on March 30, 2013
First of all, I've been using Amazon for several years and bought countless number of products and I've been always happy. This is the first time I'm writing a review, because I'd like to warn other users before making a mistake I did.
I've been using Garmin Edge 500 for almost 2 years and I simply love it. It's small, accurate and never failed me. One of the reasons I wanted to upgrade was to have a bigger screen (I was excited about 10 fields per screen 510 offers). Another and the most important reason was support for GLONASS system (500 on a few occasions wasn't too accurate in canyons or forests) and I was hoping to have a better GPS signal. The fact that 810 doesn't come with GLONASS was the reason I chose 510 (otherwise I'd go with 810). This still puzzles me as to why Garmin decided not to include GLONASS in 810.
As soon as the package arrived, I eagerly unpacked it and realized that the device was larger than I thought. I connected it to my computer to transfer my old profile and the first thing I noticed was that it had less free space on the device. 500 has about 50MB while 510 has only 22MB and some of that is taken by the system files leaving around 17MB. Garmin, really?! How much would it cost to add more flash memory? 50 cents? Just to give you some idea - a typical longer ride with 1 second recording takes about 500Kb-1MB. It's convenient to keep a few rides on the device before uploading to the computer. When I researched this issue I found out that some users were unable to update software, because the updated would take 9MB space and it wasn't enough... Note taken, but it was still manageable.
I had set up the device, created two bike profiles and went for a test ride, which happened to be my commute next morning. And this is when the sky fell. The screen is totally unusable in the sunlight. I was like, I must have screwed up something, this cannot be. I turned on the backlight permanently at maximum setting and yet it wasn't light enough to get the same contrast as my old 500. Then I realized two issues. First of all, the new screen has less sharper font, because it has a color screen and practically the resolution is lower than 500 and secondly it uses a different technology which is more susceptible to daylight. I live in California where we have 300+ sunny days in a year and 510 simply sucks. That was a big disappointment. I tried various settings, changing angle, etc. Still not as good as my old 500. Same data field, in a 8-field screen setup, is less readable than on 500. If you actually look as to why, you will see that Garmin decided to use larger font for labels, which wasted a lot of space and left actual numbers smaller and less readable. This whole color screen is a BS. It doesn't allow any customization and simple degrades readability. For instance, I'd love to set up different colors for different power/heart zones. It'd be cool to see I'm exceeding my power threshold just by looking at different text/background color. Apparently, Garmin engineers thought it was a better idea to use color primarily for the grid lines...
Like it was not enough, after my ride back home, I carefully compared elevation profiles between 510 and 500. 510 showed twice as much elevation gain on the same route and when I zoomed in, some segments had a bumpy line where I'd normally expect a flat line (50% of my commute is at sea level). Sorry Garmin, another epic failure. It's hard to understand why it would be worse than the old generation. Again, I found some users complaining about the very same reason and it didn't surprise me.
I'm sending my Garmin back to Amazon thanks to the great return policy and I advice anyone who is considering buying 510 to think twice. Don't make the same mistake as I did.
Garmin, please wake up.
on April 18, 2013
As an owner of the 500, I upgraded because I live in San Francisco and do urban rides in which its hard to maintain GPS coverage, the GLONASS was a strong selling point to me.
-GLONASS works as advertised, pick up GPS FAST, even in the middle of downtown SF.
-UI is sleek, innovative and easy to use
-Measures everything I want it to
-SO much potential here for this unit IF and WHEN they release the firmware to make it work
-There is currently a known issue in which all ANT+ sensors randomly drop out and both show and record bad data making this useless.
-Elevation data is incorrect, I am hoping this is a firmware fix, but worried its actually hardware. THis unit shows 2-3X the elevation gain/loss that my 500 or iPhone apps do on the same rides. This is also a known and common issues according to the forum boards and Strava CS.
-Battery life is not great, not anywhere near what the 500 was, maybe 50% of it
-Screen is not as easy to read as the 500, often leaving you wanting the backlight, but this unit will only last about 6 hours with backlight running
-Notification system is ridiculous, every time there is a notification the whole screen dims and you must physically touch the unit to dismiss it. IF you are in the middle of a workout this can really cripple your ability to execute and enjoy your workout.
