash the data).  Also, you can press ‘Back to Start’ to get routing information back to where you started from.

IMG_2169

Auto Lap:

Pretend for a second that you don’t like pressing buttons – say you’re just not comfortable taking your hands off the handlebar to press the lap button.  Instead, you’d rather the computer automatically create laps every mile or ten.  Well, auto lap does exactly that.  It will automatically create a lap within your file for the set distance you’ve configured.  For example most running folks use 1 mile (or kilometer), but for cycling, every 5 miles seems to be more popular.  Either way, however you configure it – it’s up to you.

IMG_2028

In addition to just using a set repeating mileage – you can also do it based on position.  This is useful if you have a circuit route that you’re doing repeatedly and you want to demark each time you pass a certain point (like a starting line or a random tree).

IMG_2031

By setting the Edge 200 to automatically create a lap marker on each lap past your driveway, you can avoid any embarrassing crashes into the neighbors trash can in front of their Saturday morning yard sale as you try to press the lap button while doing circuits around your neighborhood.

Alerts:

In the same vein as automatic lap configuration, you can also setup alerts.  Alerts are different in that they won’t make any sort of marker in the file, but rather just ding (actually, a very loud twirly ding sound) and display a message instead.  You can setup alerts of time, distance or calorie burn.

IMG_2020

I use alerts to remind me that I should be taking nutrition – especially on longer training efforts.  I do this using the time alert function.

IMG_2025

By simply setting up a repeating 20 minute alert timer, I’m easily reminded that I’m due for taking in some gel.

GPS Log Route Overview:

One of the biggest reasons one would buy the Edge 200 over a standard non-GPS based cycling computer is to have information about exactly where one went after their ride.  With the GPS data constantly recording, that data is easily displayed once uploaded to Garmin Connect.  I’ll talk more about Garmin Connect later, but the key areas that you’re probably looking for is the map of where you went, and your total speeds – both of these are provided on Garmin Connect.  For example, here’s what the map looks like:

image

You can see it shows you where you’ve been and where you started and stopped.  The major difference when comparing something like the Edge 200 and a generic cycling computer from a distance measurement perspective is that while both will measure distance – the Edge 200 doesn’t require any wires or sensors to do so.  Because it relies purely on GPS for determining distance, you don’t have to configure a wheel sensor like a typical non-GPS bike computer. You just need to be able to successfully rubber band the mount to your handlebar…which I’m fairly confident you’ll be able to handle (especially if you have experience with shooting rubber bands at your little brother like I do).

Courses:

I was happy to see the Edge 200 included courses.  This was a feature that was cut recently on one of the running watches (FR610) – so I was a bit concerned we might not see it make an appearance here on this lower end cycling computer.  Courses allows one to create a predefined route to follow using a variety of sites, such as MapMyRide.com.  From there you then simply export out the course and copy it to the Edge 200 for routing while out on your ride.  This is ideal for bike rides that may be covering new territory, or if you suspect your friends will attempt to ditch you.

To create a route, you just wander over to a site like MapMyRide and create a course by simply dragging and dropping markers:

image

Once done, you choose to export out the course and save the file to your Garmin device once you’ve plugged it in – just like saving files on a USB hard drive (they go in the GarminNewFiles folder).

image

Note that in the near future Garmin Connect will be introducing this functionality directly onto Garmin Connect itself.  It made a brief appearance back a few weeks ago but due to some bugs was temporarily pulled.  You can see my write-up on it here though in the meantime. [Update: Garmin has since added the Course Creation feature]

Once you start up your Edge 200 and you’ll find the names of each course available for you to select.

IMG_2009

After you’ve selected the course it’ll show a route of the course (breadcrumb style) and give you status information about your progress on the course.

IMG_2096IMG_2111

Unlike a traditional car GPS though, this unit won’t give you street by street directions – but instead gives a breadcrumb trail to follow.  For street by street and turn-by-turn directions with a map, you’ll need the Edge 800.

Altimeter (GPS Based):

Unlike the rest of the Edge cycling computers, the Edge 200 uses a GPS based altimeter instead of a barometric based altimeter.  This means that the data isn’t quite as accurate during the ride, but in some ways that’s probably of less importance to you if you’re looking at this unit instead of something like the Edge 500 ($50-100 more).  The good news though is that once you upload to Garmin Connect, it’ll automatically correct the data using known elevation data for the GPS line that you have.  In other words, it uses data provided by mapping providers with painfully exact elevation measurements, which in turn is substituted over the less accurate GPS based measurements from the Edge 200.

image

You can turn this feature on or off per ride by simply clicking the little button on Garmin Connect for that particular ride.  By default, it’s turned on.

Start Notice:

You know when you stop in the middle of a ride to eat ice cream and then you forget to start your bike computer again when you leave the ice cream place?  You remember how annoying that is (forgetting to start it again, not the mere act of leaving Dairy Queen behind)?  Well, Start Notice attempts to solve that for you.  If it thinks that you’re trying to make a getaway without actually starting the timer, it’ll let you know.

IMG_2037

You can configure start notice to alert you once, alert you repeatedly, or not alert you at all (tough guy, ehh?).  I personally leave it set for just alerting me once – and I’ve found it’s saved my behind more than once over the years.

