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Are Garmin 810 GPS units problematic?

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Are Garmin 810 GPS units problematic?

Old 02-01-15, 10:10 AM
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Talking Are Garmin 810 GPS units problematic?

Well, February is here so we're that much closer to "riding season" ( at least for us fair weather bikers! ). I've been contemplating the purchase of a Garmin 810 GPS unit for the purpose of mapping different routes for my rides. I've been reading reviews here and other places about the Garmin 810 units, and these reviews are rather unflattering to say the least. The worst problem seems to be customer support for getting a problem solved, especially when it comes to the mapping program. I hate to invest $400 or $500 on a GPS unit that isn't reliable for what I want it to do. I'm not completely computer illiterate, but many of the owners complain that they can't figure out how to get the mapping program of the 810 to work correctly and customer support is nearly non-existent. Any other possibilities in this same price range that have mapping capabilities and actually work? Thanks for any advice you may have!
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Old 02-01-15, 12:13 PM
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I don't think you can beat Garmin as they are the #1 purveyor of GPS in the world and for a reason. I suspect the honesty of the negative reviews you read on this forum; more likely its just user error. They get frustrated with their inability to follow directions and call customer service blaming the machine. On the other hand, if there is something truly wrong with the box, Garmin won't hesitate - they just replace the whole thing. I have Garmin units for my aircraft, my car, and my bike. No real complaints. Will be upgrading my 510 to a 810/1000 in the spring also.
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Old 02-01-15, 05:22 PM
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The only problem I had with my 810 that I could not attribute to user error was a recurring loss of connection with my iPhone for Livetrack after Apple updated the phone OS. It took a few months but Garmin worked it out eventually with a firmware upgrade. I am very happy with mine. I have only used the mapping/routing feature a couple of times. On the bike it was fine, but their desktop computer software for creating routes has given me fits when it wanted to follow a route that a car would have to take rather than one a bicycle could take.
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Old 02-01-15, 08:21 PM
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I realize you asked about the 810 but I have the 800 and have had no problems with the mapping functions. I downloaded the Open Street Maps(OSM) that I needed and put them on the mini-sd card. I have created routes with Ride With GPS and uploaded them to the 800, set the device to notify turn-by-turn and it follows the routes flawlessly. On a rare occasion, for some stupid reason, it will not give an alert prior to the turn, but other than that it is great. I have found that 'googling' for answers on my problems have given me the information I needed.
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Old 02-03-15, 06:53 AM
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My 800 has been solid as a rock too. No problems except when the operator messes up.
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Old 02-03-15, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Gyrine View Post
I don't think you can beat Garmin as they are the #1 purveyor of GPS in the world and for a reason.
Yea. That reason simply is there is simply no other competition. Otherwise Garmin would DIAF and not be missed.

Garmin is like a TON of electronics companies...make GREAT hardware...and then use paying customers as beta testers for the software. Whenever a "new" Garmin GPS gets released it typically takes a 1 year teething period for the device to be made usable. Happens with each and every model and each and every year. I say this as someone who has been using Garmin Edge computers for 5 years or so (305, 705, 1000). Always wait a year after release for buying into the public beta tester crowd.


810 by now should be pretty stable and usable by itself, maybe I'm wrong and 810 users can correct me. People on the Garmin oboards are always complaining about things like iPhone pairing with Edge computers...if you are an iPhone user, be prepared for headaches.
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Old 02-03-15, 09:52 AM
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It seems like the last bit of trouble with the 810 has to do with turn-by-turn navigation of routes, with rerouting and shortcuts. The latest beta firmware, 3.41 as of last month, may have solved most of the lingering issues. This is of course two years post release (Jan 2013). I had a trouble free 800 and did not "upgrade" to the 810 until just before the holidays.
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Old 02-04-15, 08:31 PM
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I have owned 3 810s in short succession. The first would not pair with the heart sensor. The second would lock up and lose data on rides over about 8 hours (drove me nuts losing all of the data I just spent 8 hours generating. Finally the third unit seems to be working as expected. Thanks to REI for taking the first two back so graciously.

