The Garmin Edge 530 is a refinement of the non-touchscreen, Edge 520 Plus and is an unexpected addition to Garmin’s 2019 range of Edge bike computers.
The Edge 530 could be described as Garmin’s “entry-level” bike performance computer, as it does just about everything a performance cyclist or navigator needs. Yet both the 830 and 1030 have a few more features. Perhaps I will better describe it as the industry’s BENCHMARK PERFORMANCE BIKE COMPUTER. Another vendor bike computer might offer a better UI, another Garmin Edge might offer a bigger screen, yet another vendor might offer better 3rd party integration…and so on.
The announcement of the Edge 530 is complicated by the simultaneous launch of the Edge 830. The 530 IS highly similar TO THE 830 but with buttons. I’ll cover the Edge 830 separately. The 1030 is similar too…but bigger and with a touchscreen.
HEADS UP: Garmin Edge 530 Review – In Detail
Garmin Edge 530 – What’s New
The fact that there is a new Edge 530 is interesting in itself. The 520 Plus from 2018 deserved the title of ‘530’ as it included many new improvements over and above those in the original Edge 520 – not least of which included maps, trend line popularity routing and re-routing abilities. You still get all that … and more.
Here are most of the headline changes and it is all impressive stuff, addressing the obvious issues in previous models.
On the outside it’s a nicely rounded unit, with a slightly bigger shell and a slightly bigger screen than the previous 520 Plus. Just like with the new 830 you can optionally plug on a Garmin CHARGE battery pack to your Garmin and charge in-ride. This is NOT a feature just for multi-day rides, it’s really a feature for day-long navigation rides when the stated 20 hours will significantly be eaten into by your sensors and numerous re-routing events and alerts.
The trend for 2019 looks like all new Garmin devices will see the addition of the new, power-consumption-friendly Sony GPS chip. For the new Edge head units I’m NOT expecting any GPS issues to arise due to the general nature of GNSS when cycling. So the resulting 5 extra hours, or so, of battery life is a great bonus.
- BLE sensor support & WiFi have been added.
- ‘Theft-alarm’ and ‘Find-My-Edge’ features added
Firstbeat Analytics (FB) are spreading their physiological wings further into the Edge devices and we are seeing the heat and altitude refinements that better model some of the FB stats when in more extreme environmental and physical conditions. I’m not expecting the altitude-adjustments to make much difference to many of us but I’m sure heat and humidity adjustments will play their part in improving accuracy. The new WORKOUT LABELS look like a nice way of seeing what workouts have done for you and Garmin deserve credit for some of the new screens that present our workout data more clearly. I’m going to delve into this some more at a later stage – it just feels that much of this info, despite some of it being the same as before, has finally been presented in a more cohesive and succinct way.
Hydration & nutrition tracking plus related alerts are also added. I’m guessing these might help some people but I remain to be convinced on usefulness over and above a basic timer feature even though hydration/nutrition tracking will make efforts to take into account factors like your weight and the temperature.
There is a nod towards MTB riders with new MTB Cycling Dynamics and MTB in-ride-routing options. I’ve no idea if the GRIT, FLOW and JUMP details will be liked by MTBers but those metrics do look superficially of more interest and ‘fun’ than the robotic, advanced cycling dynamics info like PCO. The further integrations of TRAILFORKS and FORKSIGHT for MTB routing look OK but I think the worry here for the likes of LEZYNE is that Garmin are obviously taking the whole MTB scene MUCH more seriously than before and MTB features are likely to be expanded in the future, perhaps to the point where a fully ruggedized 530 variant is produced just for MTBers.
The other features that grabbed my attention were
- CP Curve – your best CP curve & performances over select periods. This is ‘old hat’ sports maths on a new head. I was wondering only last week why this was not on Garmin Edge units. I would expect to see this relatively basic initial implementation expanded significantly over coming years. It’s useful info for a performance cyclist and Garmin do not provide any such analysis on CONNECT. So features like this together with some of the Firstbeat features signal that Garmin are moving more of the post-ride ANALYSIS features onto the device and so restricting the need for us to move away from their environment when we get home. From what I’ve seen so far some of the touches, like CP Curve, start to tick a LOT of my boxes.
- CLIMBPRO – It’s a seemingly-simple feature that has partly been on Wahoo for a while and even Hammerhead Karoo implemented forward-looking elevaton plots. It’s just an elevation plot of your upcoming hill, with supporting metrics about the climb ahead, and is genuinely useful when doing proper climbing. The Edge 530 ‘knows’ the elevation profile only if you are following a course or routing.
- POPULARITY ROUTING – has long been available on CONNECT but now the rather extensive routing and re-routing navigational engine within the Edge 830 includes it too. I like popularity routing…others don’t. Note: the 830 has a couple of extra navigational featurettes.
