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Garmin Edge 830

8
£349.99

VERDICT:

8
10
It's three years old, but there's life in the Garmin Edge 830 yet – it's still a very good option
Good user interface
Mature software so bugs ironed out
Huge range of data points
Thick bezels
Doesn't work perfectly with some out-front mounts
Weight: 
80g
Contact: 

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The Garmin Edge 830 has been around for three years but is still a great GPS cycling computer. Its well-developed software and decent performance mean that it's still worth considering if you need a new full-featured head unit now.

In recent years, Garmin has come under pressure from the likes of Wahoo, Hammerhead, Lezyne, Bryton and more, all releasing new bike computers with the goal of deposing the longtime king of the castle. It's a competitive space these days, no question.

You can check out our feature on the 10 best cycling GPS units available right now, which features the latest models from all of these brands.

The Edge 830 isn't listed there (yet) because we haven't had it in for testing until now, but it's certainly worthy.

“It's an Edge 1030 (Plus)... just smaller”

If you ever need one catch-all line to work out where the Edge 830 sits in the Garmin stable, this is it. It lives in between the flagship Edge 1030 Plus, which replaced the original Edge 1030 a couple of years ago, and the Edge 530. But to all intents and purposes, it really is a downsized 1030.

That's unsurprising given Garmin's recent track record of product development – normally, it produces a new, large flagship model and then filters the tech down to 'lesser', smaller units. The biggest differentiator between the 1030 and 830 is the screen size, plus a smaller 16GB internal memory. The 1030 Plus improved on the original 1030, but it actually took some tech from the 830 to do it (such as the screen), so you're still getting a premium unit here.

It has practically every feature of the 1030/1030 Plus, and compatibility with all the latest ANT+ and Bluetooth protocols for connecting up to all the peripherals you own. It can connect directly to WiFi for over-the-air updates and syncing (you still get a micro-USB data cable for this and charging, though), and it can also connect to your phone for syncing as well as for features like LiveTrack, GroupTrack and push notifications.

2022 Garmin Edge 830 - 4.jpg

I've linked the 830 to my Saris H3 smart trainer, Rally RK200 power meter pedals, cadence sensor, heart rate monitor, plus a compatible Shimano Di2 groupset, and each has paired seamlessly and offered its full range of features straight away.

> 12 reasons why you should buy, and use, a power meter

The 830 does have the ability to recognise the kit that it's paired to, and automatically creates screens to display some of the key metrics. This works best with Garmin's own ecosystem – so pairing my Garmin HRM-Dual and Rally RK200 power meter pedals yielded automatically-created data screens.

Of course, the screens are completely customisable, and you can blend practically any mix of Garmin's bewildering array of metrics. Any seasoned Garmin user will probably be familiar with them, but there's enough detail in the 246x322 pixel colour touchscreen to fit 10 fields on one page and retain good legibility.

2022 Garmin Edge 830 - 5.jpg

Graphic-heavy pages, such as the map and auto-generated Cycling Dynamics display, are all easy to read at a glance. The map display can be customised in terms of zoom level and detail as you might expect, while the Cycling Dynamics page offers interesting insight when you're using Garmin's Rally pedals.

If you want a complete list of those features and metrics, check out the link to Garmin's website up top.

Navigating

When you've loaded a compatible course into the unit (either via a syncing method or by dragging and dropping a file through a hard connection), routing is clear and easy to follow. You can challenge it by asking it to route you back home either via the most direct method or the most popular roads, and each time I asked it to do this it did so competently without directing me onto any random off-road paths.

When you select the direct route home it can sometimes pick roads that are a little big or busy, and one niggle is that Garmin still hasn't quite figured out the 'rider knows best' mentality. For example, if you turn off a route – maybe because the road was too big or busy – it stubbornly tries to get you to u-turn for far too long for my liking, rather than just trusting, after a few ignored u-turn notifications, that I might have chosen my unplanned detour for good reason, and rerouting along it.

> GPS cycle route planning made easy – how to plan and follow a bike route

The 830 also features ClimbPro, which automatically recognises climbs on a given route (you can select the difficulty of the climbs from three pre-sets during initial setup) and offers genuinely useful metrics on distance to go and upcoming gradients so you can better measure your effort.

It's distinct from Strava's Live Segment functionality, which works on any of your favourite segments wherever they are and offers a competitive element. I found little conflict between the two, and on the occasions where a Strava Live Segment would overlap a ClimbPro climb, I found the unit would normally prefer to show the Strava function, which I suppose is technically 'added on' by choice as opposed to being built in... though you can switch off ClimbPro completely if you want.

