Analysis of the Garmin Edge 520, opinion and experience of use

 Analysis of the Garmin Edge 520, opinion and experience of use

The Garmin Edge 520 is one of the most complete GPS cyclocomputers you can find today. So I start this analysis of a device that was introduced in mid-2015, but I had not had the opportunity to thoroughly test until a few weeks ago.

The Edge are Garmin devices in which any cyclist is fixed when looking for a new bike for your bike , whatever the mode you practice. In the Garmin catalog we can currently find the following models:

  1. Garmin Edge 20
  2. Garmin Edge 25
  3. Garmin Edge 520
  4. Garmin Edge 810
  5. Garmin Edge 1000

And some Edge Touring / Plus variants and the Explore 1000

Garmin Edge 520Thus, in mid-2015 Garmin  decided to renew the Edge 510 , announcing the Garmin Edge 520 that, a priori, if we look at that list, it appears in the middle zone and therefore, we can think that it is a mid-range GPS computer. ERROR. As I said in his day, the Edge 520 is one of the most complete that Garmin has ever released. If you are interested in buying it, it is already available on Amazon with full warranty:

The design of the Garmin Edge 520

I start this analysis of the Garmin Edge 520 so it comes first through our eyes: its design and construction . It could be summarized with a “small but bully”, but I will expand a little more.

The Edge 520 is surprisingly compact, specifically, only measures 4.9 inches wide, 7.3 inches high and 2.1 inches thick; its weight is equally ridiculous , about 60 grams. So the “obsessed” (with love) to reduce to the last gram of your bike will not complain (well, you would have to add a few grams between the assembly and others, but still very light).

Mounts an improved 2.3-inch screen, in color and with a resolution of 200 x 265 pixels. In full light of the Sun I can tell you that it is quite good, and when night falls or we need a plus visibility, we can always activate the lighting, which can be set in several levels instantly from the dedicated button.

In contrast, the screen of the Edge 520 is not touch , Garmin has decided to dispense with this feature in this model and instead place buttons on all frames of the computer (except the top). Personally I prefer the buttons to the tactile capacity, but with the use it is certain that sometimes I would like to perform actions faster, like entering a menu or seeing more information about a specific data field.

Garmin Edge 520In total we have 7 physical buttons : the brightness, two to move through the menus, the “Accept”, “Back” and finally, with a different texture and touch, to start / pause activity and to mark a return .

I mention the touch of the buttons because, in my opinion, the touch of those placed in the right and left frame is very improvable . They are hard, with rubbery touch and the button itself has just travel, that causes that, with the gloves on, most times I do not know if I pressed the button or not, or I have double-clicked.

The overall construction of the Garmin Edge 520 is good. As I said, it is compact, finished in plastic in its entirety and with IPX7 certification , which means that we will not have problems if we get rain, snow or if we fall into a puddle of maximum 1 meter deep for 30 minutes.

Operation and customization

If you have previously used an Edge, the operation will be familiar to you. If this is not the case, the only confusion you will have with the buttons will be resolved when you have 3 minutes of use.

The main screen can not be simpler, in the central part we enter the activity profile that is selected at that moment. For example, you can create a profile for the activities with the road bike (in which you like to see some concrete data on the screen), another for the MTB (with other data), another for roller sessions at home, another for racing days …

If we move upwards is what I call the ” panel of quick adjustments “, although in realization has the name of State. Basically it is a screen in which we can quickly access brightness settings, the GPS configuration (to deactivate it completely, or activate the GPS + GLONASS to obtain greater precision at the cost of consuming a tad more battery), is also accessed directly to the connected sensors – potentiometer, cadence, speed, heart rate band, ANT + roller, Varia radars, a Garmin  Device Virb camera, the scale, a Shimano Di2 group … – and finally connect / disconnect the Bluetooth from which it connects to the smartphone.

Finally, if from the main screen we scroll down we enter the internal menus, with access to the history of activities, being able to see all its details, regarding our training, statistics and finally the general configuration .

I’m not going to stop option by option, basically because there are “a thousand” menus and it does not do much to list them all, for that you can consult the user manual of the Edge 520 . I will focus on specific points, such as the desired integration with Strava , the possibility of putting personalized training or the creation and editing of activity profiles.

