In case this wasn’t already apparent, the primary reason my cycling blog is titled “Bike Geek” is that I love reviewing the juicy details from my bike rides made possible by cycling computers. My choice, since getting serious about cycling in early 2006, has been Garmin GPS-enabled cycling computers. I started with a Forerunner 201, upgraded to an Edge 305HR and recently replaced the 305 with the new Edge 705.
Uploading information about my rides and having a single location to review all of my rides each year has had a powerful side-effect. The juicy details and cycling data inspires me. Being able to see how many miles I’ve ridden last week, last month or last year helps me set new fitness goals.
But wait…you’re not reading this to learn about my personal feelings on cycling computers. You’re here to get my take on Garmin’s new Edge 705. So…without further adieu…
Garmin Edge 705 Review (Part I)
While I’m still getting acquainted with the Edge 705, I’ve logged about 150 miles with unit and have made the following insights:
- Display: The new, larger color display is gorgeous. Improvements include removing the “title bar” present on the Edge 305 and using every pixel of this larger screen for displaying data fields that you select. The display is easy to view, without backlighting, during the day. For early morning or night rides, just a click or two to engage the backlight provides plenty of clarity while providing long battery life.
- Battery: So far, it’s handled 2-3 hour rides with very little battery drain (including about an hour of riding at night with the backlight set to “stay on”). I see no reason, at this point, that the unit would not meet its stated battery life of 10-15 hours.
- Maps: Let’s say that again. Maps! I purchased the Edge 705 with a preloaded City Navigator 2008 map card. The ability to see where you are and to actually navigate using the Edge 705 continues to impress me. I could see this feature getting some really serious use by bicycle commuters. In Part II of my Edge 705 review, I’ll focus specifically on the mapping and navigation capabilities since they’re worthy of much discussion.
- Size/Weight: The Edge 705 is physically larger than the 305 and a tad heavier. Kudos to Garmin for making the 705 compatible with the 305 mounting system.
- Usability: Usa…what? This is a measure of how intuitive and user-friendly the device and its internal software is. Here the Edge 705 scores BIG. The inclusion of a “joystick” type input device makes entering information, changing data, etc. much easier than the 305. Nice touches include customizing the color scheme of menus and having the ability to actually NAME your various bike profiles (instead of just “Bike 1″, “Bike 2″, etc.).
More to come in Part II of my review.
Is the 705 perfect? Nope. It’s a new device which means it is going to have some “growing pains” as Garmin engineers listen to customer feedback and fix bugs/tech glitches that are sure to crop up. Garmin’s already fixed a screen lockup issue with firmware 2.2 and is sure to be investigating an issue with the cadence sensor’s auto wheel size feature which is having some issues after the lastest firmware update. Fortunately, Garmin has a solid track record of identifying and fixing issues quickly.
Bottom Line: The Garmin Edge 705 is a cycling “supercomputer” that offers a robust feature set that will appeal to a wide-range of cyclists.
Part II of my Garmin Edge 705 review is now available!