This is the second installment of my Garmin Edge 705 review. Please review Part I of this review if you haven’t read it already.
One of the features of the Garmin Edge 705 that sets it apart from earlier models is its ability to provide turn-by-turn navigation to a destination with full color road maps, course depiction, etc.
In fact, this feature was one of the primary reasons I purchased the device.
But enough of the chatter, here’s my take on the navigation capabilities of the Garmin Edge 705:
- Bicycle Routing: This is probably the most impressive feature. The default route calculation preference is set to “Bicycle” (but also offers Car and Pedestrian routing). The device seems to have an uncanny ability to create a “bike friendly” route to your destination. It appears to analyze different streets as it creates a route and has knocked my socks off a few times by taking me along low-traffic roads as long as possible before guiding me to a large road just a few hundred feet from my destination. This feature makes it a powerful asset for bicycle commuters or cyclists exploring a new location they are unfamiliar with. If you’re game for mixing it up with traffic, you can un-check the “Major Streets” avoidance and this might improve your time to your destination.
- Route Accuracy: In nearly all circumstances, the Edge 705 does a great job in creating a route to my destination. I have experienced however, on two occasions, a situation where the device creates a route that is entirely inappropriate. For example, I was in Boerne, TX on a ride and engaged the “Back To Start” feature since I wanted to see how it would route us back to our starting point. The route it created would have taken us a different way home that would have added nearly 1.5 hours of riding time. Not cool. Fortunately, this has only happened twice and in both cases the error was so egregious that I identified the bad routing immediately.
- Route Calculation Time: I’ve seen some posts on the Internet about Edge 705 users complaining about the time it takes for the unit to calculate a route. This has not been an issue in my experience. Is it as fast as the Garmin GPS in my car? No. Should it be? Probably not. In my car, I need very rapid route calculations because I’m moving across the ground at maybe 70mph. On the bike, there’s plenty of time for the Garmin to calculate a route before I make it to the next cross street! Besides, unlike the car GPS, the Edge 705 is finding a bicycle friendly route which I assume requires a bit more processing time. It’s worth the wait folks and in my experience, that wait isn’t very long.
- Turn-by-Turn Directions: Just like a car GPS, the Edge 705 will auto-zoom on the map and provide directional guidance when you are approaching a turn. The geek in me has enjoyed shouting out the “we have a turn ahead in 10, 9, 8, 7…seconds” to some of the other cyclists in my group.
- Map Detail: My Edge 705 has Garmin’s City Navigator 2009 maps. It still amazes me that on this small device I have detailed maps for all of North America! All that detail on a microSD car that slips right into the unit. Like a car GPS, you can choose your level of detail. The more detail you choose, the slower the response time on the map view page since the unit is having to not only update your position on the map but also show detailed points of interest at the same time. I have mine set to “More” detail which is one step up from the default “Normal” map detail. I haven’t detected much of a performance hit at this setting.
Bottom Line: The Garmin Edge 705 features a robust set of navigation capabilities that make it a powerful tool for bicycle commuters, touring cyclists or anyone that is interested in using their bike for more than just fitness or racing. This squarely differentiates it from earlier Edge models like the 205/305.