Why you should avoid the Garmin Edge 800, for now..

Garmin Edge 800
The Garmin Edge 800 is Garmin’s latest GPS enabled cycling computer. I decided to pick one up last fall when they came out, after being the satisfied owner of two previous Garmin cycling specific models. (Edge 305 and 500) Garmin tends to always release new products in the Edge line with beta quality firmware at best, which I totally understand. However; the Edge 800 firmware can’t even be called beta, its more like alpha at best. I’ve owned the Edge 800 now for 5 months, and Garmin has had one lousy update. All of the rave reviews somehow missed the major bugs with some of the most basic use cases for the Edge 800.

One of the most basic features of the Edge 800 is the ability to give you turn by turn directions with a map card installed. Plot your course on mapmyride.com, export it to the Garmin, and you’re on your way. Amazingly, this feature is completely broken with the Edge 800. Turn by turn directions do not work without doing a laborious workaround.

Another basic use case that’s completely broken with the latest Edge 800 firmware update is plugging your device in to a computer. With the 2.1 firmware version, plugging the Edge 800 into a mac does not initiate USB drive mode. The workaround is to hold the reset button while plugging in the USB cable, then releasing the reset button.

How such a bug got through the most basic level of QA is beyond me. Many users are experiencing rides where suddenly the Edge 800 reports that they went 3000+ miles. I experienced this the bug the other day ruining the data from my ride.

I think the Edge 800 has a lot of potential, but the current firmware is just too buggy to actually recommend the device at this time. Garmin’s lack of timely updates to their flagship cycling device is simply inexcusable.


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  • James

    Has there been an Update since March 2011?? That has fixed most of these bugs?

    • Anonymous

      James, yes most of these bugs are fixed now. I would recommend the 800 at this point. 

      • James

        Thanks

  • Portercraig

    I’ve been using the Edge 800 for about the same length of time but my
    experience has been largely very positive. I agree that it has a few
    bugs – I’ve experienced the device spontaneously adding over 22000 km to
    my ride once, but it was repaired easily enough.

    I disagree that turn-by-turn directions is “completely broken” or that a
    “laborious workaround” is required. The following process works well
    for me:

    1. Create a route (I use bikehike.co.uk) and save it as a TCX file on my computer

    2. Copy the TCX file to the ‘NewFiles’ folder on the Edge 800

    That’s it. Then when I want to follow the route I just turn on the Edge
    800, load the route, enable turn directions (why this is disabled by
    default I don’t know) and press ‘Go’. Not very laborious in my opinion.
    🙂

    Regarding the “initiate USB drive mode” issue, I believe this was an
    intentional upgrade by Garmin to allow people to plug in an external
    battery pack during a ride. With the old firmware (and I’ve never used
    pre-2.1 firmware so can’t confirm this) if you plugged in a battery pack
    the Edge 800 would stop recording a ride, save it as a FIT file, and
    switch to mass storage mode and start charging. With the new firmware it
    doesn’t go into mass storage mode but just carries on recording the
    ride and charges itself from the battery pack.

    “I think the Edge 800 has a lot of potential” – we do agree on something. 😉