Heads up – May 19th, 2017! REI and Competitive Cyclist currently have 20% off sales going on, which includes trainers. They do this occasionally, and it’s a great time to pickup a trainer at 20% off. Notable ones include these brand new winter 2016-2017 models:
And using any of the links above supports the site. Don’t forget the coupon code ANNV17 for REI and then coupon code ITALY100 for Competitive Cyclist. For those curious, the Tacx Neo is my go-to trainer that I use when I’m not testing something else. But if you’re looking for the best bang for the buck, it’s the Tacx Flux.
Note we don’t typically see new trainers announced till summer (at earliest), and then availability for new stuff is usually October-December (depending on luck). I’d have no concerns purchasing any of the above, they’re all solid trainers with wide app compatibility. Sale ends May 29th, but historically speaking these trainers often de-list after a few days, so quite honestly I’d buy it now (and return/cancel later if need be) before it disappears. Oh, you can get free shipping to your local REI store. Woot!
Oh – and check out the full deals page here! Includes even more trainers, power meters, and plenty more!
The Garmin Edge 510 is the Garmin’s latest cycling GPS computer to holistically track and manage your cycling workouts and races. It aims to build upon the Edge 500 that was released about three years ago. I’ve been using the unit for some time now and have a pretty good idea of how it stacks up against not only the older Edge 500, but also the other units in the marketplace.
Is this $329 unit worth an upgrade over past units, especially at a $75+ premium? And how do the new connectivity and social sharing features work out? Let’s dive in to find out.
Because I want to be transparent about my reviews – Garmin sent me a final production Edge 510 unit to test out, though, it’s been running beta and release candidate firmware. In the new few weeks I send them back to Garmin and then go out and get my own (to be able to support y’all in the comments section down the road). 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 or Clever Training 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 athlete out there. I write these reviews because I’m inherently a curious person with a technology background, 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.
So – with that intro, let’s get into things.
I received a final production unit, though, without the retail packaging. As such, at this time I don’t have a full unboxing to show you – but will update this section with a proper unboxing once I get a box to unbox.
That said, let’s take a look at what you’ll find in the box. First up, the unit itself:
The Edge 510 is a bit chunkier than the Edge 500, which I’ll compare to in the next section. You can see that in many ways it looks like a Edge 800 or 810, more than the Edge 500.
The touchscreen unit has three physical buttons. The first button – the power button – is located on the left side. This button also serves as easy access to the light display options, lock screen and access to check sensor and smartphone connectivity.
The second and third buttons are located on top. The bottom-left button is for creating a lap/interval. While the bottom-right button is for starting and stopping (as well as pausing).
The screen itself is a resistive touch screen, which means unlike your phone screen, you can use gloves on it. It’s a full color 176 x 220 pixel screen.
Flipping it over, like all of the more recent Garmin Edge cycling computers, it shares the quarter-turn mount:
This quarter-turn mount is compatible with the included pile of mounts. Inside every Edge 510 box will be two mounts and a pile of rubber bands. Below, is one mount and just a small pile of bands:
These industrial strength rubber bands have more than proven their durability, and have pretty much become the standard in bike computer to handlebar connectivity over the past few years.
Additionally, the unit is compatible with 3rd party mount accessories – which I’ll detail out at the end of the review (some really cool options in there).
The Edge 510 is charged using a mini-USB cable, which is included in the box. This can be plugged into either a computer USB port, or into the included wall outlet:
Note that this is mini-USB, and not micro-USB (which is more common with cell phones these days).
Lastly, as part of the Edge 510 kit, you’ll also get this little lanyard. It connects to the Edge 510 like a baggage tag, which you can then connect to anything else (bike, person for hiking/running, etc…)
With that, let’s compare the sizes of these units.
Many people would have expected that a Edge 500 successor would be in the same size and form factor as the Edge 500. But surprisingly that turned out not to be the case. The Edge 510 is a fair bit larger than the Edge 500, and just a hair bit smaller than the Edge 800/Edge 810.
First, let’s start with a lineup of all of the major GPS-enabled cycling units on the market today:
Here’s the same view from the top to see depth:
If we narrow down to the most popular units on the market today in this segment, we can more clearly see the sizes:
As you can see, the Edge 510 is definitely substantial bigger than the Edge 500.
Looking at the side profile, the 510 is slightly deeper (higher up) than the 500 as well:
Of course, with the extra size, comes a larger screen than the Edge 500:
Overall, the size of the Edge 510 puts it in a slightly awkward spot as a 500 successor. The chief complaint of the Edge 800 was that it was a bit brickish. While the 500 was largely seen as a pretty good fit. So for the 510 to veer more towards the 800/810 than the 500, it’s pretty much out of left field.
The Quarter Turn Quick Mount System:
The quick mount system was introduced with the original Edge 500 about three years ago. The system allows one to quickly attach a mount to your handlebars with two rubber bands. Then, the Edge unit simply snaps on with a quarter turn of the unit into the mount. Edge units come with a bag of two mounts and a ton of rubber bands (of varying sizes).
As noted, first you simply attach the two rubber bands onto the handlebars with the small rubber mount being secured on:
Following which, just insert the Edge unit into the mount at a 90* angle, and then turn it right (or left) so it locks into place:
That’s it. Pretty simple.
Here’s a quick video I put together showing how it works:
Fear not, these rubber bands are industrial strength and pretty sturdy. I’ve attached these things to a LOT of bikes and places over the last few years, and have yet to break one (or hear of anyone breaking one).
Unlike the Edge 500 before it, the Edge 510 is touch screen enabled. The primary use for the touch screen is navigating through menus and pages or setting configuration and display options. The unit still has physical buttons for Lap, Start/Stop, and Power. Unlike a typical phone touch screen, the Edge 510 is a resistive touch screen, which means that even with wet fingers or gloves, it’ll still respond just fine.
As seen earlier, the screen on the Edge 510 is substantially larger than the Edge 500. In fact, it has more in common with the Edge 810 screen than the Edge 500. It’s just a touch bit smaller than the Edge 810 screen. It retains the same color resolution as the Edge 810.
Now, unlike your smartphone, you’ll find that the response isn’t quite as fast on the Edge units. But I found that for what I’m using it for, it does the trick. After all, you’re not trying to play Angry Birds while cycling. For most menu swiping related actions, I find it easier to use the up/down arrows displayed on the screen at the bottom:
Perhaps the coolest trick that’s been carried over from the Edge 800 to the 510 and 810 is the ability to simply hold down a data field (while in regular cycling mode) to change that data field on the fly:
While there’s likely hundreds of photos in this review of the touch screen, it’s a bit easier to simply demonstrate it to you instead via video. So I put together a quick video showing some basic navigation through the menu’s and the basic functions:
Of course, given it’s winter now, I’m riding with gloves on. Many wonder how well these touch screens work with gloves. So I took a stash of them out of the winter glove box and shot a short piece showing usage of differing gloves with the Edge 510. These cover the gamut from thing cycling gloves to big mittens:
Finally, let’s look at how it works in the rain. Living in a climate where it seems to rain just about every day, it simply has to function in the rain (both display and touch functions). So thankfully this has been easy to test. As expected, it works just as normal. I’m aiming to upload a nice rain video here soon.
