Opinion: Garmin Edge 820

Garmin Edge 820 Varia RTL 500
Garmin Edge 820 Varia RTL 500

Garmin generally make great cycling computers. The Edge 820 looks to follow in that tradition.

The 820 is a clichéd EVOLUTION not revolution. Having said that it brings together much of what is good about the Edge 810, the Edge 520 and the Edge 1000. It’s a consolidation.

Having said that, I’m still not quite sure what it really is.

It’s also a foundation stone for supporting Future IQ development with Connect IQ BIKER Monkey. The 820, 1000 and 520 all share BIKER Monkey support which will continue beyond the end of this year – not so for the Aikido-Monkey based 630, 920XT, Fenix 3 and others. But even within the BIKER monkey Edge devices there are different hardware MEMORY/RESOURCES capabilities with the Edge 1000 being superior in some respects to the 520. I’m awaiting clarification on the Edge 820 but would imagine it will come in at least equal to the Edge 1000. Data Fields, Widgets and Apps are all allocated different resources and that is likely one reason why on some of the old Aikido Monkey devices (920XT) things start to get quite sluggish, quite quickly – you may have found the same to be true of the 520, in some circumstances.

There’s a 520 vs. 820 vs. 810 feature comparison table <here> and from that you will see that Garmin are very much progressing along a well established development route with many, often predictable, incremental changes.

That’s great though; the product still improves.

But what we have seen with the potentially market-leading Suunto Spartan ULTRA and SPORT and with the Wahoo ELEMNT Cycling Super- Computer is that other companies are saying “Let’s bin what we have and start a revolution”. Other companies are more dynamic and innovative in how they are solving our sporting problems and foibles. Suunto and Wahoo and others realise they HAVE to TRULY innovate to survive. And that’s a great thing.

Source: Garmin.com Garmin Edge 820
Source: Garmin.com


The 820 appears to have a near-identical screen to the 520. That’s a little disappointing. ie it’s a little bigger than the 810 and a little smaller than the 1000. Although the 820 DOES have colour touchscreen.

The unit size too is identical to the 520 although it comes in at 7 grams heavier.

Maybe those 7grams are the extra 8Gb in storage :-). There is no SD card slot 🙁


Not much seems to have changed here. 15 hours of normal usage BUT increased to 24 hours in ULTRATRAC mode. That’s potentially useful I suppose.

I find enabling all the bells and whistles and navigational features can SIGNIFICANTLY impact on stated battery life and indeed I’m not sure how well ULTRTRAC mode would work for more complex/detailed navigational tasks.

Source: Garmin.com Garmin Edge 820
Source: Garmin.com Garmin Edge 820

Newish To Garmin

Unsurprisingly the 820 supports VIRB control. But a nice new feature is GROUPTRACK RIDING. Essentially mimicing functionality introduced by WAHOO last year. Of course all your friends probably need an 820 too for the same functionality…I’ll have to check if the 820 supports your friends just having LIVETRACK on.

We also get some of the peripherally nice stuff like VO2max, FTP/w/kg , lactate threshold and stress scores as well as much improved STRAVA integration for those of you with a paid-STRAVA account (STRAVA Live Segments).

New to the 8xx Series

Like the 520, the 820 can now control compatible turbo trainers and Shimano Di2 shifters. It has connected features, live tracking, weather alerts, WIFI-upload compatibility and, unlike the 810, it has GLONASS.

Apparently it calculates calories. Yeah!

Source: Garmin.com Garmin Edge 820
Source: Garmin.com


Yep it’s got that. No surprises there. But it is very similar to the Edge 1000 with proper routable mapping – except the screen can’t be rotated as on the 1000.

But is it really different?

Well yes there are clearly differences, I’ve listed some above.

But if you look at how the 920XT and the Fenix 3 changed from what were released to what they are now, then the Edge products appear superficially VERY VERY similar in most respects. Whereas the 920/F3 are SIGNIFICANTLY different.

If the 820 was called the 530 then I don’t think anyone would have been at all surprised. Especially people within Garmin as it WAS referenced internally as the 530!!!

Is it really expensive?

It’s coming in at £330 on the Garmin website. But the 810 is shown there as £320! Reality on Amazon is much different where the Edge 520 is currently £195 and the Edge 810 is £235. So it’s probably got about £100 to fall on a good day to £250ish. You might have to wait a while for that to happen and even if you expect a Black Friday deal later in the year then I would not hold your hopes up too much as new products are less likely to be discounted…although maybe you could hope for a £150 Edge 520 then.

And for all you non-Brits reading, pounds sterling are now virtually worthless so you should buy everything from the UK 🙂 £300 was about $20 when I last looked (joking…kinda).

Is it worth the upgrade?

This is a tricky one. Normally with a new Garmin I’d say to wait at least 6 months until the bugs are ironed out. However the 820 appears to be a 520 on steroids. So, with a bit of luck, there might not be too much wrong with it from Day 1.

On the other hand there’s not THAT much to upgrade for. Sure, if you have some of the super-fancy remote controlled bits and bobs and you like the latest device then you WILL get an 820. As you might also if you want decent navigation at that device-size and price point.

If you have a largely bug-fixed 520 I probably would not consider the 820 as they are too similar.

If you have an 810 then the argument is a little different as the 810 really is starting to look a little dated. I tend to sell my Garmins whilst they are still in warranty before buying another one. If your 810 is working fine, then great, but NOW might be a good time to contact Ms eBay in advance of it breaking and/or the price drops too much before you get round to upgrading. Similarly if you are intrigued by Connect IQ functionality, which is probably where the new functionality of the future lies, then considering an 820 becomes more pertinent.


I’m a little bit bored writing this as it is not so different to other Garmin stuff. I should really be excited as I want to like the 820.

I’m a little confused too.

But it does look good.

I may well end up buying one to test it out and I know I WOULD welcome a slightly larger screen than the 520.

Would I recommend you to consider buying one? YES. But I’d also look at the 520 and the WAHOO ELEMNT.

Garmin Edge 1000 Explore (non-bundle)£345.00Link$449.00Link
Garmin Edge 1000£345.00Link$499.00Link
Garmin Edge 820£330.00Link$400.00Link
Garmin Edge 520£176.00Link$299.99Link
Garmin Edge 510£300.00Link$329.99Link
Garmin Edge 810£197.00Link$305.99Link
Garmin Edge 25£100.00Link$160.99Link
Garmin Edge 20£93.50Link$93.54Link


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2 thoughts on “Opinion: Garmin Edge 820

  1. nice write up~! so i sold my garmin 810 for $300 based on your initial leak. i want to thank you for that! So in the meantime i purchased a garmin edge 1000 and it’s really oversized IMO – it’s just too big. So i’m returning it.

    I did just place an order for the garmin 820. I just hope the smaller size screen isn’t going to be a bother. I’ve owned the garmin edge 510 and i thought it was fine. i did appreciate the 810’s larger screen for navigation.

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