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Garmin Edge 530 Cycling GPS In-Depth Review

Garmin-Edge530-In-Depth-Review

Today Garmin announced three new products, the Edge 530 (this review), the Edge 830 (that review), and new dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart Speed and Cadence sensors (that review coming up momentarily). These products effectively complete Garmin’s x30 lineup of higher-end cycling units, offering four distinct incrementing price points: Edge 130, Edge 530, Edge 830, and Edge 1030.  And more importantly, they refresh Garmin’s most popular unit – the Edge 520.

While Garmin announced the Edge 520 Plus almost exactly one year ago today, it was effectively just a minor refresh of the Edge 520 adding in mapping capability. Whereas the new Edge 530 is a substantial bump in not just performance, but also features. And in using both the Edge 530 and Edge 830 for the past month, I’d argue it might be the best bike computer Garmin’s ever made (keeping in mind a year ago I was pretty firm in not recommending the Edge 520 Plus due to performance issues).

This new unit significantly increases performance in routing/navigation, while also adding in automated slicing and dicing of a route’s climbs to give you exact distance/elevation remaining for each climb. It’s got a huge slate of mountain bike specific features, including baking in the entire world’s worth of Trailforks maps/data right into the units. Plus there’s a host of new performance metrics, alongside nutrition/hydration alerts that are generated automatically based on route/weather conditions.  But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, I detail all this stuff below.

As always, I aim to detail the good, bad, and ugly about a given device. Note that this unit is a media loaner/test device and will very shortly go back to Garmin, like all other loaners. I do not accept any money (or even permit even advertising) from any company I review. If you find this review useful, hit up the links at the end of the post to support the site.

Oh – and if you’re trying to decide whether to read the Edge 530 or Edge 830 review this morning, I can say that they are excruciatingly similar, with the only differences being found in the ‘Navigation’ section of the Edge 830 variant (since that’s the only place they differ). Or, you can just make two trips to Starbucks, man or woman up, and get reading.

What’s new:

Let’s get right into the details of what’s new. And there’s no more consolidated method to do that then the below video where I outline all the newness with quick demos of each:

But, if text is more your jam, then here’s what I’ve put together. Note that there are other tidbits that I probably haven’t accounted for here – for example in certain menus or such where tiny things may have changed, but the below consolidates everything into one cohesive list. For this listing I’m using the Edge 520 Plus as the baseline (whereas if I used the Edge 520 on-board detailed maps weren’t included there).

– Increased display size 13% from 2.3” to 2.6”
– Increased battery life from 15 to 20 hours, and to 48 hours in battery saver mode
– Significantly increased processor speed: Results in much faster route calculation (see videos)
– Maintained complete on-board turn by turn map database for your region
– Added WiFi: Used for syncing of activities/metrics/routes (not during ride)
– Added ClimbPro: Automatically shows how much distance/elevation remains for each climb on route
– Added Mountain Bike Metrics: Shows Grit, Flow, and Jump details on both unit and Garmin Connect
– Added Trailforks maps to unit: Added global Trailforks data/maps to baked-in data on unit (no downloads required)
– Added ForkSight: Automatically shows mountain bike trail options when you pause at fork in trail
– Added Heat Acclimation: Will automatically take into account heat/humidity for performance/recovery metrics
– Added Altitude Acclimation: Will automatically take into account (high) elevation for performance/recovery metrics
– Added Training Plan API support: This includes a redesigned structured workout execution page
– Added Hydration/Nutrition Smart Alerts: When using a course/route, it’ll automatically figure out how much water/calories you should be taking
– Added Hydration/Nutrition Tracking: It allows you to record this data in ride summary screens and log it on Garmin Connect
– Added Edge Battery Pack Support: You can now attach the Garmin integrated battery pack to the Edge (you can still use generic USB power too)
– Added Bluetooth Smart sensor support: You can now pair Bluetooth Smart sensors like heart rate, power, and cadence
– Added Performance Power Curve: This shows you your mean maximal power over different durations/timeframes (like many training sites)
– Added Bike Alarm Feature: Used for cafes/bathroom stops, emits loud alarm if bike is moved
– Added ‘Find my Edge’ feature: Automatically record exact GPS location on your phone if Edge is disconnected (in case unit pops off)
– Added Training Plan Weather/Gear Tips: Basically tells you to HTFU when it’s cold out
– Changed user interface bits: Tweaked user interface, which might take some people a few rides to get used to (or just myself)

Got all that? Good. Now usually I do include any ‘negative’ new things (such as features removed), but I haven’t found any downsides to the new unit yet, or anything that’s been removed. It’s fairly rare for Garmin to remove features from unit to unit, though sometimes we see unintended consequences of other additions. Either way, I haven’t found any of those yet in my riding (or asking lots of questions). Of course, that’s separate from GPS/Altimeter/etc accuracy, which I cover in a separate section below.

Garmin-Edge530-vs-Edge830

So what are the key differences to the Edge 830 you might ask (which costs $100 more)? No problem, here ya go:

– Edge 830 has a touchscreen (thankfully different than the older Edge 820 touchscreen)
– Edge 830 can do address-specific routing, whereas on the Edge 530 you can’t enter a street address
– Edge 830 has searchable points of interest database, for finding food/monuments/hotels/etc…
– Edge 830 has four less buttons than the 530, since it’s a touch screen (and also has some slight differences in user interface, since you can touch it – most easily seen in the mapping pages)

As you can see, there’s not a lot of differences. It really comes down to that touch screen, and whether or not you plan to enter specific addresses onto the device, or would instead route by just using saved routes or moving the little finish selector over a given spot (more on that in the Navigation section).

With everything new and different all outlined, let’s dive into actually using the darn thing.

Oh wait – one last thing: Got an Edge 1030 already? You’ll get almost every new feature you see above via firmware update to your Edge 1030. The notable exception being that the pre-loaded mountain bike Trailforks maps, due to licensing reasons. However, Garmin says the remaining features will show up in a firmware update over the coming months.

Size & Weight Comparisons:

Before we dive into all the details (or even the basics), let’s just do a quick size check. Here’s a disastrously big lineup of mostly current bike computers, all aligned on their base to a chunk of wood:

DSC_0133

From left to right: Garmin Edge 130, Garmin Edge 520/520Plus/820 (identical case size), Polar M460, Wahoo BOLT, Garmin 530/830 (identical case size), Wahoo ELEMNT, Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM, Hammerhead Karoo, Garmin Edge 1030, Sigma ROX 12

The same order is below as well:

DSC_0134

And then, just to zoom in on some of the more applicable units close up. Left to right: ELEMNT BOLT, Edge 530/830, ELEMNT, ELEMNT ROAM, and Hammerhead Karoo.

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What’s that? You want weights too?!? Ok, out with the trusty scale:

DSC_0138 DSC_0141 DSC_0139DSC_0140 DSC_0147 DSC_0148DSC_0149 DSC_0150 DSC_0142DSC_0144 DSC_0145 DSC_0146

Ok, your Brady Bunch moment is over. Now for realz, let’s get onto using it.

(Note: This comparison section was added after the Wahoo ROAM released.)

The Basics:

Garmin-Edge530-Main-Dashboard

This section is focused on basic usage of the device. If you’ve been around the Garmin Edge block a few times before, you won’t likely pick up too much new in this chunk. I do this so that I can focus on newness in the other bits. Still, there are a few things different this time around, like the user interface and some button functions. In fact, let’s start with buttons. On the Edge 530 you have two, the lap and start/pause buttons in the same frontal location as other Edge devices:

Garmin-Edge530-Front-Buttons

This still remains somewhat controversial, as it can make it difficult to access these buttons on certain lower profile mounts where they’re against the handlebars. While that’s never really been an issue for me personally, I can see the argument for sure.

Meanwhile, on the left side of the unit there’s three buttons. Two used for up/down type selections, and the other for power. Whereas the right side has two more buttons, one as an escape/back type function and the other for confirmation/OK.

Garmin-Edge530-Left-Side-Buttons Garmin-Edge530-Right-Side-Buttons

On the underside of the unit is the same quarter-turn mount as every other Garmin Edge device made in the last decade. However, it joins the Edge 1030 in having the battery charge ports, which allows you to add the Garmin Charge Battery pack to the bottom of it to extend battery life even longer (like, multiple-days crazy long).

Garmin-Edge530-Underside Garmin-Edge530-Battery-Pack

The Edge 530 and Edge 830 both get 20 hours in regular mode, which Garmin has specifically defined as having the screen on, ambient light sensor enabled, two ANT+ sensors, and Bluetooth constantly connected to phone (including even LiveTrack). Meanwhile, you can go up to 40 hours in ‘Battery Saver’ mode, which turns off the display (unless tapped) but still records GPS/sensors. It’ll automatically prompt you to go into this mode when the battery gets super low.

Once you power the unit up you’ll notice the user interface is new. Similar to before, but still new nonetheless.  You can press down to see the typical/previous menus where you’ll find Training/Navigation/History/Stats/Connect IQ Apps/Settings. Where pressing up gets you to the status pane, which includes bits like weather and sensor/GPS/backlight status:

Garmin-Edge530-MainScreen Garmin-Edge-530-StatusScreen Garmin-Edge530-DownScreen

Speaking of GPS status, the Edge 530 follows along with virtually all new Garmin devices released in 2019 and uses the Sony GPS chipsets, which have a lower battery profile than previous chipsets from MediaTek. This chipset supports base GPS, GPS+GLONASS, and GPS+GALILEO. You can configure this on a per activity profile perspective.

Activity Profiles are used to customize your settings where you might want them different for different types of riding. For example, you’d likely have a different activity profile for mountain biking than road riding. Or maybe you want a paired down activity profile for racing.  You can customize data pages here, as well as metrics like nutrition/hydration, automatic lap, Strava Segments, and various other alerts.

I personally typically just use one profile for road riding, and one for mountain biking. I’m kinda simple that way. But some people get really creative/nuanced with their activity profiles.

Note that activity profiles don’t define sensors. Those are device-wide. Instead, Garmin for a number of years now has created a sensor pool concept. You pair all sensors on all your bikes, and it automatically connects to the sensor when that sensor wakes up. It works really well, and in the case of the Edge 530 is now expanded to Bluetooth Smart sensors (to match the Edge 830/1030, a well as Garmin’s wearables).

Garmin-Edge-530-Sensors-Pairing Garmin-Edge530-Sensors-Bluetooth-Smart

This means that you can now pair the following types of sensors on the Edge 530:

Cadence (ANT+ or Bluetooth Smart)
Edge Remote (ANT+)
eBike (ANT+)
Heart Rate (ANT+ or Bluetooth Smart)
Lights (ANT+)
Indoor Trainer (ANT+ FE-C, though paired in a different spot)
Radar (ANT+)
Power Meter (ANT+ or Bluetooth Smart)
Shifting (ANT+)
Shimano Di2 (ANT)
Speed/Cadence (ANT+ or Bluetooth Smart)
Speed (ANT+ or Bluetooth Smart)
Varia Vision (ANT+)
VIRB (ANT+)

Phew, got all that? Good.

In my case I’ve paired a blend of sensors, mostly ANT+ power meters/trainers, cadence sensors, speed sensors, and both ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart heart rate straps.

Once you’re ready to ride, you’ll simply select the activity profile on the main page and then the upper right button. It’ll go off and find GPS if it hasn’t already, and then you’re good to go. If it’s an indoor profile, it won’t find GPS.

Garmin-Edge530-MainStartingPage

Once you press the lower right start button, your unit will be recording data (and showing you that data). You can press the up/down buttons to change screens (or use auto-scroll to iterate through screens automatically).

If you’ve configured Live Tracking, then your track is shared to whomever you selected, be it social media or directly to specific friends via e-mail.

2019-04-23 22.34.17 2019-04-23 22.34.13

This is also leveraged for Group Tracking, which enables you to follow friends on a given group ride, and then send quick messages to those friends mid-ride. Regrettably, I lack any friends to test this feature out.

