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Garmin Edge Explore or 820 NHO

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Garmin Edge Explore or 820 NHO

Old 12-30-20, 10:40 PM
  #1  
Russ Roth
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Garmin Edge Explore or 820 NHO

I'm looking for a new garmin for much longer rides to new places and for touring. In the past I've used my phone but that has resulted in hours or even days of not enough signal to know where I am, if I'm still on the right route or where the nearest campground or convenience store is.
Next year for instance the fam and I might ride the Gap go from Pittsburgh to DC which my wife wants to do but exploring off the route, seeing our actual location and if there is any landmarks or points of interest could be cool. Either of these offer some or all those options? Any particular reason one might be better then the other. Mostly just want to know where I'm going, where I've been, how to get there and what's along the way.
Is there something that's better at this goal then these? Right now the 820 is 200.00 and the explore is 250.00 so good price range, I can go a little higher but only if it better fulfills my needs and doesn't just add extras. Don't care about all the training stuff. I've got to buy bike parts for a family of 5 that likes multiple aspects of the sport and 3 of whom are growing so wasting money on power meters and excessive features isn't an interest.
Thanks for your time.
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Old 12-31-20, 07:28 AM
  #2  
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If navigation is your primary use, the bigger screen is an important feature.

It appears the 820 (and the 520+) were kind of weak units. Unreasonably slow with not great battery life.

The Explore is an interesting unit. I haven't tried it, so, I don't know how well it works. It's similar to the 1000 (without some features).

Regarding phones, you can get apps that let you download maps before-hand and navigate without a cell signal. This can be useful even if you are using a Garmin (it's much easier to "explore" maps on a phone).

​​​​​​Getting a good POI (points of interest) "database" to use offline is another issue.

The Garmins and the map/navigation phone apps that let you download maps usually use Openstreetmap (OSM) data for the maps and POIs. Unfortunately, Openstreetmap POIs can be fairly incomplete (maybe, worse for commercial items than for "landmarks"). The OSM data for POIs is better in some places (like certain European countries) than in others.

The reason for this is that many people don't know about Openstreetmap maps and there is little economic incentive to update POIs there. They are updated on Google maps (for example) because they drive-up searches (which drives-up ad revenue). Businesses also work to have them added.

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Old 12-31-20, 08:42 AM
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yes the 820 sucks. battery life was bad and the ant+ lights would not turn on or off.I had one a few months ago and returned it.
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Old 12-31-20, 12:41 PM
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2 riding buddies use the Explore, it's a good reliable unit. It does no power metrics but does navigation as well as the more expensive 830 and 1030. My opinion is it's the most cost effective unit in the Garmin Edge lineup.
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Old 12-31-20, 08:40 PM
  #5  
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
If navigation is your primary use, the bigger screen is an important feature.

It appears the 820 (and the 520+) were kind of weak units. Unreasonably slow with not great battery life.

Regarding phones, you can get apps that let you download maps before-hand and navigate without a cell signal. This can be useful even if you are using a Garmin (it's much easier to "explore" maps on a phone).

​​​​​​Getting a good POI (points of interest) "database" to use offline is another issue.

The Garmins and the map/navigation phone apps that let you download maps usually use Openstreetmap (OSM) data for the maps and POIs. Unfortunately, Openstreetmap POIs can be fairly incomplete (maybe, worse for commercial items than for "landmarks"). The OSM data for POIs is better in some places (like certain European countries) than in others.
I couldn't get a signal to know where I was. In the areas around my parents Verizon and T-Mobile can't even pin you on a map and they're in NYS. Rather not try to have any reliance on a phone.

Originally Posted by fooferdoggie View Post
yes the 820 sucks. battery life was bad and the ant+ lights would not turn on or off.I had one a few months ago and returned it.
Good to know

Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
2 riding buddies use the Explore, it's a good reliable unit. It does no power metrics but does navigation as well as the more expensive 830 and 1030. My opinion is it's the most cost effective unit in the Garmin Edge lineup.
Thanks, think I'll get it ordered and try it out
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Old 12-31-20, 08:53 PM
  #6  
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I have tired most of the Gamins lately and the garmin explore is one of the easier to use really reliable on ant lights. I have had less connection issues with it and the lights and radar then even the 1030+ that one can disconnect from the radar several times a ride. usually only seconds but it gets annoying. once in awhile it wont connect to the lights at all. the explore has been pretty reliable.
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Old 12-31-20, 09:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Russ Roth View Post
I couldn't get a signal to know where I was. In the areas around my parents Verizon and T-Mobile can't even pin you on a map and they're in NYS. Rather not try to have any reliance on a phone.
Smartphones have a GPS receiver. That has nothing to do with the cell phone stuff.