-Garmin continues to see Strava/Training Peaks and other 3rd party sites as their competition rather than the reasons we buy their unit in the first place. As such they block these other apps from either being able to connect to the unit to gather data, or utilize the bluetooth connectivity to automatically post your ride to their sites. Garmin only lets you upload via the bluetooth directly to garmin connect which is years behind Strava in terms of development and features.
-Weather updates do not work as advertised, but they are incredibly annoying. For example, I was out riding and every single minute it would push me a "flood warning" that would block my access to the data and screens until I dismissed it.
-Following courses is slow and buggy, much like the 500 that never had its feature fixed.
All in all, this unit has a lot of potential if and when it gets the updates it needs to work properly. Unfortunately, Garmin is unresponsive to its users and slow to release firmware updates for known bugs despite the thousands of angry posts on their forum boards. They may regret this someday when a viable competitor releases a product that can rival theirs. Instead of innovating, working with partners such a Strava, testing their products prior to release, and acting on known issues, they have began to act like a monopolistic company would.
If you train with a power meter, or rely on your other sensors such as speed/heart rate, your best bet is to watch their forum boards and hold off buying until Garmin posts a fix to all the issues this unit is currently having. A fix was recently posted for the 810 that helped some, but not all of the similar issues the 810 was having, but the 510 has been left out in the dark. If history is any indication they will get this right, but they will be slow and not address all the issues. Past users of the 500 can attest to this, along with early adopters of most any of their units.
I'll happily adjust my rating once Garmin gets these issues fixed. THis has the potential to be a 5 star unit, but the fact they released it in its current state says a lot about Garmin as a whole.
on June 30, 2013
First off, I felt the need to leave a review on the Garmin 510 (with HR, Cadence, & extra out front mount) for several reasons. Many of the reviews here on Amazon can often be misleading- I will explain. I was debating between getting the 500 bundle or even 800 at a lower price since the release of the 510 & 810, but here is why I didn't. The Edge 510 bundle comes with the HR band, cadence sensor, the out front mount (which Garmin and others charge $40+ for), standard stem or bar mount, plus the bluetooth connectivity which includes "Live Tracking" with the Garmin Connect App on your smartphone. The advantages on the 510 over the 500 are simple: Color Touch Screen (500 is physical buttons, black and white screen), the actual screen on the 510 is larger (which is a happy medium size wise between the 500 and 800), easy selection of different bikes if you move the unit from one to another, and easy to use customization of the screens that can be more cumbersome on the 500.
This entire review can be summed up by watching this really cool video on YouTube video, but the review explains each feature in detail: [...]
Many reviewers mention that an upgrade to the 510 is not worth the investment- if you already have a 500, this may be a solid argument. If you have a 200, Garmin Watch, or no GPS at all, maybe an old school speed sensor and cadence computer- the Garmin 510 kit is worth every penny.
REASONS TO BUY THE EDGE 510 BUNDLE:
1) The screen is great, all other's who complain its hard to read are full of it- the screen does not have the sharp contrast of the 500, but it is full color, and its plenty bright (adjustable) and easy to read. Secondly, the color screen is a whole lot nicer to look at- kind of like the difference between an old DOS and a new Windows screen.
2) While it takes a little time to figure out how to program the various screens with Data to your needs, its easy once you figure it out. Also, you have to push the physical "ride" or "play" button on the front of the unit even after tapping "RIDE" onscreen, which is no big deal, you just have to do it, or your unit will not begin your ride or the timer. I think many of the complaints on the 510 come from users who either didn't read the manual, or lack some basic technology skills when it comes to phones, computers, tablets, or anything else. While the user interface on the 510 is still somewhat crude (in the early stages) compared to an iPhone, but it still is incredibly sophisticated, and is perfect for a very usable GPS computer on a road or mountain bike.