Auto Pause:

Now take the start notice concept and kick it up a notch.  Say you’ve just got a personal policy against any button pressing at all (I have a personal policy against falling off my bike, but that’s different).  You just want the computer to simply start the timer when you go forward, and stop the timer when you stop.  Well, that’s what Auto Pause does.  The unit will automatically start and pause dependent on whether or not the GPS detects movement.

IMG_2032IMG_2034

You can configure it though based on your preferences. For example if you want to increase or lower the threshold of the speed which triggers a start or stop.

IMG_2033

I find this great for city riding where you may have a lot of stoplights or stop signs to deal with (you do stop a stop signs, right?)  For longer country roads with few stops I don’t tend to use this but instead just do it manually.

Water & Weather Resistance:

Despite having a little USB port on the back, the Edge 200 is fully waterproofed to IPX7 standards. This means that it can hang out in water 1 meter deep (3 feet) for up to 30 minutes.  If you have your bike constantly submerged in water that deep for more than 30 minutes…I suspect you have other issues.

The USB port is internally waterproofed, so no concerns about water getting in through the backdoor, even if the flap is open.

IMG_2343

For fun, I tossed it in a pot of water while I proofed this review and just let is sit there.  No issues.

IMG_2341

And if you find dunking of computing electronics fun, then here’s some of my previous water bound tests that I’ve done with other Garmin units – complete with a rubber ducky.

Backlight & Night Riding:

The Edge 200 includes a LCD backlight that easily illuminates the entire screen for night riding.  This means you can very clearly see the display from your bike seat even on the darkest of commuter days.  It does not however mean you should use it as a replacement for a front headlight.

IMG_1941

You can configure the backlight timeout such that it automatically goes off to save battery, or stays on indefinitely to provide you with a clear understanding of your ride.  I personally prefer to just leave the backlight on, as I’ve never really found a case where I really needed the full 14 hours of battery for a single ride, especially since I usually charge it back up between rides when I download the data.

You can also change the contrast levels as well, with a selection from 1-4.

IMG_2042

Again, I prefer to just leave the contrast and backlight up all the way – but that’s certainly not required either.

ANT+ Sensor Accessory Compatibility & Indoor Trainer Options:

Perhaps the biggest item of note with the Edge 200 is that it is not compatible with any ANT+ sensors such as a heart rate sensor, speed/cadence sensor or ANT+ power meter.  The Edge 200 actually contains no ANT+ chip in it at all, thus there is no hope for eventually getting a firmware update to enable those.  If you’re looking for data from one of those categories, I’d suggest looking at the Edge 500 instead.  The Edge 500 is essentially the grown-up version of the Edge 200, but for about $50 more (common price), or $100 more (official retail price).

If you plan to train indoors, the Edge 200 does have an indoor training mode, but given it accepts no ANT+ sensors to track speed indoors (ANT+ speed sensor), this mode is essentially just limited to using the timer function.

Included Software Options:

The Edge 200 connects to your computer using a simple mini-USB cable.  This cable plugs into the back of the unit using the USB port, under the rubber cover.

IMG_2330IMG_2328

Once plugged into your computer, the unit acts like a USB hard drive (or a thumb drive, officially termed ‘USB Mass Storage Device’) and will enumerate its contents on any modern computing platform – PC or Mac.

The Garmin unit has a simple file structure, but you’ll realistically never need to worry about it if you use any of the other software applications.

image

In short though, your history is saved in the ‘Activities’ folder, and in the .FIT file format – like all newer Garmin devices made in the last two years.  The Courses folder holds courses, and the NewFiles folder is where you stash new stuff that you want the device to pickup and consume.  The other file folders contain files that you’ll never touch.

Once you have it plugged in, you’re ready to use it with any of the below applications – let’s go ahead and dive into Garmin Connect, which is free of charge for any Garmin customer (well, actually, it’s free for everyone).

Garmin Connect:

After you’ve arrived at the main Garmin Connect screen, you’ll go ahead and choose to upload your data.  The Garmin Connect site will have loaded a small control in your browser which allows it to enumerate any Garmin devices you have attached.  From there it’ll notice that you’ve got the Edge 200 hooked up to it:

image

You can choose to upload selected activities (manually picking them), or you can simply just upload everything new that it finds.  Because I’m lazy, I just let it do the work and find the new stuff.  Once you click that magical button, it’ll go to work and grab anything it doesn’t already have.  This process takes a few seconds per file.

Once you’ve got the activities uploaded, they’ll appear in your activities list.  You can also display them on a calendar instead.

imageimage

After you’ve selected the activity, you can bring it up to view more detail:

imageimage

(Ok, not my fastest effort – I was busy!)

Garmin Connect also has a slew of other functionality, including both reporting and health pieces.  For example, you can pull reports on all your past activities, or just specific time slices:

image

Garmin Connect is a great overall solution for when folks are just getting into the sport.  It doesn’t have the super advanced analytic capabilities of a program like TrainingPeaks – but then again, if you’re looking at the Edge 200, that type of software is probably overkill, especially given the lack of ANT+ sensors for areas such as heart rate, cadence or power.

