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Old 05-15-12, 01:41 PM   #1
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Garmin Edge 800 vs 705

I've been using a Garmin Edge 705 but have been thinking about getting an 800. Any opinions on the differences between the two? After reading some reviews the one negative mentioned about the 800 vs the 705 that concerns me most is that 800 is more difficult to view in direct sunlight than the 705. I live where it is very sunny (Hawaii) so it would be a considerable nuisance if it was difficult to read in bright sunlight.
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Old 05-15-12, 01:50 PM   #2
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I have the 800 and find it easy to view in direct sunlight. I like the 800 and would recommend it.
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Old 05-15-12, 03:08 PM   #3
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I have the edge 800, and would agree that under some conditions, the screen can be hard to read. It had a lot of quirks which have gone away little by little as I upgrade the firmware. That said, I am pretty happy with it. I use it as a cycle computer, and when travelling, I bring it along as a pocket/hand held GPS. Maps for North America and Europe are quite complete and accurate.
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Old 05-15-12, 07:46 PM   #4
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I have the Edge 800 and have no difficulty in bright sun light. My only issue is the smaller values in some of my screens is difficult to read if I am wearing polarized sunglasses. I have the same problem with the polarized sunglasses when driving and reading the instruments in the car.
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Old 05-15-12, 08:34 PM   #5
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I'm almost ready to pull the trigger on a 500 to replace my quirky Forerunner 305, but the 800 keeps tempting me. I just wonder if I would really use the map functions enough to justify the big price differential.
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Old 05-15-12, 09:58 PM   #6
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I'm almost ready to pull the trigger on a 500 to replace my quirky Forerunner 305, but the 800 keeps tempting me. I just wonder if I would really use the map functions enough to justify the big price differential.
The 500 is very good, even if the screen is smaller than the 800. I think the best argument for the 800 is if you ride a variety of different routes in which having the navigator to follow would be good to have. On the other hand, if you normally ride the same routes, as I do, the 500 will likely suffice.
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Old 05-16-12, 04:13 AM   #7
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The 500 is very good, even if the screen is smaller than the 800. I think the best argument for the 800 is if you ride a variety of different routes in which having the navigator to follow would be good to have. On the other hand, if you normally ride the same routes, as I do, the 500 will likely suffice.
That's the thing. I ride a lot of different places and really enjoy exploring new areas. The navigator might be nice and the ability to view the map and see what is nearby if I get lost could be very helpful. I just don't know if would be used enough to make it worth the expense.
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Old 05-16-12, 04:30 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
That's the thing. I ride a lot of different places and really enjoy exploring new areas. The navigator might be nice and the ability to view the map and see what is nearby if I get lost could be very helpful. I just don't know if would be used enough to make it worth the expense.
As much as I like the 800, The navigator feature does not fully replace maps or cue sheets. The map on the screen is very small. Unlike the Garmin GPS devices used in cars, the map is difficult to use while moving. The audio prompt is very helpful, if you have done enough planning in advance. Also the navigation screen can be used when stationary.

The battery life is very good, more than 12 hours. This makes the 800 better than the GPS feature on a smart phone.

The extra cost for the 800 over the 500 is acceptable and a good value. Just don't expect the ease of use found in an automotive GPS.
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Last edited by Barrettscv; 05-16-12 at 06:41 AM.
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Old 05-16-12, 08:44 AM   #9
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Has anyone tried using Open Street Maps with a Garmin bike GPS? The 800 without the maps and other add ons would be an easier pill to swallow, but only if the free maps work well.
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Old 05-16-12, 09:05 AM   #10
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Has anyone tried using Open Street Maps with a Garmin bike GPS? The 800 without the maps and other add ons would be an easier pill to swallow, but only if the free maps work well.
I don't have the 800, so no personal experience, however, everything I read in the Electronics forum says OSM works just as well. You might check over there for yourself.
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Old 05-16-12, 10:38 AM   #11
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...Maps for North America and Europe are quite complete and accurate.
Does the 800 come with Euro maps? That would tip the scales for me in my deliberations about purchasing an 800.

