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Garmin Edge 530 review

The Garmin Edge 530 could be the ultimate cycle computer that does all you need, for less.

Garmin Edge 530
(Image: © Garmin)

Our Verdict

The Garmin Edge 530 is a feature rich mid-range cycle computer that's compact in size but delivers a huge performance. From Bluetooth and ANT+ sensor support to on-board mapping and enhanced battery life, this does it all and competes with the more expensive 830 in nearly every way.

For

  • ANT+, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi
  • Superb mapping
  • Faster and larger

Against

  • Button menu faff

The Garmin Edge 530 might be a mid-range bike computer in price but it punches well above its weight both for features and performance. While the Garmin Edge 830 might look appealing with touchscreen, for the extra money it has little else that the 530 can't do.

Garmin Edge 530: What you need to know

The Garmin Edge 530 is the step up from the Edge 520 Plus but the model below the Edge 830. Sat between these two models, the 530 is the filling between two slices of admittedly very tasty bread - but the filling is always the best bit and the 530 maintains that here.

Sandwich analogies aside, the Edge 530 is a fantastic cycle computer that combines all the sensors you could need with a compact design that manages to cram in plenty of battery life. You get all sorts of smart metrics, navigation mapping and communication tools on this button controlled bike buddy.

The essential difference between the Edge 530 and the more expensive Edge 830 is a touchscreen, and some more intricate routing skills in mapping. The list of features added over the 520 Plus is too long to even list here. So you get the idea of why this is good for the price. You just need to ask yourself how much do you want touchscreen over buttons? Of course there's more to it. Read on to find out everything you need to know.

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Garmin Edge 530

(Image credit: Garmin)
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Garmin Edge 530

(Image credit: Garmin)
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Garmin Edge 530

(Image credit: Garmin)
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Garmin Edge 530

(Image credit: Garmin)

Garmin Edge 530: Design and build

  • 20-80 hours battery
  • Automatic brightness display
  • 2.7oz

The centrepiece of the Garmin Edge 530 is its 2.6-inch color display which, unlike the 520 Plus, offers adaptive brightness. That means you get a screen which can be seen clearly in sunlight or at night while saving you battery by adapting without you having to press a thing. In the age of smartphones, that do this automatically, you may have forgotten just how useful this feature is, especially for someone riding and focused on other matters.

The body is palm-of-the-hand sized at 1.9 x 3.2 x 0.8 inches and weighs in at just 2.7oz making the whole thing pretty unobtrusive. With IPX7 rating you don't need to worry about it getting wet or even taking a knock as it's a hardy unit. For connections you have ANT+, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi for fast uploads after a ride. 

The battery is good for 20 hours, tops - which is fine for most. But if you want to extend that you can near double it by going into battery-saver mode. If you combine that with the optional Garmin battery pack add-on then you can maximize to a battery life of about 80 hours, making this a worthy tour buddy.

The only downside, or positive depending on how you feel, is that this uses buttons, placed down the sides, to control and navigate the device. It could get a little frustrating compared to touchscreen. That said the menus are super efficient and when riding, a good old solid button press can be easier than a fiddly touchscreen. So this comes down to personal preference where the Edge 830 will get you the touchscreen if you want to splash out more for the option.

Garmin Edge 530: Features and connectivity

  • Navigation mapping
  • Bike alarm
  • ClimbPro
  • Gear tips

The Garmin Edge 530 has all the usual features you'd expect from the company meaning things like speed, distance, heart rate and metrics associated with that like VO2 Max are standard. You can also connect ANT+ or Bluetooth sensors like cadence or power meters and have the data displayed on the 530 with left and right pedal power in circular meters, for example. You also get full Strava integration for Live Segments racing too. But there's a lot more.

Mapping is very powerful on this new unit that packs in more power. It'll now calculate routes faster and give turn-by-turn navigation. This is fine for rough direction and exact distance starts but if you want to navigate to a specific address you'll want to upgrade to the Edge 1030 - that or pre-create the route in the Garmin Connect app and upload. 

Bike alarm is a nice feature which means that if the Garmin detects movement a really loud alarm will sound - ideal if you're running into the shops and didn't bring a lock. Should you lose the Edge, flinging off in a fall or perhaps just being misplaced, there's the Find My Edge feature so you can get right to its location - if it's Bluetooth level close, but hidden in a bush, you can even get it to sound an alarm using your connected phone.

ClimbPro is a fantastic feature which alerts you to a climb and all you need to know about it, like the distance, gradient, ascent and so on. Once you hit the climb a new screen will pop up with specific metrics you'll want when in that mode. Average remaining gradient and distance are nice touches here. 

A really clever feature tells you what gear you need. Essentially this uses weather to let you know if you should dress for the rain. But also it'll tell you what calories you should bring to fuel your planned ride.

There are lots more features but too many to list here. Some worth noting are Mountain Bike Metrics, Heat and Altitude Acclimation, Training Plan API support, Performance Power Curve and Hydration alerts, to name a few. 

Garmin Edge 530: Performance

  • Faster mapping and re-calculation
  • Superb battery performance
  • Excellent all-round data balance

The Garmin Edge 530 is much faster than the 520 Plus and, as such, is great for setting up to head out on a ride. But also it's quicker when you go off the route and it re-calculates your correct path. It was also noticeably better at notifying you ahead of time when you need to turn - something that can be frustrating when late and forcing you to slow before a turn.

Battery life is definitely at that 20 hour claimed mark. In fact that might be conservative estimate from Garmin as this goes longer. That's likely based on what you're using. If you have a connected phone, power meter and heart rate monitor while also leaving brightness on max, the 20 hours will be more accurate. But use automatic brightness adjustment and right away you're saving power. 

Garmin is looking at your performance in a much smart way with the 530. Not only will all your metrics of performance be taken into account but also how you fuel. You can opt to add in information like how much fluid and food you took on during a ride so that when analysing improvements, or slips, you can see what may have caused it beyond pure grit and pedal power. Smart.

While the maps do require pre-created routes, we did like the ability to pull in routes from things like Strava Route CIQ, which can be done in no time at all. That puts easy route planning at your fingertips but also opens your Edge up to a whole world of routes that other seasoned riders have discovered and created.

Should I buy the Garmin Edge 530?

The Garmin Edge 530 is a super solid mid-range bike computer that manages to combine top-end features with a decent price. If you don't mind missing out on a touchscreen and address specific navigation then you don't need to spend the extra of the Edge 830. 

That said, if you also don't mind ditching the Wi-Fi, screen size and a few of the more specific features like ClimbPro, Bike Alarm and that longer battery life - then the Edge 520 Plus might do you.

Garmin Edge 530: Verdict

The Garmin Edge 530 is one of the best cycle computers out there at this price point. It offers complete connectivity with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and ANT+ all displaying data via the decent sized color display that offers adaptive brightness. As such battery life is decent and there is the optional battery pack expansion, ideal for touring.

The Edge 530 is crammed with features not only for tracking riding metrics but also for enhancing training and pushing your abilities thanks to Garmin's ever evolving smart analytics. This is a great cycle computer that will leave most riders not wanting for more.

As well as bike computer reviews, we also look at whether you need a dedicated bike computer, while we also review and rate the best bike trainers