Price, Availability & Garmin Edge 530 Discount
The RRP for the Garmin EDGE 530 is US$299.99 / GBP259.99 with a likely delivery to you around mid-May for orders placed in April.
- Garmin Edge 530 **£10 indirect discount** (UK) via wiggle.co.uk, New Customer Code: NEWGB
- Garmin Edge 530 (USA) via via powermetercity.com Code: THE5KRUNNER10
I’ll be producing a detailed Garmin Edge 530 review later but for now you might want to check out these sources for more info – garmin.com, dcrainmaker.com or ask questions below. Here is an Edge 530 manual and the official specs from Garmin …
Garmin Edge 530 Specifications & Garmin Edge 830 Comparisons
Source: Garmin (modified where known to be wrong)
|Edge 530||Edge 820||Edge 830||Edge 1030|
|$299.99 USD||$349.99 USD||$399.99 USD and Up||$599.99 USD and Up|
|Performance GPS cycling computer with mapping and insights to help you improve||Advanced performance GPS bike computer with a 2.3″ color touchscreen display||Performance GPS cycling computer with mapping and touchscreen||Ultimate connected GPS bike computer|
|Physical dimensions||?1.9″ x 3.2″ x 0.8″ (50 x 82 x 20 mm)||1.9″ x 2.9″ x 0.8″ (49.0 x 73.0 x 21.0 mm)||?1.9″ x 2.9″ x 0.8″ (49.0 x 73.0 x 21.0 mm)||58 x 114 x 19|
|Display size||2.6″||2.3″ (58.4 mm)||2.6″||3.5″ (88.9 mm)|
|Display resolution||246 x 322 pixels||200 x 265 pixels||246 x 322 pixels||282 x 470 pixels|
|Weight||2.8 oz (78 g)||2.4 oz (67.7 g)||?2.4 oz (67.7 g)||123 g|
|Battery||rechargeable lithium-ion||rechargeable lithium-ion||rechargeable lithium-ion||rechargeable lithium-ion|
|Battery life||20 hours, more in other modes, less in some usage scenarios||up to 15 hours GPS training mode||20 hours, more in other modes, less in some usage scenarios||up to 20 hours|
|Maps & Memory|
|Ability to add maps||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Storage and Power Capacity||16 GB plus microSDª|
|Routes||100 Courses||100 Courses||100 Courses||100 Courses|
|History||up to 200 hours||up to 200 hours||up to 200 hours||up to 200 hours|
|Daily Smart Features|
|VIRB¨ Camera Remote||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Training, Planning and Analysis Features|
|Customizable data pages||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Training Effect (aerobic)||Yes (specs say no)||Yes|
|Race an Activity||Specs say no||Specs say no||Specs say no||Yes|
|Physio TrueUp||Yes (specs say no)||Yes||Specs say no||Yes|
|Time/distance alerts (triggers alarm when you reach goal)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Cycle Map (routable cycling-specific street map)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Compatible with Vectorª (power meter)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Power meter compatible (displays power data from compatible review of third-party ANT+-enabled power meters)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Garmin Connectª compatible (online community where you analyze, categorize and share data)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Automatic sync (automatically transfers data to Garmin Connect)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Additional||Alerts (triggers alarm when you reach time, distance, HR, calories goals): yes||Smart notifications displays texts and calls only||Smart notifications displays texts and calls only||Recovery Advisor|
|Internal memory: 16 GB||Internal memory: 16 GB|
|Personal cycling records: yes||Personal cycling records: yes||Personal cycling records: yes||Personal cycling records: yes|
|Compatible with Variaª bike radar and lights: yes||Compatible with Variaª bike radar and lights: yes||Compatible with Variaª bike radar and lights: yes||Integrated in-ride power capable|
|Bike trainer profile for compatible Turbo trainer data display and control||Edge¨ remote compatibility: yes||Edge¨ remote compatibility: yes||Set-up streamlined via app|
|On-device segment compatibility for dynamic and engaging in-ride competition||LiveTrack: yes||LiveTrack: yes||Physiological measurements|
|LiveTrack: yes||GroupTrack: yes||GroupTrack: yes||GroupTrack: yes|
|Advanced performance and power analysis, including new Time in Zone, FTP tracking, cycling-specific VO2 and recovery and cycling dynamics||Advanced performance and power analysis, including VO2 max, Recovery Adviser, FTP/Watts/kg tracking, Performance condition/lactate threshold/stress score as well as advanced cycling dynamics and connected features||Advanced performance and power analysis, including VO2 max, Recovery Adviser, FTP/Watts/kg tracking, Performance condition/lactate threshold/stress score as well as advanced cycling dynamics and connected features||.|