It’s reasonable that sometimes you may not want the touch screen to respond to touch. For example, say you toss it in your back jersey pocket (sometimes I do that when I want to ‘just ride’, but still record it for later). In that case, you can lock the screen (touch screen) by tapping the power button located on the left side. From there, you’ll press the lock icon. To unlock the screen, you’ll simply press the power button again, and then the lock icon. Note that this doesn’t lock the physical buttons (Lap/Start-Stop) – just the touch screen.
I understand the thinking in going towards a touch screen for the Edge 510. But I guess I’m just surprised at how big the touch screen is. I would have preferred keeping the same size as the Edge 500, and introducing something akin to the touch screen found on the Motorola Motoactv, or even a black and white variant as found on the FR610 (running watch).
That said, while I’m normally not a fan of touch screens in athletic devices – this one works well and doesn’t cause me any issues. The key is that they kept the physical start/stop and lap buttons, which are the most common buttons for most people, especially when gasping for breath and need to quickly hit lap on an interval.
Perhaps the single biggest change to the Edge is the inclusion of cell-phone integration. This marks the first time Garmin has included integration between their standalone cycling units and the cell phone. We first saw integration between the standalone fitness/outdoor units and the Garmin Fenix.
The Edge 510 though takes that to a new level. The Fenix focused mainly on downloading courses/routes/activities to/from the phone. Whereas the Edge 510 takes that a step further and adds in live location and fitness sensor tracking, as well as weather information.
Let’s dive into the main section. Note that this is as of January 7th, 2013. It’s plausible that they’ll add new features and functionality over time (in fact, I’d be astonished if they didn’t). As those features are added, I’ll add them into the review as usual.
The Garmin Connect App and Basic Pairing:
Garmin has introduced a new iPhone and Android app to connect to the Edge units. Given the name is “Garmin Connect”, instead of “Garmin Edge App”, I’ve gotta believe this is just the start of a longer connectivity story between phones and devices for the company.
The app is free, and is downloadable from the iTunes App store (well, it will be shortly). There’s also an Android version that’ll be available as well, though, I just had access to the iPhone version.
Once you get it installed you’ll need to configure it with your Garmin Connect account. This is key to being able to pull information from Garmin Connect and upload new workouts/information.
After that’s done, you’ll need to pair the Edge 510 to your phone. You’ll do this via the Settings control panel, and then in the Bluetooth area.
At the same time, on the Edge 510 you’ll go into the Settings > Bluetooth area and also enable pairing of the device. You can pair the device to only one phone. But you can pair multiple devices to multiple phones.
The whole process only takes a moment.
Subsequently, when you turn on your Edge 510 it’ll automatically connect to your phone. And a split second later you’ll get a notification on your phone that the Edge unit is asking to connect to it:
With that, that’s all! Ready to use.
Live tracking allows one of ‘your peoples’ to track you. Or perhaps, a lot of peoples. Within the tracking, they’ll get your little blue dot on a map, as well as your past track and your current ANT+ sensor data (Cadence/Heart Rate/Power/Speed), plus information such as total activity time and average speed (and avg pace for runners!).
To enable it, you’ll select “LiveTrack” from within the app, either on the app sidebar, or under ‘My Device’.
That’ll take you to this page, which allows you to configure the name of the activity, as well as the recipient information.
For recipients, you can place in there e-mail addresses, or just pull them from contacts. It’ll keep the same names saved so you don’t have to re-enter them each time.
For Facebook and Twitter, it’ll leverage your default account. For Twitter, it’ll prompt you for which account to use (if you have multiple). Otherwise, it’ll just use the default integrated account:
With that, you’re ready to begin!
Now, what’s cool is you can send the invites out ahead of time. I’ve been doing it about 10-15 minutes ahead of my ride – mostly so I can validate they went out (I always send one to myself). The activity tracking won’t actually start until you press the start button on your Edge 510 (to start recording). In the meantime, press the ‘Start LiveTrack’ button to at least get the phone ready to receive.
With that, you’ll get a notification on your Edge 510:
Next, time to track. Go ahead and start your ride as normal. Once you’ve done that, the data will start streaming to the website. I’ve found that sometimes the first minute or two is delayed, and then it seems to catch up. The refresh interval is every 30 seconds – but it’ll backfill data from that 30 seconds.
Here’s what it looks like from a normal desktop/laptop web browser:
You can zoom in on the map, as well as swap it back and forth from satellite to plain map view (from a different session):
You’ll see the track is marked with 5-mile markers, which can then be highlighted to get more information about those last five miles. Personally, I’d like to see this customizable. For example, show every mile, or show the laps as defined by the unit itself (the athlete).
If you’re of the metric persuasion, you can change the units at the bottom. Along with language:
Speaking of the bottom, along the lower half of the screen is a graph which can pop-up and show your ANT+ sensor data. It records the entire ride in real-time and keeps the whole thing displayed throughout the ride.
You can click on any given point to get more information about that data point:
One cool feature they included was that you can toggle between speed (a cyclist metric) and pace (a runners metric):
Finally, along the top you’ve got your total ride time, and average stats. One aspect I like about this is that it does NOT include stoppage time, in either the ride time or the average stats. For example, if I stop at an ice cream shop mid-ride, that’s not counting against me to all of you. Really, you’d never know. The way I like it.
From my testing, the battery life was quite good here (on my phone). I’ve found that I get about a 7-9% hit per hour of tracking (iPhone 4s). Remember, it’s not using GPS of the phone, only of the Edge.
Automatic Workout Uploading:
This one is a wee bit quicker and simpler to explain than live tracking. Upon finishing your ride, your workouts can be automatically uploaded to Garmin Connect. This is configured via the cell phone app first, and then saved for all future rides:
Once you do this, as soon as you press the save button upon completion of a ride, it’ll be transmitted via your cell phone data connection to Garmin Connect.
Again, like storage on the unit, the size of the files is very small (usually about 100KB – about the size of loading a web page or two), so it won’t put a dent your data plans.
After the unit completes the upload, you’ll get a notification displayed on your Edge 510:
Additionally, you’ll then see it shown within the Garmin Connect App:
This is definitely a pretty cool feature, though, I wish Garmin has a connector to other services (i.e. Strava/Training Peaks/etc…) to do this behind the scenes as well. That’d be rockin.
