Garmin's tiny GPS-enabled cycling computer is very feature-packed for its size.
Besides running, cycling has to be the other sport which you can get loads of hardware doodads and thingamajigs to augment the experience.
If you look at the market for cycling computers alone, you’ll see quite a number of players.
One of them is Garmin and it produces a great number of devices for almost any budget and requirement.
Many of these are rather large devices for serious cyclists who want to be presented with a lot of information in one screen.
However, Garmin recently launched the Edge 25, arguably the world’s smallest GPS-enabled cycling computer.
So is smaller better in this case? Read on to find out.
Installation and extras
All cycling computers essentially measure and record the speed and distance travelled.
The more expensive ones come with a cadence sensor – this little unit clips onto the pedal to measure cadence or number of revolutions your bicycle crank makes in a minute.
Higher up still are the ones with GPS which can record your location so you can map the places you’ve cycled to.
The Edge 25 has all of these.
In the box you will find the Edge 25 itself, charging cable and cadence sensor, along with mounts and various elastic bands.
Installation of the Edge 25 and the cadence sensor was pretty straightforward – you attach the mount for Edge on the handlebar with two elastic bands and the cadence sensor to the left crank with another rubber band.
The cadence sensor runs on a single CR2032 button-type battery and comes paired with the Edge 25 so you don’t need to do anything extra.
Unlike non-GPS bicycle computers, there are no speed and distance sensors to install on the wheel so you are good to go.
Cadence, distance, speed
All information is displayed on the Edge 25’s 2.3 x 2.3cm dot-matrix monochrome LCD screen.
It may sound like the display is a bit cramped, but the Edge 25 gets around this by only showing three lines of information at any one time.
For example, I’ve set it up to show time, speed and distance, but you can easily customise the fields to show cadence, average speed, calories, total ascent and elevation.
If three data fields aren’t enough for you, the Edge 25 can actually be configured to show another page of three fields.
You can either manually switch between the two pages or you can have the device alternate between the two screens at set intervals.
While this isn’t an ideal solution for serious cyclists, the three data fields are enough for my needs.
Beyond the normal cycling computer functions, the Edge 25 can do a few more interesting things.
For one thing, as it has Bluetooth built in, it can be paired with your Android or iOS device.
Doing so will allow you to easily sync information with the Garmin Connect smartphone app without you having to connect the Edge 25 to a PC using the supplied USB cable.
Pairing with a smartphone also allows you to receive notifications on the Edge 25 so you don’t have to take your phone out of your pocket to check for messages or calls. However, you still have to use your phone if you want to reply.
Another feature which I found surprisingly useful was that you can create courses on the Connect website and then load them onto the Edge 25.
The Connect website has a number of useful functions for plotting routes – for instance, if you set the start and end points on the map, it will automatically create a route for you.
Loading the routes onto the Edge 25 turns it into a basic navigation unit – you’ll see your entire route as a black line on the tiny screen and you’ll also get turn-by-turn directions. You’ll hear beeps when you need to turn and a black arrow will indicate left or right.
While it isn’t as convenient as using a proper navigation device (as you have to plot your entire route and load it on the unit before you ride), it actually works rather well if you take the time to do it right.
The Edge 25 can also be paired with the Varia Rearview Radar (see accompanying review) so that it will display a little bar on the left side of the screen showing you how many cars are behind you and how close they are.
Battery life is actually good – Garmin claims it will last eight hours of continuous use and I got very close to that in actual use.
When used for daily commute and recreational cycling, it lasted about five days before it needed to be recharged again.
I found the Edge 25 quite useful – before this, I’d use my smartphone as the bicycle computer and navigation device, but as anyone who uses a smartphone knows, even an hour of using GPS can really deplete your phone’s battery.
With the Edge 25, the battery lasts for a few days even under heavy use and can easily go for a week or more if you use it for an hour or so every day.
While this probably isn’t for the serious cyclist who needs to track a lot of information at once, the Edge 25 is about right for a recreational cyclist who doesn’t want a honking big cycling computer.
Pros: Compact; good battery life; can be used as a basic GPS navigation device.
Cons: Tiny screen may not be a good fit for serious cyclists.
GPS cycling computer
Display: 0.9in (128 x 160 pixels) monochrome LCD
Specifications: GPS, Bluetooth LE, cycling cadence sensor
Other features: IPX7 water resistant
Dimensions (W x D x H): 40 x 42 x 17mm
Rating: 4 stars
Review unit courtesy of Aeco Technologies (M) Sdn Bhd, (03) 9285-8062