If you want to create manual laps, you’ll use the lower left ‘lap’ button, which marks a lap and then shows you lap summary data. You can also use the lap summary page to compare lap metrics – which is ideal if doing intervals.  Finally, once done you’ll press the ‘Stop’ button on the right corner, which pauses the recording. Press it again to save it. You’ll then get ride summary data:

At that point the ride is automatically synced to your phone via Bluetooth Smart, and if within range of a saved WiFi network, then it could also upload that way as well. Once on Garmin Connect it instantly syncs to 3rd party platforms like Strava and TrainingPeaks as well.  You can view the stats of your ride on the Garmin Connect Mobile app:

Or, you can view it on Garmin Connect (desktop/web) too. Here’s one of my rides if you want to dig in further:

screencapture-connect-garmin-modern-activity-3576577811-2019-04-23-22_36_30

Last but not least, Garmin’s added a new Bike Alarm feature. This is in addition to the ‘Find my Edge’ function that I talk about within the mountain biking section. But since we just finished a ride, I’ll explain ‘Bike Alarm’, which is designed primarily for post-ride café settings, as well as quick bathroom stops. The goal being that you leave your Edge device on your bike and then if someone moves/touches it, it sounds an alarm. It uses the internal accelerometers to do so.

The setup for the feature is buried super deep in the menus. To get to it you’ll go: Down to Menu > Settings > Safety & Tracking > Bike Alarm > Set Passcode.  But once done, you don’t have to set it each time. Once you’ve set a passcode, you can access the bike alarm by just long-holding the power button:

Garmin-Edge530-Bike-Alarm-Enable  Garmin-Edge530-Bike-Alarm-Activation

At that point it’ll give you a 5-second count-down, and then also notify you on your phone that the feature is activated.  If you touch the bike, the alarm activates, which…sounds hideous (in a good way).

Garmin-Edge530-Bike-Alarm-Activated Garmin-Edge530-Bike-Alarm-Triggered

Additionally, if your phone is within range (and it probably is), you’ll get a notification there which would also show up on any smartwatches you might have on. You’ll get a notification when you arm it, when it’s triggered, and when it’s disarmed:

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I demo the whole thing as part of the video up above in the ‘What’s new’ section.

When I first saw that the Edge had a bike alarm feature, admittedly I thought it was pretty stupid. But now that I’ve seen how it’s implemented, it actually makes sense. There’s plenty of times when I’ve got my bike at a café roughly within line of sight, but maybe not always top of my mind. This makes it so that I’ll either hear it, or my phone/watch will notify me if someone touches my bike. I like it.

And at that point, we’ve got the basics covered and are ready to dive into all the cool newness.

Mountain Bike Features:

Garmin-Edge530-Mountain-Bike

Up till now, the most attention that Garmin has placed on mountain biking has simply been to add a generic ‘Mountain Bike’ profile, and offer you the ability to purchase a colored rubber condom for your Edge device, presumably to try and protect it when you smashed your bike into a rock face. Feature-wise though, there’s been nothing.

But this time around there’s significant focus on mountain biking, primarily within the following features:

Trailforks maps are baked into the Edge 530: This includes about 130,000 mountain bike trails, alongside trail ratings
Mountain Bike Dynamics: These metrics show how hard a trail was that you rode, as well as how well you rode it
ForkSight: This trail chooser screen automatically appears when you pause at a trail intersection
Find my Edge: While not absolute to mountain riding, this helps you find your bike computer if it flies off the mount on the trail
Trail Planning: You can ask the Edge to pick a trail of a certain rating, and it’ll find you something to ride

In addition, you can still use the previous Trailforks Connect IQ app on your Edge 530 to get routes from your Trailforks account, or search the Trailforks database.

First, let’s talk the metrics – because that’s kinda the newest thing here in terms of being totally different. There’s essentially three metrics here:

Grit: This calculates a difficulty score for each route, using elevation and GPS data. So kinda like a trail rating. If two riders ride the same exact trail, they should get the same Grit score. The higher the number the harder the course.
Flow: This is your specific rating for how well you rode the route. It’s focused on the momentum of the ride, so things like braking impact hurt your score. A lower number is a better score. Thus, two riders could ride the exact same route and get totally different Flow scores.
Jumps: This will count how many jumps, and for each jump will include distance and hang time. Additionally, during the ride you’ll get jump notifications in real-time with distance/hang time.

Looking at some of these in real-time, first we’ve got the jump metric. In my case, I suck at jumping (look, I’m a road cyclist/triathlete – you’re just lucky I managed to ride a mountain bike at all). So while I got some jumps in my rides, my ability to capture those jumps while also taking a photo was not happening. So, here’s a photo from Des that shows that:

Next, there’s the Grit and Flow scores, which you can add as data fields to your unit. Further, you can also see these as per-lap fields. So for example in downhill mountain biking if you created a lap at the top of each descent, you’d be able to see how these scores compared lap after lap.

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Afterwards, these scores show up on Garmin Connect (website). First, they actually show up on the map, color-coding your route – which is cool and something I wish Garmin did for other aspects of the map (like gradient % for road riding data).

image

Next, down below in the charts section they show up there too, also color coded:

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And finally, down in the stats section you’ve got the new Mountain Bike Dynamics, including any jumps (or, lack thereof in my case):

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You should be able to see these on Garmin Connect Mobile as well, though my app isn’t showing them yet for some bug, however, others that I know are seeing them just fine. So this appears to be a me-specific bug. The story of my life.

Next, there’s the increased Trailforks integration. While Garmin hasn’t quite bought out Trailforks yet, I’d be really surprised if we just don’t see that happen. With the Edge 530/830 they’ve baked in all of the Trailforks trail data onto the unit itself. You will need to authorize that briefly the first time you use the unit, but it only takes a second. The existing Trailforks app is still there, since that takes care of better integration with Trailforks as a platform in terms of pulling your routes from your account and so-on.

Garmin-Edge530-TrailForksApp

The most obvious way the new Trailforks data manifests itself is a feature called ‘ForkSight’, which automatically pops up anytime you pause at an intersection of trails (or, more appropriately – a fork in the trail). It’s at this point it’ll show you the trail options and difficulty grades/distances for each one:

2019-04-13 15.33.10 HDR 2019-04-13 15.34.10

You can then select any of the options shown to get more information about that specific trail. It’s super cool in real life, and helps you figure out the implications of each option you have. That said, sometimes it can be a little confusing to figure out which trail is which if they aren’t labeled at the trailhead. But for the most part you can figure it out.

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Next, there’s ‘Find my Edge’, while not only for mountain biking, the reality is that most people will probably use it for mountain biking. This feature will instantly and automatically mark the exact GPS location where your unit disconnects from your phone (assuming the Garmin Connect Mobile app is on in the background). Then, on your phone you’ll get an alert that allows you to open up the exact GPS coordinates with the mapping app of your choice (for example, the Google Maps app):

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In addition, within the device options on Garmin Connect Mobile, it has two further options: ‘Find my Edge’ and ‘Last Known Location’.  If you select ‘Last Known Location’, it’ll open up the default mapping app on your phone and then the exact GPS coordinates it last saw your Edge devices at:2019-04-23 19.04.15 2019-04-23 16.31.36

Whereas if you select ‘Find my Edge’, it’ll try and connect to your Edge 530 and start an alarm sound. Which is basically just a constant beeper. It’s not crazy loud, but loud enough that you should be able to find it. And here’s what it looks like on the unit itself – saying ‘Edge found’:

Garmin-Edge530-Found

Note that this last little bit requires you be within Bluetooth Smart range. Outdoors that’s roughly tens of meters, whereas indoors it’s a crapshoot. Generally speaking though your GPS accuracy is within a few meters, so that gets you close enough to then use the beeper to find your Edge sitting in the bush. Roughly akin to how I found my GoPro mountain biking earlier this year.

Oh, and as for the mountain bike bundle, in case you’re looking at that, it comes with the following:

– Edge 530
– Mountain Bike Mount
– Silicone Case
– Edge Remote
– Dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart Speed Sensor

While I’ve personally never bothered with the silicone case, if you’re looking at picking up any of the other accessories, it probably makes sense to just get the bundle price-wise at that point.

Garmin-Edge-530-Routing-Navigation

The Edge 530 contains a complete mapset for the region you bought it in (I.e. North America), which allows you to get full turn by turn navigations (with street names) to any point you drop on the map, or any route you load into it (no matter the source/platform it’s from). The main difference though between the Edge 530 and Edge 830/1030 from a navigation standpoint is that the Edge 530 doesn’t support POI’s (points of interest; like monuments or hotels) nor the ability to on the device itself type in a street address. And obviously, the Edge 830/1030 is a touchscreen whereas the Edge 530 isn’t. But other than that – it’s all the same.

Perhaps the most important feature on the entire new Edge 530/830 units is the significantly faster processor. I, alongside the entire internet have complained how darn slow Garmin’s previous Edge series processors are. Which isn’t to say I actually care about the processor specifically, but rather the end-resultant: Route calculation time. It would previously take numerous minutes for each just a short route to calculate. That was unacceptable, and a core reason why I didn’t recommend at the Edge 520 Plus at launch.

Well, it seems like Garmin has listened and yup: Super duper fast now.

Now, there are slight differences depending on what exactly you’re doing. I’ve found loading a saved route is the fastest of the bunch. So something like some 60KM routes from Strava that I’ve loaded are taking about just a few seconds depending on the locale.  Whereas picking a point a distance away and letting it come up with a brand new route takes a few more seconds (like 10-20 seconds, not minutes). That’s understandable since the first is just drawing a route, whereas the second is coming up with one.  And yet it also seems to vary based on exactly where I am. Routes in Mallorca and California were silly quick (1-5 seconds), whereas here in crazy bike route density Amsterdam the routing takes a bit longer (5-15 seconds).

So, let’s quickly go through those two modes. First is if you’ve already got a route. This can be something from Garmin Connect or a 3rd party site. It could be an individual route file you’ve downloaded, or it could be from a site like Strava via the Strava Routes Connect IQ app. In my case, I’m mostly using Strava routes (since I can use them on all my devices – acting like the Switzerland of routing). So we’ll start there, grabbing that route from the pre-loaded Strava Routes CIQ app:

Garmin-Edge530-Strava-Routes Garmin-Edge530-Strava-Route-Selected

Next, it’ll show me the route details:

Garmin-Edge530-Strava-Route-Ride Garmin-Edge530-Strava-Route-Overview

And finally, I can select to ride it. Within about 2-3 seconds, the route generation is complete and I’m ready to press start on my unit.

Garmin-Edge530-Strava-Start-Routing

Now, when out on the road, I’ll get turn by turn directions as I approach any turn. I’ve found these directions timely (unlike the Edge 520 Plus), and in plenty of time to take action on them. Again, there does seem to be some slight variances in responsiveness based on where in the world I am, but none of the differences affected my ability to have boatloads of time. Here’s two screenshots mid-ride during different rides, showing what it looks like:

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In addition, if I ignored a route, it’d automatically recalculate the route (including street names). Depending on the scenario, it’d either explain how to turn around and re-join the route, or in some cases cut a corner to catch-up down the road. I did however see one quirk in Amsterdam on a very short automatically generated route where it continued to try and go via some non-direct roads. After Garmin analyzed it they found a routing/mapping related bug that they say should be included in the next firmware update.

Note that the recalculation behavior is very different than that of a Wahoo BOLT/ELEMNT, which don’t have a street-level map on them. Thus, they just point you back (compass-style) to the route itself, rather than giving you turn by turn directions. For many folks, that’s perfectly fine, but I wanted to make that clear.  Whereas the Garmin method matches that of Hammerhead’s Karoo and Sigma’s ROX 12 in terms of proper on-street routing data.

