Launched back in 2015 the Garmin Edge 520 is probably the most popular option in Garmin’s cycling line-up, offering a good combination of features at an attractive price point. It was refreshed last year with the Edge 520 Plus which introduced full-blown routable maps while leaving most of the rest the same.

With the Edge 1030 launching in the second half of 2017, people have been eager for a proper upgrade for the 520, and it has finally landed.

As I currently have the Edge 520 I have been contemplating upgrading, I am a bit of a fair-weather cyclist, but during the summer months I do like to go on relatively long bike rides of 60-100m and I am not particularly good at making my own routes. So an option with routable maps sounds great for me.

Normally when I replace a device, I don’t like to just get the new model, but move up a level so I have been pondering if it is worth getting the Edge 830 over this, or other options in Garmin’s range.

Garmin Edge 530 vs 520 and Edge 830 & 820– Is the upgrade worth it? 1

Price Differences

As always, the largest factor in my decision is price. Unlike the watch range which has the flagship Fenix 5 Plus cheaper than the new Forerunner 945 or the FR645 being the same price as the FR245, the choice with the bike computers is a little less confusing.

The original 520 appears to be discontinued so the only current options are for the Plus model.

The current pricing options available are:

I threw in the Edge 1030 as a choice, because it is currently only £50 more than the 830 so if you were thinking about the 830 then I would be tempted to shell out the extra cash for the flagship model.

Where things get a little confusing is the decision between the newly launched Edge 530 or the older Edge 820 which is currently £30 cheaper.

Edge 530 vs Edge 520

If you are on the older Edge 520 then the Edge 530 has routable maps and this will be the biggest upgrade for you which I think makes the upgrade worth it. If you are on the Plus version, there are still plenty of additions to sway you towards the upgrade.

  • Increased display size 13% from 2.3” to 2.6”
  • Increased battery life from 15 to 20 hours, and to 48 hours in battery saver mode
  • Significantly increased processor speed: Results in much faster route calculation
  • Maintained complete on-board turn by turn map database for your region
  • Added WiFi: Used for syncing of activities/metrics/routes (not during ride)
  • Added ClimbPro: Automatically shows how much distance/elevation remains for each climb on route
  • Added Mountain Bike Metrics: Shows Grit, Flow, and Jump details on both unit and Garmin Connect
  • Added Trailforks maps to unit: Added global Trailforks data/maps to baked-in data on unit (no downloads required)
  • Added ForkSight: Automatically shows mountain bike trail options when you pause at fork in trail
  • Added Heat Acclimation: Will automatically take into account heat/humidity for performance/recovery metrics
  • Added Altitude Acclimation: Will automatically take into account (high) elevation for performance/recovery metrics
  • Added Training Plan API support: This includes a redesigned structured workout execution page
  • Added Hydration/Nutrition Smart Alerts: When using a course/route, it’ll automatically figure out how much water/calories you should be taking
  • Added Hydration/Nutrition Tracking: It allows you to record this data in ride summary screens and log it on Garmin Connect
  • Added Edge Battery Pack Support: You can now attach the Garmin integrated battery pack to the Edge (you can still use generic USB power too)
  • Added Bluetooth Smart sensor support: You can now pair Bluetooth Smart sensors like heart rate, power, and cadence
  • Added Performance Power Curve: This shows you your mean maximal power over different durations/timeframes (like many training sites)
  • Added Bike Alarm Feature: Used for cafes/bathroom stops, emits loud alarm if bike is moved
  • Added ‘Find my Edge’ feature: Automatically record exact GPS location on your phone if Edge is disconnected (in case unit pops off)
  • Added Training Plan Weather/Gear Tips.

Edge 530 vs Edge 830

If like me you like to step up a model rather than replace for the new version, you may be wondering if the Garmin Edge 830 is worth the extra £90.

  • Edge 830 has a touchscreen (which is improved from the Edge 820 touchscreen)
  • Edge 830 has can do address-specific routing, whereas on the Edge 530 you can’t enter a street address
  • Edge 830 has searchable points of interest database, for finding food/monuments/hotels/etc…
  • Edge 830 has four less buttons than the 530, since it’s a touch screen (and also has some slight differences in user interface, since you can touch it – most easily seen in the mapping pages)

For me, I would say these features don’t quite justify the extra cost. The touch screen could be useful for the mapping features, but it is something I think I could live without.

Overall

Based on my requirements, I think the Edge 530 is currently the best option, offering all the features I need while not being too expensive. The 820 being £30 cheaper is tempting, but I think the Edge 530 offers everything that has, minus the touch screen, but the improved performance will be worth the extra expense. I am also quite interested in the heatmaps and hydration/nutrition tracking.