3) Bluetooth Connectivity, and Garmin "LiveTrack": This feature is touted by many buyers of this unit as not worthwhile, or a waste of technology for cyclists. BOGUS, the Bluetooth feature on the 510 and 810 are AWESOME. Here is why: my wife or friends can watch my rides live on their computers, tablets, or phones while I'm actually in route- in REAL TIME. We all know how tough it can be to ride a century in the summer heat, and potentially dangerous with cars, trucks, and just bad roads. What a perfect way to let your loved ones know where you are at any given moment? OK some of you are going to say there are already APPS for Android and iPhones that have this feature, and you don't need to waste $400 to buy a Garmin to get it. HERE IS WHERE YOUR WRONG: Anyone who has used these APPS knows that having your GPS turned on full time on your phone (which all APPS that track require) kills your phone battery, often times before your ride ever nears completion. The Garmin unit lets you turn off your phone GPS, all you need turned on is the Bluetooth so your Garmin can stay connected. While this may seem like a solution in search of a problem, it actually works very well. I took a 8 hour ride today, turned off my phone GPS, and at the end of the ride, the Garmin was still at 50% charge, and my phone was at 50% charge (iPhone 5). I could have potentially rode another 5-8 hours with both units turned on, Bluetooth on, and the Garmin Connect App running in the background all the while "Live Tracking" my entire ride.
4) FINALLY: One last feature (may seem trivial, but I think its pretty darn cool) that makes this unit a game changer is the automatic updates at the completion of your ride to Garmin Connect online. As soon as you hit the end ride button (and SAVE on screen) the Garmin unit uploads all the details of your entire ride to the Garmin Connect website for you and everyone to see (if you set it up that way) !!! OK, many of you are going to say that "Garmin Connect" sucks compared to STRAVA, so why would I want to automatically upload my ride to Garmin Connect? You would be right, except for a really cool third party plug in online called: "GARMIN SYNC" here's the website: [...]
I have listed the website here because it took me some time to find it. This website does one simple thing: It uploads your entire ride data from Garmin Connect directly into STRAVA!!! (AUTOMATICALLY.) You don't have to do a thing, once you set it up, every time your Garmin unit uploads your ride to Garmin Connect, this little plug in "pushes" your ride information to STRAVA, and I don't mean some half baked version, I MEAN THE ENTIRE RIDE- Including: Miles ridden, Time traveled, average heart rate, max heart rate, average speed, max speed, cadence, calories, energy output, power, suffer score (Strava Premium only) !! As far as I can tell, there is no difference between the "Auto" upload of a ride, or the old school plug the Garmin into your computer and upload to STRAVA method. Now some might make the argument they have to plug their Garmin in to charge it anyway, so why not plug into a computer to charge and upload your ride at the same time, why do I need the auto uploads? Here are a couple scenarios I can think of why this is useful: If your traveling, and don't want to bring a laptop to upload your rides, you don't need to. Also, at what point is plugging a device into your computer to upload anything going to become a thing of the past completely: sooner than later. iPhone IOS already does all of its updates from iPhones without ever having to plug them in anymore, not set up, backups, downloads, etc. Why shouldn't other devices be so simple?
5) Last but not least: While my review may seem long winded, there are so many great features of the 510 and 810, I felt it was necessary to review what they are, and what makes them better than the 500 or 800. If you use a smartphone, and can find your way around, these Garmin units are fantastic. I'm not a Garmin employee, or one of Garmin Sync, I'm just an average Joe who is massive cycling junkie, and I think the ride information provided by these Garmin models gives the average "Joe" information that used to only be available to pro cyclists, and that makes them fun in their own right. Why would anyone buy old technology when the new stuff is so much cooler? (assuming it works- and these work really well...)
6) I have purchased several different bar mounts for my iPhone to be able to use the cycle "APPS" that allow your phone to be used as a bike computer. They all are a pain, even an iPhone 5 which is smaller than most of the new Android phones on the market is still too big to mount on your handlebar, plus it just looks stupid. You have to turn the screen brightness up so high that if the GPS being on doesn't kill your battery, the screen brightness will. The beauty of the Garmin plus your phone is they just work together, very well I might add. You get the cool Garmin mounted out front, with its long life battery, and the phone stays in your jersey pocket, all the while tracking your ride in REAL time- its the best of both worlds. You get to save your phone's battery so you can use it a real emergency, which is why you carry it while riding your bike anyway.
CONS: The only con I can think of is that the learning curve is a little longer than the standard 500, or certainly the 200. If you want a super basic GPS without any of the "special" features I mention above, the Edge 200 or 500 will be fine. But based on my research, the 500 is usually only $50-$75 cheaper than the 510, and you don't get the "out front" mount I mention above- so the price is pretty close in the end.
on February 25, 2013
Just got this today and have only played with it on my stationary trainer:
1. Touch color screen is very cool once you figure it out. I think navigation around the unit is easier than the Edge 500
2. Screen can display up to 10 different real-time data points simultaneously
3. Slightly bigger and noticeably heavier than the Edge 500; uses same bike mount as the 500
Reviews in several cycling magazines complained that the Edge 510 isn't worth the upgrade from the 500. I disagree. Based on just one day of fiddling around with the 510 (I have a 500, too) I like the touch screen, color and larger (and more data point) display.
