Garmin Edge 520 Review – Is It Worth The Price?

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Garmin Edge 520 Review

AT A GLANCE: QUICK RATINGS

Where To Get It

A Deep Dive Into The Garmin Edge 520

Just when I was 100% convinced I didn’t need another new Garmin Edge unit…. those pesky innovators have released the new Garmin Edge 520 with STRAVA SEGMENT feedback. The Garmin Edge 520 GPS performance bike computer has been reviewed by Tristan Haskins aka CardioCritic

Navigate This In-Depth Review
  • Who Is It For?

  • Video Review

  • Pros

  • Cons

New Features

The Edge 520 has more new features than ever seen before in a new product release from Garmin. This is NOT just a marketing refresh of the Edge 510… it’s pretty much a brand new product. Here’s the most significant new features ….

Mapping

For those who have used Garmin Edge products over the last 5 or 6 years you will know that 500 series are performance lead with “some” navigation and the Edge 800 series is the combination of performance AND navigation. The NEW Edge 520 isn’t quite the FULL auto-routing GPS navigator that the 810 and 1000 are, but it has IT’S OWN BASEMAP !

Basemap I hear you say.. isn’t that very basic? Yes, seriously low resolution mapping. HOWEVER, do not fear, the Edge 520 can be uploaded with the FULL RES Open Street maps (a FREE opensource resource, also used by the Polar V650). Once you have done this you have the same level of mapping detail found on models like the Edge Touring, 810, 820 and 1000.

Let’s be clear – this is NOT an auto-routing device. Even when you have downloaded the latest opensource maps you still can’t tell the unit to get you from A to B. If you want to do that, get an Edge 820

Strava Segments are here

For many people this is what will force them to upgrade. Strava is HUGE in the cycling world, if you’ve never heard of Strava a) where have you been and b) pop over to their website here

Even when I’m in the middle of a Norfolk coast shocker of a ride I will always be thinking of the next “segment”… OK, this ride has been a disaster, but if I can just bag one KOM or Personal Best I’ll be happy. On all other Garmin Edge models you have to wait until you get home and upload to know if you’re going to be inundated with KUDOS…. not anymore …

The integration of Strava in to the Edge 520 is well executed. The segments that the user has either FAVOURITED or marked as those they wish to perform better in are downloaded in to the unit. Garmin also adds a few more that it thinks you may have an interest in (about 20)

NOTE … before you all get too carried away, you need to be a Strava PREMIUM member to access this new feature … but it’s worth it ?

Bluetooth Call & Text Notifications

Love them or hate them … Smart Notifications are here to stay. I’m not a fan, but I have to admit to having had a couple of incoming call alerts on my VivoSmart that have saved me time and trouble arriving at a venue I’d otherwise missed with my phone in my back pocket..

Recovery Calculator

Anyone who has used the Forerunner 920XT will know how useful it is to be informed of your TIME UNTIL RECOVERED. The Edge 520 shows very clearly post training how long it will be until you are ready to go and do it all again. This is a sophisticated algorithm that has been available in their top of the range running and tri watches like the 620 and 920XT and Fenix3 for some time.

Other key new additions include

VO2 Max Estimation – (Garmin Vector or other power meter required)

Personal Records – tells you you’ve just completed your best 10 mile section and similar.

Cycling Dynamics – illustrated data from the Power Pedals

Garmin Varia System – have you seen this ?… hopefully we will get a review written up shortly but this is Garmin’s amazing new rear light with RADAR to give warning of rapidly approaching vehicles from behind !! The Varia system is compatible with the Edge 520 giving you a CLEAR orange alert on your Edge screen when a vehicle is approaching from behind, at speed and getting too close…

Top Alternatives

Next Model UP

It would be the Edge 1000 with FULL auto-routing and impromptu round trip creation.

Next Model DOWN

The next model down would be the Edge 510 if you are PERFORMANCE inclined.

Alternatives?

The best alternative to the Garmin Edge 520 is the Polar M460. The Polar M460 replaced the brilliant M450 with the addition of LIVE Strava Segments. The Garmin does have more technical features, but the M460 gives it a genuine run for it’s money being about £50/$70 less.

Polar M460 Review – excellent value for money with power meter support and LIVE Strava segments

Learn more about the garmin edge 1030 tracker here.

REVIEW SUMMARY

The Garmin Edge 520 has been awarded a rare top of the class review rating of 5/5 stars. It’s the perfect balance of performance monitoring and essential navigational functionality.

The basemap is quite “basic” but for anyone with a grasp of simple maps it is more than sufficient to get you from A to B or back home if you’ve wandered off track. For the technical road racer the Edge 520 has features like power monitor connectivity and Shimano Di2 support.

For those looking to monitor their training progress in the greatest details the Edge 520 has a plethora of cycling dynamics with VO2 max and FTP tracking. For the rider who likes to remain connected to their smartphone the Edge 520 supports notification alerts and even LiveTrack (in areas of 3G and 4G) to relay your position to friends and family on Garmin Connect.

In summary, I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending the Garmin Edge 520 to cyclists of all levels. If you want something less technical, consider the Edge 25, if you want full post code auto-routing then there’s the Edge 820

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