Next, what if you wanted to go somewhere unplanned? The Edge 530 can do that as well, albeit with a few more limitations than the Edge 830/1030. On the Edge 530 you’ll select navigation, where you’ve got the option to browse a map (as well as load courses and saved locations).  When you browse the map you’ve got a small target in the middle that you can move around (note the middle of the image with the crosshairs):

Garmin-Edge530-Target-Location

In the upper right corner are three dots. These are identical to how mapping works on the Fenix series, and works surprisingly well (since it’s non-touchscreen). You press the upper right button to change between the three modes: Zoom in/out, Pan left/right, Scroll up/down.  Then you use the lower left buttons to perform that action.  You can see it in each of the photos below in the upper right corner:

Garmin-Edge530-Scroll-Map Garmin-Edge530-Pan-Map Garmin-Edge530-Zoom-Map

The goal here is to move around to the point you want to go to, and then select it. At which point you can have the Edge 530 go off and find a route to it:

Garmin-Edge530-Routed-Browsed-Location Garmin-Edge530-Map-Routing

From here, it’s business as normal just like above in terms of routing.

Finally, note that the unit in conjunction with your phone via the Garmin Connect Mobile app can also do some route planning.  You can create round-trip routes whereby it goes and creates a route of a given distance for you automatically, as well as create manual routes connecting points together.

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This new manual route creation bit is actually brand new – introduced in the last week or two (to everyone, not just Edge 530/830 peoples), and frankly, it sucks. I don’t know how it could be so bad, but it really is. Having come from the Easy Route app world, where I just tappity-tap my way through a route, the Garmin Connect Mobile experience is just super clunky and imprecise, crazily zooming in and out like a drunk kid with a camera for the first time. Yes, you can get the job done, but it’ll take you way longer.

2019-04-23 23.02.18 2019-04-23 23.02.49 2019-04-23 23.02.58

Hopefully though since it’s a brand new feature it’ll improve over time – maybe once someone buys a bulk pack of 40-grit sandpaper and goes to town on it.

Still, new app option aside – the rest of routing works great (finally). The processing time is what I’d expect from a $300 unit, and the route calculation to match it. I would like to see Garmin integrate Strava routes directly though, as I find the Strava Routes app clunky compared to Wahoo’s integrated Strava Routes capability. Also, I’d prefer to see Garmin allow easy loading of maps from other regions like Wahoo, rather than having to rely on 3rd party site downloads (or paying a bunch of cash).

Though, once you get the route/maps loaded, then Garmin’s routing engine is leagues ahead of what Wahoo has. I suppose doing it for a decade longer will get you that experience.

Finally, note that if there’s one thing I know about routing is that there are always edge cases in certain areas. In my case I’ve tested routing quite a bit in three core locations: Mallorca (Spain), Amsterdam (Netherlands), and Monterey (California, USA). This has included both on-road and off-road routes. However, there are always quirks in weird places that I might not have encountered, though for the most part the underlying mapping/routing data here should match that of the Edge 1030 – which people seem pretty happy with.

Training & Performance Metrics:

Garmin-Edge530-ClimbPro-Header

Next comes a slew of training and performance-related metrics, virtually all of which are new. And we’re going to start with ClimbPro, which is hands-down my favorite feature on the Edge 530/830 (and coming to the Edge 1030).

This feature automatically slices and dices your planned route’s climbs, and generates detailed climb charts for each climb as you ride them. The feature actually originated from the Fenix 5 Plus wearables last year, but really shines here on the larger screen of the Edge series as a cycling focused function. It requires that you have some route/course loaded, so it knows where you’re going. Once you’ve got that, you can see the list of climbs within the ClimbPro summary screen on the route planning page:

Garmin-Edge530-ClimbProListOfClimbs

Next, as you’re riding, it’ll automatically show the ClimbPro page for each climb once you enter it. Kinda like Strava Segments for climbs, minus the racing aspect. The climb page shows the distance remaining on the climb, the ascent remaining, the average grade remaining, and then two customizable fields at the bottom. By default, these are heading and elevation, but you can change them as you see fit.

Garmin-Edge530-ClimbPro1 Garmin-Edge530-ClimbPro2

In addition, the Edge will color-code the pain of the climb segments on the ClimbPro page based on gradient as seen above. These are bucketed into:

0-3%: Green
3-6%: Yellow
6-9%: Orange
9-12%: Red
12%+: Dark Painful Bloody Red

Having ridden with this feature last month on Mallorca it was super cool. Not only for major climbs like Sa Calobra, but actually for some of the smaller ones before and after it. For example, after you finish the famed Sa Calobra and continue out of that area you’ve actually still got another minor climb to do before you descend one of a few routes back to the remainder of the island. Having ClimbPro on my screen was super handy to know how much suck was left, since mentally you sorta forgot about these minor climbs you’ve still gotta do in comparison to the big one you just knocked out.

2019-04-14 10.36.29

Garmin notes that they expect to tweak the definition of a climb based on feedback over the next month or two. Specifically, whether or not something triggers a climb on ClimbPro (since this is calculated on the unit itself when a route is loaded). Obviously, there’s no international definition when it comes to what’s a cycling climb and what’s not. Still, the definition they’re using as of today is as follows:

Total value must be 3,500 or higher where: Distance of climb in meters (min 500 meters) * Gradient (min average 3%)

So, doing some samples here to help understand:

Climb A: 1,000 meters long at 4% = 1,000*4 = 4,000: Yes, qualifies as a climb
Climb B: 5,000 meters long at 2% = 5,000*2 = 10,000: No, doesn’t meet 3% threshold
Climb C: 500 meters long at 8% = 500*8 = 4,000: Yes, qualifies as a climb

Make sense? Again, simply calculate distance in meters by incline/gradient and see if it’s above 3,500. Also, ensure average gradient is 3%.  As I said above – I think it’s probably the coolest feature on the Edge 530/830.

Next, speaking of elevation, there’s two new features coupled together – heat and altitude acclimation. Both of these are actually quietly present on the Garmin MARQ series as well. The goal behind both of these are post-workout calculations tied to figuring out whether or not you’re acclimated to a given temperature or altitude. Obviously, both can significantly impact performance.  Starting with heat acclimation, the function leverages nearby weather stations. So your unit has to have connected to Garmin Connect Mobile within 3 hours of starting your ride in order to receive that weather data (it doesn’t use on-device temperature).

Then, for heat acclimation it applies a heat correction factor for rides above 71°F/22°C, using a percentage based amount from published studies (humidity is also factored into this as well). This is then shown in the training status widget. Garmin says they assume full acclimation takes a minimum of 4 days, and acclimation/adaptation to a given high temperature will automatically decay after 3 days of skipped training within that heat levels.

Garmin-Edge530-HeatAcclimation

Altitude acclimation/adaption is roughly similar (also seen above). The minimum threshold is at altitudes above 850m/2,788ft, and tops out at 4,000m/13,123ft (Garmin doesn’t calculate above that for cycling, sorry folks). Garmin says that they divide up training vs living altitudes, just as typical studies would. The company says that adaptation algorithms within the Edge 530/830 assume total adaptation after 21 days, and that adaptation is faster at the beginning of altitude exposure. Additionally, adaptation will decay within 21-28 days depending on acclimation level. Because I haven’t had any high altitude rides lately, I’m deferring you to Mr. DesFit, who has, and kindly lent me his high altitude shot (and check out his Edge 530 video, especially for more mountain bike details).

2019-04-23 23.36.31

What the feature shows is your current altitude adaptation level. In other words, if I go from living at sea level (as I do) to moving to the French Alps, each day it’ll show what my body has acclimated to. This essentially automates/charts the exact same process that many elite athletes take when preparing for races. In fact, a pro triathlete friend of mine wrote a guest post here on that very topic some 8 years ago. For the rest of us, we can just use this as a post-ride pub excuse for why we climbed so poorly on our week-long vacation in the Alps. Obviously, we weren’t acclimated.

Also of note is that if the Edge 530/830 are put into ‘sleep’ mode (as opposed to powered full off), it’ll actually do a check each night at midnight of where it is altitude wise, and account for that – just like the MARQ series watch does every night at midnight. Effectively giving you credit for sleeping at high altitude.

Next, there’s new hydration/nutrition alerts and record keeping. These alerts will appear mid-ride anytime you’ve loaded a pre-planned course/route into the Edge, and are based on your profile (gender/weight). Effectively, it’s trying to help you remember to eat and drink – a chronic problem for most longer-distance cyclists and triathletes. Or, at least me.  These alerts automatically show up seemingly based on caloric intake variables, and will give you Garmin’s recommendations for fluid and calories, impacted by the current temperature/humidity as well. Garmin did note that these are capped though to account for maximum hydration intake limits of the human body.

2019-04-19 16.46.00

In other words, they know that in some super hot/humid scenarios you could lose more hydration than you could possibly consume/absorb in the same timeframe, so they shouldn’t be giving you crazy recommendations like drinking three full bottles per hour. I haven’t hit that kinda weather yet, so it’s hard to tell for sure.

Then, afterwards you’ve got new hydration/nutrition tracking These pages are shown for any rides longer than 90 minutes, where it’ll ask you how much you drank and ate. It’s here over the last few months that I’ve realized the answer is always ‘not enough’.

Garmin-Edge530-CaloriesConsumed Garmin-Edge530-Hydration-Consumed

And yes, you can change from ounces to millimeters, as well as the exact size of your bottle (even per activity profile setting too!).  This data is then shown on Garmin Connect (but oddly not Garmin Connect Mobile):

image

In addition to the post-ride nutrition stats, there’s your total training status stats. These stats are a step above what you’ve historically gotten on the Edge series, and are in line to match that of MARQ (and a step above the Fenix 5 Plus). Note that some of these stats require a power meter (like FTP). Here’s the overview ‘My Stats’ page (though, much of this is also shown post-ride on the summary screens):

Garmin-Edge530-TrainingStatus

First, there’s Training Status, which is showing you Training Load over the last 7 days. Note that this includes non-riding activities as well, if they’ve synced from other Garmin wearable devices.

Garmin-Edge530-TrainingLoad

Next, there’s Training Load Focus, which is showing you the breakouts of your training types over the last four weeks. It then shows you in the dotted line the optimal (aka balanced) training load bucketing. Obviously, I ignore anything that’s optimal or balanced.

Garmin-Edge530-TrainingFocus

Next, there’s Recovery Time, which is load-based and includes time from other devices as well. This is telling you how many hours you should wait until your next hard workout:

Garmin-Edge530-RecoveryTime

Then there’s VO2Max and FTP, both of which are calculated (FTP calculation requires a power meter, seen above):

Garmin-Edge530-VO2Max

And finally, one of the newer metrics not seen on any other Garmin device is Power Curve. This is basically just a mean-max power graph, and loosely mirrors what we’ve had on various training platforms for more than a decade.

Garmin-Edge530-PowerCurve

The time duration is selectable as three choices – one month, three months, and twelve months. It does appear to pull in data from Garmin Connect as well, which is a good thing and shows tighter integration there than we’ve previously seen for Personal Records on other Garmin devices.

Last but not least, there’s on-device training plans. You could previously see all of this on Garmin Connect, but it wasn’t super visible on the Edge itself. Now, if you’ve got a training plan loaded (including those from TrainingPeaks and soon also TrainerRoad), those will appear here.  Once you load a workout up, you’ll get similar step by step instructions on the Edge as before, but now with a bit better overview metrics and showing exactly how that workout should look:

Garmin-Edge530-IndividualWorkout

Additionally, there’s now a new ‘Gear’ and ‘Weather’ option. The weather simply shows the weather for that day of the week that the workout is scheduled. Whereas the gear option aims to give you tips on what kind of gear you should have that day (for example, if it’s cold and miserable to bring gloves). Garmin says that they’re trying to provide tips for cyclists that may not be as experienced. The rest of us know that it’s simply better to stay indoors and Zwift instead.