3rd Party Software Compatibility:

Just to very briefly cover 3rd party compatibility of the Edge 200 and other services, it is fully compatible with any service or software application that supports the .FIT file format – which is the same format as the Edge 500/800 and newer Forerunner running watches.

TrainingPeaks:

In the case of TrainingPeaks, from the current device agent version you can simply select Edge 500 or Edge 800 from the dropdown menu to access the Edge 200 unit’s activity files:

image

Once this is done, you can select the files as normal and upload to Training Peaks as normal:

image

Final Summary:

Comparison between models:

If you’re looking at all the options out there on the Garmin Edge lineup, I put together this handy little chart to try and sift through some of the relevant features from the ‘marketing features’.

Function/FeatureGarmin Edge 200Microsoft Band 2TomTom SparkGarmin Edge 25Garmin Edge 20
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated July 15th, 2016 @ 7:52 amNew Window
Price$129$199$149-$199 (Features Vary)$169$129
Product Announcement DateAUG 18, 2011Oct 5th, 2015Sept 3rd, 2015June 24th, 2015June 24th, 2015
Actual Availability/Shipping DateSEPT 2011Oct 30th, 2015October 1st, 2015August 2015August 2015
GPS Recording FunctionalityYesyesYesYesYes
Data TransferUSBBluetooth SmartUSB/Bluetooth SmartUSB/Bluetooth SmartUSB
WaterproofingIPX7IPX7 (limited)50mIPX7IPX7
Battery Life (GPS)14 hoursUp to 11 hours (varies)8 hours8 hours
Recording IntervalSmartVariable1sSmart Recording (variable)Smart Recording (variable)
Satellite Pre-Loading via ComputerNoNo3 days
Quick Satellite ReceptionGreatVariesYesYesYes
AlertsSound/VisualVibrationVIBRATE/SOUND/VISUALAudio/VisualAudio/Visual
Backlight GreatnessGoodGreatGreatTBDTBD
Ability to download custom apps to unit/deviceNoYesNoNoNo
Acts as daily activity monitor (steps, etc...)NoYesYesNoNo
Can control phone musicYesNo
Has music storage and playbackNoYes
ConnectivityGarmin Edge 200Microsoft Band 2TomTom SparkGarmin Edge 25Garmin Edge 20
Bluetooth Legacy (pre-4.0) to PhoneNoNoNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart (4.0+) to Phone UploadingNoYesYesYEsNo
Phone Notifications to unit (i.e. texts/calls/etc...)NoYesPlanned Dec 2015YesNo
Live Tracking (streaming location to website)NoNoNoYesNo
Emergency/SOS Message Notification (from watch to contacts)NoNoNoNoNo
Built-in cellular chip (no phone required)NoNoNoNoNo
CyclingGarmin Edge 200Microsoft Band 2TomTom SparkGarmin Edge 25Garmin Edge 20
Designed for cyclingYesYesYesYesYes
Power Meter CapableNoNoNoNoNo
Speed/Cadence Sensor CapableNoNoYesYesNo
Strava segments live on deviceNoNoNoNo
RunningGarmin Edge 200Microsoft Band 2TomTom SparkGarmin Edge 25Garmin Edge 20
Designed for runningNoYesYesNoNo
Footpod Capable (For treadmills)N/ANoNo (Can use internal accelerometer)N/AN/A
Running Dynamics (vertical oscillation, ground contact time, etc...)N/ANoNoN/AN/A
VO2Max EstimationN/ANoNoN/AN/A
Race PredictorN/ANoNoN/AN/A
Recovery AdvisorN/ANoNoN/AN/A
Run/Walk ModeN/ANoNoN/AN/A
SwimmingGarmin Edge 200Microsoft Band 2TomTom SparkGarmin Edge 25Garmin Edge 20
Designed for swimmingNoNoYesNoNo
Openwater swimming modeN/AN/ANoN/AN/A
Lap/Indoor Distance TrackingN/AN/AYesN/AN/A
Record HR underwaterN/AN/ANO (NOT ENABLED IN SWIM MODE)N/AN/A
Openwater Metrics (Stroke/etc.)N/AN/ANoN/AN/A
Indoor Metrics (Stroke/etc.)N/AN/AYesN/AN/A
Indoor Drill ModeN/AN/ANoN/AN/A
Indoor auto-pause featureN/AN/ANoN/AN/A
Change pool sizeN/AN/AYesN/AN/A
Indoor Min/Max Pool LengthsN/AN/A15m-50mN/AN/A
Ability to customize data fieldsN/AN/AYesN/AN/A
Can change yards to metersN/AN/AYesN/AN/A
Captures per length data - indoorsN/AN/AYesN/AN/A
Indoor AlertsN/AN/AGoals onlyN/AN/A
TriathlonGarmin Edge 200Microsoft Band 2TomTom SparkGarmin Edge 25Garmin Edge 20
Designed for triathlonNoNoSortaNoNo
Multisport modeN/ANoNoN/AN/A
WorkoutsGarmin Edge 200Microsoft Band 2TomTom SparkGarmin Edge 25Garmin Edge 20
Create/Follow custom workoutsNoYesNoNoNo
On-unit interval FeatureNoWithin workoutYesNoNo
Training Calendar FunctionalityNoNoNoNoNo
FunctionsGarmin Edge 200Microsoft Band 2TomTom SparkGarmin Edge 25Garmin Edge 20
Auto Start/StopYesNoNoYesYes
Virtual Partner FeatureYesNoYesYesYes
Virtual Racer FeatureNoNoYesNoNo
Records PR's - Personal Records (diff than history)NoOn siteNoYesYes
Day to day watch abilityN/AYesYesShows time/dateShows time/date
Hunting/Fishing/Ocean DataNoNoNoNoNo
Tidal Tables (Tide Information)NoNoNoNoNo
Jumpmaster mode (Parachuting)NoNoNoNoNo
GeocachingNoNonONONo
Weather Display (live data)NoVia AppNonONo
NavigateGarmin Edge 200Microsoft Band 2TomTom SparkGarmin Edge 25Garmin Edge 20
Follow GPS Track (Courses/Waypoints)NoNoNoYesYes
Markers/Waypoint DirectionNoNoNoNoNo
Routable/Visual Maps (like car GPS)NoNoNoNoNo
Back to startNoNoNoNoNo
Impromptu Round Trip Route CreationNoNoNoNoNo
Download courses/routes from phone to unitNoNoNoYesNo
SensorsGarmin Edge 200Microsoft Band 2TomTom SparkGarmin Edge 25Garmin Edge 20
Altimeter TypeGPSBarometricGPSGPSGPS
Compass TypeN/AN/ANoneN/AN/A
Optical Heart Rate Sensor internallyNoYesYesNoNo
Heart Rate Strap CompatibleNoNoYesYesNo
ANT+ Heart Rate Strap CapableNoNoNoYesNo
ANT+ Speed/Cadence CapableNoNoNoYesNo
ANT+ Footpod CapableNoNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Power Meter CapableNoNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Weight Scale CapableNoNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Fitness Equipment (Gym)NoNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Lighting ControlNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Bike Radar IntegrationNoNoYesNo
ANT+ Trainer Control (FE-C)NoNoNoNo
ANT+ Remote ControlNoNoNoNoNo
ANT+ eBike CompatibilityNoNoNoNoNo
Shimano Di2 ShiftingNoNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart HR Strap CapableNoNoYesNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence CapableNoNoYesNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Footpod CapableNoNoNo, has internal accelerometerNONo
Bluetooth Smart Power Meter CapableNoNoNoNoNo
Temp Recording (internal sensor)NoNoNoNoNo
Temp Recording (external sensor)NoNoNoNoNo
Compatible with Firstbeat HR toolsNoNoNot yetNoNo
SoftwareGarmin Edge 200Microsoft Band 2TomTom SparkGarmin Edge 25Garmin Edge 20
PC ApplicationGarmin ExpressNoMySports ConnectGarmin ExpressGarmin Express
Web ApplicationGarmin ConnectYesTomTom MySportsGarmin ConnectGarmin Connect
Phone AppiOS/AndroidiOS/Android/Windows PhoneiOS/AndroidiOS/AndroidiOS/Android
Ability to Export SettingsNoNoNoNoNo
PurchaseGarmin Edge 200Microsoft Band 2TomTom SparkGarmin Edge 25Garmin Edge 20
Amazon LinkLinkLinkLinkLinkLink
Clever Training - Save a bunch with Clever Training VIP programLinkLinkLinkLink
Clever Training - Save a bunch with Clever Training VIP programLinkLinkLink
DCRainmakerGarmin Edge 200Microsoft Band 2TomTom SparkGarmin Edge 25Garmin Edge 20
Review LinkLinkLinkLinkLinkLink