I think it's a worthy upgrade, so far.
UPDATE: After using this a couple of days I like it even more. Much easier to change between bicycles than the 500, Virtual Partner and Virtual Racer are much improved. The 500 and the 510 have a lot of duplicate features but it's much easier to access them on the 510. Virtual Racer, especially, is cool--lets you use a stationary trainer like a pre-programmed exercise bike. Haven't tried the "workouts" programs yet but will do so this week.
UPDATE: Found one HUGE annoyance: on start up, the Edge 510 gives SEPARATE "notification screens" for five (5) different functions (including that you've begun pedaling!) These screens cannot be turned off and you have to physically touch the unit to make them go away. This is HUGELY annoying and inconvenient. For this reason, alone, I'm finding that I prefer my Edge 500 over the newer model. I like the 510 touch screen but the touch technology is not state-of-the-art and there's just enough lag between touch and the desired effect to be annoying, too. Not quite as positive on the 510 as I was at the beginning.
UPDATE: I've down-graded my initial assessment of this product. After owning/using it for over a month (virtually every day on a stationary trainer) I don't think it is a big improvement over the Edge 500. The touch screen is a good idea but, as implemented here, it has too much of a lag between touch and response and the screen quickly becomes difficult to read just from screen grime. The multiple notification screens at start up are annoying and there's no way to turn them off. IMO for the vast majority of cyclists the Edge 500 will do everything this new model does and, at the bargain prices now available (on the 500), it is a FAR better value. The only improvements I've personally found so far are (1) virtual racer and (2) much easier to switch bikes. I won't use iPhone tracking but I can see how some might like it.
UPDATE: Garmin is now offering a $100 mail-in rebate on the Edge 800.
on May 12, 2013
I have been using an Edge 305 for a few years. When the 510 came out, I decided I would spring for the upgrade. I've been using the Edge 510 now for several months and have explored most, if not all, of the featureset.
There are some good things about this device, so let me start there.
- The battery life is much better than my 305. The ~15 hours seems about right; I no longer have to worry that I'll run out of battery on a double century or hundred-mile mtb ride.
- Similarly, the storage limitations of the 305 are gone too. When recording routes with "every second" resolution, there was only room for 3.5 hours of recording in the 305, which meant having to use the lower granularity recording for a longer ride or for cases where I wasn't gonna plug it in after every ride.
- Speaking of plugging in, I love the bluetooth sync; it's not perfect (it sometimes uploads rides, but they don't appear in the app), but it works well 80-90% of the time. Of course, I really want the data in Strava, which means some extra clicks or use of services like garminsync (or, in my case, I just wrote a simple script to do it for me).
- On the whole I find the ride recording interface more intuitive. It was very unintuitive how with the 305 you had to "reset" the computer when you started your next ride (if you hadn't plugged in to upload the previous one). Also it was easy to ride away and forget to hit "start". The 510 prompts you to "save" (or "discard") your ride when you click the pause button. Similarly it presents a message when it detects you are moving and have not started the ride. On the whole this is better.
- I like how many data screens are available and how easy it is to customize them per activity profile. Lots more display room than the 305 too, so I don't feel like I have to leave fields off if I want to be able to read the display.
- And finally, the LiveTrack feature works pretty well. I used this for an all-day road ride recently. It does use additional battery; my phone (HTC One X) died after it had been tracking for 10 hours. My phone would have died after 2 hours of GPS usage, so it's obviously much less draw, but it's still something to consider. (My normal battery life is a full day or 12-14 hours of rather minimal use, so it's not exactly stellar to start with.)
Now, I do have some issues with this device. Some more significant than others.