- - - -

I have a 500 and just in the past month have experimented with the routing functions. I create the route within RideWithGPS and download the *.tcx file to the 500. It helped me not take any wrong turns on a recent century held in an area of which I was not familiar, but I'm a little disappointed in that feature. The screen update is fairly slow and I can see where it would be easy to take a wrong turn, and because of the small screen and lack of maps, you know you are off the route, but will have no way of knowing how to get back on.

This Friday, I'm doing another ride, (but in a familiar area), where I uploaded the route *.gpx file into a Garmin Oregon and a Garmin eTrex 30. Both of those have routing capabilities and the ability to display maps. I put City Navigator maps on a microSD card in each unit. They don't give audio prompts, but you can configure the screen to display data fields. I have two, one giving "distance to next" and the other either "Bearing", "Course", "Heading", or "Turn". Not sure of the difference. What I want is to see is how far before I have to turn and in which direction I need to turn. I'll have to experiment. If not those data fields, then maybe "ETA to Next" or "Time to Next".

The Oregon has a much larger screen and is a touch-screen device. It is also a much larger receiver, probably even a little bit bigger than an 800. The eTrex 30 is new to me and I'm liking it a lot. But, the screen isn't all that much large than the 500 screen. I'll probably take both, one on the handlebar, the other in a back pocket.

I've also started messing around with OSM, (Open Street Maps). I have mixed feeling about them. I like that there is worldwide coverage, which will be useful in the late summer/autumn when I have to go to Thailand for several weeks for a work assignment. What I don't like about them is that my housing tract is not in the maps, and that tract was completed just over ten years ago. If I knew how to submit updates, I'd map my neighborhood this summer and send the data in for inclusion.
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Old 05-16-12, 10:47 AM   #12
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The guys on the Touring forum state that the on-line maps for the Edge 800 in the US and Europe are excellent. They often include trails and bike paths not found on the standard Garmin maps.
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Old 05-16-12, 11:35 AM   #13
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I've had difficulty with routing on OSMs in the US. e.g. the real road connects/continues, looks like it on the map too, but there's an invisible barrier that won't let you route across it. You can certainly give them a shot and see how they work for you.

I've had a 705 for a couple of years and started looking at the 800 since it first came out. The 800 had a number of serious bugs when it first came out and Garmin quickly came out with an update that addressed the worst of them but other fundamental ones persist well over a year after its release. IMO, the poor readability of the screen is a big negative. (Of course the 705 still has bugs too, and there's no hope of those ever getting fixed.) Lot's of pros and cons but no compelling reason to update to an 800 yet. The best source of up-to-date user info is the official Garmin users' forums. https://forums.garmin.com/forumdisplay.php?f=20
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Old 05-16-12, 03:49 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
The guys on the Touring forum state that the on-line maps for the Edge 800 in the US and Europe are excellent. They often include trails and bike paths not found on the standard Garmin maps.
I assume you meant "built-in maps" and not "on-line maps", as in reference to the internet?

Does the 800 have the ability to accept a microSD card containing additional maps or digital elevation data?
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Old 05-19-12, 04:34 PM   #15
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Thanks for the feedback on the 800. I think I will try the upgrade since my major concern was using it in direct sunlight.

As for the maps and directions I have used the 705 for touring in both the USA and Europe and found it very useful. What I do is plan my route using Bike Route Toaster, ride with GPS, Bikely, or Map my Ride. I then download the route to the Garmin and have it show the route on the map. I find it is very easy to use this way when touring since you can see where you are on the map and it is then easy to see where the next turn is coming up. This doesn't work very well for a car but works fine at bicycle speeds. Sometimes the maps don't have the bike paths but I can usually find them through the above named sources (sometimes having to look at the satellite pictures) and the downloaded route will show up on the Garmin map whether a road is there or not.
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Old 05-19-12, 11:38 PM   #16
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Ordered an 800 this morning from an eBay vendor. It seems that other than a few eBay vendors, "everybody" is selling them within a few pennies of msrp. Amazon and aggregate web sites; every other place I found, brick-and-mortar or on-line. I've heard of some manufacturers cracking down on on-line discount vendors.
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Old 05-20-12, 05:38 AM   #17
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I help out in a bike shop and can say that the margin on Garmin stuff is thin.
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Old 05-20-12, 06:09 AM   #18
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One way to save money on a Garmin is to use a retailers online coupon. I paid $381.65 from a well known American cycling retailer and that included all shipping costs.
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Old 05-20-12, 07:52 AM   #19
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I paid $375, to my front door. Garmin must be making a boatload of cash. The things aren't that complicated to make, (once the initial development work has been done). Might be worth getting some stock in that company.
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Old 05-20-12, 08:45 AM   #20
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Barrettscv and volosong, are the prices mentioned for the base model 800 without maps, cadence and HRM?