|Bike trainer profile for compatible Turbo trainer data display and control||Bike trainer profile for compatible Turbo trainer data display and control||Connected capability: Upload, LiveTrack, weather, notifications, incident detection, GroupTrack, audio prompts, rider to rider messaging|
|On-device segment compatibility for dynamic and engaging in-ride competition: yes||On-device segment compatibility for dynamic and engaging in-ride competition: yes||3rd-party app access: via Connect IQª, including preloaded Strava and Training Peaks|
|Operating temperature: -20°C to +55°C||Operating temperature: -20¡C to +55¡C||Operating temperature: -20¡C to +55¡C||Preloaded Garmin Cycle Map|
|Connected features via a smartphone: yes||Connected features via a smartphone: yes||Connected features via a smartphone: yes||Connected features via a smartphone: yes|
|Compatible with Garmin Connectª and Garmin Connectª Mobile: yes||Compatible with Garmin Connectª and Garmin Connectª Mobile: yes||Training status/training load|
|Integration with Shimano Di2 electronic shifting: yes||Integration with Shimano Di2 electronic shifting: yes||Integration with Shimano Di2 electronic shifting: yes||Navigation via device, apps, popularity routing and recalculation|
|Weather alerts: yes||Weather alerts: yes||Weather alerts: yes||Open API available with select partners|
|Wi-Fi¨ compatible: yes||Wi-Fi¨ compatible: yes||Connectivity: Wi-Fi¨, ANT+ª, Bluetooth¨|
|Ambient light: yes||Ambient light: yes||Ambient light sensor|
|Round-trip routing: yes||Round-trip routing: yes||FTP / watts/kg tracking|
|Route planner: yes||Route planner: yes||Advanced power|
|Incident detection: yes||Incident detection: yes||.|
|Training plans/workouts: yes||Training plans/workouts: yes||.|
|Connect IQª compatible: yes||Connect IQª compatible: yes||.|
|Audio prompts: yes||Audio prompts: yes||.|
|Auto start (timer starts automatically at custom speed): yes||Auto start (timer starts automatically at custom speed): yes||.|
|ANT+ª electronic shifting compatibility: yes||ANT+ª electronic shifting compatibility: yes||.|
|ANT+ bike trainer compatible: yes||ANT+ bike trainer compatible: yes||.|
|Strava Segments compatible: yes||Strava Segments compatible: yes||Segments: Strava|
|Stress score: yes||Stress score: yes||.|
|Battery save mode: Extends battery life up to 50 percent while still tracking ride detail||Battery save mode: Extends battery life up to 50 percent while still tracking ride detail||.|
Price - 92%
Build Quality & Design - 86%
Features, Including App - 95%
Openness & Compatability - 99%
Garmin Edge 530 Opinion
The Edge 530 really does look good and seems to have positioned itself as a de facto industry standard for all others to benchmark themselves to. That doesn’t mean that you and I should buy one though. It will just help us make a better decision about WHICH device to use.
The hardware has been ‘sorted out’, the processor speed issue has been greatly improved from earlier versions. But that still leaves the ‘Garmin menu’ and general usability issues that arise from the complexity of most Garmin devices. Improvements there have been made but Garmin will certainly still need to do more, over time, on this.
I do like what I see and many will class the price of the Edge 530 as ‘fair’. Do you instead go for a cooler-looking Hammerhead Karoo for navigation? a more user-friendly Wahoo? or a notably cheaper Polar or Lezyne device?. Even ‘normal’, power meter-related metrics, once the preserve of a select few brands are now available at lower price points if you look beyond ‘companies beginning with G‘.
The Killer: Garmin’s overall feature set is what no-one can compete with. But just how usable is that feature set to you? and at what price does it come?
Personally, I do like my gadgets and features, and I buy things for impetuous reasons. I’m going to use an Edge 530 through 2019. If you buy one you’ll probably be happy with it.
Like the Edge 520 there is a strong degree of future-proofing in the 530 ie any new Garmin cycling feature for the next couple of years, or any new CIQ app, will almost certainly work with the Edge 530.
- Features galore, highly configurable
- Open to many platforms and 3rd party technologies like Di2
- Supports just about every sports sensor from HRMs to FE-C
- Many in-ride social & safety features
- Great physiological performance feedback
- Good maps and some on-device routing
- Training plan integration and execution of complex, alert-based workouts
- Complex to setup or reconfigure
- Smaller format screen and fiddly buttons are not great for navigation
- Impromptu route creation on the Edge 530 is only suitable for occasional usage
- Price is not so bad but there are cheaper alternatives
- Keep an eye on the battery life when re-routing and when all features are enabled.