Most people use maps that are downloaded as you view the map. That requires cell phone access.

One can get apps that let you download maps at home before your trip. That avoids needing cell network access entirely. Essentially, they turn your phone into a stand-alone GPS unit. Just like the Garmin (but faster and with a bigger screen). It works very well. It's also cheap enough that having it as a backup makes sense. Maps.me is one such app. It's free and very good. Try it.

Note that I like using the Garmins but being able to also use your phone is easy and useful.


​​​​​​

Last edited by njkayaker; 12-31-20 at 09:35 PM.
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Old 12-31-20, 11:14 PM
  #8  
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
Smartphones have a GPS receiver. That has nothing to do with the cell phone stuff.

Most people use maps that are downloaded as you view the map. That requires cell phone access.

One can get apps that let you download maps at home before your trip. That avoids needing cell network access entirely. Essentially, they turn your phone into a stand-alone GPS unit. Just like the Garmin (but faster and with a bigger screen). It works very well. It's also cheap enough that having it as a backup makes sense. Maps.me is one such app. It's free and very good. Try it.

Note that I like using the Garmins but being able to also use your phone is easy and useful.


​​​​​​
Was a samsung last year but the moto didn't do any better this year hanging out in south-western ny and NW PA exploring the parks. Was just using google maps so maybe something else would work but couldn't see where I was or where I needed to go.
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Old 12-31-20, 11:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Russ Roth View Post
Was a samsung last year but the moto didn't do any better this year hanging out in south-western ny and NW PA exploring the parks. Was just using google maps so maybe something else would work but couldn't see where I was or where I needed to go.
Google maps needs network access to work (basically). It downloads maps sections right when you try to use them.

The Garmins have maps stored on memory in the device ahead of when you use them. You can do the same thing with phones. You just need to use an app that provides that feature.

That means you have to get the app and download the maps you need before you leave home (so there is a bit of preparation and planning required). After doing it once, you should find it simple to do (it's not that hard to do it the first time).

Maps.me is one such app.

Try it.
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Old 12-31-20, 11:54 PM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by Russ Roth View Post
Was a samsung last year but the moto didn't do any better this year hanging out in south-western ny and NW PA exploring the parks. Was just using google maps so maybe something else would work but couldn't see where I was or where I needed to go.
Google Maps allows you to download offline maps into the phone, which will still be there if you lack a cell connection. The phone GPS will work without cell service as njkayaker pointed out. I believe the offline maps last a month in the phone but then require reloading.

I have an Explore and it is excellent for following a preloaded route. Routes can be loaded from GarminConnect or RideWithGps. I have not used it to find points of interest.......some of the points of interest preloaded in mine are truly bizarre. Same with pre-loaded services.

Relying on the Garmin to generate a route has been a crapshoot. I've done it on local routes where I knew exactly where I was going and how to get there, and the GPS often chooses routes that are unpleasant.

Supposedly the Garmins have the best screens among all the bike specific units, but I think it looks absolutely primitive compared to the crisp and detailed screen in an iPhone running Google Maps. Maybe that's the price to pay for the longer battery life? I've never used any other make so YMMV.
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Old 01-01-21, 08:06 AM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by kaos joe View Post
Google Maps allows you to download offline maps into the phone, which will still be there if you lack a cell connection. The phone GPS will work without cell service as njkayaker pointed out. I believe the offline maps last a month in the phone but then require reloading.
Yes, you can have Google maps download (cache) maps to the phone. But it's kind of weird to do and easy to forget to do. You can't do any routing with those maps. (I tied this a while ago. Maybe, it's gotten better.)

There are a few apps (some free) that let you download maps in an easy way and the maps don't expire. And let you load routes to them (if you are using routes).

