(Price: $399 - $430)
- Sharp color moving map display.
- Numerous GPS features to help you find your way.
- Keep a detailed training log without writing a thing.
- Does not include a heart rate monitor (move up to the Edge 705 for that).
- No barometric altimeter (barometric altimeter plus GPS is more accurate than GPS alone).
- Need optional, $99 map of North America on SD card to get detailed roads and points of interest.
A Winner, But Compare to Other Models
Garmin upgrades its cycling-specific GPS line in 2008 with the introduction of new Edge 605 and Edge 705 models. The Edge 605, reviewed here, features a color screen with moving map display, an accurate, high-sensitivity satellite signal receiver, and wireless installation and operation. The Edge 605 is positioned near the top of the Garmin cycling line, with the black & white screen Edge 305 and Edge 205 below it, and the Edge 705 above it.
Overall, the Edge 605 is a well-thought-out, well-designed, well-built and feature-rich cycling GPS that is a pleasure to use. If you're used to running wires around your fork and frame to mount a conventional cycling computer, you'll welcome the totally wire-free GPS cycle computer. Also, there's no need for pesky wheel calibration routines, because you're getting your position data from satellites, not your wheels on the road. This feature also makes it easy to switch the unit between bikes without sacrificing accuracy or recalibrating.
The Edge 605 isn't perfect, and has some drawbacks compared to the Edge 705 that I'll discuss later, but it could be right for you if you don't need a heart rate monitor or power meter compatibility.
Give Garmin credit, also, for putting significant product development into quality, cycling-specific products. Sorry to say, no other GPS maker is even contending in this niche.
Screen, Buttons, Thumb-Stick Well Designed
When I reviewed the Garmin Edge 305 last year, I liked its features, but noted its simple, black and white map screen was of very limited use for navigation. Garmin fixed that, and added some nice new touches with the new Edge 605 and Edge 705 models.
The Edge 605 has a generous, 1.4" x 1.7" display (2.2" diagonal) that provides ample room for the moving map display, and the multiple mode displays you can customize.
You control the Edge 605 with a mode button (cycles through displays), a menu button, lap and start/stop buttons, a rubberized thumb stick, and a pair of zoom buttons. That sounds like a lot of controls, but they are quite intuitive in the way they interact with the screen, and I mastered them with just a little practice and browsing of the quick reference guide. All of the buttons were easy to locate and use during a ride, even with a lightly gloved hand. I especially like the way you can flick the thumb stick to automatically activate the backlight (brightness is adjustable and visible in full sunlight when maxed) and switch between customized displays.
The Garmin Edge 605's full specs and feature set are listed on page two of this review, but I'll hit the highlights here. The color moving-map display is a "wow" feature that will have your riding buddies looking over your shoulder and asking for demos. Garmin's full accessory map set is available on micro SD card to be popped into this unit, so you can take your pick of City Navigator North America, with terrific detail of even small back roads across the U.S. and Canada; City Navigator Europe; or maps specific to the Alps, New Zealand, and more. These maps include "points of interest" also, such as restaurants, campgrounds, emergency services and more. The North America version, for example, includes six million (that's right, "million") points of interest. Amazing what they can put on a chip.