As you can see, the major differences between its closest sibling – the Edge 500 – is the lack of ANT+ functionality and advanced workout features.  If you’re looking for car-navigation style GPS maps, then you’ll want to focus on the Edge 705 or Edge 800 instead (I’d highly recommend the Edge 800 instead).  Also, the other Edge units have a full fledged Virtual Partner feature, while the Edge 200 is limited to only displaying when in courses mode.  Virtual Partner allows you to race against a little virtual cyclist that keeps a given speed (i.e. 16MPH) – and you can see how far ahead or behind him you are.

Pro’s/Con’s:

There’s a lot of reasons to buy the Edge 200, and there are also some gotchya’s, so let’s boil them down to the always present Pro’s and Con’s list:

Pro’s:

– Small and lightweight. Slightly larger than a chicken nugget and lighter than an egg.

– Super easy to use.  There’s no confusion here with this unit, it’s impossible to get yourself into any sort of menu trouble – it just works.

– Allows you to see where you went, and for how long and how fast. Both on the unit, and on the computer.

– Fully downloadable and compatible with both Garmin Connect as well as 3rd party applications.

– Super fast satellite acquisition times – fastest of any Garmin sports unit to date.

– Cheap at sub-$150 [10/29/12 Edit: Now $129].

Con’s:

– The lack of ANT+ accessories is a bummer, primarily for the indoor speed sensor if you want to train in the winter, or if you want heart rate data.

– Calorie burn is best guestimate and uses fairly rudimentary assumptions, due to lack of heart rate sensor.