Originally Posted by kaos joe View Post
I have not used it to find points of interest.......some of the points of interest preloaded in mine are truly bizarre. Same with pre-loaded services.
I explained why earlier.

Originally Posted by kaos joe View Post
Supposedly the Garmins have the best screens among all the bike specific units, but I think it looks absolutely primitive compared to the crisp and detailed screen in an iPhone running Google Maps. Maybe that's the price to pay for the longer battery life? I've never used any other make so YMMV.
The smartphone screens are way too dark in bright sunlight.

The Garmin screens don't require a backlight or need to emit light unless it's dark out. So, energy is saved there.

The detail screen is because the smartphone screens have more pixels (obviously). Those more pixels require more power.

So, yes, it's battery life (and some other things). Battery life is a major feature of the Garmins. They'd are also much smaller than many phones.

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Old 01-01-21, 10:06 AM
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Huh, I've not had a single problem with my 820. That said, I don't have any interest in using it for directions. I have Locus Map on my android phone and use it to follow GPS tracks (where there are no roads) and even, on rare occasion, road routes. It has a few map providers. I haven't played around with POI in it though.
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Old 01-01-21, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Marylander View Post
Huh, I've not had a single problem with my 820. That said, I don't have any interest in using it for directions.
That might matter. There are regular complaints about the battery life. In any case, the 820 is probably OK. If you are using like a 500, it's probably a reasonable choice if you can get it cheap.

The 830 is better: it's faster (important for navigation) and has better battery life.

The OP wants to use it for navigation (and not the "performance" features). It's not clear how your example of not using navigation is helpful to him.

The screen on the 820 (and the 830) are on the small side for navigation.

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Old 01-01-21, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Russ Roth View Post
Was a samsung last year but the moto didn't do any better this year hanging out in south-western ny and NW PA exploring the parks. Was just using google maps so maybe something else would work but couldn't see where I was or where I needed to go.
It wasn't the phone. It was the lack of cell towers in the area for whatever network you use.
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Old 01-01-21, 12:53 PM
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With your phone and/or any other device, when you said you couldn't get a signal, where you outside? Of course if this was your phone, then you need to be sure the app you were using can work with your phones gps independently when not in cellular service.

When I'm in my house I just barely get enough signal to connect in most rooms and some areas a few of my gps devices won't connect. GPS reception can also be poor under dense wet foliage.

If you are going to get a Garmin and want it for navigation and all the POI stuff you claim to need, you probably need to spend the bucks and get either an edge 830 or edge 1030 plus.

If you are going to use it for other than cycling, then there are other Garmin's you should consider.

As for other manufacturers, Wahoo, Lezyne and others are less expensive, but I know nothing about them but their names.

Last edited by Iride01; 01-01-21 at 12:58 PM.
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Old 01-01-21, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
With your phone and/or any other device, when you said you couldn't get a signal, where you outside? Of course if this was your phone, then you need to be sure the app you were using can work with your phones gps independently when not in cellular service.
The problem wasn't GPS. It was not having maps. (There is no indication he was having problems receiving a GPS signal. The "signal" he was talking about was for cell service, it appears.)

The issue is that he was using Google maps, which needed cellular service to download the maps, but wasn't near any cell towers , it(that supported his network).

If he wants to be able to use the phone for navigation without cell service, he needs to use something that lets him download maps ahead of time.

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Old 01-01-21, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
The problem wasn't GPS. It was not having maps. (There is no indication he was having problems receiving a GPS signal. The "signal" he was talking about was for cell service, it appears.)

The issue is that he was using Google maps, which needed cellular service to download the maps, but wasn't near any cell towers , it(that supported his network).

If he wants to be able to use the phone for navigation without cell service, he needs to use something that lets him download maps ahead of time.
I tend to agree, but was hoping to get the OP to confirm all that.

I was thinking Oruxmaps might be the thing for them to try, but it's been a very long time since I used it. The only drawback for me back then for Oruxmaps was it did so much more than what I wanted at the time and that overly complicated it's use for me. Though most of the complication was my own confusion.
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Old 01-01-21, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
I was thinking Oruxmaps might be the thing for them to try, but it's been a very long time since I used it. The only drawback for me back then for Oruxmaps was it did so much more than what I wanted at the time and that overly complicated it's use for me. Though most of the complication was my own confusion.
I never found Oruxmaps to be that great. It was one of the first such programs.