The addition of Weather information on the device itself is new to the Edge lineup. Like the other features in this section, it depends on cell phone connectivity. To enable it, you’ll go ahead and toggle the ‘Weather’ icon to ‘On’ from within the Garmin Connect app. The app also includes the weather information as well.
Once you’ve enabled weather, you’ll see the little weather icon displayed on the Edge 510 (accessed by pressing the power button at any time):
If you click that button, it takes you to this page, which shows you your current weather:
You can then press the down arrow to get to the next few hours worth of weather. Unfortunately, only three hours worth. It tells you the temp, wind direction and speed, and change of precipitation.
If you click the information icon (looks like an “I”), you’ll get any weather alerts.
In my time with the device, I’ve yet to find a case where a weather alert is generated, which may be a beta bug. In talking with the engineering team, there’s 84 different cases where a weather alert could be generated in weather that would impact a cyclist.
Weather information can be pretty handy for a cyclist. However, the way it’s currently presented on the Edge unit doesn’t really do it for me. Let me explain.
The weather is pulled from a nearby weather station. In most places, this is probably within about 30 miles or more. For most cyclists, this means that the impending weather is likely accounted for (i.e. it’s hot out, or it might rain). It also means it might not impact me.
For most of us doing really long rides (i.e. 50-120+ miles), the weather will change and move over the course of the ride. For example, when back in DC I’d often ride the full length of Skyline drive – 110 miles on weekends. The weather could literally go from sunny to horrific thunderstorms in a pretty sure amount of time. But, oftentimes I’d just watch the thunderstorms off to my side as they paralleled me, and never touched me. In this scenario, the Edge would have triggered an alert and told me I’m about to get rained on.
What would have been far more useful is if the Edge took your route (which it potentially knows) and overlaid it with the current weather radar imagery. You know, sorta like this (the green is a rain cloud layer from radar imagery – the red line shows my course/route):
Now that would have been useful. I could have made a determination that my current route was taking me into harms way and done something about it. Otherwise, I feel the information is just ‘blah-so-so’ at best.
I guess it all comes down to the fact that this feature requires a cell phone. As such, it should do something better than my cell phone (since I have to carry my cell phone to use it). It should tell me something genuinely useful. Otherwise, it’s just fluff.
Search and download courses/routes:
This is probably the second coolest feature here, behind LiveTrack. This enables you to search for a saved course/route from your Garmin Connect account, and push it to your Edge unit. Now, this does require you to have pre-created the course online. But it does mean you can create the course quickly via your computer and then with one press send it to your Edge wirelessly (via the phone).
Courses are essentially routes to follow. They can follow along roads, or be more freeform.
Once you’ve created a course in your Garmin Connect account, then open the app and select courses. It’ll populate a list of all your courses you’ve ever created on Garmin Connect:
Alternatively, you can view them on a map:
Once you pick a course, you can browse the course and poke around at it.
Then, you can choose to Send to Device at the bottom:
Once you do that, it’ll send it to your Edge unit. It usually takes about 5-10 seconds to complete, depending on the length of the course.
With that, the course will then be found along with your other courses in the ‘Courses’ section under the folder icon on the main screen:
At that point you can ride the course like normal. Note that the course isn’t displayed during LiveTracking, only your active route.
Search and download workouts:
This feature works identically to the courses feature. Workouts are predetermined training sessions that you’ve setup in advance on Garmin Connect.
Once I’ve created a workout, I can go to the Garmin Connect app and then pull up my workouts there:
Then, just like in courses, I can send it to my device:
This only takes a couple seconds and it’s complete, ready on the device:
Workouts (both ones downloaded via phone, as well as those done via USB cable) are both accessed under the folder icon, and then under workouts. Once you pull it up, here’s how it’ll look:
I wish there was an easy workout creator app as part of this though, for on the fly creation of workouts. Unfortunately, using the Garmin site from a phone and trying to create a workout is like stabbing oneself with chainrings.
Ability to search activity history:
Finally, one last item that’s available within the app – the ability to view your past history. This pulls from Garmin Connect, so if you’re one who uploads other sport history into that (such as runs or swims), you’ll see that in there too.
From within here you can then look at details of the activity, including maps and charts, as well as lap and summary information (there particular ride had a lot of stoppage…).
Additionally, you can get all social and Tweet/Facebook/Text/E-mail it out to all your peeps.
That pretty much wraps up the cell phone functionality. Again, I think it’s a good start, but I’m looking forward to seeing how they can expand this.
Activity and Bike Profiles:
The Edge 510 introduces a new concept – ‘Activity Profiles’ – which allow you to create setting groups for a given variant of cycling. The idea here is that you have different data fields for racing as you do training, and different fields yet again for something like an indoor trainer. But it’s more than just data fields, it’s also settings around alerts, auto lap, and more. Let’s dive into it.
You can create up to five different activity profiles. You’ll give each profile a name (i.e. Race, Train, etc…), as well as a color. That color is carried throughout the Edge 510 when you’re using it, to highlight menus and edges. A nice touch actually.
Within that profile, you’ll create training pages. Training pages are then filled with data fields. It’s the data fields that you see while you’re cycling:
I go into painful detail about every data page and field that you can choose, later in the review. So we’ll just keep exploring activity profiles for now.
You can configure alerts here. Alerts can be configured for Time, Distance, Calories, Heart Rate, Cadence, Power, and Speed. Take for example, a time alert – this would alert you every 10 minutes. This is useful for a pseudo-nutrition alert.
Alternatively, distance alerts doing the same thing. Note that this is different than auto-lap, which I’ll talk about in a second. This is merely a “Hey, FYI, you’ve just cycled another 5 miles”.
You’ve also got power alerts, which are tied to power zones that you’ve configured elsewhere.
In addition to alerts, you can configure Auto Pause. Auto Pause will pause the units recording feature when you drop below a given speed threshold. You can accept the default speed thresholds, or customize them. This is most useful if you’re doing a fair bit of city riding with lots of stops starts. Makes it hands free. I personally don’t use this setting because if I forget to turn off my GPS during a drive home from a ride, it’ll start recording the trip. And Garmin Connect still doesn’t have any way to edit ride data (some 3rd party sites and apps do however).
Next there’s Auto Scroll. This simply scrolls through your various data pages, one after another, at a predefined speed: Slow, Medium, Fast.
Lastly, there’s Start Notice. This is a notification that will let you know that even though you’re moving, your Edge isn’t recording. This is done to prevent a scenario where you stop to fill a water bottle, but forget to start recording again. You can configure this setting to notify you once (how I have it configured), or to keep on annoying you.
Ok, Activity Profiles complete. For me, I’ve created one for the trainer, one for training, and one for race. For example in the Trainer one, I don’t care about things like elevation – so those get tossed out.