Physical usability & design

Given that the 830 is going on for three years old now, I've been impressed with the speed of the unit out of the box, the responsiveness of the touchscreen, and the general slickness of the interface.

I've owned an Edge 510 and tested an Edge 820, both of which employed touchscreens, and the 830 is the first time the experience has been truly fast enough to keep up with me. In fact, my own current head unit is an Edge 520 Plus (with a button interface), and until this point I've liked it specifically because it didn't have a slow and plodding touchscreen. That's definitely no longer a problem.

2022 Garmin Edge 830 - 2.jpg

Menus are clear and easy to navigate on the whole – occasionally I can struggle to find a particular setting sub-menu, but with use I've managed to learn where the important stuff is kept (or simply asked Google!).

The only real usability snag I've noticed is a result of the increased size of the unit on the bottom edge (combined with the positioning of the quarter-turn mechanism) versus my Edge 520 Plus. The Start/Stop and Lap buttons both still live at the base, but when mounted to my existing K-Edge out-front mount, those buttons aren't that easy to access with your thumb because they're a little close to the stem faceplate.

2022 Garmin Edge 830 - buttons.jpg

Sure, you could use Garmin's own out-front mount or a longer third-party mount... but the former remains chunky and unsightly – and I like my existing K-Edge mounts!

It's also a shame that there are such thick bezels around the display too. In this day and age of edge-to-edge displays that maximise screen size within a certain footprint, the Edge 830 does look a little dated compared with the competition and the wider tech world.

2022 Garmin Edge 830 - 3.jpg

The battery life is easily good enough for a whole day's riding – you get up to 20 hours if you're frugal with your inputs and don't mind putting the screen on sleep mode from time to time. You'll eat into this a little with all your sensors connected, but off the back of a 4.5-hour ride with those sensors plugged in I still came home with 78% battery left.

Should you buy one now?

This will be the burning question for many. Given the age of the 830, it's not unreasonable to hope for a new generation of hardware to launch in the near future. This logic applies to all of Garmin's Edge range with a '30' attached to it.

Brands will never disclose publicly if a new piece of hardware is on the way, but I did ask Garmin what its plans were when it comes to providing continued software updates for the Edge 830. It responded by telling me that it has continued to update the 830 with improved mapping, routing, functionality and more since its launch.

Although that guarantees nothing going forward, Garmin does have a track record of continuing to update units when when they're not the latest generation (for example, my Edge 520 recently had a full map update and updated compatibility for its Radar system), so I'm fairly confident this will continue for the 830.

The benefit of having a three-year-old unit is that it's already had its bugs ironed out by updates. When I first set up the 830, it immediately set about downloading and installing the latest software and mapping. There's a few to get through, but if you do this before using it then you get a completely up-to-date head unit with tried-and-tested software.

If you're the kind of person who needs to be at the cutting edge of the product cycle when you buy kit, then it might be worth waiting to see if Garmin launches a new range of head units this summer or soon after.

However, if you need a new head unit now and want it to be a Garmin, there's little danger of the 830 being hopelessly outdated for the foreseeable future and is my pick of the bunch if you don't have a need (or the budget) for the large-screened 1030 Plus. It runs smoothly and responsively, is a pleasure to use and seems to be bug free.

Value

Garmin sells the Edge 830 for £349.99. There's no doubt that that's a premium to pay when you compare it to the £264.99 Wahoo Elemnt Bolt that earned 8/10 from tech editor Mat.

The Lezyne Mega XL, reviewed by Dave in 2018,  undercuts this again at £180, although you start to sacrifice some usability.

An interesting competitor is the Hammerhead Karoo 2 at around a tenner more, which seems to be incredibly easy to use and well made. Anna had very little bad to say about it, giving it a 9/10 score. It also earned a coveted spot in road.cc Recommends.

Conclusion

It may be getting a little long in the tooth, but the Garmin Edge 830 has aged very well. If you need a fully-featured head unit right now, and you want it to be a Garmin, the 830 is arguably the pick of the bunch.

Verdict

It's three years old, but there's life in the Garmin Edge 830 yet – it's still a very good option

road.cc test report

Make and model: Garmin Edge 830

Size tested: n/a

Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Garmin says:

- Ride like you know every hill and curve. Plus, find the routes the locals hit most.

