Garmin 800 2nd Impressions

I’ve now done a number of rides using the Garmin 800 and have some further observations.

  • The first of these is the automatic timer start feature. There isn’t a Garmin 705 owner out there who hasn’t stopped the timer (by pressing the stop button – not auto-pause) at a cafe or mid-ride stop and then ridden off forgetting to start it again. Losing 10 miles of data in the middle of a long-ride is one of the rites of passage of owning a 705, but the 800 adds a setting that detects movement and asks if you want to start the timer. Simple, but very, very useful.
  • What were called saved rides on the 705 are now called courses on the 800.  There is a search facility such that if you have a lot of stored rides you can quickly find the one you want.
  • When calculating a saved route it is much quicker than the 705.   The UI is improved too. Again – helpful if doing it on the move.
  • The training partner feature helped me knock 30s off my personal best in the Kilton time-trial. I simply set training partner to an average speed that would beat my PB and then attempted to beat my training partner. The display shows time and distance you are ahead/behind him, which is really useful – it makes pacing yourself easy with a graphical UI.
  • The 800 allows you select a background picture.  These are 160×240 jpg’s and are stored in a folder and therefore you can add your own.  Here’s one of my ugly mug – see picture
  • You can also add startup text and duration it is displayed.  There is a .txt file in the root directory and if you open that there are instructions in the comments.  Mine now says “Garmin 800 – Ade Hughes, North Cheshire Clarion”  Possibly useful if you lose it and an honest person finds it?
  • There is a screenshot function allowing you to capture a screenshot by pressing the power key briefly – see picture

    Ade's Road Cycling Blog

    Custom background captured using screenshot function

  • The beep warning you of an upcoming turn is not as loud as the 705 – which means it is difficult to hear especially if moving fast or on windy days. But the increased screen size makes the display clearer to see and tricky junctions easier to navigate.
  • On wet days, wiping away the drops on the screen can cause you to switch screens inadvertently, although you can lock the screen.
  • The covers for the USB and microSD slot don’t especially fill me with confidence – although the unit is claimed to be element-proof.  We shall see.
I’ve also found a particular issue if uploading rides from the Garmin 800 to Rubitrack on the Mac.  It’s not a big deal as there is a simple workaround to do with un-mounting the map card before sync-ing.
I’ll keep posting more on the 800 as I discover things.
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