I find the interface to be usable but not as easy to use as my car GPS.
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Old 02-06-15, 06:35 PM
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Thanks for all the input you all provided! I'm still indecisive about the Garmin GPS units. I don't like all the negativity I'm seeing, not necessarily here but in other locations, but may wind up with a Garmin unit if nothing else seems equal or better. May just have to wait for the competition to come alive with some good GPS units. Thanks again!
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Old 02-06-15, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by 1 Miyata Biker View Post
Thanks for all the input you all provided! I'm still indecisive about the Garmin GPS units. I don't like all the negativity I'm seeing, not necessarily here but in other locations, but may wind up with a Garmin unit if nothing else seems equal or better. May just have to wait for the competition to come alive with some good GPS units. Thanks again!
Sadly there really is no competition...and hasn't been any for years. And probably won't be any either.

Magellan manages to be absolute creeps. For a long time, any rides you synced would be auto uploaded to a 3rd party website with no anonymization without your expressed knowledge or real consent...meaning anyone on that site could see where you live and work. When called out on the practice, Magellan said "read that EULA you signed"...which by agreeing you give them carte blanche to data mine you and make that data 100% public. Finally a year later they stopped it. Then there's the distance doubling bugs...the ridiculous lack of on-device storage (only 100MB for USA units...and a typical 60km ride generates 5-10MB of ride files), and it is non0expandable...and the inability to load mapsets for countries outside of the region where you bought the device. Also the screen isn't as good as the Edge 1K for example.

People give Garmin grief because they've been around long enough and all the bad tendencies are still there WRT software. Which is sad as the hardware is damn good all around.


Maybe in another few years cellphones will all be waterproof and durable enough for handlebars, and have the battery legs to do all the duty...but I ain't holding my breath.
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Old 02-06-15, 10:58 PM
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Yes, Garmin stinks. They're all buggy at some point, and have piss-poor user interfaces that are more akin to late '90s PDAs (remember those?) than modern smartphones, which absolutely make Garmins look ridiculous.

Anyway, there are options to the 500 line type units, primarily Powertap Joile GPS and Timex CycleTrainer 2.0, both of which have been out almost three years. No turn-by-turn nav, though, if that's what you're after, and Timex's breadcrumb is pretty marginal, too, the Joule's being much better, but still breadcrumb.

many find a way to live with a Garmin, though, so it's not the worst money you'll ever spend, but it is far from satisfying.
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Old 02-06-15, 11:07 PM
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Simple, cheap Garmins are awesome... More expensive units seems to have more or less annoying issues. 800's are known to lose all the data in addition to less harmful bugs.
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Old 02-07-15, 12:05 AM
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other than the firmware in the device, I've never used any garmin program, so I wouldn't know anything about that. The only problem I have had that I wish they would fix is the dreaded, "lock up solid at around 200 miles" bug. But I know they are never going to fix it, so I work around it.
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Old 02-07-15, 11:23 AM
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There is also the O-Synce Navicoach, which does support Ant+ and breadcrumb style navigation: DCRainmaker's review. He has links to Clever Training and Amazon (about the same price if you use the Clever Training 10% off posted on his site).
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Old 02-07-15, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by lopek77 View Post
Simple, cheap Garmins are awesome... More expensive units seems to have more or less annoying issues. 800's are known to lose all the data in addition to less harmful bugs.
That makes me thankful. That I have there Edge 500. My father got it for me for Christmas 2013. He wanted to get me the Edge 800, but I told him to get the Edge 500 instead. He did buy me the Edge 200 in 2012. I told him that was severely lacking in data. The only problem I encounter is the GPS reception next to my house. But that is because of the trees'. Once I am away from the house, the GPS reception is fine.
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Old 02-07-15, 07:29 PM
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lopek77, you're right. Simple and cheap usually does the job, however, the Garmin 500 versions won't do the mapping of routes like I desire. The reviews on them are pretty good, but there's no sense in buying a unit that doesn't do what I'd like to have my GPS unit do. I could get out my county road map and compass and use my watch to achieve what I want, but that would involve stopping and coordinating my route with the map. I'd rather just ride, enjoy the scenery, and let the GPS do the work.