- Get lost in your ride knowing Edge will always get you back. No backseat rider needed.

- Perform your very best, then beat it. Compare recent efforts to previous rides.

- Finally, a coach who doesn't yell. Sync structured workouts right to your Edge.

- See your stats. All of them. Track more performance metrics than ever before.

- The longer the ride, the better. Get up to 20 hours of riding before you need to recharge

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Garmin lists these key features:

- Dynamic performance monitoring

- Training status

- Heat & altitude acclimation

- Shimano Steps compatible

- Di2 compatible

- Cycling Dynamics

- MTB Dynamics

- Grit and Flow

- Advanced workouts

- ClimbPro

- Extended battery life

- Ride-specific mapping

- Garmin cycle map

- Trailforks app

- Forksight mode

- Turn-by-turn directions

- Back to start feature

- Route calculation

- Trendline popularity routing

- Touchscreen

- Varia compatibility

- Incident detection

- Bike alarm

- Group messaging

- LiveTrack

- Smart notifications

- ConnectIQ

- Sync with Garmin Connect and more

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

The software, thanks to continuing updates, is well sorted out and seemingly bug-free.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

Well designed, the USB port cover seals nicely too.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
7/10
Rate the product for value:
 
5/10

Although significantly cheaper than the 1030 Plus, there are a few options out there that represent better value if you're brand agnostic.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Very well indeed.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Improved user interface, mature software (so bugs have been ironed out), and huge range of data points.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Ageing hardware, thick bezels, doesn't fit perfectly in some out-front mounts.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

Garmin sells the Edge 830 for £349.99. There's no doubt that that's a premium to pay when you compare it to the Wahoo Elemnt Bolt at £264.99. The Lezyne Mega XL undercuts this again at £180, although you start to sacrifice some usability.

An interesting competitor is the Hammerhead Karoo 2 at around a tenner more, which seems to be incredibly easy to use and well made. Anna had very little bad to say about it.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? If I needed a new head unit now, this is the one I'd buy.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, if they were in the same situation.

Use this box to explain your overall score

There's no doubt that the Garmin Edge 830 is still a very, very good head unit. It's ageing, yes, but it's packed with practically all the features anyone could ever need and more, and runs smoothly with very few drawbacks.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 32  Height: 188cm  Weight: 80kg

I usually ride: Canyon Ultimate CF SL (2016), Fairlight Strael 3.0 (2021)  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: Under 5 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, Dabble in Zwift training and racing

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9 comments

Avatar
IanMSpencer | 2 years ago
3 likes

Lots of things to dislike about the 830 out of the box:

- the upcoming turn indicator is sometimes just plain wrong - I think because it sometimes ignores intervening junctions, but it simply does not comprehend roundabouts.

- the heatmap red is barely different from the current route red so if you get confused by the misleading turn guidance you can't tell what is the route on the map - solution turn it off.

- ClimbPro tramples all over the turn guidance just when you need it. Turn it off.

- Elevation guide is simply a green bar across the map for my rides, totally baffling as to what it is meant to show so is just list real estate - turn it off.

- nobody seems to know how to pause the blessed thing if you go into a cafe, because pressing the record ride button gets you into "Are you sure you want to finish your ride?" Switching off seems to trigger, ride is finished (unlike the 800) leaving it on means it records movement in the cafe.

- navigating between screens can get baffling. It seems there are subtle differences in where to press, and it really doesn't like gloves - the 800 seemed more glove friendly.

- argh! The emergency alarm. Accidentally triggered it, shaking my bike demonstrating the wheel wobble of doom. Press button to cancel - ignore. Press and hold to cancel - ignore. Sending emergency message, do you want to continue, ignore! I'm sure it refused to accept a bare finger press more than 4 times. It then got alert happy and went into alarm mode simply stopping at the side of the road. Solution, switch off.

However, having used an 800 and an eTrex Legend before, having suppressed the blighter and bent it to my will, it has been reliable and the battery life of several hundred miles per charge, about 4 or 5 60+ mile rides, is brilliant. I ride with the map display and a couple of speed fields when leading, and with one big 10 field data screen when I am no - basically pace time and distance.

My main trouble with Garmin is that they haven't a clue about usability - they design from their own perspective of how they think it should be used - navigation was so much better on the eTrex Legend as it used up to 50 waymarks and would recalculate to get you to the next one if you went off course, or if you passed a subsequent waymark it would then stop trying to get you back to the previous point. With a processor and memory far weaker than the 830, it was far better, I would have hoped that they would have gone back to the eTrex system by now.