- Navigation turn notifications (when riding courses) effectively do not work. If you create a route in Garmin Connect, you will not get any turn notifications. If you try to export a TCX file from RideWithGPS, you will discover that the Edge 510 doesn't support TCX (!!) You can try converting that to FIT (there are some online tools), but reports are that you won't get the turn notifications (I never got this to successfully work, so can't really comment). If you subscribe to a premium account on RideWithGPS and write a TCX file directly to the device this -- oddly -- works. Or I should say it "half works". For a recent 100+ mile ride, it loaded the turn notifications for the first half of the ride only. That, you can imagine, was pretty infuriating 50 miles into the ride. I wrote to Garmin technical support to report this glaring issue, and they responded by telling me that the 510 did not support maps and that I should buy an 810 if I want maps. I wrote back to tell them that I'm not an idiot. I don't want a map; I want turn notifications. This feature worked great on the Edge 305.
- The weather feature is absolute garbage. The station granularity is very coarse and doesn't appear to update. I commute 16 miles which takes me from being relatively close to one airport to being relatively close to another, but the device will hang onto whichever one is closest when I start and not change. The weather alerts are absolutely ridiculous. I get a message on my screen (which I have to click to acknowledge!!) which says "Weather Alert - English Watch". What the hell does that mean? So I click in to see the alert and it says. "Watch - 7" or some other number code. Hilarious. The last time I cross-referenced with a weather app on my phone to realize that the warning was "wildfire conditions". I'm glad Garmin was trying to cryptically warned me about that. And there's no way to disable just the weather alert feature. Stupid. (Update: as noted in the comments, you can at least disable weather completely which will also disable weather alerts.)
- And finally, it is a little annoying that you have to click to acknowledge all of the devices that it finds when it starts up, but this isn't that big of a deal. It means clicking the screen 4 or 5 times before you can start riding.
On the whole, I don't regret upgrading from the 305. I still have the 305 and I'm not tempted to use it. On the other hand, the navigation issue is very disappointing and Garmin support left an impression of complete incompetence when it came to addressing this problem. I am hopeful that future firmware and app updates fix many of these issues, but it might be worth waiting for that before upgrading.
on February 21, 2015
UPDATE: With Garmin's latest firmware update, syncing rides over Bluetooth is now effectively broken. When a sync actually works (one out of five attempts), it takes five minutes to upload a typical two-hour ride file. Additionally, saving a ride now takes a good 60 seconds. Not a _huge_ deal at the end of a ride, but you'd think Garmin would design common tasks to be faster, not slower, with a firmware update.
Similar to another reviewer, I've been buying stuff on Amazon for a decade, and this is the first review I'm leaving.
I'm a competitive cyclist, and have logged many miles on both the Edge 500 and the 510. I've had the Edge 510 for about a year now. I can't say there is anything the 510 does that isn't a step down from the 500. Virtually every common task has become more annoying to perform. It's as if Garmin didn't consider how people use their cycle computers, instead looking at their car, golf and watch units to determine what features they should add to the 510.
Here's a list of the most infuriating things about the 510. If any one of these could potentially bug you, do not make the mistake I did, and buy a 500 instead.
- A display that is essentially unreadable unless the viewing angle is perfect. On days that are cloudy, or under low-ish light (by low-ish, I mean sitting in your living room with natural light streaming in), it's impossible to read. I suspect Garmin chose this display under the sterile fluorescent lights of an engineering bay, and didn't test it at all while actually riding outside.
- As slow as, or slower than, the Edge 510 at picking up GPS. Even with Glonass enabled, I'm riding for half a mile before it picks up my location.
- A battery that gets you 3 rides, tops, before needing a charge. Not a HUGE deal, but you have to remember to do it, where the Edge 500 could survive as an afterthought
- Incredibly slow/cumbersome interface. Why Garmin thought implementing swipes and taps on this boggles my mind. It's got a hamster-spec CPU. The fewer instructions you send it, the better. Handling swipe gesture logic with any semblance of precision needs a much, much beefier CPU. Since you can't do that in this (why would you even want to?), eliminate the redundant gesture crap. There was no usability advantage in adding it, so why did they?
- Exclusive focus on features people didn't ask for. Courses? Virtual trainer? Segments? It's clear there was a huge emphasis put on the development of these features, but I haven't met a person who a) knew they existed b) knew how to use them c) would want to use them even if they knew how. Again, further evidence that Garmin likely did not do consumer testing/feedback properly.
- A higher density screen that sucks power, is harder to read, and is ugly, but lets you add a couple additional fields on one screen. No clue how adding this screen could be justified.
