Tech Garmin 830?

Half-Fast Mike

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So, are most of you getting more than two or three years use out of your gps computers?
So far that's about right for me - but usually because I've wanted to upgrade rather because the device broke - and then I sold the old one or passed it on to a friend.

Garmin eTrex -> eTrex Vista HCx (color maps, yay!) -> Edge 705 (sensors - I can dump the Polar watch) -> Edge 800 (nicer screen) -> Edge 810 (better processor, Bluetooth, still have it, still works) -> Edge 1000 (happy with it).

Edge 1030 is packed with training/performance/connectivity/social features that don't interest me at this time. Released in mid-2017, so the next 1XXX flagship product might be in the pipeline. I'll be interested to see what Garmin come up with, but it'll likely be more of the same. What I'd really like is some intelligent on-the-fly routing, e.g., a button for "take me to X the best way".

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Karl

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What I'd really like is some intelligent on-the-fly routing, e.g., a button for "take me to X the best way".
DC Rainmaker shows the 530 and 830 able to reroute to chosen locations on the fly using heatmap data to do it. Sounds good in theory. Apparently the 830 lets you search for local POIs and then routes you to them.
 
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joewein

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I'm really happy with my o_synce Navi2coach (N2C), even though I'm already on the third one (on each of the previous two the USB port wore out - it would charge but recognizing it as a storage device from a PC became hit and miss).

I've had issues with separate ANT+ cadence / speed sensors while the combined unit on my Bike Friday worked fine. But once I omitted those sensors on my Elephant Bikes NFE and only use GPS for speed (the biggest drawback is that it doesn't count distance through tunnels), it is rock solid. Recording rides of just about any length works 100% of the time and that is all that matters to me. I sold my previous Garmin after it lost two rides of 300+ km.

The N2C doesn't do on-the-fly routing. It doesn't have maps (hey, I ride with two smartphones). The only navigation it offers is following an uploaded breadcrumb trail, but that is absolutely bulletproof and much better to use than a phone since the GPS screen is always on and low power.

The screen itself is not the greatest, but it works in any weather, rain or shine. No issues with gloves on the button-operated user interface (who needs touch screens for GPS recording?).

Lots of GPS units are made with a big list of features that sound sexy, but many of them don't work, or only work sometimes. The N2C isn't like these. Its feature list has all the essentials and not much more. If you want a GPS unit that can reliably record rides and help you navigate along pre-selected routes in the flash memory, I can highly recommend it. I just wish the USB port would be a bit more robust.
 
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Karl

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One more quick question.

The main difference between the Garmin 530 and 830 is the 830 has a touchscreen (and costs $100 more). Having never used a touchscreen, just wondering if it is worth it. I hear the touchscreen has greatly improved from the 820 to 830 but wonder if it is still a bit fiddly, and how well it works when you're wearing gloves. I have gloves that are supposed to work with touchscreens but they don't seem to work very well on my phone touchscreen and are a PITA. So, I'm leaning toward the 530 for reliability's sake, ease of use when wearing gloves, and because it is cheaper.

Before I pull the trigger, the question is, "To touchscreen, or not to touchscreen?" Thoughts? Sage advice?
 
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OreoCookie

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The main difference between the Garmin 530 and 830 is the 830 has a touchscreen (and costs $100 more).
Yes.
Having never used a touchscreen, just wondering if it is worth it. I hear the touchscreen has greatly improved from the 820 to 830 but wonder if it is still a bit fiddly, and how well it works when you're wearing gloves. I have gloves that are supposed to work with touchscreens but they don't seem to work very well on my phone touchscreen and are a PITA.
Even gloves that are supposed to work with touch screens, because they have a special coating on some of their fingers, this coating in my experience wears off, and I have to end up taking my gloves off.

If memory serves, you are particularly interested in a head unit with good navigation. This is the biggest advantage of a unit with touchscreen, because you can move the map just like on a smart phone rather than with buttons, which is invariably more clunky. But for everything else, I don't think you'd need a touchscreen.
 
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Karl

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@OreoCookie Thanks. I kinda figured the touchscreen would be hard to use with gloves.

I tend to use the zoom function on my Wahoo a lot. Doubt I need the touchscreen to move the map as long as the zoom in/out is relatively easy to use on the 530 (as it looks to be). For the bigger picture, I use MapsMe on my phone if necessary. OTOH, ease of setup and on-the-fly changes to screens would be nice. Decisions, decisions.
 
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OreoCookie

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I tend to use the zoom function on my Wahoo a lot. Doubt I need the touchscreen to move the map as long as the zoom in/out is relatively easy to use on the 530 (as it looks to be). For the bigger picture, I use MapsMe on my phone if necessary. OTOH, ease of setup and on-the-fly changes to screens would be nice.
I haven't really used Garmin's cycling computers ever, but my impression is that you simply don't change screens on the fly. Even with my Wahoo, I don't think I'd do that “on the fly”, rather during a coffee stop or so. If your idea of navigation is following breadcrumbs on the screen, I think the 530 will be just fine. For anything more advanced, I'd probably want to take out my smartphone just like you.

Honestly, if mapping is a concern, I'd probably want to decide between the 1030 and the 530. Then you'd not just have a better touch screen, but more screen real estate to work with.

Also, I bought a Elemnt Bolt last week specifically because it uses buttons and is configurable with my smartphone. I love the zoom feature as much as I thought I'd love it. So far I am very happy, although I am still figuring out how to best configure my screens and use it. So if I were you, I'd opt for the 530. But I am not you. ;)
 
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Karl

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Garmin does have the 'Garmin Remote' which allows you to toggle through screens, even on the 530, w/o using the buttons. Not sure I want another device taking up real estate on my handlebars though.