Next up – bike profiles. Bike profiles allow you to allocate ANT+ sensors, bike weight, crank length, and wheel size data to a given bike.
Bike profiles have always been on the Edge, but this expands them further. Up to ten bikes in fact.
When you create a new bike it’ll first ask you the name:
Then you can go ahead and choose an icon for it. There’s a few to choose from:
Next up is the weight. I usually don’t bother to fill this in, but if you want to – you can:
You can also specify wheel size, or just let the Edge take care of it next time you’re outdoors. It’ll do so automatically after just a few hundred meters, by using GPS (assuming you have a speed sensor on as well).
You’ll notice there’s crank length in there. That’s an interesting data field, as it’s driven by needs from the Garmin Vector team to know this information.
As you finish up, you’ll be able to attach ANT+ sensors to each bike. You can add ANT+ Speed/Cadence sensors, as well as ANT+ power meters. The unit does not support Bluetooth sensors.
As you pair them, you’ll be able to search for sensors nearby, or you can manually override it and enter the ANT ID in yourself:
For example, the new SRAM Quarq Cinqo power meter has the ANT+ ID written on the outside of it – making this easy if you find yourself in a group ride situation and forget to pair in advance.
With everything created for the bike and the activity profile, we’ll be back on the main page. It’s here that you can tap left/right on the names of the bikes up top, and the names of the activity profiles down below. As you do so, it’ll change the screen colors so you quickly note which profile you’re in:
With everything set, let’s move on.
Courses and Virtual Partner:
The Edge 510 supports the ability to follow a predefined course. Courses in the context of the Edge 510 are effectively breadcrumb trails though, and differ from that of the 810, which allows routable information. Meaning that the Edge 510 doesn’t know that there are things called streets, trails or even rivers. It simply follows a series of connects dots that form up a route.
You can create courses online through with Garmin Connect, which is street and river aware.
Then, you can transmit it down to your Edge 510 via the Garmin Connect phone app, or via PC with a USB cable as covered before.
Once it’s loaded, the unit will tell you when you’ve gone off-course. Additionally, you can pull up a compass at any time to assist with navigation:
The map window can also be displayed which will show the course. Though be aware that it won’t show anything other than a blank slate behind it – meaning, you won’t see streets or the like. Only the Edge 810 has that. The 510 will just show you where you’ve been, and the breadcrumb trail of where you’re supposed to go.
Courses on the Edge 510 can be a bit trying, but once you figure them out, they aren’t too bad in a pinch. This is one area where I feel like the connection to the phone is really a let down. While the 510 didn’t necessarily have to have mapping on it, it could have met half-way with phone-connected mapping. Meaning it would have required a data internet connection (whereas the 810 doesn’t).
In addition to following courses, you can also compete against a Virtual Partner. The Virtual Partner is a predefined virtual cycling man that goes a set speed. Your progress against that goal is then measured and shown in real-time – displaying how far ahead or behind that goal you are:
Creating and riding workouts:
You can create workouts for the Edge 510, which are prescribed parameters to follow while riding. Normally these are a bit scripted, usually in chunks, and against set values such as heart rate, speed, power, cadence and others. This sorta replaces having a coach inside your head for the ride.
I find it easiest to create the workouts online with Garmin Connect. It allows you to simply drag and drop chunks of the workout and specify the goal you’d like for each segment. You can easily create repeating intervals as well.
To get them on the Edge 510, you’ll go ahead and sync via either the phone app (see earlier section on how to do that), or via your USB cable connected to a computer:
Once on the Edge 510, you’ll start a workout via the folder icon. As you’re riding, it’ll alert you if you’re over/under the goal for that particular segment of the workout.
I regularly use this functionality during races to serve as a reminder to keep within a given zone. I usually take my race plan and then translate it into a workout to download. This helps to ensure I don’t forget the different components of the workout when my brain is operating less efficiently during a race.
The Edge 510 works just as well indoors as out. Considering that’s where I do the majority of my training, it’s also where I’ve spent a lot of time lately with the 510.
Now, in order for the Edge to by of any use indoors, you’re going to need some ANT+ sensors connected to it. Otherwise, it’s just a really expensive stopwatch. Of course, these same sensors also work outside to enhance the data there too.
Typically, most folks use an ANT+ speed/cadence sensor to gather speed and cadence information. These are normally about $30-$40.
Now, speed indoors on a trainer is a semi-useless metric. That’s because it doesn’t ‘prove’ anything. Rather, I can make the speed on my trainer be 8MPH or 30MPH, all without changing my effort (or wattage), instead, simply by changing gears. So keep that in mind when you’re trying to compare trainer rides.
The cadence sensor will give you cadence information both inside and out though, so it’s sorta two for the price of one.
Alternatively, you could go the route of a power meter, which will give you wattage information both inside and outside as well – and is a much better indicator of progress when used correctly. The 510 supports any ANT+ power meter. More on that in the power meter section.
For myself, I’ve created a separate ‘Activity Profile’ for the trainer, because I don’t care about things like elevation or map data while on the trainer. This allows me to remove those data pages (well, hide them).
You’ll still want to turn off the GPS manually when indoors. You don’t ‘need’ to per se, but some older apps don’t correctly interpret the speed sensor data, and instead use the GPS data (which would show roughly ‘0’). So, it’s best practice to disable that:
Don’t worry, it’ll automatically turn on the next time you turn your unit on (this is done so you don’t forget).
You will get elevation data indoors – whether you like it or not, which is a bit funky sometimes. So that’s something just to be aware of.
Other than that, all of the other non-GPS functions will continue to work indoors, and your data will be recorded just like outdoors.
On-Device History and Personal Records Feature:
The Edge 510 contains two types of history within the unit. First is general ride history, including details about every ride on the unit – from where you went to your heart rate and power data. The Edge 510 has about 9.5 MB of free space on it for workouts. And with a 1hr workout (with GPS, ANT+ HR, Cadence, Speed, and Power) taking up about 100 KB, it means that you’ve got about 95 hours of rides on it before you need to upload.
To access the history menu, you’ll need to dive into the training folder area. This is simply accessed by hitting the little folder icon on the main page. Note that for reasons unclear to me, you can no longer access any history information while mid-ride. This is a change from pretty much every Garmin device ever created.
From there, you’ve got a few options. But the one you’re looking for is ‘Rides’, which effectively translates to ‘History’.
Then you can choose either the Last Ride, or All Rides. If you selected all rides you’ll be able to scroll through a list of rides by date and then select one.
After selecting one, you’ll see a number of options, such as summary information, a map, elevation, and laps.
You can also create a course based on a route, right from the phone. The course isn’t uploaded to Garmin Connect however, so it’s just for this one device. Though, you could simply upload the workout to Garmin Connect (which happens anyway), and then push a course back down to the device. A bit counter-intuitive, but it works.