– GPS based altimeter instead of barometric.  Given the product line goals, I understand the choice made – but would have preferred all Edge units keep barometric altimeter.

– Unable to customize data fields. While the fields shown are logical, a little customization would have been nice.

Conclusion:

If you’ve made it this far and are trying to decide which unit to get, I offer the following thoughts:

A) If you’re just getting into cycling and aren’t sure what you want from the sport yet – this is the unit for you.  It’ll tell you exactly where you went and all the goodness that comes with it.  It’s cheap, easy to setup and fairly indestructible. This is also a great unit for bike commuters that don’t care much about ANT+ data like heart rate or power on their commute to work- but that still want the total mileage data consolidated into their Garmin Connect accounts, or training logs.

B) If you’re into cycling a fair bit, then you really should look at the Edge 500 instead.  That’s the same form factor but has tons of additional features like intervals, advanced workouts and most importantly: ANT+ sensor data compatibility. Combine that with the new power meter features being added to it in the next month and you’ve got probably the best small cycling computer on the market.

C) If you’re into cycling and looking for mapping and navigational capabilities, then check out the Edge 800.  It’s got pretty maps (even satellite imagery!) and the ability to do on street routing.  It’s got everything the Edge 500 does, but adds a whole bunch more than you’d come to expect from a car GPS unit.

D) If you’re a triathlete, then you’ll want to be checking out either the Garmin FR305 or the Garmin FR310XT – both of which are geared towards the multisport crowd.

Make sense?  Good.

Overall, I absolutely see the value in a device at this price point and understand the cuts that Garmin made to shave off $100 from the Edge 500.  I see this is an ideal starter device that’s easy to move between bikes because of the mount system – making it ideal for sharing within a family.  While one could make the argument that the FR305 does virtually everything this unit does at the same price, it can’t be said that the FR305 is as clean as this device from a user interface standpoint, nor does it have the quarter-turn mount system.  If you’re looking for a great starter GPS device – this is probably the best product out there for the money.  It’ll just work every time without complications or setup requirements.

Found this review useful?  Or just want a sweet deal?

Hopefully you found this review useful.  At the end of the day, I’m an athlete just like you looking for the most detail possible on a new purchase – so my review is written from the standpoint of how I used the device.  The reviews generally take a lot of hours to put together, so it’s a fair bit of work (and labor of love).  As you probably noticed by looking below, I also take time to answer all the questions posted in the comments – and there’s quite a bit of detail in there as well.

I’ve partnered with Clever Training to offer all DC Rainmaker readers exclusive benefits on all products purchased. You can read more about the benefits of this partnership here. You can pickup the Edge 200 through Clever Training using the link below. By doing so, you not only support the site (and all the work I do here) – but you also get to enjoy the significant partnership benefits that are just for DC Rainmaker readers. And, since this item is more than $75, you get free US shipping as well.

Edge 200 black/white

Additionally, you can also use Amazon to purchase the unit or accessories (though, no discount on either from Amazon).  Or, anything else you pickup on Amazon helps support the site as well (socks, laundry detergent, cowbells).  If you’re outside the US, I’ve got links to all of the major individual country Amazon stores on the sidebar towards the top.

As you’ve seen throughout the review there are numerous compatible accessories for the unit. I’ve consolidated them all into the below chart, with additional information (full posts) available on some of the accessories to the far right. Also, everything here is verified by me – so if it’s on the list, you’ll know it’ll work. And as you can see, I mix and match accessories based on compatibility – so if a compatible accessory is available at a lower price below, you can grab that instead.

AccessoryManufacturerStreet PriceAmazon LinkClever Training Link (Save 10% with DCR10MHD)Clever Training EuropeMore Info
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated December 1st, 2014 @ 9:46 am
Barfly Tate Labs Road/Mountain Bike Handlebar Mount (for all Edge units, FR310XT/910XT/920XT with quick release kit)Barfly/Tate Labs$25LinkLinkLink
Barfly Tate Labs Timetrial/Triathlon Bike Mount (for all Edge units, 310XT/910XT/920XT with quick release kit)Barfly/Tate Labs$37LinkLinkLink
Garmin Edge Series Extra Bike Mounts (2 sets in box)Garmin$10.00LinkLinkN/A
Garmin Edge Series Mini-USB Car ChargerGarmin$10.00LinkLinkN/A
Garmin out-front bike mount (For all Edge units, 310XT/910XT/920XT with Quick Release)Garmin$38.00LinkLinkN/A
K-Edge Garmin Handlebar Mount X-Large for Edge units (including Edge 1000)K-Edge$45.00N/ALinkN/A

Thanks for reading!  And as always, feel free to post comments or questions in the comments section below, I’ll be happy to try and answer them as quickly as possible.  And lastly, if you felt this review was useful – I always appreciate feedback in the comments below.  Thanks!

Finally, I’ve written up a ton of helpful guides around using most of the major fitness devices, which you may find useful in getting started with the devices.  These guides are all listed on this page here.

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked.
If you would like a profile picture, simply register at Gravatar, which works here on DCR and across the web.

*

 Notify me of followup comments via e-mail.

