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06-06-2022 | Frank Jansen

From Wahoo (temporarily) back to Garmin: my review

For a review I'm currently testing the app Eat My Ride app. This app allows you to gain more insight into your energy consumption on the bike and (if you want to) create a nutrition plan, complete with pop-ups. Besides an app for the smartphone, there is also an app for the bike computer. At the moment, however, that app only runs on Garmin bike computers. Because I switched to Wahoo about 5 years ago (and therefore no longer have a Garmin), Eat My Ride loaned me a Garmin Edge 830. The perfect opportunity to compare the 830 with my current computer, the Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt v2.

I put the device to the test in my home environment, as well as in the Swiss high mountains. Let me start by sayingg that both devices do their job well. There are no major differences. It really comes down to the details. Details that are totally unimportant to some people, and invaluable to others.

What do I like about the Edge?

  • Data fields are configurable both through the companion app and on the device itself, even while riding.
  • The map gives more details than that of Wahoo (e.g. street names). I also find the layout clearer.
  • The Di2 integration is more refined than that of Wahoo. You can display your gearing in the 50x12 format, and you have the gear adjustment mode with which you can adjust the system. You also get a beep when you are at your lightest resistance.
  • The battery life of the 830 is impressive, even without using the battery saving mode. It does longer on a battery than the Bolt v2, but the difference isn't huge.
  • You can set the device to English, even if your phone is set to another language (impossible with Wahoo, the language must always match). Update: a ready reports this is actually possible. In iOS: Settings > ELEMNT > Preferred language.
  • The IQ app ecosystem is a nice addition.
  • The 830 has a lot more options than the ELEMNT. Whether you need all of them, is questionable. There are quite a lot you will never use. It takes quite a bit of time to get to the bottom of everything.
  • There is a greater choice of data fields. For me no advantage, because I don't miss anything on my Wahoo. Still, I'm sure there are users who would like to have a picture of what time the sun rises.
  • Bike Profiles. Unimaginable that Wahoo doesn't have this, really a huge missed opportunity.
  • Booting the device is slightly (not much) faster than the Bolt.
  • With Gamin Connect, Garmin essentially has one platform for everything: creating routes, recording rides and so on. Wahoo has no such thing and instead believes in connecting to other platforms (like Strava). There is something to be said for both. Personally, I don't use Connect (except for syncing rides).
  • Garmin performs firmware updates a little less hastily than Wahoo, where there are often flaws in it.

Things I don't like about the Edge (and therefor I do like about the Wahoo)?

  • In my opinion the settings are in too many places. There is a drop-down menu from above, which you can then swipe again. Then there is the settings menu. The settings for eg the navigation are in several places (under navigation and partly under settings). You get used to it, but in my opinion it is not very logical.
  • You can still only put 2 data fields in the map screen. Fortunately, there is a IQ app for that which you can choose to put 4 or 6. That works fine.
  • The altimeter is slightly less accurate (known problem of the Edge 830)
  • The Climbpro functionality of Garmin works very nice and is quite extensive. Wahoo has now copied this concept very cleverly. I think it is a pity that with Garmin you can't zoom in/out on the profile. There is another screen where you can see how far it is to the top, but that gives little detail.
  • The Garmin Connect App I find very messy. However, if you've set it up once, you basically don't need it anymore. An advantage is that you can use the Connect app with multiple Garmin devices simultaneously. This is not possible with the Wahoo one.
  • The Micro USB connection is out of date. This will be fixed with the new Edge 840 though. The Wahoo has USB-C as it should. But then again, that device is a lot newer.
  • The Edge has no LED bar like the Wahoo. For me personally, not a disadvantage because I don't use them on the Wahoo. But there are quite a few users who would miss them a lot.
  • You still can't change the color of the navigation line. With Wahoo you can't either, but because it consists of a series of arrows (the so called chevron) it is not necessary. BTW, you can change the color of your "tail".
  • Wahoo's live track is simpler and therefore works just a little more convenient.
  • With Wahoo you can reserve a route before loading. With Garmin, you can't.
  • The lap button and the start button on the Edge are in my opinion at an awkward place. Especially if you use an out front holder without much distance between handlebar and holder it is difficult to reach.
  • Updating the maps can be done OTA (over the air) with the companion app. With Garmin, you still have to connect the device with a cable to your PC.

On what area it's a tie?

  • The screen. Garmin's screen is just a bit brighter, but does shine a bit more in the sun. The matte screen of Wahoo does not suffer from this, but the colors are therefore slightly more flatter. Below the line there is little difference between them.
  • The design. Both just look very sleek.
  • The included out front holder is fine in both cases. I do think the Wahoo one is just a little bit nicer designed.
  • Smartphone integration is fine with both. Apps, SMSes and phone calls can get through to you on your screen if you wish. Fortunately, this can also be turned off.
  • Recalculating the route if you drive wrong. In both cases this is mediocre at best. But if you understand how difficult this is to program, this is not surprising (you ride your bike mostly in circles and not an A>B route). It should be noted that the Wahoo recalculates much faster than the Garmin.

What has Garmin improved in recent years?

  • The touchscreen. I found that with my old Edge 1000 really very mediocre. I had few problems with the 830. Only with very small buttons I sometimes get it wrong. What still plays a role is that the screen reacts to rain, but that can be solved by locking the screen. Whether I prefer the touch screen over the buttons of the Wahoo I find difficult. For example when moving the map (panning) a touch screen is very handy. But when changing pages I find buttons more convenient. Also when zooming in and out I clearly prefer buttons.
  • The device is still not very fast when changing pages, but no longer slow like the 1000 sometimes was.
  • The stability. I have not had any crashes in my test period. That was different with my old 1000, which jammed once every week.
  • The navigation line now includes arrows on the line to indicate the direction of travel, ideal at loops for users who like to ride without guidance (including me).
  • Automatic syncing of routes via Strava, for example, is now very simple - you just have to make them favorite. Also loading a separate GPX from your mail or WhatsApp goes fine. Just like with Wahoo, by the way.

Wahoo or Garmin?

That's the million dollar question. I simply cannot answer this question. Both have specific points that I like. Biggest advantages of the Garmin for me are: more map details, better Di2 integration and bike profiles. But with Wahoo there are just as many plus points: especially the buttons, the better "Climbpro" functionality, the less is more character of the device, the usability and the better companion app.

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