The Strava segments in Garmin Edge

Garmin and Strava have established a great relationship in recent years, so good that many did not miss my innocent Garmin purchase Strava . The Edge 520 was another step in that relationship: it became the first device to integrate Strava and its beloved segments, although later this feature has also reached Edge 510, 810 and 1000.

What does it mean that Strava is integrated into the Garmin Edge 520? Well, we can store Strava segments  located in our area in the device , so that when we train and approach one, the Edge will warn us, showing how much is left to get to the start, the time to beat, how far we are from the KOM and more.

Yes, as you are imagining, the pique is BRUTAL . If already normal we tend to “squeeze” when we know we are going through a segment, imagine that the Edge shows you in real time the seconds behind (or ahead) of the leader.

Here it is necessary to clarify that the segments are not in direct rigor, that is to say, the information of the sections and the times is stored in the Garmin Edge and it is updated every time you synchronize it with the smartphone through the Garmin Connect application, or with the computer and Garmin Express. Therefore, if several days have passed since you synchronized it and it is a very busy segment, it is likely that the times are not the current ones (and what is worse, that you think that you have stolen a KOM and then it turns out that there was a better time).

How do the Strava segments get into the Garmin Edge?

The bad news: you need to be a Strava Premium user. With the Garmin Edge 520 you will have 1 free month of Strava Premium (in some places I read 3, but I was indicated one), so at least you can try it to see if it really is worth paying.

Being Premium in Strava not only allows you to use the integration with the Edge, it also includes more statistics and analysis of data on the web, objectives and some other benefit that you can find on its website . The price is € 5.49 / month or € 54.99 / year , an amount that not everyone is willing to spend, but in the end it is not so much if you are an intensive user (for example, with 150 activities per year). , they would be little more than 30 cents each).

In any case, personally it does not seem right to me that a Premium account is required to use the integration of segments in the Garmin Edge 520, or at least, it should be included 1 or 2 years of service , and not just a few months.

Anyway, once you are Premium and when you synchronize the Garmin, some popular segments in your area will be added directly, either because you usually go through them or because they have enough activity. This is a bit random, so it is best to put the ones that interest you and is done simply by marking them as favorites by clicking on their star in Strava. When they are synchronized, ready, they will appear in the training submenu (there you can manage or eliminate them if you want).

Create custom workouts for the Garmin Edge

As with the Forerunners for runners , the Garmin Edge 520 and its brothers also play the role of “coach” if we previously put the training that touches us.

It is done exactly as in the Forerunner, that is, through the Garmin Connect website, being able to create more or less complex sessions based on certain parameters, be they rhythms, speeds, heart rate, watts … Here you have all the details to create custom workouts in Garmin Connect .

Custom activity profiles

A little further, I commented that we can create different activity profiles . Basically we can create different configurations depending on the training that we are going to do that day, because it is not the same to go out with the MTB, than with the road, that with the goat, that roll in front of the TV. At every moment we want to have different information before our eyes.

In total, for each profile, we can enter a maximum of 5 data screens, with up to 10 fields each. The list of available data fields is a real madness, there are dozens and dozens of parameters of all kinds concerning distances, speeds, height, heart rate, times, power … seriously, there are many, MANY .

These data screens are complemented by other “pages” such as the map screen, the height profile, the Virtual Partner, the compass or specific data screens if we use accessories such as the Garmin Varia traffic radars.

In general, during these weeks with the Garmin Edge 520, its operation has been phenomenal,  it moves very well and is fluid, obviously not at the level of a current smartphone, but the loading times and steps between menus and options are very low, although sometimes “scratch” a little, but sometimes counted.

In addition, the time of start and connection with sensors and satellites is very fast, come on, in what takes time to put the helmet you have it ready to work.

Of course, a separate issue is the maps. If you are looking for a cybercomputer that will serve as your GPS navigator, the Edge 520 is not your thing. The maps included are useless , there is no information, in my area the roads do not even appear and that does not help. Luckily you can put new maps, the crack of Ray Maker explains it in detail .

Of course, do not get excited by adding new maps that the Garmin Edge 520 has no possibility of expanding memory by microSD card.

The accessories: cadence and speed sensor

The Garmin Edge 520 is sold separately (ie, only the cyclocomputer with mountings for power or handlebars), but also in pack with the heart rate monitor and cadence and speed sensors .

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