Garmin-Edge530-Recommended-Gear

As usual, once you’ve completed these workouts, they’ll sync up to Garmin Connect and the various 3rd party platforms they might have come from.

Ultimately, the goal behind all these metrics is that they’re across the board with your other Garmin devices. So if you’ve got a Garmin wearable that supports these metrics (or some portion of them), then everything should match. Understanding that I’m a bit of an edge case due to how many Garmin devices I’m using at once for testing, that concept roughly pans out – though there’s still some cracks here and there where physiological data from one device doesn’t match another. Still, for the normal person that doesn’t ride with 12 devices at once, it’s nice to see some of this glue finally hardening.

GPS & Elevation Accuracy:

Garmin-Edge530-GPS-Status

There’s likely no topic that stirs as much discussion and passion as GPS accuracy.  A watch could fall apart and give you dire electrical shocks while doing so, but if it shows you on the wrong side of the road?  Oh hell no, bring on the fury of the internet!

GPS accuracy can be looked at in a number of different ways, but I prefer to look at it using a number of devices in real-world scenarios across a vast number of activities.  I use 2-6 other devices at once, trying to get a clear picture of how a given set of devices handles conditions on a certain day.  Conditions include everything from tree/building cover to weather.

Over the years I’ve continued to tweak my GPS testing methodology.  For example, for watches I try to not place two units next to each other on my wrists, as that can impact signal. If I do so, I’ll put a thin fabric spacer of about 1”/3cm between them (I didn’t do that for any workouts here).  But often I’ll simply carry other units by the straps, or attach them to the shoulder straps of my hydration backpack.  Plus, wearing multiple watches on the same wrist is well known to impact optical HR accuracy. For cycling units, I arrange them on my handlebars using standard mounts – usually one on either side of the step, often a bit separated from each other.

Next, as noted, I use just my daily training routes.  Using a single route over and over again isn’t really indicative of real-world conditions, it’s just indicative of one trail.  The workouts you see here are just my normal daily workouts.  I’ve had a fair bit of variety of terrain within the time period of testing Garmin Edge units.  This has included workouts in: Amsterdam (city, countryside) and Mallorca (mountains, ocean, countryside), California (off-road, hills, forests, seaside).

We’re gonna look at a few different rides in different parts of the world. First, we’ll start with the famed Sa Calobra in Mallorca. I rode this nearly a month ago, so while this firmware was slightly older, it still shows pretty solid GPS performance. Here is the data set compared to the Garmin MARQ watch and the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active.

image_thumb[32]

This super twisty-turny route is incredibly difficult from a GPS performance standpoint. There are rock tunnels, huge cliffs next to you, and plenty of GPS-blocking goodness to hose up units (as we see the Samsung illustrate).

DJI_0004-1_thumb

I’m going to zoom into one of the more difficult points here:

image_thumb[35]

Of course, with the trees it’s hard to see what’s going on. But I just wanted to show you first the density of trees. In fact, you can see the Samsung straight-up gave up on life half-way through this and just cut the corner entirely. So we’ll ignore it.

image_thumb[36]

The other units tracks are actually very close. There’s a few bobbles of the Garmin MARQ at one point where the cave is (the green text you see). That’s this thing:

RockWalls_thumb

But most importantly, the two Edge 530/830 units tracked through that just fine and dandy. Perhaps by skill, or perhaps by dumb luck. They did it both directions though.

Now I had a quick lunch at the bottom before heading up. GPS-wise, units were fine here. I left them recording on my bike while I ate.

image_thumb[38]

Though I did see some elevation issues here were it showed me quite a bit higher in elevation than I really was (300ft higher than the sea I was sitting next to). Garmin isn’t super clear on why this happened, though I haven’t seen it happen again. And again, that was a month ago on older firmware.

And in fact, if we look at route elevation for the next day, you’ll see the two Edge 530/830 units nail the elevation without any issues, super clean and consistent. The Samsung…is…well…yeah.

image_thumb[40]

Next we’ve got a ride in Monterey, California from two weeks ago. This was a nice coastal ride that also went through some gigantic tree forests. Plus it had a couple of rollers and a solid climb mid-way through. For this I’ve got both Edge 530/830 units, as well as the Garmin MARQ watch and the Polar Vantage V GPS watch. Here’s the high-level overview of the GPS from that set:

image_thumb[17]

We’ll go ahead and zoom into some sections, starting with early on. It’s here we see the Edge 530 is a bit offset from the rest. Why you ask? It was in my back jersey pocket. I needed to photograph the Edge 830 solo-cup:

image_thumb[19]

However, once we turned the corner I then got it on my handlebars and it was clean sailing:

image_thumb[21]

I know, it’s hard to see the lines above. But how could I not go to satellite view with scenery like that? Ok, I’ll go back to boring map view for the next ones.

Oh, back in the pocket it went for a climb to get other photos. Why bother including this you ask? Well two reason. First, in case you’re browsing the files and wondering why it went all sideways, and second, because I actually see a surprising number of people that stick GPS devices in their back pockets. This shows you what can happen.

image_thumb[23]

This is back in the forests and back on the handlebars:

image_thumb[26]

It was at least pretty consistent in that when it went into my pocket it went a bit sideways. This ride unfortunately had a lot of that, as we were filming other videos for things that were published prior to this review (and thus prior to this embargo). Though interestingly the Edge 830 seemed to handle the pocketing better than the Edge 530 on this ride. No idea why.

Here’s another section with all of them out – nice and clean. And this is actually in the trees a fair bit alongside a highway.

image_thumb[28]

As for altitude? Pretty similar overall, however the Edge 830 did seem offset about 18 meters throughout the entire ride. I suspect it got a weird initial fix which is used to then calibrate the barometer.

image_thumb[30]

As for the couple of spikes in there – I haven’t seen those on any other rides, and thus I suspect that’s due to the pocketing. I didn’t see it on numerous rides in Mallorca on legit climbs, nor any mountain bike rides elsewhere in California.

Next, we’ve got a ride I did this past weekend from Amsterdam one-way, down south through the Tulip fields. For this ride I’ve got it compared against the Polar Vantage V GPS watch, as well as actually also have the new magnetless speed sensor in fully standalone mode (meaning, it was just recording to itself). You won’t see a GPS track from the standalone sensor, but it does show us speed and distance. Here’s what things looked like in that data set:

image_thumb[1]

Ok, at a high level that’s pretty boring. Nobody does anything stupid, so all the tracks look fine from 30,000ft. Let’s zoom in a bunch to some corners and such. Note that all of these units are recording at 1-second intervals.

image_thumb[5]

Here’s a crossing of a bridge and the lead-up to it. You’ll see that the Polar Vantage V overshoots the turn the most (heading into an ice cream shop, which I suppose is a good idea), though once on the other side of the water, all of them are quite close together near the path. Note that where it says ‘Real Estate Agency’ you might think that the units cut the corner of the roadway, but in reality, that’s where the bike path goes.

The thing with analyzing road bike GPS files, is that they very rarely fail. Seriously, super rarely do units screw it up. That said, time and time again I found the Polar Vantage V off in the water, as seen here. Mind you, this is the exact same GPS chipset between these three units (all Sony, and all likely using the same chipset).

image_thumb[7]

The difference though is in the modes and power delivery. In this case I’ve got both Edge units configured for GPS+Galileo, a mode the Polar Vantage V doesn’t support. Not only that, but the Edge can deliver far more power to the Sony chipset and has more space for the antenna than a wearable.

image_thumb[9]

It’s hard to find many Edge 530/830 screw-ups in this file. The closest we get is this intersection where I turn, and we see the Edge 530/830 separate a bit on their plotted tracks, about one lane difference while crossing the bridge. There was a tall building to the right there, but that’s it.

image_thumb[11]

The second mistake is on this bend in the road, all three units undercut the corner – the Garmin’s more so than the Polar. Though again, if you scroll through the actual data set, you’ll find that the Polar cuts every corner.

image_thumb[13]

Oh, and altitude on this one? Pay attention to the scale, it’s only a shift of about 10 meters for any given file over the course of the ride. The green is the Polar Vantage V, brown the Edge 830, and purple the Edge 530. It looks like we see a bit of a variation around the 90-minute marker going over a small bridge, but again, keep in mind we’re really only talking a variance of about 5 meters at that moment. Welcome to the Netherlands.

image_thumb[15]

In any event, overall, from a GPS accuracy standpoint I’m not yet seeing anything of concern. Even in off-road conditions the tracks are essentially the same that I’ve seen from past Garmin Edge devices. While I’ve had concern about the new Sony chipset based on the implementations by other companies, those concerns don’t seem to be carrying over to the Garmin line. Or at least, the Edge lineup specifically. Again as I noted earlier this is likely more to do with the fact that Garmin has enabled additional GPS modes (Galileo), as well as simply has more power it can throw at the GPS chipset than a wearable can. Plus, bike computers have much more room for better antenna design.

(Note: All of the charts in these accuracy portions were created using the DCR Analyzer tool.  It allows you to compare power meters/trainers, heart rate, cadence, speed/pace, GPS tracks and plenty more. You can use it as well for your own gadget comparisons, more details here.)

Product Comparison:

I’ve added the Edge 530 (as well as Edge 830) into the product comparison calculator so you can see how it compares to other units on the market. To keep things simple for below, I’ve compared it against the Edge 520 Plus (previous generation), Wahoo BOLT, and Edge 830. Of course, there are plenty more units in the product comparison calculator, so you can make your own charts here as well. In the meantime, here’s how things line-up below:

Function/FeatureGarmin Edge 530Garmin Edge 520Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated September 14th, 2020 @ 5:44 amNew Window
Price$299$229$229
Product Announcement DateApr 24th, 2019July 1st, 2015Mar 14th, 2017
Actual Availability/Shipping DateEarly May 2019July 31st, 2015Mar 14th, 2017
GPS Recording FunctionalityYesYesYes
Data TransferUSB, Bluetooth Smart, WiFiUSB & Bluetooth SmartBluetooth Smart, WiFi, USB
WaterproofingIPX7IPX7IPX7
Battery Life (GPS)20 Hours (40 in battery Saver Mode)15 hours15 hours
Recording Interval1-Second or Smart1-Second or Smart1-second
Satellite Pre-Loading via ComputerYesYesYes
Quick Satellite ReceptionYEsYesYes
AlertsAudio/VisualAudio/VisualAUDIO/VISUAL + LED's
Backlight GreatnessGreatGreatGreat
Ability to download custom apps to unit/deviceYesYesNo
Acts as daily activity monitor (steps, etc...)NoNoN/A
MusicGarmin Edge 530Garmin Edge 520Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT
Can control phone musicNoNoNo
Has music storage and playbackNoNoNo
Streaming ServicesNoNo
PaymentsGarmin Edge 530Garmin Edge 520Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT
Contactless-NFC PaymentsNo
ConnectivityGarmin Edge 530Garmin Edge 520Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT
Bluetooth Smart to Phone UploadingYesYesYes
Phone Notifications to unit (i.e. texts/calls/etc...)YesYesYes
Live Tracking (streaming location to website)YesYesYes
Group trackingYesNoYes
Emergency/SOS Message Notification (from watch to contacts)YesYesNo
Built-in cellular chip (no phone required)NoNoNo
CyclingGarmin Edge 530Garmin Edge 520Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT
Designed for cyclingYesYesYes
Power Meter CapableYEsYesYes
Power Meter Configuration/Calibration OptionsYesYesYes
Power Meter TSS/NP/IFYesYesYes
Speed/Cadence Sensor CapableYesYesYes
Strava segments live on deviceYesYesYes
Crash detectionYesYesNo
RunningGarmin Edge 530Garmin Edge 520Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT
VO2Max Estimation(CYCLING YES THOUGH)(CYCLING YES THOUGH)N/A
Recovery Advisor(CYCLING YES THOUGH)(CYCLING YES THOUGH)N/A
TriathlonGarmin Edge 530Garmin Edge 520Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT
Designed for triathlonSortaN/AN/A
WorkoutsGarmin Edge 530Garmin Edge 520Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT
Create/Follow custom workoutsYesYesYes
On-unit interval FeatureYesYesNo
Training Calendar FunctionalityYesYesNo
FunctionsGarmin Edge 530Garmin Edge 520Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT
Auto Start/StopYesYesYes
Virtual Partner FeatureYesYesNo
Virtual Racer FeatureYesYesNo
Records PR's - Personal Records (diff than history)YesYesNo
Day to day watch abilityN/AN/AShows time/date
Weather Display (live data)YesYesNo
NavigateGarmin Edge 530Garmin Edge 520Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT
Follow GPS Track (Courses/Waypoints)YesYesYes
Markers/Waypoint DirectionYesYesNo
Routable/Visual Maps (like car GPS)YesYes for maps (but not routable)Yes
Back to startYesYesYes
Impromptu Round Trip Route CreationNoNoNo (But can create one-way routes from phone app)
Download courses/routes from phone to unitYesYesYes
SensorsGarmin Edge 530Garmin Edge 520Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT
Altimeter TypeBarometricBarometricBarometric
Compass TypeGPSGPSMagnetic
Optical Heart Rate Sensor internallyNoN/AN/A
Heart Rate Strap CompatibleYesYesYes
ANT+ Heart Rate Strap CapableYEsYesYes
ANT+ Speed/Cadence CapableYEsYEsYes
ANT+ Footpod CapableNoNoNo
ANT+ Power Meter CapableYesYesYes
ANT+ Weight Scale CapableYesYesNo
ANT+ Fitness Equipment (Gym)NoNoNo
ANT+ Lighting ControlYesYesNo
ANT+ Bike Radar IntegrationYesYesYes
ANT+ Trainer Control (FE-C)YesYesYes
ANT+ Remote ControlYesYesNo
ANT+ eBike CompatibilityYesNoNo
ANT+ Muscle Oxygen (i.e. Moxy/BSX)With appsWith appsYes
ANT+ Gear Shifting (i.e. SRAM ETAP)YesYesYes
Shimano Di2 ShiftingYesYesYes
Bluetooth Smart HR Strap CapableYesNoYes
Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence CapableYesNoYes
Bluetooth Smart Footpod CapableNoNoYEs
Bluetooth Smart Power Meter CapableYesNoYes
Temp Recording (internal sensor)YesYesYes
Temp Recording (external sensor)NoNoNo
Compatible with Firstbeat HR toolsYesNo-
SoftwareGarmin Edge 530Garmin Edge 520Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT
PC ApplicationGarmin ExpressGarmin ExpressN/A
Web ApplicationGarmin ConnectGarmin ConnectN/A
Phone AppiOS/Android/Windows PhoneiOS/Android/Windows PhoneiOS/Android
Ability to Export SettingsNoNoNo
PurchaseGarmin Edge 530Garmin Edge 520Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT
Amazon LinkLinkLinkLink
Backcountry.com LinkLinkLink
Clever Training - Save with the VIP programLink
Competitive Cyclist LinkLinkLink
Wiggle LinkLinkLink
DCRainmakerGarmin Edge 530Garmin Edge 520Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT
Review LinkLinkLinkLink

Again, remember you can make your own charts within the product comparison calculator here.

Summary:

Garmin-Edge530-Finish-Pic

As I said at the beginning – I think there’s a strong case to be made that the Edge 530 is Garmin’s best bike computer ever. Sure, the Edge 1030 has a bigger and prettier screen, and the Edge 830 has a touchscreen. But realistically – for $299 – there’s nothing even close to this on the market.  Even competitors $100 more can’t match these features. And as for the touchscreen, I kinda like the always-works button navigation.

One of the arguments for why people often choose Garmin over competitor devices is simply that Garmin has more features. Inversely, the counter-argument is that you’ll never use most of those features – so why pay for something you’ll never use. And both ring true. For example, nobody else has anything like ClimbPro – and in using it multiple times on legit climbs, it’s been freakin’ awesome. Love it. Whereas the new mountain bike features were super cool last week at Sea Otter when I was mountain biking – but now that I’m back home living on a pancake, I won’t likely mountain bike till sometime this summer. So I’m basically paying for features I rarely use.

Similarly, people often compare Wahoo’s mobile-app driven setup of data fields to Garmin’s on-device setup. Yes, it’s frustrating that I can’t configure Garmin data fields on my phone, though inversely, I like that I can tweak data fields mid-ride on my unit without having to pull out my phone. On the other side, Wahoo’s Strava Routes integration is just so much cleaner than Garmin’s Connect IQ app (which can be flaky sometimes).

Again, there are definitely nits to be made here against the Edge 530 – but I think the feature-set far outweighs those minor inconveniences. I feel like it’s taken about two years for Garmin to really react to the Wahoo BOLT, but now that they’ve done it – yikes.

With that – thanks for reading!

Found this review useful? Or just want a good deal? Here’s how:

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 Backcountry & Competitive Cyclist, which help support the site here when you purchase through them.

Garmin Edge 530
Garmin Edge Battery Pack

For European/Australian/New Zealand readers, you can also pickup the unit via Wiggle at the links below, which helps support the site too! With Wiggle new customers get 10GBP (or equivalent in other currencies) off their first order for anything over 50GBP by using code [Currently Disabled] at check-out after clicking the links below.

Garmin Edge 530 (EU/UK/AU/NZ – Wiggle)
Garmin Edge 530 with Sensor Bundle (EU/UK/AU/NZ – Wiggle)
Garmin Edge 530 Mountain Bike Bundle (EU/UK/AU/NZ – Wiggle)

And finally, here’s a handy list of some of my favorite Garmin-specific accessories for the Garmin bike computers. Of course, being ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart compatible, you don’t have to limit things to just Garmin.

ProductAmazon LinkNote
Barfly 4 Prime Out-Front Aluminum MountI love out-front mounts. Both Barfly and K-Edge make good ones. I primarily use the aluminum ones though, because this mount comes with a GoPro (and light/Di2) adapter on the bottom. So I can mount a GoPro up front and have the footage be rock solid.
Garmin Cadence Sensor V2This is a dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart cycling cadence sensor that you strap to your crank arm, but also does dual Bluetooth Smart, so you can pair it both to Zwift and another Bluetooth Smart app at once if you want.
Garmin HRM-DUAL Chest StrapThis is one of the top two straps I use daily for accuracy comparisons (the other being the Polar H9/H10). It's dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart, and in fact dual-Bluetooth Smart too, in case you need multiple connectons.
Garmin Speed Sensor V2This speed sensor is unique in that it can record offline (sans-watch), making it perfect for a commuter bike quietly recording your rides. But it's also a standard ANT+/BLE sensor that pairs to your device. It's become my go-to speed sensor.
Garmin Varia Radar (RTL515)The Varia radar has become incredibly popular in the last year, with most bike GPS companies supporting it (Wahoo, Stages, Hammerhead, Garmin, and more soon). It notifies you of overtaking traffic. While useless for cities, it's amazing for quieter country roads.

Or, anything else you pick up 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.

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.

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1,220 Comments

  1. Eric E Noreen

    Is anyone else’s 530 getting worse as time goes on? I got my 530 when they were released and I couldn’t have been happier. Unlike my 820, everything just worked. As far as I was concerned, it was the perfect bike computer. Now after several updates to both the gps firmware and the OS, garmin have bricked some key functions for me. I am very close to joining the many who have left Garmin for wahoo in search of a product that actually works. I’m not using any of the public betas, but I am using the latest gps frimware as well as garmin OS.

    My main two issues are two things that are very important to me that just don’t work anymore 1) connection to my iphone and 2) strava live segments. This couldn’t be more frustrating since they worked perfectly out of the box.

    1). Initially my 530 synced up perfectly with my iphone and everything worked perfectly. I never run garmin connect during a ride since its worthless and not worth the battery drain, but text messages and alerts from my iphone showed up on my garmin which is what I wanted. Now my iphone connects to my garmin thru garmin connect, but no matter what I do, I can’t get text messages to show up on my garmin. I’ve deleted everything on both my iphone and garmin connect and started over, but that didn’t change anything, I still can’t get any text messages or alerts from my phone to show up on my garmin, despite the fact that Garmin connect syncs up with my phone just fine. If anyone has any solutions please let me know, because if Garmin can’t fix this soon, then I am gone.

    2) Strava live worked perfectly initially. It was annoying as fork that I had to go in and manually set every segment to use the current KOM as the pace, but once i did that everything worked as well as could be expected. I always run GPS+Glonass. Then garmin did two things that has really messed up strava live. Somehow they made the GPS less accurate with firmware updates. I’ve tried gps alone, gps plus glonass and gps + Galileo, the results are always the same. The signal jumps all over the place now so my time moves every few seconds from way faster than pace to way behind pace (30 seconds or more). This wildly inaccurate jumping highlights the other problem. No matter what I do, I can’t simply have the KOM pace as the pace that is displayed. It jumps all over from KOM to my PR to my contacts. I have the auto feature turned off. One of the recent updates seems to poorly attempt to add in a universal pace option, and using that I have moved KOM up to the first choice. Yesterday I checked a strava segment before leaving and it said that KOM was the choice, got to the KOM and it used my PR as the pace option. I just can’t understand how a feature that has been in place for several generations of edge computers, and used to work flawlessly on my unit, just doesn’t work anymore. If anyone has any suggestions on what to fix let me know.

    • Kennard Yamada

      Yes! This happened to my Garmin Edge 520, thus why I am now shopping again! For me, it’s erratic GPS connection. As a private pilot, I have always said that Garmin puts it’s superstars on aviation equipment and their flunkies on sports. I maintain that feeling to this day. Garmin Aviation equipment is rock solid and the best in general aviation. Garmin sports Has been a market leader due to lack of competition but this is changing. AND your comment has just stopped me from buying an Edge 530. Thank you very much for posting a reply to this review. Photo attached.

    • uniryder

      Today a similar thing occurred.
      Cannot connect to Garmin connect anymore. (BT connects but the process gets stuck half way through and aborts with error)
      I tried:
      -Full factory reset the 530
      -Deleted the app and reinstall
      -Reboot phone.
      Still not able to connect but now the 530 doesn’t see the cadence part of the power meter anymore.
      It was all fine a few days ago.
      Does anyone have any thoughts on what is going on?

  2. Eric Robinson

    Have you phoned Garmin support ?

    They are very helpful, and should be your first port of call, unless you are trying to find out how something works, rather than trying to sort a glitch…
    ???

  3. Paul Voorend

    Regarding your notifications.. not sure if it’s a Garmin Connect issue, check your 530 settings. However I’m an Android user, so that may vary. Garmin Connect – Settings – Notifications – App Notifications – Messages

    or

    Menu – Settings – Connected Features – Phone: Make sure that’s Enabled. If there’s no phone listed in there, then it’s not paired from your 530 to your phone. Then go Smart Notifications and check that (at a minimum) Text Messages are enabled. You can enable the others if you want.

  4. Brian Faure

    Was racing today looked down at the first mile and my unit was frozen. It surprised me since it has worked great for weeks. So I had to do a hard shutdown then on bootup it gave me a notice of some GPS update for 2 minutes. I was thinking what great time during a race when I need data. After that it came up and ran fine the whole race, but had me worried for a little while. I keep it up to date so I wonder what this update was.

  5. Nikolaou Nikolas

    Nice review

  6. erick meier

    I have been having problems pairing my powertap P1 pedals to the EDGE 530, even after updating the P1 firmware i still has the screen promt the need to pair the right pedal, and worst the data seems to be only of one side , the left one.
    If you have the same issue and maybe also know how to pair de right pedal to the left pedal, please let me know
    best
    Erick

  7. a couple of ideas:
    -I assume you made sure batteries in both pedals are fresh.
    -I was having a similar issue when I first got them. It had to do with my unknowingly pairing via bluetooth. I had to clear that pairing out, and then repair but through ANT. I can’t remember the specific steps other than what I’ve typed.
    hope that helps.