- Overall usability. Insane reliance on color-coding things, which never works. Especially fun is the static "RIDE" text that can't be changed, regardless of what bike/activity profile you choose. If it's literally going to say RIDE no matter what, why not make it smaller, or heck, eliminate it. Of course I'm on a ride, it's a bike computer!
In short, I hope Garmin has learned some valuable lessons in product development based on the reviews here and elsewhere. And that when the Edge 600(?) comes out, it will have a blend of features that cyclists love (and will actually use).
So what should you buy? The Edge 500 is an almost-perfect device. With Bluetooth sync support, it would be a 10/10. Even without Bluetooth sync, you can at least read the display on the 500, so it's got that going for it. It may feel old school these days, but you won't feel like chucking it against a wall when it freezes (because it won't).
on November 17, 2013
Let's start with the mounting bracket. Ok, this is the way mounting brackets should work. The mounting disk secures via special rubber bands to the stem or the handle bar. No more buying special mounts depending on the orientation. No more worrying about cutting the mount and then trying to transfer it to you other bike that (because of a slightly larger stem diameter) requires 3mm more of the strap you lopped off already - now requiring you to buy a new mount - per those bastards from CatEye.. just kidding.
They also give you two of these mounts in the standard package. They obviously have read Rule # 12 - "The Correct Number of Bikes to Own is N+1". Finally there is an alternative 'Out in Front' mount, that positions the unit further forward of the stem.
Getting the unit on and off the bike is also as easy as a simple quarter twist. This keeps the unit secure, but also makes it easy to remove with another quarter twist. Compare this method with the one many competing bike computers that require you to.. "Push down and hold while you press backwards, but firmly down on the unit and using a counter-clockwise twist (clockwise if you are south of the equator) gently press the unit toward the front of the bike and watch it launch off the handlebar and skip across the garage floor." Ok, maybe I'm paraphrasing their manual - or mis-translating the Japanese version. But you get the idea.
Reason #2 - The 510 Edge is Ludicrously Configurable:
I will say that I did my first ride without initially configuring the unit to my anal retentive standards. This was a mistake. Mostly because it's not a good idea to try doing this while riding for obvious reasons. Like you may drift to the curb and launch yourself off the front of the bike. Did I mention the unit mounts and retains brilliantly? Test completed.
When I got home, I instantly went to work. I pulled up the Garmin manual online. There are 85 different pieces of data this puppy can present you with. Each of those can be configured to one of 5 different display pages (6 if you count the Workout page). Each page can contain from 1-8 data fields. While riding you can scroll through these data pages - meaning that you can technically view up to 48 different data fields while riding. That's just silly.... or *is* it? Consider the approach where you create a 'theme' for each page. For example, my themes (pages) are as follows:
* Just Riding Along Page (default)
* Lap (power / distance / time based) Training Page
* Skills / Drills Page (cadence, power balance, etc..)
* Environment Page (current temp, time of day, elevation, etc..)
* Summary Page
I'm sure I'll tweak these over time, but you get the idea.
Now - in addition to this, you can also configure these pages differently across up to 5 activities (Race, Train, Commute, Practice Sagan Style Wheelies, etc...)
You can also have multiple bike profiles (ANT+ sensors, weight, wheel size, odometers and crank length) for up to 10 bikes.... that barely does it for me - but I'll let it go.
Finally - all of this of course uploads to Garmin Connect (free) or your favorite tracking software. I've played around with various options out there, but found Garmin Connect to handle most of my needs (with Golden Cheetah in my back-pocket when I want to get ultra geeky.... which is far too often). I've also found that the integration for Garmin devices works most seamlessly to Garmin Connect - go figure. Good segue to the next topic.
Do people say 'smart phone' anymore? It's kind of dorky. It's really just your phone. Not even your 'mobile' phone - since who has land lines these days? Certainly not anyone that is going to buy a geeked out cycling computer. So we'll just say 'phone'.
The Garmin 510 Edge pairs via Bluetooth (via the downloadable Garmin Connect app) to your phone that you can toss in your jersey pocket. Now - for those of us that refuse to sag out, this presents a bit of a problem as we now have to start actually carrying our phones. Luckily, I have personally found other uses for my phone than calling my wife to tell her that I'm not man enough to carry on. For example; I take pictures on my ride and also use it when I need to re-route because I've encountered one of the road construction black holes that seem to pop up here and there around the Denver metro area.