I change screens on the fly fairly often, usually switching back and forth between my data screen and nav screen. Easy to do on the Wahoo. Garmin has some program called 'ClimbPro' that looks like it would be pretty nifty if it actually works, so would probably want to get to that screen as well. Doesn't look like changing screens is a big hassle on any of the computers, but does look lots easier on the touchscreen. Worth an extra $100? Still debating.
 
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OreoCookie

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Garmin has some program called 'Climb' that looks like it would be pretty nifty if it actually works, so would probably want to get to that screen as well. Doesn't look like changing screens is a big hassle on any of the computers, but does look lots easier on the touchscreen. Worth an extra $100? Still debating.
On the touch screen versions, would you swipe left and right to change screens? (Only being able to cycle through screens in one direction is a bit of a trade-off, though.)
 

Karl

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Good question. Don't know. But I do know that with the remote, you can only go one direction.
 

Edogawakikkoman

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Garmin eTrex -> eTrex Vista HCx (color maps, yay!) -> Edge 705 (sensors - I can dump the Polar watch) -> Edge 800 (nicer screen) -> Edge 810 (better processor, Bluetooth, still have it, still works) -> Edge 1000 (happy with it).
I used to love the old Polar watches. (have 2 lying around somewhere). Lend one to somebody for a few months. He returned it with the LED leaking on the screen. He didn't say anything about it the dick. Never saw him again.

I guess I should toss them both now... not even sure if I could fire them up or remember how to use them anymore... plus the heart strap will probably turn to dust if I touch it.
Would love a new Garmin too as it looks like my Garmin 705's battery has died and the little screws seem to be rusted by my salt sweat.... unable to remove them....

Thinking of a cheap Cateye workaround till I can afford a big new top of the range gadget... got a lot of old stuff lying around that cost a fortune...that is now obsolete...
 
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Karl

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FWIW... Finally decided to buy the Garmin 530. Ordered it today. Cheaper. Good reviews. Does everything the 830 does w/o the touchscreen. But, since the touchscreen is difficult to use with gloves in winter, and touchscreens are just one more thing to go wrong, figured I'll get along without it. After setup, it probably won't be much of an issue.

Thought long and hard about staying with Wahoo, but 2 unit fails in 3 years had me really skittish on trusting their build quality. Screen failure, button covers falling off, and software glitches made me move back to the Garmin ecosystem.
 

OreoCookie

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@Karl
Has your Garmin arrived yet? How do you like it? And how does it compare in your opinion to the Wahoo head unit you had before?
 

Karl

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Got it. Set it up. It is 'good' not 'great.'

Setup - Got the Garmin 530 and set it up. Far less intuitive and ease of setup than Wahoo, but I knew that going in. Garmin needs to up their game and make setup doable via smartphone. But, that said, navigating through the button menus is a bit better than it used to be, IMO. So, Wahoo is hands down the winner on ease of setup.

Connectivity - Took me a LONG time to get my phone to talk to my 530. After that, it only synced with Strava routes properly one time. Even after following all the troubleshooting info and convo with customer service, still no way to get Strava routes to sync. And as usual, I discover that lots of people are having this issue. Also, after riding, the unit was not syncing via bluetooth and uploading rides automatically. CS told me I could sync by hooking it up via USB to my computer (duh!!). Bottom line, I can reliably get my rides and routes to/from my unit but only via direct USB. It works, but reminds me of why I left Garmin-world in the first place. Why I should have to rely on that work-around on a new unit is really frustrating. But, as long as I have a reliable way of transferring info, even if it's not optimal, I'm OK with it.

Hardware - I still like Garmin better. I'm a bit concerned about the buttons because I've noticed they don't easily come out after you press them, as if they are sticky. Maybe not a problem but time will tell. Otherwise, it just seems to be a more solidly built unit. No problem with the port and button coverings coming out or off, so that is better than Wahoo and the body of the unit is more solid as well, much better than the toy gun plastic of the Wahoo. I had two Wahoo units go FUBAR in three years, so despite initially really liking the Wahoo, long-term reliability sucked, but YMMV.

Navigation - Wahoo, when it was working, was easy to follow. I don't use turn by turn and just follow the arrows. The detail on the map set that came with the Wahoo was pretty good and showed trails clearly. The Garmin loaded map set (OSM?) doesn't seem to give as much detail about trails and doesn't even show some of them, so not sure how it will function if I'm up in the mountains. Too early to say clearly whether it is a problem or not, and if it is a problem, whether I can/should download a better map set. (I have the J version of the 530, so I was hoping the map set would not need improvement). So, I'll have to wait till I've used the Garmin a bit more to really know whether it is better than Wahoo for trail riding.

Display - I prefer Garmin's color screen to Wahoo's black and white. On the Wahoo, rivers were indistinguishable from streets. Not a big problem, but on some occasions, annoying. Roam has now included basic colors, so that problem has gone away, but the Roam looks overpriced for what it does. With the various colors on Garmin displays, I think it is easier to distinguish major roads from minor roads and rivers/streams from roads.

Zooming - The old 520 I had made zooming in or out a real PITA. The 530 makes it really easy, so that is a big improvement since I use this feature a lot. Wahoo had dedicated buttons for this, so it still beats Garmin, IMO, on that score, but the gap is much narrower now.

Turning pages - The Garmin allows you to cycle forward or back through your screen pages. That's nice. The Wahoo didn't do that.

Bottom line, for me, the Garmin is the winner, despite connectivity problems.. but only if it stands the test of time and is still functioning well a couple years from now. Both Garmin and Wahoo have software issues. Those can often be solved or worked around, but if the hardware goes TU, you're SOL.

My two cents, and YMMV.