You can click here to Subscribe without commenting

Add a picture

151 Comments

  1. Hi everybody,

    Like your review as always!!

    I have just a question about all of that.
    I am originally a runner. I have a forerunner 405CX HRM and I am very happy with it.
    I am moving to cross train now (to avoid injuries mainly) and ev. to race a triathlon in the beginning of 2012.

    My question is very simple:
    the 405 is performing almost the same as a bike GPS unit. As a beginner in the cycling sport, do I really need to buy, even a cheap Edge 200?
    More generally what is the point to have a GPS watch, a GPS bike unit… that are almost performing the same things (except the 800 with its map capabilities)? Are the cadence and power REALLY necessary when training at a level that is compatible with a family life (I run 4 times a week and swim 2 times. I plan to commute cycling as much as possible)?

    Thanks for your comments. Thanks for reading 😉

    baptiste

    Reply
  2. Hannes

    Yes, it is really (nearly) impossible to break the rubber band, but the little wings on the edge can break:

    link to velodramatic.com
    link to forums.garmin.com

    I wonder, if this is more probably if one also uses the 310xt quick release kit for the edge or if riding on the mountainbike (where it happend to me)

    Thanks for your great blog!
    Hannes

    At last: Where is the turtle In Depth Review?

    Reply
  3. Again, Great review as always!

    Question on the Summary, you list Virtual Parnter and Yes for the Edge 500. Has that feature been added to the 500 and if so how do I access it?

    Thanks
    Dan

    Reply
  4. Hi Rainmaker,
    I am pretty much like #Baptiste.
    I`m a runner moving to swim and in the next year moving to Triathlon. I have a nike sportband with no GPS, but is very usefull for running, including marathons. Now I need to buy some watch for multsports like FR310xt, but this is very outfashion.
    Do you know if Garmin is preparing a substitute for him?
    I`m from Brasil and really enjoy your reviews. Great Job. Congrats!

    Reply
  5. I’m most impressed with your comparison of the unit to a Costco chicken nugget. But when was that last time someone who is seriously training ever saw one of those in real life? Fantastic write-up, Ray. Chapeau!

    Reply
  6. dbf73

    Excellent review – is there temperature measurement on the 200? Is there odometer functionality on the unit itself or is that shown in Garmin Connect?

    thanks
    D

    Reply
    • Richard Siderko

      Does the 200 have an odometer to track cumulative mileage?
      Thank you

      Reply
  7. Let me check if I read this right: There’s no headrate monitoring capability. Is this right? Why would they do that? Ever the FR60 has a HR monitor. Otherwise, it looks good. I’m currently strapping my FR610 to my hand bars and would love an inexpensive cycling device. But HR is essential as an option.

    Reply
  8. Wes

    lack of cadence is a no go for me. why pay this much for a GPS based device when a device that uses wheel size is just as accurate?

    Reply
  9. why pay this much for a GPS based device when a device that uses wheel size is just as accurate?

    Elevation data?

    Reply
  10. The other day I was offered a slightly elderly still box fresh Foreunner 201 for the price of a couple of beers.

    I agree that the chip technology might be a little slower, but the advantage that it has over this new edge 200 is at least it has:-
    all the same functions,
    along with being able to switch to pace for running and a rinky-dink fabric strap with no concerns of of the rubber band snapping.

    Reply
  11. Hi dbosler (Dan)

    The Virtual Partner on the Edge 500 is only when using Courses.

    Check out link to static.garmincdn.com from page 13.

    Nathan

    Reply
  12. Fantastic review! Your reviews are clearly the best out there; it’s not even close. I’m perhaps most interested in the acquisition time. My Edge 500 is at least a minute in San Francisco, and even then only when in a favorable area. Using my 500 for a run, it can easily take a mile before I get signal. My HTC Incredible phone, on the other hand, with the benefit of hints from the local cellular network, acquires much closer to the 3 seconds you claim for the 200: I almost never lose ride/run data due to delays. So obviously Garmin is doing something smarter now then they were before, even though you label both the 200 and 500 as “awesome”.
    I’d like to see a head-to-head comparison of data quality between the Edge 200 and 500. They have a similar sized antenna and a similar battery life. This unit is likely a nice clue to what we’ll see in the Edge 500 successor, likely next year, I’d expect.

    Reply
  13. Hi DB-
    RE: Temperature guage

    No, unlike the Edge 500/800 – it does ot contain a temperature sensor.

    Hi Wes:
    RE: Why this over simple bike computer

    The biggest reason is the ability to have a map of where you’ve been (downloadable data), and the ability to route on courses. Of course, a lack of sensors is handy for those who don’t want to deal with it.

    Hi DJ-
    RE: Acquisition Time

    Yes, I did try and get clarification on the exact GPS chip in the Edge 200, and was given a fairly evasive answer. Nonetheless, every day I’m blown away by the few seconds it takes. I think I’ll do a little video of it and append this review. Really amazing.

    Note that on your Edge 500 – if you’re moving before it gets signal, that’s actually making the situation worse. It’s best to just wait it out. Typically for me, my Edge 500 takes less than 30 seconds.

    Thanks all!