A course allows you to re-race against yourself, or just to follow the same route.
In addition to ride history, the second major area is Personal Records (PR’s). These are PR’s as recorded by the device, and not those stored in Garmin Connect unfortunately.
PR’s tend to be categorized such as ‘Longest ride’, ‘Highest power’, ‘Most Ascent’, etc… and a PR notification is displayed immediately upon completing (Saving) a ride:
That bottom right option you see above allows you to remove a PR from the list (i.e. a car ride).
Again, these are fairly limited in that they don’t pull from your Garmin Connect history – which is really too bad, especially given the connectivity is there to do so.
Uploading data to Garmin Connect via PC:
While most people will probably now just upload via the phone (I covered that up above in the phone integration section), you can still upload data via PC and a USB drive. To start, you’ll take the mini-USB cable that came with the unit, and connect it to your PC (or Mac) and the Edge 510:
With that complete, navigate to Garmin Connect, where you can sign in (or create an account if you haven’t). Once you do so, click the ‘Upload’ button in the upper right corner:
Once you’ve pressed that, it may ask you to install the Garmin Communicator plug-in. This isn’t required, but it will make things quicker and cleaner.
After that, you’ll go ahead and ensure that it says “Edge 510” as the selected device. This usually happens automatically. Then, you can choose whether to upload all new activities, or select specific ones. Honestly, just choose all new activities – it will automatically determine which ones are already uploaded for you.
It’ll then read the activities on your unit, and upload those that haven’t yet been uploaded:
From there, you’ll be given a list of your uploaded activities. You can simply go ahead and click “View Details” to view details about that activity.
Once that’s done, you’ll be on the activity detail page:
The map at the top can be toggled between map view and satellite view. As well as between Google and Bing Maps.
This page shows you the full details of your activity. As you scroll down, you’ll find graphs for each one of the different data sensors you may have had connected, such as heart rate, cadence, or power.
On the left, you’ll see summary information about the ride – including the Training Peaks TSS/NP/IF metrics – if you set your FTP ahead of time and had a power meter attached.
On the graphs, you can click a given point to see more information about that selection.
Additionally, you can expand the graph and then zoom into a specific section or chunk of the workout:
Finally, you can click the Splits tab to go into detail about each one of your splits. These are the ones that are created when you press the ‘Lap’ button, or, if you have auto-lap enabled.
There’s quite a bit more to Garmin Connect than just the activity information. For example, you can pull up a listing of all past activities, both in list mode, as well as summary mode:
And, if you track health (weight) information, you can pull that up as well.
Probably the most useful aspect of Garmin Connect though to me is planning rides. It’s sorta like MapMyRide.com in that respect – you can search any of the millions of other activities that users have created, and then send that route back to your Edge 510. See the routes section up above for more info on that.
Of course, if you use a 3rd party application instead, you can always export out the activities as either GPX or TCX formats – both of which are widely supported on essentially every training log site on the internet.
While Garmin Connect is a good simple platform, it can be a bit basic for anything more advanced than simple analytics (though it is rockin’ for creating workouts and courses). Personally for analyzing my ride I use Training Peaks (online), and then on the desktop I use Sport Tracks and Golden Cheetah.
Power Meter Support and Details:
Power meters enable a cyclist to measure their power output as they’re riding. Power output is typically measured in watts (wattage), and usually ranges between 100 and 300w for most riders during a normal ride. By using wattage instead of speed, the cyclist is able to remove environmental factors such as wind or terrain – to determine a more valid representation of how hard they were working. For example, a cyclist could easily push 225w at 8MPH into a heavy wind, but then turning around, a cyclist could do 25mph on 130w with the wind. By using wattage you get a better idea of how hard someone was working (or wasn’t).
Most times cyclists use straight wattage when casually comparing themselves to others (i.e. I pushed 300w). But in reality, when more scientifically comparing cyclists you need to utilize watts/kilogram – which is your wattage divided by your weight (in kilograms) to create an even playing field. This helps to give a clear picture who is a more capable cyclist, regardless if one person is 250lbs and another person 108lbs.
The Edge 510 supports ANT+ power meters, which is just about every power meter on the market except the Polar power meters. The Edge 510 does not support Bluetooth Smart power meters because the Bluetooth chip utilized in the Edge 510 is not Bluetooth 4.0 – and thus not Bluetooth Smart capable.
There are a number of power meters on the market today, with different measurement points. For example, at the rear wheel hub you’ve got the PowerTap, and then moving up to the crank spider you’ve got ones such as the Quarq, Power2Max, and SRM. Additionally, on the crank arm itself you have the StageOne power meter. And finally, at some point in the future you’ll have the Garmin Vector and Brim Brothers Zone measuring on the pedals/cleats.
To pair a power meter, you’ll go into your bike profile and then under the “ANT+ Sensors” section, you’ll click the little dumbbell icon, which is for power meters.
Within that, you’ll utilize the slider to enable the power meter searching, and then click ‘Search’ – which will actively locate a nearby ANT+ power meter. Note that if you’re pairing in the presence of others, you’ll probably have to wander a bit away from them, as it’ll find multiple devices. Once it’s paired you’re good to be friends again, but during the initial pairing process, you’d rather be home alone.
Once the power meter is paired, you’ll be able to go into sensor details and calibrate it. You should always calibrate your sensor at least once before your ride and again about 10-15 minutes into the ride. Most power meters are impacted by temperature drift. And while some have implemented automatic drift mechanisms, others haven’t.
Note that if you do know your ANT+ ID, you can manually enter that in as well. The latest Quarq power meters actually have it written on the outside of the device – handy for pairing in group ride situations.
Once you’ve got it paired, it’s time to look at your data field options. There’s a ton of them in the power section:
Check out the full listing within the ‘data fields’ section in a bit.
For my riding, I prefer to use both 3-second (3s) and 30-second (30s). The reason being that 3s is far more useful than instant-power (which fluctuates too much), and 30s is great for trending.
But, you can configure it any number of ways. Here’s a fairly power-focused screen I put together:
There are a few other settings you should configure. One is validating that ‘Zeros are included’ in your recorded file. By default, that’s the settings, but some folks exclude it. You don’t want to do that as some older software apps don’t correctly interpret it for normalized power. Additionally, I also set my cadence zeros to be included. This is just a personal preference thing.
One critical item is to ensure that you’ve set the recording rate to ‘One-second’. For some reason, the default on the 510 is Smart Recording, even with a power meter:
Finally, some power meters (primarily crank or pedal/cleat based) also can display left/right power. The Edge 510 does support those additional data fields. Above in the chart you’ll see some fields labeled ‘balance’, these are ones for left/right capable power meters.