    • erick meier

      thanks Gordon, after going into powertap support link, i end up using the new Sram AXS app as per their recommendation and with it i have done the following , updated my P1 set first, thant calibrate both and re checked the cranklength, after done so the P1Set did pair easy with the Edge 530. One other step that is recomended is to take the lithium batterys our for at least one minute and re install the batterys before going to the whole process
      thanks and best
      ps: the SRAM AXS app is easy to manage

  8. Just upgraded my 820 by purchasing a Garmin Edge 530 since from comparison the only difference from 830 is the touch and the on demand navigation to address (I have never used it on 810/820).

    Updated the firmware on 5.10 an set it up.

    Finding that the y elevation scale cannot be adjusted is actually a bit disappointing and frustrating…

    They should be a warning somewhere in the reviews when removing usefull features…

  9. Niwla

    Hi there,

    I am trying to understand if on the 530 is it possible to have climbpro and strava segments (I am a premium strava user) work together.

    If I understand correctly, climbpro only works with a route loaded on the 530. OK.
    But on the 520 I had before if you had an active route you couldn’t use the segments … the only way I had found was to have the route “shown on map” – but WITHOUT following / activating it – and then the segments were OK .

    Has something changed on the 530? Is it possible to have climbpro AND active segments together?

    thanks to those who will be able to help me!

  10. Holger Lange

    Hi, thank you for the great reviews. I was looking on the Wahoo Elemnt Roam and the Garmin Edge 830 for quite a while now, but finally pulled the tigger on the 530. So far Iam pretty happy.
    I created separate activity profiles for my 3 bikes to keep track on mileage and so on. How can I configure the total mileage? I couldn’t find anything on that topic so far.

    Thanks, Holger

    • Paul

      If it were me, I’d just use the one activity profile, and if you have to, edit the activity to change the gear “Bike”. Have the bike you use the most often set as the default, so you only have to edit it, when you don’t use the default. Then the “Cycling” activity will give you the total, and each cycle under “Gear” will give you the distance per cycle.

  11. Luke

    Hello – great review. I was wondering what the navigation options are like when the lines are blurred between MTB and road rides. For example you want to get from point A to point B and it’s mostly on road but you want to do any off road or rough road sections that fit the route.

    Also how does it behave when not operating with a phone? I’d usually prefer to leave my phone behind on a ride (or keep it turned off) and sync everything to see the data afterwards. Of course I miss out on some features but does the garmin still play the game on its own?

  12. Jamie Tulloch

    How does the 530 detect a crash as distinct from just stopping quickly?
    Would it perform the same if I ran or kayaked with it?

  13. Nontas Lamprakopoulos

    Great review, but the edge 530 has the worst mobile connectivity of any Garmin device. Can’t pair with the 5.10 firmware on my Huawei P20. That’s a twenty days problem, also connection with the Garmin express is working great.

    • Julius Bartasevicius

      hey Nontas,

      I had the same problem with E530 + P20. Tried everything for 3 days. On fourth day some combination of turning the mobile internet on/off, bluetooth on/off and wifi on/off (also at the correct time during the setup) worked. Sorry, but can’t remember how exactly it went by now.

      But I was very disappointed with the topic as well.

  14. Adam

    Interesting experience…i picked up a 530 while i decide what to do with the 1030 i cracked (user error). The setup experience for the 530 with activity profiles, data screens, etc. is just awful. I knew the 530 like the 1030 didn’t support phone configuration but i underestimated how many button presses would be necessary to get my 530 to match the configuration of my 1030. I also experienced numerous garmin connect/garmin connect iq failures, delayed firmware update, phone pairing issues. etc. Not super impressed.

  15. Arvin

    Does 530 work with the old Varia™ Rearview Radar aka RTL500? The compatible device list of RTL500 doesn’t include edge 530 and I saw someone complained that RTL500 is not compatible with Edge 530.

  16. Dave

    I just got this today… What is most important to me is the mapping. I create routes for myself in different places, either in the US, or abroad (I’m planning trips to Amsterdam and Geneva later on this year, and want to know how the mapping works… With my old old Edge 800, I was able to download a version of the map I wanted into the unit. There was room for a data card, and I uploaded the maps I wanted into the unit. How does the 530 work in comparison?… I don’t see a place to insert a data card. Is the mapping based on where you are, so that you never will get lost, if you end up somewhere you don’t want be?

  17. Guillaume Causse

    Hello,
    I just bought the Polar OH1 based on yoru review and I can’t pair with the garmin 530.
    I can select the sensor and the loading icon on the corner right keep loading.
    Would you have any suggestion?

    • Did you first pair up the OH1 to your smartphone (one-time)? The OH1 requires a one-time activation, otherwise it basically just fires blanks (which confuse every device out there).

      As I said way back when, in one of my Polar OH1 posts, it always seemed like an odd move. No other generic sensor requires that for basic HR transmission.

      If you have done then, then double-check to see whether it’s trying to pair over ANT+ or Bluetooth Smart. ANT+ is your better bet here.

  18. Uniryder

    Does anyone know how to add a “Distance to destination” field to the/any normal data page?
    (Assumption is that I have activated a route in navigation mode, but am now on the textual data page not watching the map)
    I can see only Distance to go option but not distance to destination.
    Is there a connectIQ data field I need to install?

    • Uniryder

      Never mind, found it not under “Distance” fields but under “Navigation”
      Obviously looking under “Distance to Destination” would not be under “Distance” 🙁

  19. Jeff McConnell

    Okay so this is kind of a specific question but wasn’t sure how to phrase it in Google. I’m looking at moving to an iPad Pro as my sole computer. How would I go about creating routes and getting from my iPad to the Garmin? Would it be through a USB hub?
    Thanks!

    • uniryder

      Easy!
      I do this:
      I use Komoot on my iPhone and create all routes there.
      Prerequisite: Make sure you install the Komoot Connect IQ app on the edge530 via the Garmin “Connect” app on your iPad (just use on-device Wifi to sync and it will install without a cable to any PC

      so
      1) Create route on Komoot

      2) Use the SAVE function on the iPad Komoot app (it stores the route to your Komoot cloud account. No monthly payment needed … so far.. I di buy the €29 chart bundle)

      3)On Edge 530 go to Connect IQ apps and select Komoot
      4) Open the route(s) you want
      5) Slide the slider to save this route on-device
      Done
      You can now select it on-device
      If your garmin is connected via bluetooth to your phone you can do this sequence while on a trip without the need for an iPAd

      In fact I have never connected my Edge530 to my laptop and do everything via the GArmin connect iPAd / iPhone app and the rest via the Egde’s own WiFi connection. A big step up from my old device having on-device WiFi
      The recorded rides automatically upload while I park my bike in the garage as soon as it sees my home WiFi. So by the time I switch it off the rides are already on my iPad/iPhone and also synched to Strava and other apps

      P.S> The above route generation storing works also via other such apps.
      As most of these store the generated routes on your “cloud” account with that provider and almost all have a companion “connect IQ” app available for the Egde 530 and it has its own Internet connection via WiFi (Or bluetooth via your phone) this works seemlessly.

      So you plan will work just fine

      P.P.S. why on earth would you want to work solely on an iPad pro v.s proper laptop I do not understand though ..

    • Dave

      Almost everything you’d use a “normal” laptop for is a lot faster on an iPad Pro…video editing especially.

    • uniryder

      @Dave, try rendering a 5K 15 minute video on an iMac Pro with a Radeon Pro Vega 64X
      and then comment again on the “power” of an iPad pro…

  20. Reuben Cheang

    I tried to connect my Edge 530 to the Connect Garmin website on my Macbook. Somehow, the Connect Garmin on my laptop couldn’t recognise the device is already connected via the USB port.

    I found this page for assistance. But I couldn’t find the LAP/RESET buttons to force into mass storage mode (assuming it will then allow my laptop recognising my device).

    Any advice? Thank you

    • Any chance you’ve swapped to another micro-USB cable? That sounds like you’ve got it using a random cable which might be power-only (and not power+data).

      Fwiw, the Garmin USB cable has the word ‘Garmin’ on the end of it. If you’ve swapped to a different cable floating around, then dig around your house for other micro-USB cables. Try a few until the front of the Garmin shows an icon of being plugged into a computer (otherwise it’ll just look like normal).

    • Reuben Cheang

      Hi,

      Thank you. Swapping out the micro-USB cable works for me.

  21. Robert

    Looking at getting the 530 and this review was really helpful. My question is I noticed this review was written in April of last year. Is Garmin expected to release another version in the next few weeks?

    • Garmin typically operates on a 2ish year refresh cycle for their Edge units.

      That aside, I wouldn’t expect any new products from anyone in the next few weeks…or probably even months.

  22. Juraj Stanic

    Garmin or wahoo?
    I’m in big dilemma…
    Garmin 530 for 240€,roam 350€

    • Sean M

      I am in the same position as Juraj Stanic — my heart for whatever reason (ease of use / connection to phone) wants to buy a Roam. My brain, however, tells me that Garmin is less expensive, has more features, and will work best with my Tacx Neo trainer.

      I’d love to hear from people who have chosen to purchase the Garmin 530 – would you do it again or do you now think that Wahoo might have been a better choice?

      For whatever its worth, I have never owned a “modern” bike coputer – just take data from iPhone / Cyclometer / Strava.

    • Paul

      I decided on the 530 over wahoo last year. It’s excellent. Personally I prefer all uploading and downloading via WiFi rather than Bluetooth and can use phone hotspot for that if needed.

      I’ve probably done 8k miles without a problem including navigation. Battery life is exceptional compared to older devices.

      At first I was sceptical about the auto screen brightness being a battery drain. In real world use this isn’t a problem day or night though.

      My general use is:
      No Bluetooth
      2x ANT+ sensors
      Usually map displayed.

      The deal breaker was wanting north up always on the map. I also fancied the external battery option under the out front mount or audax but so far I’ve not needed it even for all day. Put it in sleep mode while you’re at the café and you save a lot of power because it won’t constantly hunt for satellites if you’re indoors.

      Also compatible with old Garmin map files from previous devices. I took them off my old 705.

      Paul

    • Sean M

      Paul –

      Thank you for your comment. You provided exactly the feedback that I was looking to read. I’m glad that you are happy with your Garmin. I’m likely to order my own.

    • Juraj Stanic

      I just order my self element bolt on the end.
      My garmin 520 has 3 years now and battery sucks.
      Wahoo EB was 219€ so,140€ less then roam.
      And i dont need maping a lot,mainly training and battery is my priority

    • Barry Cooper

      Paul
      Thank you for your detailed comment. I have been looking to upgrade from my old 705 (as it doesn’t support the new V2 cadence/speed sensors) – you comment about compatibility with the map files from the 705 has nailed it for me 🙂

      Cheers

      Barry

    • Paul

      In simple terms you just need to copy the map files from the 705 to the 530 using a PC like they’re two USB storage devices*.

      On the Edge 705 there’s two .img files in the Garmin folder on the device. The smaller one will be the base maps and of no interest. The larger one called gmapsupp.img is the rest. The 705 only seems to support this file name for maps. You can have two though, one on the Edge and another in the SD card.

      The Edge 530 is a bit more versatile. From what I’ve found the 530 will see any .img as maps so i simply copied the file from my 705 with a new name along side the pre-installed maps. These then appear in the menu when you start up the device. Seeing as the 530 has something around 14Gb of storage you can load a lot of map files to test them out.

      I carried over copies of Garmin City Navigator Europe 2010 and a 2008 Topographical map (also Garmin) of the UK.