Garmin Edge 530 vs 520 vs 830 Features Table

Comparison table is generated via DC Rainmaiker

FUNCTION/FEATUREGARMIN EDGE 530GARMIN EDGE 520GARMIN EDGE 830
LAUNCH PRICE$299$229$399
PRODUCT ANNOUNCEMENT DATEAPR 24TH, 2019JULY 1ST, 2015APR 24TH, 2019
GPS RECORDING FUNCTIONALITYYESYESYES
DATA TRANSFERUSB, BLUETOOTH SMART, WIFIUSB & BLUETOOTH SMARTUSB, BLUETOOTH SMART, WIFI
WATERPROOFINGIPX7IPX7IPX7
BATTERY LIFE (GPS)20 HOURS (40 IN BATTERY SAVER MODE)15 HOURS20 HOURS (40 IN BATTERY SAVER MODE)
RECORDING INTERVAL1-SECOND OR SMART1-SECOND OR SMART1-SECOND OR SMART
SATELLITE PRE-LOADING VIA COMPUTERYESYESYES
QUICK SATELLITE RECEPTIONYESYESYES
ALERTSAUDIO/VISUALAUDIO/VISUALAUDIO/VISUAL
BACKLIGHT GREATNESSGREATGREATGREAT
ABILITY TO DOWNLOAD CUSTOM APPS TO UNIT/DEVICEYESYESYES
ACTS AS DAILY ACTIVITY MONITOR (STEPS, ETC...)NONONO
CAN CONTROL PHONE MUSICNONONO
HAS MUSIC STORAGE AND PLAYBACKNONONO
STREAMING SERVICESNONO
BLUETOOTH LEGACY (PRE-4.0) TO PHONENONONO
BLUETOOTH SMART (4.0+) TO PHONE UPLOADINGYESYESYES
PHONE NOTIFICATIONS TO UNIT (I.E. TEXTS/CALLS/ETC...)YESYESYES
LIVE TRACKING (STREAMING LOCATION TO WEBSITE)YESYESYES
GROUP TRACKINGYESNOYES
EMERGENCY/SOS MESSAGE NOTIFICATION (FROM WATCH TO CONTACTS)YESYESYES
BUILT-IN CELLULAR CHIP (NO PHONE REQUIRED)NONONO
DESIGNED FOR CYCLINGYESYESYES
POWER METER CAPABLEYESYESYES
POWER METER CONFIGURATION/CALIBRATION OPTIONSYESYESYES
POWER METER TSS/NP/IFYESYESYES
SPEED/CADENCE SENSOR CAPABLEYESYESYES
STRAVA SEGMENTS LIVE ON DEVICEYESYESYES
CRASH DETECTIONYESYESYES
VO2MAX ESTIMATION(CYCLING YES THOUGH)(CYCLING YES THOUGH)(CYCLING YES THOUGH)
RECOVERY ADVISOR(CYCLING YES THOUGH)(CYCLING YES THOUGH)(CYCLING YES THOUGH)
DESIGNED FOR TRIATHLONSORTAN/ASORTA
CREATE/FOLLOW CUSTOM WORKOUTSYESYESYES
ON-UNIT INTERVAL FEATUREYESYESYES
TRAINING CALENDAR FUNCTIONALITYYESYESYES
AUTO START/STOPYESYESYES
VIRTUAL PARTNER FEATUREYESYESYES
VIRTUAL RACER FEATUREYESYESYES
RECORDS PR'S - PERSONAL RECORDS (DIFF THAN HISTORY)YESYESYES
WEATHER DISPLAY (LIVE DATA)YESYESYES
FOLLOW GPS TRACK (COURSES/WAYPOINTS)YESYESYES
MARKERS/WAYPOINT DIRECTIONYESYESYES
ROUTABLE/VISUAL MAPS (LIKE CAR GPS)YESYES FOR MAPS (BUT NOT ROUTABLE)YES
BACK TO STARTYESYESYES
IMPROMPTU ROUND TRIP ROUTE CREATIONNONOYES
DOWNLOAD COURSES/ROUTES FROM PHONE TO UNITYESYESYES
ALTIMETER TYPEBAROMETRICBAROMETRICBAROMETRIC
COMPASS TYPEGPSGPSGPS
OPTICAL HEART RATE SENSOR INTERNALLYNON/ANO
HEART RATE STRAP COMPATIBLEYESYESYES
ANT+ HEART RATE STRAP CAPABLEYESYESYES
ANT+ SPEED/CADENCE CAPABLEYESYESYES
ANT+ FOOTPOD CAPABLENONONO
ANT+ POWER METER CAPABLEYESYESYES
ANT+ WEIGHT SCALE CAPABLEYESYESYES
ANT+ FITNESS EQUIPMENT (GYM)NONONO
ANT+ LIGHTING CONTROLYESYESYES
ANT+ BIKE RADAR INTEGRATIONYESYESYES
ANT+ TRAINER CONTROL (FE-C)YESYESYES
ANT+ REMOTE CONTROLYESYESYES
ANT+ EBIKE COMPATIBILITYYESNOYES
ANT+ MUSCLE OXYGEN (I.E. MOXY/BSX)WITH APPSWITH APPSWITH APPS
ANT+ GEAR SHIFTING (I.E. SRAM ETAP)YESYESYES
SHIMANO DI2 SHIFTINGYESYESYES
BLUETOOTH SMART HR STRAP CAPABLEYESNOYES
BLUETOOTH SMART SPEED/CADENCE CAPABLEYESNOYES
BLUETOOTH SMART FOOTPOD CAPABLENONONO
BLUETOOTH SMART POWER METER CAPABLEYESNOYES
TEMP RECORDING (INTERNAL SENSOR)YESYESYES
TEMP RECORDING (EXTERNAL SENSOR)NONONO
COMPATIBLE WITH FIRSTBEAT HR TOOLSYESNOYES

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