Of course, integrating with your phone creates all sorts of cool possibilities, such as (in ascending degrees of whiz-bang coolness):
1. When you stop your ride, you hit save on your 510 screen. The device uploads your ride through the phone to Garmin Connect. No connecting it to a computer, no ANT+ stick (which classifies in my book as a 'dumb as a bag of hammers' invention). Instead, the 510 just uploads all the data right through your phone. And it's fast. My 2 hour test ride was uploaded before I got back into the house and opened my post ride beer. Just keep the unit turned on until it's done.
2. You can get on-line weather alerts to your head unit. Now, granted, the 'High Wind Advisory" warning that popped up on my 510 screen wasn't all that useful because when I received it, I was rolling along pulling 240 watts on a downhill section at 15 mph - "Oh, thanks.... I hadn't noticed there was a lot of wind" - but I can see where it's useful for things like lightening, approaching tornadoes, or an impending 40 degree temperature drop. Now if it can also tell me when the Bronco's game is about to get out and clog up the Platte bike path, or when there's an impending Phish concert that will toss a few thousands ganja-heads onto the roads of Red Rocks - that might come in handy. Mostly I just though it was cool.
3. Live Tracker. Ok - this one has to be by far, the coolest feature. Both from a tech-geek perspective as well as required technology for any proper social media narcissist. Here's how it works. Before you start a ride, you engage 'Live Track' on your phone. When you start your ride on the 510, Live Track will send out eMails to your pre-specified list of people who you think might give a crap with a link that let's the follow your ride in real time. This has a number of possible uses. The most useful (and non-narcissistic) was offered to me by my team-mate Tony, who said that it let his wife know where he on his ride, his current progress and when he'd be home. See, It's a safety feature. For example, when your wife sees that you've been stopped at a particular location for the last hour, then you might be down and hurt in a ditch and require immediate assistance.
Alternatively, if you're stopped for several hours, you might just be a at a strip club and desire no assistance what so ever from your significant other. Of course if you're into that sort of thing, then I'd suggest not getting into the habit of using this feature. And you might want to think about bringing a change of clothes. I haven't been into a 'gentlemen's club' in probably 30 years - but if I recall, spandex bike shorts are probably not acceptable attire.. unless you're planning on mounting the pole.
And I've never been to a 'ladies(???)' club - so I wouldn't even know where to start with an appropriate joke.
Anyway, I should add that my own initial though when reading about Live Tracker was that I could use it to taunt my buddies that didn't show up for the ride. Although I haven't quite figured out a way to create an eMail template for Live Tracker that says something like;
"Hey lard-butt - I'm out riding. Come catch me. Or next time experience my awesomeness that I'll gain from this training ride"
....or something like that. Maybe peppered with more demeaning profane references to female body parts - you women just don't understand. This is how us guys speak to each other. It's actually our way of expressing affection.
Live Tracker could also be used to allow your friends and family to track your epically awesome, 10 hour IronMan bike segment from the comfort of the RV with a side of blender margarita's - instead of staring into the distance, waiting to see your kit. Hmmm... I'm pretty sure I can figure out how to stream it on my AppleTV.
All jokes aside (I'm hoping you got the '10 hour Ironman bike segment' bit) - Live Tracker could really be useful to friends and family tracking athletes on long course events.
1. It's an expensive toy. Do you need it? No. But most triathletes might ask, "How do I buy 2 of these?" - the answer? Be married to another triathlete.
2. It's not disposable (see down side #1). Meaning - if you want to put this on your mountain bike, you gotta be thinking about what happens to it when you toss out the front door. For me, I'll stick to my cheap CatEye (or nothing) on my mountain bike rides. And if you're riding with a PowerTap on the mountain bike - they you are far geekier than me my friend.
3. The screen is a bit hard to read for us old guys. Contrast is hard to see in bright daylight with sunglasses on. The back light can be configured to stay on longer and you can turn it on just by touching the screen (and then again to lose the pop-up menu - you'll see). But this is minor and honestly, it's my fault for configuring 7 fields on each of my pages. I guess you could always use your iPad as a bike computer.