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Old 02-08-15, 09:29 PM
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Originally Posted by 1 Miyata Biker View Post
lopek77, you're right. Simple and cheap usually does the job, however, the Garmin 500 versions won't do the mapping of routes like I desire. The reviews on them are pretty good, but there's no sense in buying a unit that doesn't do what I'd like to have my GPS unit do. I could get out my county road map and compass and use my watch to achieve what I want, but that would involve stopping and coordinating my route with the map. I'd rather just ride, enjoy the scenery, and let the GPS do the work.
I use RWGPS for the mapping. Then I transfer that to a temporary location, until I have memorized the route. I didn't(and still don't) want the mapping feature.
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Old 02-14-15, 08:14 AM
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Following a customized route is the biggest problem I have. During the ride if you have to take a detour it never corrects itself properly. Always tries to send me back to the point I left the route no matter if I have it set on recalculate or not. I don't even bother with custom routes anymore which was one of the reasons I bought the unit. That's my biggest frustration with the 810. Next is the connectivity issue with my iPhone. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Lastly, gamin's software for apple has a glitch that freezes the map when you're creating a route lately, so I can never finish making a route. I swear Garmin's software engineers are missing a few cards in their decks.
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Old 02-17-15, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Gus90 View Post
Following a customized route is the biggest problem I have. During the ride if you have to take a detour it never corrects itself properly. Always tries to send me back to the point I left the route no matter if I have it set on recalculate or not. I don't even bother with custom routes anymore which was one of the reasons I bought the unit. That's my biggest frustration with the 810. Next is the connectivity issue with my iPhone. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Lastly, gamin's software for apple has a glitch that freezes the map when you're creating a route lately, so I can never finish making a route. I swear Garmin's software engineers are missing a few cards in their decks.
When this happens to me I just stop the route and re-start it. It finds where I am mid-route and just picks up from there. No rerouting or anything like that.
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Old 02-17-15, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Gus90 View Post
Following a customized route is the biggest problem I have.
It does seem like the units have more issues with .GPX or .TCX files than just inputting an address and/or finding a landmark. Whenever recalculation and/or working with the files gets time consuming for the device, you can always just stop and put your starting address in. But you shouldn't have to do that.

As far as Garmin's route making software, so many sites let you easily create "drag and drop" routes now, I don't use standalone programs for that anymore.
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Old 02-17-15, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by 1 Miyata Biker View Post
Thanks for all the input you all provided! I'm still indecisive about the Garmin GPS units. I don't like all the negativity I'm seeing, not necessarily here but in other locations, but may wind up with a Garmin unit if nothing else seems equal or better. May just have to wait for the competition to come alive with some good GPS units. Thanks again!
If you want one, buy it at REI. They'll give you your money back if you don't like it. I think you have up to a year to get a full refund. If they sell them, backcountry.com and llbean.com have the same return policy.
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Old 02-17-15, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by lopek77 View Post
Simple, cheap Garmins are awesome... More expensive units seems to have more or less annoying issues. 800's are known to lose all the data in addition to less harmful bugs.
I've been using an 800 for 4.5 years, since it first came out. This has never happened to me. I ride 3 to 5 thousand miles a year and use the Edge on every ride.
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Old 02-17-15, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
I've been using an 800 for 4.5 years, since it first came out. This has never happened to me. I ride 3 to 5 thousand miles a year and use the Edge on every ride.
My experience also, about 3000 miles a year for four years on an 800, only lost data once, but it was a hardware failure that Garmin quickly replaced at month 13 of ownership.

Now using an 810.
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Old 02-17-15, 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by lopek77 View Post
800's are known to lose all the data in addition to less harmful bugs.
"Known" by whom??

I've actually never heard that this is common at all. I have something-like 8000+ miles on a 800 and haven't seen it.

Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
I've been using an 800 for 4.5 years, since it first came out. This has never happened to me. I ride 3 to 5 thousand miles a year and use the Edge on every ride.
You and many other people.
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Old 02-17-15, 09:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Gus90 View Post
Following a customized route is the biggest problem I have. During the ride if you have to take a detour it never corrects itself properly. Always tries to send me back to the point I left the route no matter if I have it set on recalculate or not. I don't even bother with custom routes anymore which was one of the reasons I bought the unit. That's my biggest frustration with the 810.
If you go off-course, the simplest thing to do is just ride back to the magenta line. You should know you are off course fairly quickly.

On the 800 (other models might behave differently), the route recalculation does do what people expect it does. It really isn't necessary to recalculate at all.

With the 800, things generally start working as expected once you are back on course.

This approach requires that you have the map displayed (and are paying some attention to it).
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