akohekohe, are you using the Garmin maps or OSM on your 705?
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Old 05-20-12, 08:48 AM   #21
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Barrettscv and volosong, are the prices mentioned for the base model 800 without maps, cadence and HRM?
Yes, I already owned the HRM, and the cadence sensor was about $60. The base unit has maps installed, but I may use something else when I start touring.
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Old 05-20-12, 09:06 AM   #22
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Base unit only. I already have two HRM, a Bontrager, (fantastic strap), and the deluxe Garmin, (piece of trash). Also have maps on microSD cards. I teach "Map Interpretation and GPS" at the local community college, so I'm a bit of a GPS junky. Can't tell you how many handheld units I have. If you don't mind fishing in the Bay, you can get the GSC-10 cadence/speed sensor for just under forty bucks. Sixty msrp.

It's kind of a strange marketing concept, but when I purchased my 500, it was less expensive to get the base unit, HRM, and cadence/speed sensor as separate items/purchases than if I were to purchase them as the all-in-one bundled kit. Didn't check if the 800 is sold under the same marketing paradigm.
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Old 05-27-12, 07:32 PM   #23
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I actually went the E-bay route myself and got the 800. I agree with volosong about the vendors all charging the same price, $450 for the base unit. I found a few vendors with coupons and memorial day sales but none that got it as low as what I got it for on e-bay. I ended up paying $378.00 to my door in Hawaii for the base unit with the pre-loaded North American map (which includes Hawaii). I actually bid on three different ones before I "won" (oddly, the "winners" on the other 2 paid quite a bit more). The BUY NOW vendor for $375 with free shipping didn't include Hawaii in the free shipping. For the 705 I have both the North America and Europe maps on SD. These will of course also work in the 800. I'll tell you how I like it compared to the 705 after I use it a bit. I may unload the 705 on E-Bay. It is pretty beat-up (crash) but it still works fine. I'll post here if I list it.
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Old 05-27-12, 10:22 PM   #24
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I bit the bullet and went for the 800 base unit. I got a very good price from my LBS. Pretty much an employee price, though I won't be working there for a little over a month. I found it very easy to set up and use.

I lost the data for my first ride Saturday because I didn't know I needed to save the trip by holding the reset button down. My Forerunner 305 did not require that. Today I downloaded a route from RideWithGPS and followed the turns while I rode it. Pretty nice. I only had the base map at the time, so most of the back roads I rode were not shown except where the route was on them.
http://ridewithgps.com/trips/672228

I copied an OSM and couldn't fit it on the 1 gig micro SD I had. I bought a 4 gig card and loaded it tonight, so I'll try that out on tomorrow's ride. Glad I went for the 800 as I really like the map features. I probably would have gone for the 500 if not for this thread.
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Old 05-28-12, 10:57 AM   #25
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Have not had a chance to use the 800 yet, but did fool around with it a bit. It does NOT come with very decent maps built-in. Just what they call their "basemap", which is just the major highways. City Navigator microSD cards work just fine, but you need to have a copy of that. I got the latest version off eBay for about half price (of msrp), and also purchased an European City Navigator microSD the other year. I fully expect OSM maps to work okay, but haven't tried them.

I'm happily surprised with the size of the screen compared to the size of the actual unit. Larger than the 500, of course, but smaller than my Oregon. Took awhile to figure out how to activate the additional screens. Like that I can have five bicycles programmed in. I think I'm going to like this receiver.
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