On the face of it, Garmin’s Edge 705 looks a bit of a niche product. It’s aimed squarely at cyclists and comes with a handlebar/stem mount, plus cadence and wheel sensors for super-accurate speed readouts and a heart rate chest belt.
But it’s more versatile than it first seems. It’s a deluxe cycle computer to be sure, but its compact dimensions and light weight make it a sound choice for bushwalking, too. Unlike the Forerunner 305, you can add topographical maps of Australia. A major-roads base map comes as standard. Plus, you can add city and highway maps for other countries on microSD.
The 705 will also supply full route instructions, like a basic in-car GPS, based on these maps. Even without this, the fact your position can be displayed in a host of grid formats means the 705 can be used effectively off-road for bushwalking.
On the fitness front, there’s plenty to play with. The training companion, common to both Garmin recreational GPS units on test, allows you to effectively race against yourself: ride a route, save it as a course, and the 705 overlays your current position on the map against a playback of your best time over that route – you can also see this ‘race’ plotted on the altitude profile screen. It’s a surprisingly addictive motivational tool, and one that’s unique to the Garmin products this month.
In addition, speed, heart rate and cadence alerts can be set across five zones and, interestingly, the speed alerts can be combined with the device’s barometric altimeter – it will sense whether you’re climbing and change the speed zones automatically as you ride. You can set up custom interval-training routines, and there’s an auto lap feature. It’s also compatible with ANT+ power meters, useful for more serious athletes.
Couple this with reliable performance – it consistently achieved a satellite lock in around 40 seconds, the fastest on test – a transflective colour screen that’s fantastically readable in all weathers, a rechargeable battery, and an interface that’s very easy to master, and you have a great all-round recreational GPS device.
Australians pay a $400 premium, but in this company it remains a worthy award winner that will appeal to more than just its target cyclist market.
This Review appeared in the August, 2008 issue of PC & Tech Authority Magazine
Source: Copyright © Alphr, Dennis Publishing