Maps.me (Android/iOS) is pretty capable and easy enough to use (it's also free).

Osmand maps (Android/iOS) is also pretty good but the UI is a bit hard to use. You have to pay some to make this useful. It provides contour lines for a bit more money.

I use Guru maps (Android/iOS), which is, now, fairly expensive. I like this program: it does a fair amount and it isn't overly complicated to use. It provides contour lines..

There is also Locus maps (Android only), which is very feature rich but a bit hard to use. There's a small fee to make it useful. I should see what the current version is like.

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Old 01-01-21, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
I tend to agree, but was hoping to get the OP to confirm all that.

I was thinking Oruxmaps might be the thing for them to try, but it's been a very long time since I used it. The only drawback for me back then for Oruxmaps was it did so much more than what I wanted at the time and that overly complicated it's use for me. Though most of the complication was my own confusion.
Yeah, no cellular service at all. My wife and I until recently used 2 different services, mine t-mobile and hers verizon and neither had cellular service. Wasn't aware that there were programs for the phone that could be preloaded, I really have cluttering my phone with apps but the phone will only last about 6 hours of continuous mapping use and my external battery pack can only fully charge it twice before it runs dead as well. So a garmin at 15-20hrs run time and that the pack can probably charge more then twice will give me double the continually usable hours of travel time.

Thanks for all the info, I'm thinking I'll get the explore and see how it works. Covid allowing there are a couple of unsupported gravel rides/races I'd like to do in the spring and having the computer to help with navigation over the 10+ hours they will take me.
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Old 01-01-21, 02:47 PM
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Well just one, hopefully last point, the Garmin Explore only uses GPS, while many of the other newer Garmin's not only use GPS but also use GLONASS and Galileo.

If your area happens to also have poor GPS reception, it helps to have alternatives.

But at it's price, it's a good introduction to GPS Cyclometers probably. If you are or ever will be into cycling all out for fitness, then it lacks features.

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Old 01-01-21, 03:36 PM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by Russ Roth View Post
Yeah, no cellular service at all. My wife and I until recently used 2 different services, mine t-mobile and hers verizon and neither had cellular service.
Not surprising T-Mobile was a problem. Kind of surprising Verizon was. Even with good coverage, cell service is going to be spotty. You definitely want alternatives.

Originally Posted by Russ Roth View Post
Wasn't aware that there were programs for the phone that could be preloaded, I really have cluttering my phone with apps but the phone will only last about 6 hours of continuous mapping use and my external battery pack can only fully charge it twice before it runs dead as well.
The "offline" mapping apps are useful to have even if you are using a Garmin. It's much easier and faster to look at maps on a phone.

Originally Posted by Russ Roth View Post
So a garmin at 15-20hrs run time and that the pack can probably charge more then twice will give me double the continually usable hours of travel time.
15-20 hours is probably an over estimate for the Explore. You can run them while charging (though, that's probably not a good idea for a gravel ride).

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Old 01-06-21, 10:48 PM
  #22  
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I went with the explore, mostly since probikekit was running as sale for 215.00 shipped and no tax so a great price. Downside is it came with preloaded maps of Europe. Didn't take much searching to figure out how to disable the Europe maps, which I'll hopefully need in a couple years, and upload a map of the North-East, also added a local gravel grinder map to try out and I'm going to try finding some local mtb trail maps to add and follow. Will still load maps onto the phone as recommended to cover my bases.
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Old 01-09-21, 10:27 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by Russ Roth View Post
I went with the explore, mostly since probikekit was running as sale for 215.00 shipped and no tax so a great price. Downside is it came with preloaded maps of Europe. Didn't take much searching to figure out how to disable the Europe maps, which I'll hopefully need in a couple years, and upload a map of the North-East, also added a local gravel grinder map to try out and I'm going to try finding some local mtb trail maps to add and follow. Will still load maps onto the phone as recommended to cover my bases.
DCRainmaker has a page dedicated to how to get OpenStreetMaps downloaded to the device. Itís pretty easy using a PC.
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