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Whether you are an amateur biker or a pro, you have certainly heard about bicycle GPS devices!
Very handy for monitoring metrics and crucial for navigation, these units have truly changed the riding game for cyclists.
Garmin is a company that produces amazing GPS computers for bicycles, and their products are used all over the world for that reason!
Today, we will discuss two of their popular devices, so below, you will find an in-depth comparison of Garmin 820 and 520.
Keep on reading if you want to find out which GPS device will be more suitable for you!
Garmin Edge 520 vs 820
Garmin Edge 520
Garmin 520, also known as 520 Edge, is a compact device that is very easy to fit onto your bicycle handlebar.
This unit comes with attachments made of plastic, which can be used along with elastic bands to tie to the handlebar.
Although this setup is more than enough for normal riding, it might not be enough during accidents, so a sturdier setup might be considered.
The 520 does not come with a touchscreen, but it contains buttons that are very simple.
You can choose which data you want to be displayed on the screen from the wide range available.
These include speed, distance, calories burned, and elevation. What’s more, you can add a heart-rate strap to monitor your heart rate and a power meter for various power metrics.
Additionally, calculating VO2 max, recovery time, Di2 integration, and FTP testing are all available features on this device.
The good news is that this unit contains a great GPS and Glonass system, which provides very accurate data for your use.
Other than that, it is also compatible with smartphones via Bluetooth, so you can receive notifications and texts.
It also supports ATN + via which it can be connected to other accessories from Garmin.
You can also connect to Garmin Connect and Strava segments, as well as use LiveTrack!
As for navigation, this product comes with a base map, meaning that detailed navigation is not possible, which might be an issue for some.
This device can last for up to 15 hours on GPS training mode on a single charge.
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Garmin Edge 820
The Garmin 820 Edge is quite similar in size to the 520, making it just as easy to fit onto the handlebar. Its mounting system is also similar to that of the 520, so it is not the greatest during falls. This unit contains a touchscreen as well as buttons for easy use during rides and a display layout that is suitable for the touchscreen.
And the 820 contains Wahoo Bolt, which makes it more aerodynamic, and gives it a different look. A convenient feature of this unit happens to be the presence of LED lights, which can alert you according to your metrics. Speaking of metrics, this device can measure your distance, speed, elevation, calories burnt, and cadence.
It can estimate your VO2 max and recovery time as well and perform FTP testing. Add a power meter and heart-rate strap, and you’ve got power metrics and a heart-rate monitor as well. As a bonus, this unit can also estimate the lactate threshold, performance condition, and stress scores.
GPS and Glonass together make for a great GPS system. What’s more, the base map on this unit is detailed and can be very useful, even though the screen is too small for the best use possible. Additionally, route planning is possible with the 820, making it great for navigation.
Moreover, it can use both Bluetooth and wireless technology to connect to smartphones, which can be used with Garmin Connect, Strava, and LiveTrack. An additional feature is GroupTrack, which allows you to follow your friends live as a group while riding.
This device also contains a power-saving mode, allowing you to save more power, even beyond the 15 hours on GPS training mode. So riding on long routes should not be a problem. Even though it is on the relatively more expensive side of GPS devices, the features are worth the price.
Difference between Garmin Edge 520 and 820
Below are the key differences seen in the two products. Read on to know more!
Although the two devices are similar in size, there is a difference in their screen in that the 820 contains a touchscreen.
This feature makes it more desirable for some, while others prefer the fully manual 520 model, which must be operated via buttons only.
While both the 520 and 820 can last for up to 15 hours on GPS training mode, the 820 has an added advantage. It comes with a power-saving mode, which allows it to stay alive for longer. This mode requires the screen to be blacked out a lot, however, so if you prefer to constantly look at the screen, this mode won’t be for you.
Both the models come with a base map installed, but the 820 holds the capacity to plan your own routes.
It even gives warnings when you’re going off-course, so it’s pretty handy for navigation.
As stated above, both of these units are capable of measuring the normal metrics such as distance, speed calories burned, elevation, and cadence.
Additionally, they can both estimate the VO2 max level, recovery time, and contain Di2 integration and FTP testing.
The difference lies in the fact that the 820 can also estimate the lactate threshold, performance condition, and stress scores. It also has GroupTrack, Wahoo Bolt, and LED lights, which the 520 does not.
The 520 Edge is an older model, with some fewer features than the 820 Edge. This makes it less expensive than the 820, although the greater price of the latter is well worth it. It all depends on what features are more important to you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here we have the most commonly asked queries regarding the Garmin 520 and 820:
Is a charger included with these devices?
Yes, it is included.
Do we need to buy mounts separately?
No, they are provided with the device.
Is the 520 compatible with all Bluetooth sensors?
No, it is compatible with smartphones and Garmin accessories only.
Does the 820 also contain ATN + Connectivity?
Yes, it does.
What type of charger do these units use?
They use micro USB chargers.
Can I use the GroupTrack feature with everyone?
Yes, but only if they are also using Garmin Connect.
The Garmin 520 or Garmin 820 debate is not new, as both of these devices are great at what they do!
At the end of the day, you must consider what features are more important for you in terms of your requirements.
So be practical with your choice, and have a happy purchase!