    Reply
  14. Anonymous

    Hi DC,
    Nice review.

    Does it have a clock (time of day)?

    Thanks,
    DB

    Reply
  15. Hi DB:
    RE: Clock

    Yes, it does in the main menu – but not in either active or paused mode.

    Reply
  16. Jenn

    Nice detailed review! Two questions on courses. First, it looks like TCX files from ridewithgps.com should have cues in them. Do the cues display in proximity to the turn when following a course? And if you’re following a course, can you also record your ride and see the standard display (speed/time/distance)? Thanks!

    Reply
  17. Excellent review!

    I have a question, can you actually “create” a course on the go? I mean, can you start your ride on any given Sunday and create and save that course? like to riding it again next Sunday??

    Reply
  18. Hi

    2 questions please:-

    1) How does one go about making a course to follow? Is there a limit to the number of ‘breadcrumbs’?

    2) When following a course, what does the screen look like? Ie, is it possible to see speed/distance/calories at the same time as a course? If not (understandable on a screen that size!) how easy is it to switch between course and information screens?

    Superb review, thanks!

    Reply
  19. Hi Jenn-
    RE: TCX Files with Cueues

    Let me double-check that tomorrow on my ride, I can’t remember.

    RE: Record ride and see standard display

    Yes, no issues there, it’s just one of the pages you can alternate through.

    Hi Martin-
    RE: Re-riding saved courses

    Sorta. You have to redownload it from Garmin Connect to be able to ride it again, but that only takes a second (albeit requiring a computer).

    Hi Paul-
    RE: Making Course

    The best bet is MapMyRide, which automatically creates the breadcrumbs. It usually ends up with a hundreds or thousands of little dots. You just specify the big points and it puts in the middle ones (every few dozen meters roughly).

    RE: Seeing other data when following a course

    Yes, no issues seeing speed/distance/calories, albeit on a seperate page. So it’s not shown at the same time, but you just hit the page button and it’ll show the regular screen with speed/distance/etc…

    Reply
  20. Andrew

    Hi DC Rainmaker,

    Wow, thanks for the amazingly detailed review, just what I need as I search for my first bike gps. You’re efforts are very very helpful to us all, and make me want to bike more. I commute by bike instead of car, and these gadgets make that more fun (so more motivated to continue) so, thanks!

    Andrew

    Reply
  21. Anonymous

    Great review – thanks! What a great product. I was about to buy a Cateye Wireless with cadence for not much less money. It would’ve costed the same if I wanted two bike mounts (I race MTB and road) and the overall weight would’ve been over double this. And as I have a Polar HRM with downloadable/graphable data (including temp), I’ve cycled long enough to know what cadence I’m doing withing 5-10revs, and can do without the demotivation of knowing how little wattage I’m putting out, this unit is perfect for me! :)
    Cheers
    Morgan

    Reply
  22. I have a Garmin Forerunner 201 which I have had since 2003. It does all the basic bike computer stuff plus running pace and stuff plus the display is programmable. The only thing I don’t like about it is that it often takes forever for the gps to lock in. It cost me $125.

    Reply
  23. Really Strange it doesn’t have the clock included in the scrolling data at the bottom of the screen. How are we to know that we are home late and in return get an ear bashing from the missis. Hopefully they rectify this in the next firmware release. Even the most basic cycle computers have a time of day!

    Reply
  24. UPDATE

    You can indead view the clock when a ride has started.

    Press and hold the Page Button (bottom left) and the clock will be displayed in the top left screen – tho hard to read while cycling!

    it will also show elapsed? time in the centre of the screen.

    to go back press ride (top right hand button

    Cheers Rob.

    Reply
  25. Recording tracks is fine, but what about taking a gpx file and loading it onto the 200 to follow? For mountain bike use it would be nice to have a simple compact stem/bar mounted GPS unit that could display a track that I can follow. I don’t necessarily need a topo base or anything else to show on the screen.

    Nice review

    Reply
  26. Anonymous

    Solid Review.

    How inaccurate do you think the GPS based elevation is (as recorded on the LCD in real-time)?

    I’m a bit odd in that I race (Ultra XC Mtb) but do not care for heart rate or power meters… But tracking my climbing is essential to me…

    Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

    Many thanks,
    JV

    Reply
  27. Anonymous

    Any idea on how long of a course that can be stored and downloaded. I have read on the Garmin support forum that the course feature is not working well on the Edge 500. This is one of the primary reasons I want to use a GPS based computer. Before buying I want to make sure that the 200 works as advertised.

    Alan

    Reply
  28. Anonymous

    Hi DC Rainmaker,
    GREAT review. I go to the shore (Ocean City) on summers and I ride on the boardwalk every morning, and I ride on the bike trail later in the day. This is going to be my first bike GPS. Review helped me so much, thank you. Email is rollothebeast32@aol.com.

    From,
    Gavin

    Reply
  29. Anonymous

    Hello DC Rainmaker,
    If you know anyone who owned a edge 200 please tell them to tell me how they like it. Or if anyone reading this owns a edge 200 please give me your opinion. Contact me from my email, rollothebeast32@aol.com. Thank you.

