The Garmin Edge 520 bike GPS offers an extensive range of features, and it is affordable, durable and easy to use. The interface is intuitive, and its ability to pair with a smartphone and external sensors opens up a world of advanced functionality, whether you’re training or competing. For its function and value, the Garmin Edge 520 is our Top Ten Reviews Bronze Award winner.
The Garmin Edge 520 displays time, speed, distance, altitude and temperature data on a bright color screen. After your ride, you can get on the Garmin Connect app or website and see your most recently traveled route on a map, along with your stats from the ride. Garmin Connect also adds a social networking element to the Edge 520. If you share your rides, your friends can like them or comment on them. Garmin Connect is even integrated with Facebook and Twitter, so you can send rides to your social network profiles with a simple command.
The Edge 520 is compatible with ANT+ sensors that can detect heart rate, pedal cadence and pedal power, so you can monitor these crucial training metrics while you ride. The data the ANT+ sensors collect is also transferred to your smartphone through Bluetooth and then pushed to the Garmin Connect website. After your ride, you’ll see your stats displayed alongside basic ride data and a map of your ride.
The cycling computer features a bright color screen that is much easier to read than the monochrome screens typically found in lesser bike GPS units. You can manually adjust the brightness of the display whenever you need to, for easier viewing. Though the screen lacks a touchscreen capacity, there are multiple buttons on each side that are easy to use.
The Edge 520 has a 2.3-inch screen and weighs 2.1 ounces – it’s unobtrusive yet substantial. The 15-hour battery life is the second longest of any bike computer we reviewed.
The Edge 520 includes Live Track, which provides instant GPS tracking through the Garmin Connect app or website. This feature is made possible by the Bluetooth pairing with your smartphone. Live Track allows your friends to watch you as a moving dot on a map. It lets them know where you are in case of an emergency, or if they simply want to watch your progress in a race.
The 520 has map support as well as turn-by-turn navigation, and it even comes with preloaded course navigation. You can create a route on the Garmin Connect website and then transmit it to your bike computer via your phone or through a USB connection. As you ride, this route will display as a line and your bike is represented as an arrow. You can also view street names and basic topographical features. There’s built-in compass to further help with navigation.
Garmin has customer support reps available via live chat, phone and email, should you ever need to contact them. They have a variety of informational resources available to you on their website, including tutorials and a FAQs section. Garmin also has a YouTube channel with multiple instructional videos.
The Garmin Edge 520 lacks very little in comparison with Garmin’s costlier models. With just a pinch less history storage capacity than the 820 and a slightly lower screen resolution than the 1000, the Edge 520 keeps up in all other regards. It has every feature the serious cyclist needs to train harder and smarter, and it offers these features in a package that perfectly combines value, size and simplicity, making it a great deal.