We’ve just come back from a first ride with Garmin’s brand new Edge 200 GPS computer, the latest product from the company that aims to take GPS to a wider audience.
The Edge 800 and 500 are feature packed GPS computers that have been readily adopted by mountain bikers. But they’re pretty expensive. The new Edge 200 strips away the navigational functions of those more expensive units and the ability to synch with heart rate or cadence sensors, and trades them in for an easier to use approach. It will track your speed, distance, calories burned though, the really important ride data, and let you download and share your ride through Garmin Connect.
That means Garmin can offer the Edge 200 for just £129.99 RRP. It’s much easier to use, as we found when we rode with one extensively earlier this week, so making it ideal for those new to GPS or just people who don’t need all the functions of the more feature packed Edge computers.
Existing Garmin users will notice a start screen menu that’s very different to other models. Keeping simplicity central to the Edge 200′s appeal, the designers have opted for a very clean and simple layout. You’re presented with just four panels; Ride, Course, History and Settings. Four buttons on the side of the case make for easier navigation through these menus. It’s really that easy. Even people who have never used any other Garmin products were quickly at home with the menu navigation.
Hit the Ride option and you can get underway. The display changes to show, in a large and clear typeface, vital information like current speed and time. There’s much less information displayed than on the Edge 500, just four lines of data. Customisation is limited, but the lower field can be toggled between average speed, ascent and calories burned. It aims to do display just the vital info you need when riding, and no more. It does that brilliantly.
We found the screen clear and easy to see when you’re travelling along at speed, and it’s easy to cycle through the different modes even when riding along and with gloves on. And once your ride is complete, the 200 can be hooked up to your computer and uploaded to Garmin Connect as seamlessly as previous Garmin’s.
Though there’s no navigational function, you can still use Garmin’s Connect website to download a course to the unit, whether one you’ve ridden before or from the huge database of shared routes, and compare your pace and speed with that. A digital cyclist shows your speed relative to your past performance, along with an indication of how far ahead or behind you are, useful stuff and something we like for those solo rides.
It’s a shame some of the nicest and most useful features of the other Garmin models have been lost in making the Edge 200 more affordable, but the upside is the sheer simplicity. We didn’t even need to refer to a manual and we were away without any hick ups. It’s easy to see who Garmin is aiming the Edge 200 at, not just new cyclists but also experienced people who don’t want the extra baggage that comes with the 500 and 800, which unless you make use of only serves to hike up the price.
For riders who want a computer that just records their ride with the accuracy and the sharing capability of the Garmin, and without the setup faff of other computers, the Edge 200 is a sure-fire hit. Some may miss the navigational element, but for everyone else the 200 does all you ever need.
The Edge 200 costs £129.99 RRP and is available
soon Now from Mpora Gear.