First GPS Computer : Garmin Edge 305 or Edge 500

Discussion in 'Components, Accessories and Clothing' started by Rider Rich, 4 May 2010.

  1. Rider Rich

    Rider Rich Active Member

    Hi All,

    Having used a Cateye cycle computer for a while now I am looking to upgrade and am very interested in a GPS enabled cylcle computer.

    I like to keep a record of my rides & would love to make use of all the extra data a GPS unit can record.

    I have been looking at the Garmin units & as I dont really think I need the full Sat Nav type maps of the Edge 705 the 2 units I am interested in are the Garmin Edge 305 with cadence & heart rate or the Garmin Edge 500 with cadence & heartrate.

    I am torn between the 2 & not having a great deal of knowledge in the GPS computer department was after some advice or opinions?

    Garmin Edge 305 or Garmin Edge 500?

    Thanks in advance

    Richard :sun:
  2. yello

    yello Legendary Member

    I've had a 305 with cadence and hr for getting on for 3 years now and love it to bits. It's one of the best cycling related buys I've ever made. Like you, I'm not actually interested in full sat nav (and, if I were, I probably wouldn't look at an Edge unit anyway!) so the 305 suited my needs.

    The 500 obviously wasn't available when I got my 305 but I am aware that the 305 won't last forever, so I've had a glimpse at the 500 since it is the most obvious like-for-like replacement.

    The first thing that struck my was size; the 500 looks small. Apparently the screen and readout size is the same but it didn't look it to me. The 500 can supposedly auto-scroll data screens, which could be a blessing or a curse, whereas you have to push a button on the 305 to flip from one screen to the other. I have 8 data items on each screen, so pretty much everything I want is on one screen anyway. The 500 has more/other data available; temperature for instance, so you may want to look at those differences.

    I'd say a bigger difference is that the 500 has this ANT+ compatibility thing, which means you can attach a power meter if you want. I don't personally but it maybe a consideration.

    I've read that you can't load routes (or apparently waypoints either) to a 500, only courses. The 305 uses courses and routes, and can store 'locations' too. As I have only ever followed courses on the 305 anyway the difference wouldn't be a consideration for me.

    Battery life appears to be about the same.

    My cursory glance suggests to me that, if I had to replace my 305 today, I'd get another 305. I don't think the differences would sway me... besides I don't like the small form factor of the 500!

    But do read some reviews of the 500, there are plenty around.
  3. OP
    Rider Rich

    Rider Rich Active Member

    Thank you for your very imformative reply.

    I would not be interested in adding a power meter, so the Ant+ of the 500 is not really a major benefit to me.

    I would like to make use of routes, courses & waypoints (turn by turn pointers, I think it does that) which is why I was swaying towards the 305.

    I can get them both for around £190.00 new, including the cadence/speed sensor & the heart rate belt.
  4. redddraggon

    redddraggon Blondie

    North Wales
    I'd get the 500, if I was definitely convinced I'd never ever need the mapping functions of the 605/705?

    I have a 705, and don't often go places that require routing, but I have found that having the routing functions has helped me explore new places.

    I definitely think the mapping/routing functions are worthwhile, even if you won't use them much.
  5. yello

    yello Legendary Member

    The only time I have tried a route on the 305, it was pretty flakey. The turn-by-turn indications beeped at me but didn't correspond to actual turnings. It was way more confusing than simply following a 'breadcrumb trail' so I went back to using courses.

    To be honest, I could have messed up with the route plot. I'm not the most patient of people and hate pfaffing around with gadgets when I could be out riding! Courses work for me so I've stayed with them.
  6. Soltydog

    Soltydog Legendary Member

    near Hornsea
    can you use free online mapping, or do you need to purchase additional maps from Garmin?
  7. Rob3rt

    Rob3rt Man or Moose!

    I use edge 500. It's a great unit. Very easy to use, reliable, and I like the small size. Gives option of adding a power meter, but to be honest if you don't think you will ever want a power meter I'd forget this. Plus if you have cash to spring for a power meter you probly won't mind changing computer in the future. Regarding lack of mapping, if you are patient enough and plan routes in advance its navigation functions are adequate. If you plot a course following breadcrumb is easy and reliable. Allowed me to navigate Vienna just fine. If you add navigation points you will.get turn by turn instructions.

    To confirm what someone else said the 500 does have an auto scroll function to scroll between data screens.
  8. yello

    yello Legendary Member

    I see Wiggle are selling the 500 at £30 less than the 305... that'd be a factor for me, as all other things seem to be equal for me. Plus, who knows what the long term support of the 305 will be like. If I had the OP's option of £190 for either, I don't know. I know I said I'd stay with a 305 but I am now starting to reconsider that.

    In answer to saltydog, yes you can use the online mapping sites. You don't need additional software. Some (most?) of the sites now use the Garmin plug in so you can plot your ride and send it directly to the Edge unit (via a USB cable). In the good old days (and still on some sites) you had to download a .crs file, import that into Garmin Training Centre and then send it to the unit. I use a linux system so I still have to use GTC (on VirtualBox) since the Garmin plugin and GTC aren't linux compatible. In fact, Garmin seem blissfully unaware of linux!!

    With regard to Garmin Training Centre (GTC), there are better bits of software available now. GTC is a bit old and clunky now. Online and currently free (but for how much longer???) are Garmin's Connect site and (my favourite) RideWithGPS. The latter sometimes plays up (for me anyway) but I prefer it's data analysis tools. Software wise, I don't know everything that's available for PC but I do use, and like, SportTracks (I run it under Wine). Straight Linux compatible, I use PyTrainer and TurtleSport. Both are currently pretty limited, not offering the fuller features of other software, but I suspect they'll get there. TurtleSport particularly looks promising, imho of course!
  9. redddraggon

    redddraggon Blondie

    North Wales
    When you are talking about mapping, do you mean to supplement the garmin basemaps?

    I use the open source maps and find them to be as good as the rip off city navigator maps, sometimes even better.
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