      The OSM maps are fine but i find them a bit cluttered on screen for fast road cycling. i.e. they have too much detail. While there are some settings that fiddle with the detail the pure roads and some major scenery of the City Navigator maps is my prefered choice for fast road. The OSM style is great for touring or walking though and activity profiles can have different default maps.

      So, you can have the maps exactly as they were on the 705 alongside the newer OSM ones.

      If you travel somewhere else in the world you can get the OSM files from somewhere on the internet and just upload for the duration. All pretty easy via a PC.

      Regards

      Paul

      *I find the 530 will only reliably connect to my PC as a storage device using the method of holding the lap button while inserting the USB cable, otherwise it just charges. This is a designed in force storage mode.

    • Barry

      Paul
      Thanks again – this all worked very smoothly – was able to transfer my Europe map from my old 705 perfectly

      Regards
      Barry

  23. Kristof

    To start with: these in-depth reviews are simply great and give answers to almost all your questions before even asking them. A big thinks!

    I have however 1 question left:
    Currently, I log both my runs and rides with my Forerunner 645 (for the rides I currently use an older Edge 500, just to see the metrics on the bike, but I don’t synchronize it with Garmin Connect), which gives me, on my watch, in the days after a good overview of training load, recovery time, training effect, …
    Will this also be possible if I instead use an Edge 530 to log my rides and synchronize it with Garmin Connect? In other words, will Garmin Connect combine (and act like a sort of hub) all data and display it on my watch, or will I not see the ride-related data on my watch if I log it with the Edge 530?

    Thanks!

    • Jack

      Hi Kristof,

      Both of those devices are Physio True Up compatible so will work exactly as you intended.

      I do the same with my FR245 and my Edge 830 and both will show the True Up features once synced with Garmin Connect.

    • uniryder

      hmmm, not working well for me
      I have a Fenix 5 and the 530 and I end up with two rides.
      It never merges the two properly for me, but maybe a settings problem?

  24. Y. Goumas
  25. Y. Goumas

    Edge 530 issues.
    I recently purchased the Edge 530.
    I have some issues with workouts, specifically intervals.
    I have downloaded a specific interval workout from Garmin connect into the 530.
    1. When the workout is completed there is a message that says “workout complete”, but the timer continues, and you have to stop it manually. If you don’t the timer continues to add time onto the last interval section.
    However, on the Edge 820 after the interval session ended a message appeared that the workout is completed, and prompted you to save it.The timer stopped with the completion of the last section of the workout.
    This is the way it is supposed to be, and would have expected it to be on the new unit.
    On a chat session regarding this issue the Garmin rep told me that the way the 530 works is the way it is suppose to, and all Edges work! Ridiculous.
    2. When you download the workout data in to Garmin connect, and select the interval tab the Normalized power and the left-right balance data is missing from the individual intervals sections.
    This issue did not happen in the Edge 820
    I have tested various interval workouts, and all show the same result.
    I have spoken to Garmin regarding these issues, sent the workout files, and videos of issue 1.
    On issue 2 I was told that it had been reported before.
    After calling Garmin and sending the files and videos still waiting for an answer.
    Looks like I have to go back using the 820
    Any info on these issues will be appreciated.

  26. Shay Hutchings

    Maybe someone can help me with. I have reached out to Power2Max and I am only told to connect my Garmin via BLE to my power meter. I am trying to see my torque value with the Garmin 530, however I am not able to produce it. I have had the P2M NG connected via BLE ant ANT+ but nothing is working.

    Any suggestions? Are there any apps out there that allow me to see all the metrics the P2M NG powermeter shows?

    • Nah, general rule of them is *never* connect a power meter via Bluetooth Smart unless you’re having specific connectivity issues on ANT+. The main reasons are that the ANT+ spec for power meters is more compliant, and that there’s more detail on the ANT+ side (for example metrics like torque effectiveness).

      When you tried to connect via ANT+, are you seeing power at all? And did you toggle the torque effectiveness option within settings on the power meter under sensors?

    • Shay Hutchings

      I connected to the PM via their app and noticed torque effectiveness was turned off. I did turn it on and gave it a test. The values still show 0%, however I do receive Power/cadence/Pedal smoothness.

      We’re you able to receive torque in your testing?

  27. Evan

    Is there any way to disable virtual partner on the map screen when following a course? It is completely useless to me, and it takes up valuable screen space. I can’t understand why this isn’t an easily disabled feature and I can’t find it in any of the settings. I like to look at the map screen while following a course and not have those dumb arrows blocking the map. When you have 2 data field showing on the map screen + the useless virtual partner, you only get half of a screen of a map. Any solution to remove? Thank you!

    • Ihsan

      If the menus are setup similar to 1030, it should either be one of the “data fields” on activities if I remember correctly. Might also be paired with menu where you can turn on/off segments and such. Sorry, it’s been a while for me since I had to deal with that.

    • Evan

      Can’t find it anywhere!

  28. Rowan Morgan

    Hi Ray,

    Do you think if you mount a computer on the top tube of the mountain bike, near the stem, would the accuracy be affected when riding downhill with your chest lower to the bars?

  29. Mark Christopherson

    Thanks for the detailed review.

  30. Convi

    Thanks Ray for your review, it helped me to choose this device over Wahoo Bolt.Currently my only ‘issues is with navigation so here’s my minor remark for everyone who wants this as one of the major features.

    Recently I was quite unpleasantly suprised that I cannot synchronize routes from Strava nor Garmin Connect mobile during an activity without some kind of shenanigans with widgets, because Connect IQ is not available during activity(strava routes) and garmin connect mobile doesn’t sync with the device during an activity.
    I can change only to courses which are already saved on the device, or point to a place on a map and then Edge will calculate my route, as mentioned in the review.
    I though this was no brainer feature for such a device, especially in 2019/2020, but I’m new to bike computers

    Does Wahoo have this feature? No one ever mentioned during any review that I cannot sync new courses mid ride so I assumed this was included under the statemet that ‘you can change courses mid ride’

  31. Nigel Power

    Hi – is there an answer to whether the virtual partner can be turned off on the 530 please?!

    • GLT

      Yes. Edit the Activity Profile, use the “Data Screens” menu item to scroll down to the “Virtual Partner” screen, and toggle the “Show Screen” switch.

    • Evan

      Virtual partner does not show up for me as an option under the data screens menu. Are you sure you have that on the 530?

    • GLT

      Yes, the E530 does support it. In addition to toggling the “Show Screen” switch, you can select the “Remove” option which will delete that screen from whichever Activity Profile you edited.

      To add the Data Screen back in there is an “Add New” menu selection at the top of the “Data Screens” list.

      It is possible the menu items may shift a bit depending on the firmware version, but it all should be in there somewhere with the latest version. When in doubt, make a copy of your favorite Activity Profile and then experiment with that.

    • Hey Nigel, if by ‘virtual partner’, you mean the elevation profile on the map that DOES show the oh-so-useless VP, then you turn that off in the ‘map’ datafield. turn off the ‘profile’ option.

      I think GLT is right about the dedicated VP screen being toggled from the main ‘data screens’ page.

  32. Joel Wolkowicz

    Great review. Thanks so much

  33. Greg Franks

    Hi Ray,
    Can you hear the beeper when the unit is on an out-front mount? I have a 520 plus right now and the beeper is almost inaudible unless I mount it on the stem. I guess the speaker is pointed down. (and yes, I too find the 520 plus slow. Add a RADAR and it really crawls along).

    • Scottfa

      Well, I returned my 530 because of low beep volume. Luckily, the Bolt that I was going to replace it with now supports the Varia Radar and the beep is loud enough. Without an audible alert Radar is impossible for me ; I can’t be staring at the computer for 50+ miles, how can that be enjoyable?

  34. Erick meier

    Hi, someone does know how to use or if it’s possible to use your edge 530 in parallel to using zwift connected to a tacx flux smart trainer ?
    Thanks
    Erick

  35. James kim

    Enjoyed review, very helpful

  36. Rich Jacobson

    How is the screen contrast / visibility compared to Wahoo ELEMNT or the Edge Explore? I have the Wahoo and recently purchased the Edge Explore, but could barely see the Edge screen in average daylight conditions. The ELEMNT has a much better screen. Is the 530 improved in this regard?

    • Krist

      Hi Rich,

      I’ve now used it in bright sunlight and on more cloudy days. By using the auto screen brightness, it reeds perfect in all conditions. Both the data screens as the navigation map.

  37. Fábio Eduardo Rovisco Maia

    Hello, so if you have to choose Garmin edge 530 vs wahoo bolt, which onde you choose?

    • Andras Bodnar

      Hello,

      Recently I had the chance to try both, first 10 minutes ride Bolt & 530 side by side, the impression was, that wow, Garmin is the future, color screen, so much better maps, navigation ! When riding home on the same route, Garmin messed up the navigation, it doesn’t realized that I’m heading back, and want me to turn around. To get a track / segment on it, it’s so complex, and you can’t be sure it’s on the device, last time during a Garmin Express sync, it deleted all maps at the 530 cause a sync failure. At Wahoo, it’s simple, 1 minute to sync and you also see at routes, which comes from where (Strava, Ridewithps, etc). At next ride with 530, it had alerts that can’t calculate route, (I had no route started) and you can’t switch page, until you click “enter” to OK that alert, super annoying. I figured out it was some setting about “lock to road”, even I didn’t left it, GPS was some meters off, that’s why it tried to route me back to the road. Also if you leave a planned route, it started beeping forever, Wahoo realize it after a very short time, maybe you don’t follow that, it’s Ok, and stop beeps. After I just stopped my ride to take a photo, I had an emergency alert at 530, as I had an accident … Strava live segments, it can’t manage overlapping segments, and when you ride one, it doesn’t show it’s name ? At Wahoo it’s super simple, one button to switch between overlapping ones. Navigation is a lot better at Edge 530, so if that’s your priority go with it, otherwise I would choose the Bolt -> I keep mine.

      Andras

  38. Uniryder

    Does anyone else have the problem that the 530 goes crazy when you go “off course” and needs to recalculate
    See attached photo >5000km to next waypoint, really?? (rolleyes)
    I find it really struggles with sensible routing.
    Also when sending Komoot routes to the 530 it only receives the waypoints but not the routes in between and tries to figure its own routes which is not helpful.

    • DaveQB

      Not me.

    • GLT

      I have a largely been unsuccessful using courses with my E530 and E1030. Since I don’t actually need them to work I haven’t set aside much time to troubleshoot.

      On one hand, they must work for the majority of users or the number of complaints would be higher.

      On the other hand, I don’t know that it is possible to define, load, or start a course incorrectly. There aren’t any obvious places where a user can choose to do anything wrong.

      All my test courses are in areas that ought not challenge GPS signals. The GPS Accuracy Data Field is up and indicates ~9 feet. Ignoring the off-course alerts and seeing if things eventually improve further down the course doesn’t prove out. The resulting track looks correct after the ride. Tried short courses and long courses.

      Maybe this summer I’ll play around more with it.

  39. Heikki

    Hi, i was riding with my friends together with roadbikes and we noticed we are pretty ofter asking what the heart rates and watts are to make sure excersise is good for all. Is there any app for Garmin edge so that each of us would see real time those datas from other rides on the same ride? That kind of data would make rides even more collaborative.

    • Oddly enough, I do have an app for ya!

      It’s an app that was originally designed for recording multiple power meters or sensors at once, and displaying them on a single unit. But it’ll actually work for you too: link to apps.garmin.com

      I’d budget yourself a few mins prior to your next ride to get it all setup to her strap. But once that’s done once, the you’re good to go from there. I found setup a bit finicky the first time I used it, but once that’s done you’re solid.

  40. Dan Lichtenberger

    Ray have you ever seen where a Garmin device appears twice in the Bluetooth device of an Iphone (11 in my case) and this seems to cause either phone notifications not to work occasionally and causes the auto sync of an activity not to work at all? I have a new 530 and a new Iphone where I cannot get activities to sync between the phone and the garmin unless I forget the device on both and repair. This is a replacement Iphone as the other was having the same issue. Should the garmin appear twice in the device list?

