(Cyclingnews) – The Garmin Edge 530 is the latest in Garmin’s line of premium GPS bike computers, aimed at performance-minded cyclists of all disciplines. Launched in spring 2019 along with the more expensive touchscreen Edge 830, the Edge 530 is everything you need and more from a cycling computer. However, in the days of touch-screen smartphones and voice remotes, the endless button-pressing can become a tedious exercise.
As expected, the Edge 530 shares its basic characteristics, including features such as LiveTrack, GroupTrack and Strava Live Segments with the previous generation Edge 520, however, it adds a raft of new features wrapped in a more aesthetically pleasing package.
As for charging, every 20 hours should be fine, or you can double that in battery-saver mode, albeit exact times will depend on a range of factors, of course. There’s also the option of the extra Garmin battery pack add-on, which will more-than-double battery life again. That’s a potential of 80+ hours of riding time on a single charge.
Design and aesthetics
The Garmin Edge 530 (and Edge 830, given they share the same dimensions) isn’t exactly diminutive in size, it’s what we’d consider medium-sized in the world of GPS bike computers. With dimensions of 82 x 50 x 20mm, it’s a few millimetres smaller, but thicker than the Wahoo Elemnt Roam (89 x 54.4 x 17.8mm), and the screen size of 2.6in means it’s smaller than said rival, too.
With a (claimed) weight of 75.8 grams, it’s not the lightest, but it’s far from the heaviest on the market – especially when considering the Edge 1030 is 124g, the Hammerhead Karoo is a whopping 186g, and the mite-sized Edge 130 tips the scales at just 33g.
The screen of the Garmin Edge 530 is small in comparison to the Edge 1030 or the Hammerhead Karoo, however, thanks to the 246×322 pixel resolution display, it really doesn’t suffer as a result. The display is crisp and clear, and thanks to the automatic backlight brightness, it’s easy to see the metrics, no matter the conditions.
My period with the Garmin Edge 530 has been a largely enjoyable time, however I’d be lying if I said there weren’t any hiccups. The out-of-box setup was actually very straightforward, the onscreen prompts and phone-pairing and wifi-connection processes were simple. However, after my first ride, my ride failed to upload. A few days of manual intervention ensued before a hard-reset, a firmware update, an app-delete, and multiple ‘forget this device’ prompts eventually put paid to my initial headaches. That aside, the Garmin Edge 530 is pretty much ‘set-and-forget’ in its application; exactly what users want from a GPS device.
As mentioned above, the Edge 530 has a truckload of new features to play with, from a roadie focussed café-stop bike alarm to the hang time feature that will tease the gnarly among us.
Turn-by-turn navigation was introduced to Garmin’s Five series computers when they launched the Edge 520 Plus, so while mapping is not new for the Edge 530, this time we feel they’ve done it right. With the introduction of a much more powerful processor, it is now fast and very easy to use. In real-world terms, this means a 90km route will take around 20 seconds to load. This isn’t long, but it would be nice for the routing to start immediately while the remainder of the route is calculating. Garmin, if you’re listening, you can have that one for free…
The Edge 530 features full turn-by-turn navigation, although on the unit itself, you can only navigate as deep as street level. For specific addresses and points of interest, you’ll either need to pre-create your route via Garmin Connect, or you’ll want the 830.
There is a downside, however. Due to the lack of a touchscreen, map browsing takes a lot of button presses. There are two buttons that control panning north or south, panning east or west, and zooming in and out, and you need to use a third button to switch between the three. You can soon become comfortable and relatively fast at doing it, but it is still a laborious process.
That said, once a destination is chosen (or if you’re following a preloaded route) the routing itself is fantastic. Like previous Edge models, it’ll route-to-start, and thanks in part to the crisp colour display, a simple glance down is all it takes to check if you’re on track (audio cues are also available).
A nice touch is the Bike Alarm which works a treat when leaving your race bike in the car park while you nip indoors to sign on or merely stop at a petrol garage for something to eat. Any time that your bike is close-by but not necessarily in line of sight – park your bike up, switch the bike alarm feature on, and should your Garmin detect movement, a loud (read: unpleasant) noise will sound and your phone will notify you.
Find My Edge
While the most obvious benefits are for off-road rides where chattery terrain or a crash could send your Garmin device into a nearby bush, this is a useful peace-of-mind feature for all. Should your Garmin ever come unhitched mid-ride, your phone will save the exact coordinates of the point at which the connection is lost. Then, even if you don’t notice until you’re 5km down the road, you can simply open the app and ask it to redirect you back to that point. If you still can’t find it you can ask the Garmin to sound an alarm (assuming you’re close enough for a Bluetooth connection to be re-established).
ClimbPro is a useful tool that tells you all the necessary information about a climb. It’ll let you know that a climb is coming, along with the important numbers (distance, gradient, ascent, etc). When it begins, it will bring up a new screen, which gives you a profile, with a few key metrics such as the average remaining gradient and distance.
I’d personally like the ability to adjust what is considered a climb. Throughout my time with the Garmin, ClimbPro was offered for very small lumps in the road, yet I also had long climbs arrive without warning.