Once you’ve added one of these data fields, you’ll typically see the left/right power shown as a percentage (i.e. 57%-43%), which is showing the distribution of power between your left and right leg:
Post-ride, once you upload, you’ll also see this same information presented in graphical form on Garmin Connect:
In addition to left/right power displayed on Garmin Connect, you’ve also got your normal power displayed as well in graph format:
And finally, along the left is your TSS/NP/IF information, as well as ride summary and ride average information:
Lastly, remember that a power meter is an incredible tool – but it’s ultimately just that – a tool. You still have to put in the work and follow some form of a plan (ride or otherwise) to make them truly valuable. Otherwise they’re just expensive accessories.
Display and Device Customization (i.e. Metric/Statue/etc…):
The Edge 510 has far more display customization options than the Edge 500 did. If we look first at the backlight, you can configure it to automatically turn off after a set time period (i.e. 30 seconds), or just have it stay on forever (my preference).
If you want to adjust the backlight, you can do so by tapping the power button. You can see the slider of brightness there:
If you want to display raw GPS coordinates, there’s about a hundred ways to do so. I painstakingly wrote them all up in my Garmin Fenix review, and they’re pretty much the same here. If there’s something you’d like me to double-check – drop a note in the comments.
Perhaps my favorite new feature in customization is the ability to set different metrics as different display types. For example, I can set the distance metric to display in kilometers, while keeping the temperature displayed in fahrenheit. Pretty cool.
In addition to customization of display preferences, you can also customize your various zones – such as heart rate zones and cycling power zones. You can do this on the device itself, or you can do it on Garmin Connect.
I find that doing it on Garmin Connect is way quicker than trying to type them in on the tiny screen. Once in your profile, under Training Zones, you’ll be able to set them. Then from there, just click ‘Send to Device’ along the left hand side and this window will pop-up allowing you to send it to your device. It only takes about 1 second for it to send them over.
Note that having the same power FTP set on your Edge unit as TrainingPeaks (3rd party app) is critical if you plan to have the various TSS/IF metrics display be identical on both the device as well as later on in Training Peaks or even Garmin Connect. As long as the FTP number is the same, you’re good to go. I talk more about that above in the power meter section.
Data Fields and Data Page Options:
I’ve outlined in depth above within the ‘Activity Profiles’ section how to modify data fields and data pages. This section is mostly just reference on all the data fields that are available within the Edge 510.
The Edge 510 supports 5 data pages, with up to 10 fields per page (identical to the 810). Additionally, there are semi-configurable pages such as the map (for courses) page and the lap summary page (Update: From what I can tell, the Lap Summary page never made it to the production release, thus is not included.)
Here’s the full listing of data fields as of January 7th, 2013:
The Edge 510 supports updatable firmware, meaning that as Garmin adds new features and fixes bugs, you can quickly update the firmware. During the beta cycle I’ve updated my unit a handful of times, and thankfully, each time almost all of the settings were saved. Of course, that’s always subject to change.
To update the firmware, you’ll use the WebUpdater client, which connects to the device and then pulls down a small firmware file (generally about 10MB). After that’s done you’ll simply disconnect the USB cable and turn back on the unit.
It’ll take about 3-5 minutes for the firmware update to complete. Once that’s done, you’re good to go.
Running with the Edge 510:
If you’re a cyclists that primarily cycles but runs occasionally, you may wonder how well the Edge can work in a pinch for running.
The answer is…sorta works.
See, none of the Edge lineup have added “Pace” as a metric to the data fields. Which means that you can’t see your pace in normal running terms (i.e. 7:10/mile or 3:40/kilometer), instead, you’ll have to see it in MPH/KPH, like cycling.
This is unfortunately because many of the other units now do this…except the Garmin cycling devices. Perhaps some day that’ll change.
That said, the biggest trick to running with your Edge 510 is to grab the $18 quick release kit. This kit is intended for the Garmin Forerunner 310XT – but actually works perfectly for the Edge 510 as well. That’s because both units use the same quarter-turn mount system.
To use the Edge with it, simply slide it in the strap and lock it tight. The positive news here is that it’ll actually go lengthwise with your arm, rather than poking out at a 90* angle:
With that, you’ll use it just like you would cycling. You could create a separate Activity Profile for Running, and maybe remove some of the cycling-metrics (i.e. take out power, etc…).
The usefulness here is that if you stash your cell phone in an arm band, you can run with it and get location tracking information.
For me, what I’ve been doing is actually stashing both units in a small Spibelt.
They fit just fine together. That way I get tracking info via the Garmin site. Of course, at this point you might as well just use a different app – but at least this way you’d still get heart rate information via the Edge to the site.
And, on the site, they were kind enough to allow you to switch back and forth between Average Speed, and Average Pace – a runners metrics. And you can change the graphs at the bottom to show pace too. Sweet!
The only downside is that the splits are still displayed as 5KM/5Mile chunks:
Here’s another view of a run I did with it. In fact, I did a lot of runs recently with it – as it allowed me to see how well the tracking was working.
Like I said earlier, it’s not optimal, but it does work. And it’s clear that by having the pace metrics on the graph, I’ve gotta believe similar technology for running watches is in the cards down the road (though, I don’t think we’ll see that before summer).
Weight Scale Integration Functionality:
The Edge 510 adds weight scale integration functionality, which means that it can receive weight and body fat information from ANT+ enabled scales.
To start the process, you’ll go into the menu and navigate to the Weight Scale function:
Then, tap it to begin searching for the scale:
Depending on which ANT+ scale you have, you’ll either have to kick it/step on it/or wait for it. Do whatever you normally do for the scale to wake up.
Once that’s ready and its finished it’s blinking, step on it and weight yourself.
After you’ve done that the weight and body fat information will be transmitted to the Edge 510.
That information is then recorded and stored on the device. The next time you upload an activity, it’ll transmit that information to Garmin Connect (only via USB however, not via phone):
These metrics are then displayed within Garmin Connect in the health section:
There’s a handful of ANT+ scales on the market today. They start at about $80, and go into prices many times that. Below in the 3rd party accessories section I outline some of the options.
Accessories (Garmin Branded & 3rd Party):
There’s a ton of accessories that are compatible with the Edge 510. I’ve talked about a lot of them already throughout the review, but here’s the roundup.
Garmin Branded Accessories:
1) The strap
This Edge 510-only accessory keeps your Edge from flying off whatever you’ve tethered it to. Not so much used for cycling, as for other activities such as hiking and the sort.
I used the tiny hex-wrench to pull the band through. It’s surprisingly difficult otherwise.
It costs $5.
2) Box of Edge quarter-turn mounts:
Should you have more bikes than two (the amount of mounts included in the box), you can pickup a second box of Edge quarter-turn mounts. This accessory box includes two full mounts and enough rubber bands for a small army:
Please, try not to tie up your little kid brother with all the extra rubber bands.
