Most will be familiar with the 800 and its features. Colour touch screen with only two sleek button topside button. It is not the smallest bicycle computer on the market, however if GPS is what you are looking for on your ride then it is without peer.
It will come as no shock then that the 810 builds on this. Which, short of different logo’s on the ‘start/stop’ and ‘lap’ buttons, is the exactly the same size and design as the 800. It does make it unlikely that bunch mates will immediately notice you have upgraded....until you tell them the temperature and wind direction, straight from the device! You can almost hear the cheers of those using prevailing winds to snipe Strava segments.
That’s right, with the introduction of Bluetooth Smart Phone pairing (via the Garmin Connect app) a whole range of new features has been opened up with the 810 – real time weather conditions, just one of many.
Biggest draw is Live Tracking. Which, as the name suggests, it allows your current location (including heart rate, cadence, speed and power) as well as where you have been to be tracked in real time. The user is in control of who they would like to invite to follow them. Needless to say, the days of husbands spending two hours in the café instead of riding look numbered.
Automatic uploading is another new feature. It can be set to auto-upload, then giving you the option to keep or discard the ride file. No more diving around, post ride, for a USB cable.
Close on the heels of Live Tracking is the ability to grab courses, routes and workout outs from your Garmin Connect account and transfer straight to the 810. There is potentially even the ability to map the course with your phone, sending it then to the device.
Bike details (the number of bikes and their sensors the Garmin will recognise) has been increased, from five to ten. Additionally there an ‘Activity Profile’ for each bike has been added. Meaning for Bike 1 you can have a ‘race’ profile which has auto-pause enabled, whilst the same bike’s ‘trainer’ Activity Profile would have auto-pause disabled.
Another nice addition is a Personal Record page, with values like highest 20 minute power or most vertical ascent metres. You can even pair the 810 with an ANT+ scale, although setting new high records there might not be ideal…
To truly make the most of its GPS I would recommend purchasing maps with it (otherwise it is more expensive as a stand-alone), as base maps are basic. But routing and directions are the same as the 800.
Power meter pairing is also the same, with power and cadence automatically set to include zero (a nice touch). 1sec data recording (which is vital) will though need to be selected. Also, if your power meter supports it, the 810 can also display left-right power balance.
In all, the 810 is an impressive upgrade on what was already a top-of-the-line cycling computer. After two hassle free years on an 800, my own 810 is now on order.
Reviewed by Nick Squillari
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