4. It could be intimidating to a lower tech person. If you're this person - just get your more tech -savvy significant other or friend to configure it for you and give you some lessons. Or, pick it up from your LBS (Local Bike Shop). The folks there would be more than happy to set you up and show you how to configure and use it.
Once you get it strapped to your handlebar - you'll be glad you did.
on June 4, 2013
After switching from 500 to 510 (note that I said *switching*, not *upgrading*) and using the 510 for a couple of months I decided it was time to express how I feel about it in the hopes that maybe someone at Garmin is listening. And if it helps somebody make a decision, that's good too :)
My reason for switching was pretty much forced. I really liked my 500, but I got to the point where I wanted GLONASS, too. Some of the rides around San Francisco Bay Area (such as Tunitas Creek) left me road hopping, tree jumping and what not -- anything but staying with the road I was on. So I switched to the 510, for the GLONASS and I was not disappointed in its ability to track me. Everything else -- not so much.
I can't comment on any of the phone integration features -- I haven't tried any of them. To me they're just a gimmick that won't work half the time because there's no signal anyway. While the display is noticeably less sharp than the 500 (same pixel density, but the color screen requires a higher one for the same sharpness due to its structure) I have no problem reading it in direct sunlight (I have more trouble in the shade), but I use a SRAM mount that puts the screen further out and at a favorable angle compared to the included stem mount. That is, as long as the screen is clean -- which means until I use the touchscreen during the ride and drip some sweat onto it. Yes, touch screen is one other feature that I could very easily do without, although I appreciate how easy it is to switch between different bikes compared to the 500. And don't get me started on how big, heavy and ugly this one is compared to the 500.
In short, if Garmin took the 500, added GLONASS and fixed some of the UI (the 510 UI is so much better than 500 and it doesn't *have* to be touch-based -- can be done with cursor navigation too), called it 505 and released I'd be all over it. The way these two are now -- IMHO as long as you don't need GLONASS you'd better steer clear of the 510. If you do need it -- 510 may cause you less frustration in the long run, although it'll likely keep you well irritated most of the time, especially if you're coming from a 500.
UPDATE on 10/02/2013. Since my initial review I have run into the following issue on several occasions. Sometimes (and for some reason so far it has always happened on the same route) the computer would only record portions of the ride. When looking at the map it would seem I've hopped in a straight line from point A to B, rode some to reach C, hopped again and so on. This kind of stuff has never happened to me with the 500.
on March 3, 2013
I'm coming from using a Sigma Rox 9 computer. I wanted a computer that would:
1) Switch between bikes (mountain vs road).
2) Track my position.
3) Do it accurately under tree canopy.
4) Have a long battery life.
5) Display lots of data fields, and the ones I want.
This computer accomplishes all of that. Accuracy of the GPS is dead on. Distance is dead on with automatic wheel size calibration. It's easy to modify what fields you would like to see on the fly. Switching between bikes is a flash.
The pretty good:
It takes a few touches to the screen to change data pages. I'm used to scrolling through the with a button which is much easier. The outfront mount is great, but it hooks to the left. It would be great if someone make one that would hook to the right. A lot of bike light mounts also offset to the left and it would be better in some situation to offset the other device int he opposite direction in the case of limited bar space.
The screen is readable in daylight if the backlight is on. This tends to wear down the battery quicker than it should.
The Livetrack is a great safety feature. It is basically like having a SPOT beacon that is live. The phone connection is brilliant, it automatically zips your ride of to Garmin Connect when you're done plus you can analyze the ride right on the phone. No need to bring a laptop on a roadtrip.
If I could give it a 4.5/5 I would. Excellent bike computer.
on November 11, 2013
I was not sure about buying the Garmin 510 after seeing some bad reviews here in Amazon. I decided to give it a try, worst case scenario I said to myself, you can always return the unit, so why not to try.
I live in Orlando, Fl, saying that you now know that we have sunny days 95% of the time. There was so many bad reviews about not getting enough resolution of the display that I was worry about not able to see anything while I was riding. Let me tell you, the screen resolution under 95F sunny day can't get any better. Of course, you have to know how to setup the display resolution in the device menu. Also, this unit need some basic computer knowledge in order to get the right setup for you.
I've been comparing all results with Strava and all of them where pretty close. You will see differences with calories consumed if you are using MapmyRide.
Give this product a chance !