3) Garmin Forward Mount
The long-awaited Garmin forward mount. This bar mount supports both the Edge and Forerunner units, though it does take a hex wrench to change orientation.
While this is a nice sturdy mount, I’m just not a fan of it because it takes a hex wrench to change the orientation, unlike some 3rd party options. The Garmin branded forward mount cost $40.
4) Garmin ANT+ Heart rate strap
This ANT+ soft strap is included in some Edge 510 bundles. It measures your heart rate and transmits that information back to the Edge 510. You can display that information in beats per minute (BPM), or any number of other metrics. Check out the data fields above for the full listing.
This ANT+ speed/cadence sensor allows you to measure speed and cadence whether indoors or out. Indoors it’ll use a magnet on your rear wheel which measures your speed (also works outside in a tunnel). And cadence is measured the same way, with a magnet on your crank. Both pass by a small sensor that sits in between.
This information is then displayed both on the unit, as well as available for later analysis.
The GSC-10 costs roughly $35, but do check out some of the other options out there, as I tend to prefer those instead (see down below).
6) Garmin Edge soft-shell case:
This soft-shell cases protects your Edge 510 in the event you throw it off your bike at oncoming traffic. In theory at least. I’ll have hands on time with one tomorrow morning and will post some updated pics then, until now, here’s the official pictures:
3rd Party Accessories:
While there are plenty of solid Garmin accessories that are compatible with the Edge 510, the vast majority of ANT+ accessories out there are not actually Garmin branded. Instead, they are made by some of the more than 300 companies that make up the ANT+ ecosystem.
1) Power meters
Without question, the most expensive ANT+ accessory you can buy is the power meter. These units can stretch into the thousands of dollars. Power meters typically display wattage, which is a measure of your power output.
There are a number of players on the market today. The cheapest is the Stages Cycling power meter (coming up later this month) at about $700, and the most expensive is SRM at about $2,100 (starting). Probably the most popular (in terms of sales) is the CycleOps PowerTap, which is roughly around $1K depending on which model you choose.
(The Power2Max review should be up in the next week)
In addition to the above direct force power meters (DFPM), there are also those power meters that don’t directly measure your power output. Instead, they attempt to guesstimate it using other known values. These tend to be cheaper, but also tend to be more inaccurate.
The 3rd party Edge mount scene has exploded in the past year, with tons of new entrants. Depending on where you are in the world, you’ll find options from cheap knockoff $5 Edge mounts, to more expensive ones.
Personally, I’ve been using the Barfly mount as of late, because it’s compatible with both the Edge and the Forerunner lineup:
I’ve detailed this quite a bit above, but the Edge 510 is compatible with ANT+ enabled weight scales, including both those that measure weight-only, as well as weight & body fat.
The Tanita BC-1000 transmits both weight and body fat, but these days I prefer the simpler $80 Lifesource scale (used to be $110, now cheaper), even though it only measures weight. This is primarily because of the display on the unit, and because it’s only $80 (instead of $300).
4) Speed/Cadence sensors
There’s a ton of really cool ANT+ speed and cadence sensors out there. Personally I use the Bontrager Quick Release variant (combo sensor), because it works the same way as the Edge mounts, just a simple industrial strength rubber band – allowing me to quickly move it around.
The Girl on the other hand uses the Bontrager Duotrap with her Trek bike. This module fits into a hole in the side of the bike, gathering both speed and cadence:
In the event you already have an ANT+ heart rate strap (either from a previous Garmin unit, or any other companies), they’re full compatible with the Edge 510. Just ensure it has a little ANT+ logo on it.
Note that Polar straps are not compatible with ANT+, and thus, not compatible with the Garmin 510. Additionally, if you have a Suunto heart rate strap, they use private-ANT, and not ANT+, so they aren’t compatible either.
USAT (USA Triathlon) Official Ruling on using LiveTracking during events:
I reached out to USAT Commissioner of Officials Charlie Crawford late last night to get some clarification on the allowances of a device such as the Edge 510/810 with LiveTracking enabled with a cell phone. I outlined four scenarios. Some of them cover the Edge 510/810, and others cover future scenarios that the Garmin team could enable down the road.
Here’s what I asked:
“1) Using a cell phone to provide one-way live tracking of a rider (i.e. location/speed/distance/HR/cadence/etc…). Scenario: Cell phone sits in jersey or saddle bag and passively provides location info to family and friends.
2) Using a cell phone to provide two-way communications between an athlete and someone outside the race (i.e. text messaging/phone calls). Scenario: Rider pulls out cell phone and texts/calls others.
3) Using a cell phone in conjunction with a bike computer on handlebar (i.e. a Garmin unit) to provide one-way live tracking of a rider. Scenario: Rider has cell phone in jersey or saddle bag, which communicates wirelessly to their bike computer on handlebar. Communication is one way, transmitting position/athlete data from bike computer to phone to friends/family. No inbound communications.
4) Using a cell phone in conjunction with a bike computer on handlebar to provide two-way communications (i.e. Coach could send message to rider to ‘rider harder’, without athlete having to touch cell phone, via bike computer on handlebar). Scenario: Rider has cell phone in jersey or saddle bag, which communicates wirelessly to their bike computer on handlebar. Rider is streaming ride data in real-time, and friends/family/coaches can communicate back to rider, which appear on screen in front of them (not on cell phone in saddle bag).”
Here was his response:
“The answer to questions 1-4 are all “Not Legal.” We have made exceptions to the “carry” rule only to allow someone to make an emergency call while off the bike or not making forward progress on the run. Modern smart-phones are also personal audio devices and are forbidden by Articles 3.4i, 5.8, and 6.3.” – Charlie Crawford, January 6th, 2013.
A bit of a bummer for those hoping to use this in long-distance events. Though, technically, the Ironman branded (WTC) events don’t necessarily follow the full set USAT rules.
My thoughts on the Edge 510:
While the Edge 510 is an interesting differentiator compared to the Edge 500 – I feel that it’s a bit of a device without a clear market. At $75 to $125 more than the Edge 500, I’m not sure it’s bringing enough new features to the game. When you boil it all down, you’re essentially getting some basic cell phone connectivity and activity profiles. But, that’s at the cost of the unit being substantially bigger than the small and light Edge 500.
At $75-$125 more, that means you could simply pickup a ANT+ adapter can get the same functionality for between $40 and $60 on your cell phone (from Garmin no less!). Now it is true that the tracking is free on the Edge 510 – unlike tracking with the Garmin Fit app which costs $5 a month. So over time that would add up. But there are plenty of apps out there with tracking for free.
From Garmin’s perspective, they believe that the new ‘Activity Profiles’ are also of benefit to “high performance racers”. And while I agree, I certainly don’t agree it’s worth $75+ more. Sure, it has touch screen, but I’m not seeing that as a true benefit here. It’s just a different way of interacting with the unit.