Avatar
APD | 2 years ago
2 likes

I've had an 830 for a year or two and while it's good when it works, I don't recall a single ride where I haven't had to perform a soft reset due to the thing freezing at some point.

The 520 I had before was similar (though not as bad) and I've never been able to get to the bottom of it, so it's put me off buying another Garmin to be honest, especially now there is more competition.

Avatar
IanMSpencer replied to APD | 2 years ago
0 likes

I ride with someone with a 530 which would occasionally throw a wobbly, and I am fairly certain he had not updated his firmware - lots of well-known problems. I haven't had a single glitch on my 830 in the 6 months or so since I got it, it is on latest maps and firmware both of which got updated in the last couple of months.

I am suspicious that there might be a manufacturing fault on some batches though because some people on the web seem to have persistent faults, suddenly losing GPS and stopping recording and I have to believe they've updated their devices.

I actually had 2 800s, one I had sitting around doing nothing as I inherited it. The first's battery expired, and I started using the second, it would cut off for no reason very occasionally and both were on the same firmware, though of course they had 3rd party memory cards rather than inbuilt memory, and I was suspicious, though I always recorded rides to internal memory. So I don't entirely trust Garmin's designs. If they work, they are fine, but too many suspicious reports of glitches to be entirely confident that it is just a corruption that a reset can cure.

Avatar
Dadams7378 | 2 years ago
2 likes

Garmin really need to up their game IMO.  They had a stranglehold on the GPS market for a long time, and have been slow to respond to competition.  This applies more generally, but I do remain surprised how far off the user experience of a modern smartphone bike computers are.  Great big bezels, crap touchscreens, low resolutions, bad interfaces, chunky dimensions.  Wahoo and Hammerhead are now significantly ahead of Garmin on most of those metrics IMO, but still some way off what you'd have thought would be possible.

Avatar
Miller replied to Dadams7378 | 2 years ago
2 likes

Dadams7378 wrote:

I do remain surprised how far off the user experience of a modern smartphone bike computers are.  Great big bezels, crap touchscreens, low resolutions, bad interfaces, chunky dimensions.  Wahoo and Hammerhead are now significantly ahead of Garmin on most of those metrics IMO, but still some way off what you'd have thought would be possible.

I completely agree. Bike devices are very far off the smartphone experience... except when it comes to price. £300 will buy you a pretty good smartphone with a huge colour screen and a smooth user interface. I get that bike computers need to be more rugged but they just don't have the polish of a modern phone.

Avatar
Secret_squirrel | 2 years ago
0 likes

Its a good choice and fight between this and the Karoo 2.  I've just bought a Karoo 2.  Both are £315 with Wiggle discount.

For me the bigger screen (aging eyes) & newer tech of the Karoo swung it.  Plus the option to stick a sim in it for Phone free travels.

The Garmin ecosystem (I have several bits of garmin kit) almost swung it back to the 830 together with the battery life.

I've seen it alledged that the Karoo 2 does turn by turn navigation better, several older posts panning Garmins and others saying its improved.    Poor navigation and screen was why I gave up my Lezyne Mega XL.

Not 100% sure I've made the right choice as its early days with the Karoo 2.

Avatar
Surreyrider replied to Secret_squirrel | 2 years ago
0 likes

The Karoo tempts me as it's most like a smartphone. But the price puts me off again. Tell me it's worth it!

Avatar
zeeridesbikes replied to Surreyrider | 2 years ago
1 like

I switched from an 830 to a karoo 2 and for me it was worth it. The main reason was navigation. I do a lot of audaxing so I need the nav to be reliable and the 830 just doesn't reroute properly if you go off course. The Karoo 2 does this brilliantly. I also think the Karoo's climber feature is better then climb pro on the garmin. They update the software contstantly so you always get new features. The option to have touch screen and buttons is also great as it's easy to switch data screens with gloves. 
 

only downside is the battery life. I'll get 10-11 hours with nav + speed and cadence sensor which for my needs its fine. On a 200k+ I'd think about taking a power bank. The 830 is an absolute battery beast. I finished a 200k with 74% battery left! I reckon you could get close to 24 hours out of it. 

 

Avatar
cdl | 2 years ago
0 likes

Can you change the font size? On my 520 there's an awful lot of wasted space that could be used by larger characters..

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