Review: Garmin Edge 530
Review: Garmin Edge 530
GPS computers used to come in two flavours: little ones with lots of numbers for training and racing, and bigger ones with proper mapping for navigation. Garmin’s Edge 530 blurs the line.
It’s fundamentally a training/ racing unit with the facility to capture and display a bewildering range of data. But it has full Garmin mapping built in. As well as turn-by-turn directions with a colour map, you can plan routes on the unit, and it will re-route you mid-ride if you go wrong. There’s also a version with Trailforks mapping data installed; see trailforks.com for an idea of what it entails. That one costs £319.99.
I tested the basic unit, which doesn’t come with Trailforks data, nor with sensors for heartrate, cadence, etc.
I’ve used a Garmin Edge 500 for years but found the 530 unintuitive. There are lots of menus to navigate using multiple buttons. Probably the Edge 530 is easier to use if you can install the Garmin Connect App on your phone. My iPhone 5 is too old to run this app.
Once you climb the Edge 530’s learning curve, however, you’re rewarded with endless vistas of data. It’ll log everything you expect, such as speed, time in HR zone, and lots of things you wouldn’t: time in air when mountain biking; heat and altitude acclimation… There’s even a bike alarm.
I found it easy to create a route in Komoot on my laptop, then transfer it to the Garmin and follow it, perhaps because I’ve done that before on an Edge 500. The Edge 530’s navigation is much, much better – although scrolling around the map using buttons is tiresome. My main issue with the Edge 530, excellent though it is, is that it feels like data overload. The Edge 530 should probably be your second or third GPS computer, not your first.
At £259.99, the Edge 530 is an excellent navigation-ready GPS computer that’s packed with features. But you need to be an enthusiastic data cruncher, fairly technically savvy, and have a modern phone to get the most out of it.
Wahoo Elemnt Roam £299.99
Easier to use than the Edge 530, by all accounts, and the app works with iOS10. Not as fully featured in terms of navigation options. wahoofitness.com
Lezyne Mega XL GPS £180
Great battery life and offers offline maps, but your linked smartphone is required for real-time features such as mid-ride rerouting and alerts. lezyne.com