But most of all, the Edge 510 is a disappointment in what it can’t do.
Bluetooth: Garmin made the virtually unforgivable selection of going with Bluetooth 2.1. In doing so, the unit will never be compatible with the host of new Bluetooth Smart sensors flooding onto the market – all of which require Bluetooth 4.0 (it’s a chipset thing, not a software thing). This means that there can’t be connectivity to any new Bluetooth Smart heart rate straps, speed/cadence sensors, power meters, or other items. Further, they couldn’t expand into areas such as connectivity to Bluetooth Smart trainers – like the Wahoo KICKR. How cool would it have been if you could control resistance on your trainer from the Edge? Simply can’t happen now. They could and should have placed a full Bluetooth 4.0 chip in there (not just Bluetooth Smart like in the Garmin Fenix watch), which would have still been compatible with legacy smart phones as well as new Bluetooth Smart sensors
(Small Technology Sidebar: Bluetooth 4.0 allows one to connect to both legacy Bluetooth devices as well as newer Bluetooth 4.0 only devices, like Bluetooth Smart. Cell phones released in the last year or so have a full Bluetooth 4.0 chip that’s backwards compatible with any older devices. These chips are usually more battery dependent, but share the same battery drain as Bluetooth 2.1. Meanwhile, Bluetooth Smart is a subset of Bluetooth 4.0. It requires a Bluetooth 4.0 capable phone. The Garmin Fenix uses a Bluetooth Smart component, which means it must have a phone that supports Bluetooth 4.0. Whereas the Edge 510/810 use a standard non-smart Bluetooth 2.1 chip. This neither saves battery, nor provides access to Bluetooth Smart accessories.)
Some will speculate that perhaps Garmin went with a non-Bluetooth Smart compatible chip in order to slow adoption of Bluetooth Smart devices, in favor of ANT+ (which they own). The problem is, I think it’ll actually only serve to reduce their market share (Garmin’s) in this market. Garmin is facing a huge battle against cell phones as head units (including cycling), and by limiting itself, it only serves to isolate it further from the reality that consumers want both. It had a golden opportunity to bridge the gap and be the only device on the market that could do both…instead fell off the bridge.
Weather: Yes, the unit displays weather. But the detail of the weather data is pretty much useless in my mind. It pulls from weather stations that can be upwards of dozens of miles away. Why couldn’t the unit have shown weather radar information overlaid onto my route? Or the weather map on my screen? I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been out for 100 mile rides and seen dark clouds in the distance. The opportunity to have my known course with the precipitation information overlaid onto it would have been awesome. Instead, it just shows me the super basic temp/cloudy/sunny/rainy information in hour chunks for three hours. My phone already does that (and it has to be in my pocket anyway). I just don’t see the value add here. I see potential, but failed execution.
Live Tracking: Live tracking on the Edge 510 is a cool feature, no doubt. But ultimately, it’s hamstrung by the fact that it has to have a cell phone connected to it. They really should have leveraged the GTU10 technology to include that within the Edge 510 – allowing upload of data in real-time, without a cell phone. In talking with Garmin, the concern was that products like the GTU10 are just now getting into some countries (for example, Brazil) due to regulatory slowness. While I understand that concern, ultimately I feel that Garmin selected to stay behind the technology curve for the benefit of a few countries – instead of leaping ahead. This problem is faced by every technology company on earth, and while I understand it’s tough to leave some markets untapped – it’s even worse to lose the war. There are other companies that are coming out in the spring with this functionality (such as Bia). Garmin has two years of GTU10 experience to rock this functionality. And yet still completely missed the boat. If you’re catering to “high performance racers” – how many of those are going to take their cell phone with them during a race?
Cell Phone Integration: There’s just so many things in my mind that could have been done here. Why doesn’t it allow pushing to Strava, Training Peaks, etc…? Why not allow 3rd party connectivity via Bluetooth to the Edge – imagine the Strava app talking directly to the Edge unit? Why can’t two Garmin Connect mobile phones talk to each other ala race radios? Why can’t I search other peoples Garmin Connect routes, only my own? Why can’t I create workouts on the app? Why don’t you show my incoming text messages from people allowed by the Do Not Disturb feature? I don’t want to answer them – I just want to see when my wife is urgently trying to get ahold of me. Again, so many possibilities.
Overall, I feel like the phone integration is highly limited. It feels rushed, last second, and half-baked. The best analogy in my mind is of a college student who the night before a big project realized it was due, started working on it. He ended up copying someone else’s work (in this case, previous units), and only changed a few things. There wasn’t any original thought. At the end of the day, we’re talking three years for someone to think up kickass ideas. And virtually none of the things that people have been asking for were truly executed upon.
Below is a comparison chart comparing the units in this category. I’ve selected the units that are most comparable, and most likely to be compared. However, if you want to compare other units, simply go to the full product comparison page here, and you can mix and match units till your hearts content!
As always, I’d suggest that the below pros and cons is highly concentrated, and doesn’t really cover all the details of the 12,000+ words above. But, with that warning, here we go:
– Live Tracking works well
– New user interface is cleaner than Edge 500
– Easy uploading of rides via cell or PC
– Cell phone integration for access to workouts and courses
– Extensive data fields to choose from, most data fields of any device on market
– Bluetooth 2.1, not Bluetooth 4.0 (thus no Bluetooth Smart sensor support)
– The cell-phone integration seems rushed and half-baked
– The size of the Edge 510 is awkward, much larger than the previous Edge 500
– Lack of functional usable map display (just breadcrumb trail) while having plenty of screen space is frustrating
– [Update] At this point, if you’re a power meter user, I would further not recommend this unit. The Edge 510/810 currently have issues where they have power drops within the data set, making power meter collection useless on the device. With the current firmware (Aug 2013), I’m seeing this as fixed best I can tell in my testing, and watching forums.
General Beta FWIW FYI: Note that the unit I was using while a final device, was running beta software. As such, it’s plausible that features could change just slightly in between the time this was published and the unit you receive. Additionally, it means that things that worked for me, may break in future builds (yes, that happens). Finally, like any beta product, there were beta bugs I ran into. As always with pre-release products, I focus on functionality. If those bugs that I experienced are still there at the time of final release, I’ll definitely note those accordingly.
With that, thanks for reading. As always, feel free to drop comments or questions into the comments section below and I’ll try and run down the answers!
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 510 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.
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.
Clever Training Link (Save 10% with DCR10BTF)
Clever Training Europe (Save 10% with DCR10BTF)
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Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated December 1st, 2014 @ 9:50 am
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. 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. And lastly, if you felt this review was useful – I always appreciate feedback in the comments below. Thanks!