Things I've learned about my Garmin 810

topcattim Posts: 766
edited April 2014 in Road general
I spent a lot of time wondering about whether to buy a Garmin and if so, whether to buy the 800 or the 810. I plumped for the 810 a while ago and thought that others might appreciate knowing some of the things I've discovered.

1) Battery life of iPhone connected to 810 for Livetracking. One thing that the 810 has over the 800 is it ability to send data on your location while you ride. I find this helpful for reassuring the OH that I am at least moving, rather than lying in a ditch. I was concerned that Livetracking might drain the phone battery as it uploaded data - but it hardly seems to drain it at all.

2) Uploading to Strava. Of course, one of the benefits of the 810 is that it does its stuff wirelessly. So it would be a pain to have to plug it into a computer to upload to Strava. I discovered that you don't have to do this, as you can use copymysports to do this, once you've paired the accounts. You can't be in a hurry, though: once it has learned the times at which you usually have rides ready to upload, it usually does this within a 30 minute period, but it sometimes much longer and twice (out of about 50 occasions so far), it has failed completely.

3) Battery life of 810 itself. Is far from the advertised 12+ hours. Admittedly, I have it on a bright setting, with the light set to fade after 15s of inactivity. But I also often run it with the map showing, or with the elevation screen showing, so, because this is constantly being redrawn, it doesn't have a chance to fade. This means that I reckon the life is about 6 or 7 hours, but I've not scientifically tested it. I'm sure I could get more life out of it if I wanted, just by running one of the data screens.

4) Watching progress up hills/mountains. I really like having the elevation screen showing, that shows how much further it is to the next peak, and how much more height needs to be gained. To do this, though, I think it needs a tcx file loaded (which I do from bikeroutetoaster) rather than a gpx file. (I realise that this will also be possible on the 800)

5) Competing against your virtual partner. Also possible on the 800, I think, but I love competing against my previous rides. Much more appropriate than chasing Strava segments. I have a regular commute, and I just set today's course to match me against yesterday's. If I beat it, great. If I don't then at least tomorrow's VP will be that little bit easier!

6) And overall, I've really loved it. I ummed and aahed about this for ages. TBH, it doesn't make that much difference on most of my regular routes - just more data to distract me. But when I am riding in areas that I don't know well, it has been brilliant not to need to consult a map, and also (as above) to be able to see how much more climbing there is ahead of me.

Hope that information helps someone out there making a similar decision.