  41. Dan L.

    Ray have you ever seen where a Garmin device appears twice in the Bluetooth device of an Iphone (11 in my case) and this seems to cause either phone notifications not to work occasionally and causes the auto sync of an activity not to work at all? I have a new 530 and a new Iphone where I cannot get activities to sync between the phone and the garmin unless I forget the device on both and repair. This is a replacement Iphone as the other was having the same issue. Should the garmin appear twice in the device list?

  42. uniryder

    Last weekend we went for a ride away from home.
    I had pre-loaded a GPX file via Komoot and checked it was on my map
    It was a circular round trip. I.e. the start point was the same as the end point.
    As the start point was on a busy roundabout we could not park there so we parked the car a few Kilometers further up the road along the same gpx route, unloaded the bikes and started there.
    Unfortunately for most of the ret of the ride the 530 wanted me to turn around and go back to the start point.
    This got so annoying I had to switch it off.

    Does anyone know how to start a circular ride anywhere other than the start point in the GPX file?
    Is there a “just $%^& navigate me from here to the next waypoint in the route please” option?

    • Kristof

      This is exactly what I’m also looking for. How to pick in on a circular ride without starting at the start point

    • KDeWeerd

      When the Garmin asks me to navigate to the start, I say no.
      It doesn’t navigate me to the course, obviously, but as soon as I’m on course, the Edge notifies me it has found the course and flawlessly navigates me the remainder of the course until the end point.

  43. Cory Rood

    Debating between a new 530 or Elemnt ROAM.

    Currently have a Elemnt. Previously had an 820.

    The 820 was so frustrating to operate, most of which I attribute to the horrendous touchscreen.

    The Elemnt app for setting up and using the computer was is so smooth and just worked.

    If the ROAM was the same price as the 530 I would probably just get a ROAM but I’m struggling to see the value that justifies the added cost of the Wahoo.

    What I need to know though, Does the 530 power itself on when you unplug it from charging? That always drove me bonkers with my 820.

    • erick meier

      hi i have the 530 and the element roam , after some months of using the 530 i am back to the element roam
      for me more friendly in all aspects and very accurate and reliable
      i can say now that element roam is way ahead than the 530

  44. Wolfpack Bike Racing

    Giant Power Meter connected via ANT+ to the 530. It is recording CAD but not displaying real time CAD while riding. Just get the dashes in that field. I know there is a setting somewhere to correct this?

  45. Myrna

    Does anyone know how to get the distance and speed to record when using the the Indoor profile? I use a Wahoo Kickr. I used to have a 520 and it registered the speed and distance when I was indoor, but it had connectivity issues. I upgraded to the 530 to address the connectivity and now I can’t figure out how to get the speed and distance fields to capture anything. The instruction manual states, the device includes an indoor activity profile where GPS is turned off. When GPS is turned off, speed and distance are not available unless you have a compatible sensor or indoor trainer that sends speed and distance data to the device. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

  46. David Page

    I was wondering if anyone can help… Is there a way to enable directional arrows on the course when navigating? I find when navigating a course that loops back on itself or crosses over itself it becomes unclear which way to go when you arrive at a ‘crossroads’.

    • Michi

      This can only be a problem if you disabled turn by turn directions. With turn by turn directions enabled the unit will tell you which way to go ahead of turns – this prompt can either be a small, text-based one or a temporary full map popup which automatically disappears ocne the turn was made.

    • David Page-Starr

      I believe I had this on, could it be the case that this doesn’t work as well when you are off road?

  47. Werner Van Aswegen

    I bought the Edge 530 after reading my the review of the 530 vs the 830. I’ve had an 810 for 6 or 7 years now. I thought I’d be okay without the touch screen and rather save the money. I’m kind if sorry I didn’t go for the 830. The ease of navigating the device via touch is what I miss. Especially on mtb trials where in trying to figure out where I am and which way to go

  48. Barry Cooper

    Quick update….
    Had my Edge 530 2 months, and this weekend just gone went to power it up for a family ride and it was dead! Battery fully charged, but nothing showing on the screen.
    Despite the internets best endeavours (via the support forums) none of the magic reset/reboot options made any difference.

    Having spent the morning on the line to Garmin support, I now have to return the unit for an exchange one.
    Given I had my Edge 705 for a good 10 years without any issue, I am concerned at how frail these new devices seem to be. I would say perhaps I have been unlucky, but in my searching for a solution this weekend I came across way too many similar tales of woe.
    Needless to say, I shall be treating the replacement unit (when it arrives) with kid gloves.

  49. Su-Chong Lim

    Ray: my trusty old 520 is dying — the old USB connector connects and disconnects randomly, and the stop start button sometimes takes multiple hard presses to register, so I think I’m destined to get an Edge 530 eventually, or immediately if my 520 finally stops working.

    Does the Varia Vision play with the Edge 530? I may be able to get a deal aVV, and if so it will be worth the cost of my experiment.

  50. Carsten

    Hi,

    I’m not sure if you know that. On link to raddeluxe.com you will find your blogpost in copy translated (bad translation) in German. Including all your pictures, video, data.

  51. tommy

    Anyone know if you can activate the backlight when in charge mode?

    With my 520, I could press any button during charge and the screen would light up to show progress (I think I could anyway, maybe I have totally misremembered!).

    Can’t do this on the 530 as far as I am aware. I find it quite hard to see the details on the screen without the backlight.

  52. Cag

    I have shimano steps e8000 with an sce7000 display and an edge 530. Garmin indicates that I should be able to display a steps specific data page. I cannot achieve this feat. Can anyone point me to a method that actually works?

  53. Lothar Wieland

    Hi, want to share some concerns about the workout feature with Garmin 530:

    I really miss doing multiple workouts during a given activity. Today only ONE workout of doing multiple within an activity is binded to the activity.
    And i miss to see the workout results, especially the graphical representation, in GCM and GC as well. I only can evalute the workout result on the 530 device itself, but not in the GCM app.

    • Out of curiosity, whats the scenario where you’re doing multiple workouts within a single given activity?

    • Cag

      DC
      That’s not me, someone else. I was reaching out to see if I could connect my edge 530 to a steps 8000 display on my emtb.

    • Lothar Wieland

      my intent is to have an Activity following a course say 60mm or 80 km. Durng this activity I want to do some workouts. Is this strange?
      Or is it the purose to see a 60km ride as one workout? I think not.

    • But you can do this already?

      First, select the course you want (‘Find a course’).
      Then, once that’s done, go and select the workout you want (‘Find a workout’)
      Then, press start.

      Done.

      (And, I just validated it still works just fine on the Edge 530)

    • Lothar Wieland

      Yes you are right, and this is exactly the way i do, BUT finally completed several Workouts inside this course, after saving this activity, only ONE Workout is to review on the device, just the last one, all the others Workout being made are gone or better to say not more visible or accessible.

      Thanks for responding, i appreciate it.

    • Gotchya. Yeah, you can execute multiple – but the summary screen only shows the structure of the one.

      I guess that kinda makes sense. I can’t imagine there’s too many people that need that functionality (mostly since I think you’re the first I’ve ever heard ask for it). Always a tough balance on features like that.

    • Lothar Wieland

      Ok, got it. i finally think doing various workouts and not having the need to upload multiple activities f.e to Strava would make sense. So i have now two garmins in order to catch 1 activity aa a whole and the other doing multiple workouts with the equivalent number of activities. Not great to handle. But i‘m happy now to know as it is and can stop klicking devices and apps forth and back 🙂

  54. Tom Haywood

    Can’t turn off the map (why?) and also it pops up every time I do a segment, so annoying!!

    I like my screen to return to data fields once the segment approaching pop up has gone when the segment starts, so I turn off the segment screen.

    This part is fine, but then when the segment starts, the screen defaults to the map screen which I do not want to see!

    You could stop this on the 520, but can’t seem to on the 530.

    I know you can just hit the button to flip between screens, but that is wasted time!

    • Tom Haywood

      I don’t think segment/map compatibility is very good at all actually.

      I have map screen off (well navigation only, as that is best you can do).

      I have segments on but segment screen off and even pop up on approach off and yet the map still pops up every time I get near a segment and then does not disappear when the segment starts.

      Plus, why does the map have my segments all over it all the time? This is another odd feature. Ruins the map (not that I use it anyway).

      Also, I have KOM set as segment priority and auto effort turned off, yet every time the map pops up on approach (which should not even pop up, as it is off) it shows my PR, never KOM!!

  55. Thibaut

    Hello – Anyone knows why the Edge 530 is sold out in a lot of places or with long delivery timelines ?

    Thanks

  56. Eric

    My latest issue is the altitude gain has been running quite low for awhile now. I swear I read somewhere that Ray said you can dunk it in some soapy water to clean any contaminants out of the barometric ports, but now I can’t seem to find that comment. I obviously don’t want to do anything stupid, and dunking the 530 in water seems like it might be a stupid idea. am I just misremembering that soaking it in water is a good idea or might this actually help?

  57. Javier Rodriguez

    I just received my 530 and I wondering whether I totally misunderstood the navigation capability. This is for MTB, by the way.
    I was expecting “turn by turn” TRAIL navigation, as in let’s say I create my own trail route (or pick one from Trailforks) and expect turn by turn guidance each time I end up at a trail fork telling me pick the one to the right, or left, and move on. Is this what I should expect? After 2 weeks riding, I haven’t been able to guide me once – the 130plus kinda does , by the way. Thanks

  58. Steve Helton

    Seems to me that what this device really needs is a computer app that allows you to see all the screens you have set up on the device and edit them from the computer. It’s really frustrating trying to navigate between the various screens and get the data fields you want displayed. Too easy to hit the wrong button and get dropped out of what you are trying to change. Would be so easy to have a drag and drop to reorder screens and add/delete fields on each screen.

  59. Justus_ch

    Thanks for the great review! I’m just wondering why my Edge530 needs couple of minutes (and not seconds) to load a simple 60-80km long course?! Is there anything wrong with my device or is your review way too optimistic in this regard? There is nothing special in the courses I tried, simple round trips created with the semi-useful garmin connect and synced via iPhone app. Thanks

    • I show the routing times in the video, for real-world routes in that range. And on locales that have the densest bike paths in the world.

      A few mins is pretty long for route calculations of that length. In that range you should see them closer to 10-30 seconds tops if perhaps there’s lots of turns or something. I know there were some changes with how Garmin is rendering the ‘ready’ state since the review, but they were all supposed to actually skew the other direction (basically, it tells you it’s ready even though behind the scenes it’s still finishing the back half of the ride).

    • uniryder

      I’m seeing a simial problem.
      From what I can tell routes are not really transferred but only the waypoints and once you start a “course” the device actally recaluclates a route along those waypoints which can take a very long time.
      It does show the % progress in calculating but if I start riding while it is calculating then it will take a very very long time (many minutes) to catch up and reach 100% of route calculated.
      Whats worse is that because you have now moved from where it started its original calculation it gets confused and starts again. This can go on for quite a while until you either stop or it catches up
      This method of recalculating along the waypoints with such a slow processor is particularly bad when you create a route along a toepath in Komoot and when you load it in the 530 it decides to steer you along the parallel busy road (it seemingly only understands the connecting waypoints not the actual roads.) Also we must remember that it has to find a route on its local road database which differs from whatever online tool you used like Garmin Connect, so somethimes it does not see a connection at all and things get really complicated.
      The poor little processor is just not up to the job and obviously any smartphone from the last 10 years will do this much much faster, which is why the user experience is so terrible compared to modern portable devices. But hey they needed the battery to last 5 hours and it needed to be light and the profit margin high, so compromises…
      I’m thinking of moving to another platform because the routing is becoming such a problem. Maybe the Hammerhea Karoo? Anyone have any expeirence with the new version?