    From,
    Gavin

    Reply
  30. Arthur

    Got a question on the breadcrumb view. I heard that there is an auto zoom function for this view. Is there any way to disable this auto function and manually zoom in or out? and what is the largest zoom in achievable?

    Thanks
    Arthur

    Reply
  31. Hartmut

    Hi Rainmaker,

    Great review, thanks!
    I am a motor biker and like to ride on race tracks. I want to use the Edge 200 for “marking” the start point in advance and telling me after each lap on its display the lap time. Would this work or doues it just show the elapsed time of the current lap?

    Kind regards, Hartmut

    Reply
  32. Anonymous

    Is there an odometer feature on this, or is it just a daily trip meter, and is there a ‘reset’ button of some sort? If there is an odometer, is there a way to add miles to it in case you rode some miles on a different bike that the Garmin was not attached to?

    Reply
  33. Anonymous

    Hi great review ,i bought it two weeks ago and i know more now than reading the user’s manual! but i still have an open issue :downloading tracks frm garminconnect is easy but how to download a .gpx track into the device ? i am still troubling with it…
    thanks
    Giancarlo (frm Italy)

    Reply
  34. Great review, I’ve now ordered an Edge 200 which I feel pretty sure will cover my needs – thanx!

    Reply
  35. Anonymous

    Hi from the UK.

    I have purchased an Edge 200 and I’m really impressed with it. Only problem I’ve got is I can’t seem to find the ‘Challenge me’ feature which is your virtual partner. Anybody got any idea how to activate this. I try to challenge a previous course and it records my new ride details to upload later but the only picture I get is a breadcrumb route instead of the two bikes competing against each other. Garmin email helpline have not been helpful.
    Many thanks
    Darren.

    Reply
  36. Anonymous

    Nice review, like all the pics with the write ups. I have been biking for 25 years and raced heavily up until just a few years ago and I would have to say this is a great GPS computer. It has just the bottom line I am going for a ride and when I get home can look at where I have been and how high I climbed. If I was still racing and needed all the extra data I would move up to a higher end GPS. Keep up the great work on all your reviews.
    KC Deer Slayer

    Reply
  37. Anonymous

    Very good detailed reviews. I have just bought a Garmin Edge 200. The only thing I couldn’t find in the reviews is the best way to connect the rubber bands to the bracket. The photos seem to have the bands crossed over under the stem or bar, thereby connecting to the diagonally opposite clips at the sides of the bracket. However I think it is better to have one band attached to the two top clips on the bracket and the other band connected to the two bottom clips. The bands do no therefore crossover each other under the stem, which looks more tidy and they even seem to be hooked more securely over each clip doing it that way.

    Reply
  38. Thank you so much for the review. You seemed to have really put a lot of time into it and I appreciate it. Your comments led me into getting one – thanks!

    Reply
  39. Luis Sarmento

    read nyour reviews for the first time. Not a lt of reviews in Portugal and the one that we can find are not the most reliable.

    will be in my favorits.

    thanks

    Reply
  40. Thank you for your very informative web site. I noted your review of the Garmin Edge 200 and my wife purchased one for me recently. I have 12 bicycles that are set up differently and with the Garmin Edge 200, I can use on any of the bikes in the fleet. I am going to have to find something else for my wife to do now that she no longer has to keep my cycling computers set up and keep up with my training log.

    Reply
  41. You forgot option

    E: SingleSpeed mtb’r who doesn’t want to know how hard his heart is beating after that beer.

    Great unit for the ss, simple and unobtrusive.

    Cheers

    Reply
  42. Great Review, as usual. I bought a FR60 via your review and link and am wondering if there is any method to merge FR60 data (HR/Cadence) with data from the Edge 200 on Garmin Connect. I checked the Garmin Connect site, and it appears as if they would upload as two different workouts on the same date and time. Thanks in advance for your reply!

    Reply
  43. Anonymous

    Good review. It is appears to be a quality product, easy to install and easy to use. Surely to provide gradient within garmin-connect is some very simple mathematics given it already calculates elevation and ascent etc. Do I really have to do my own spreadsheet for these calculations?

    96 hours post purchase I know I purchased the wrong thing. I want gradient I want cadence. Anyone questioning if you want cadence, YES YOU DO!

    Reply
  44. re: my post #43 – on merging Edge 200 and FR60 HR monitor output on Garmin Connect – Garmin support staff got back to me – the answer is NO, they cannot be merged on the site.

    Reply
  45. Anonymous

    Thank you for a very informative & thorough review.

    Reply
  46. paul S

    Hi, thanks for the great review. Does the 200 have the capability to save total distance – say for the year?

    Reply
  47. Hi DC and congratulations for yhe review.
    Do you know if there is a mapmyride for europe? This one asks for my zipcode, which I enter but it does not work…
    thanks

    Reply
  48. thrifty bill

    Rainmaker: I have read many of your review over the years, and just wanted to give you a big thanks!! for a job well done.

    I am sure there are many like me, that benefit from your reviews, but remain anonymous.

    I’ll probably be buying the Edge 200, as I just need an entry level unit (recreational rider), and would like one that easily transfers bike to bike (OK, I have about a dozen in the fleet, as I am a bit of a collector).

    Keep up the great work!

    Reply