Monday, June 21, 2010

Garmin Edge 705 - My Observations in Plain English!

As I may have pointed out before, I do use a Garmin Edge 705 as my bike computer/GPS. I bought mine in Summer 2008. Recently, my friend Steve of DFWPTP asked me and/or Michael J of EarToTheBreeze to do a post on the Garmin GPS-enabled cyclo-computers. Well, you get the idea :)

For those who have not seen what a Edge 705 looks like, here it is pictured below. If you click on the picture below, you will see which button does what.
This is my attempt at pointing out the things I like and things I don't like about my Garmin Edge 705. Me writing about all the features of the device would be reinventing the wheel. Garmin has a great job of wring a nice users' manual. You can refer to Garmin's official user guide for more information.

  1. I bought my Edge 705 with the MapSource® City Navigator® street maps, Heart Rate Monitor (HRM) and a Cadence sensor. You have to wear a widget that measures your heart rate (like a band across your chest). I used the HRM many times, but I don't use it all the time these days. The Edge 705 measures your heart rate at various Heart Rate zones. The machine allows you to input your resting heart rate. This data along with common sense can give you an idea of how much you are exerting yourself.
  2. I use my Edge 705 not only as a cyclo-computer but also as a GPS in the true sense of the term. I am still new to the DFW area. I do get lost and I use my Edge 705 to get back to a known landmark, before I figure out my route back home. 
  3. There are some nice routing options which can be turned on or off. For instance, you can ask the Edge 705 to "avoid major roads", "follow streets", draw-up a route that is "bicycle friendly", etc.
  4. You can save locations and rename them as you see fit. I have my Home, Whiterock Lake, REI Dallas, Richardson Bike Mart, etc., saved into my Edge 705.
  5. You can ask the device to follow a ride you did previously. Unless you manually delete history, it stays put in the Edge 705.
  6. The data from the Edge 705 can be very easily imported into the Garmin Training Center software, which comes with the device. There is a ton of information available in this software. You can play with this software till the touring bikes come home :)
  7. There is also the option to store and display your data online on GarminConnect. I have shied away from it.
  8. You can find major landmarks, such as Grocery stores, Shopping Centers, Intersections, Gas Stations, etc using the built-in "Where To" feature. In addition, you can import GPX files (created using GMap to GPX or I like's GPX files better, as they tend to be cleaner.
  9. You can input stats about 3 bikes into the profiles section of the Edge 705. For instance, I have input the weight and tire size of 3 of my bicycles, viz., Co-Motion Americano, Thorn Nomad MK2 and the Cannondale T-800. Each time you ride, you can choose which bike you ride and that will be incorporated into the various calculations done by the Edge 705.
  10. You can have up to 2 different set of fields, in two different screens, referred to as Bike Computer 1 and Bike Computer 2, displayed on the Edge 705. Eight customizable fields displayed on each of these displays. By simply moving the joystick, you can switch between these two screens. I find this feature quite useful. I have my Bike Computer 1 showing my Current Speed, Time Elapsed, Distance, Cadence, Time of Day, Direction Headed, Heart Rate, and Elevation. Bike Computer 2 is setup to display Current Lap Time, Lap Distance, Direction Headed, Calories Burned, Heart Rate, Total Ascent, Grade { not A/B/C/D/F :) }, Average Speed { damned Statisticians :) }. I do have some fields repeating on both, on purpose.
  11. There is a back-light function in the Edge 705, which comes in handy when it gets dark.
  12. The battery life is quite good. I usually can ride for 3-4 days (roughly 24-32 hours) before I recharge mine.
  13. For advanced training, there is a Virtual Partner and several alert options available. One such an option is a minimum bound for cadence. I used to have mine set at 70 RPM. So, if my cadence falls below 70 RPM, the Edge 705 will beep and alert me to change gears or pedal harder. I actually did use this feature initially. Now-a-days, I simply look at Bike Computer 1 to see how I am doing, once in a great while :)
  14. I think the Virtual Partner can give you the run for your money. I haven't played with this feature. I may use this some day.
  15. The routes created by the Edge 705 are also augmented by niceties such as Time-To-Destination, Time-To-Next-Way-Point, etc. I do enjoy this feature immensely.
  16. The Edge 705 automatically re-routes, which can be a life-saver. Again, like any other route, should only be used with an ounce of common sense.
  1. There is no thermometer. I really wish that they had incorporated this into the Edge 705. While my body is perfectly capable of telling how hot or cold it is outside, from a historical data perspective, and perhaps even from a performance perspective, this would be a nice data point to have. Having measurements on several variables, such as temperature, speed, heart rate, cadence, gradient, etc., might enable us to study the relationship(s) between these variables, which some of us might find very interesting.
  2. The Edge 705 is only a computer. I mean this in all honesty. It can create a route which may not be bicycle friendly. For instance, if I ask it to take me to Royal Lane and MacArthur from MacArthur and Cimmaron, it will ask me to ride MacArthur. But I tell ya, this is NOT a wise idea, except on weekends, may be.
  3. Google Maps directions can not be directly read into the Edge 705. While this is not a huge issue, I do like Google Maps and I would like to be able to get it on the Edge 705.
  4. I wish the Edge 705 could connect through Blue-tooth to other web-enabled devices. The Edge 705 can share data with other Edge 705's within a 3 meter range.
  5. The Edge 705 comes with a charger which uses a USB-port connector to charge. I wish I could charge it using solar or other easily available battery-like options. I have lost some data because I didn't charge my Edge on a day or two.
  6. There is a "View in Google Earth" option, in Garmin Training Center, which permits you to view your route/ride-route in Google Earth. This feature is usually somewhat slow. I don't know if it is a deficiency of Garmin Training Center or Google Earth.
  7. I wish there was the option to have the display of the Edge 705 in landscape mode.
How about that for a extemporaneous review? Please note that my writing is kinda like shooting from the hip, casual and macro NOT micro!

Please do share with me your thoughts and observations!

Peace :)

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