Jan 14, 2013

Garmin Edge 500 vs Edge 520 review comparison. Should I stay with the Edge 500?

First of all I want to make clear that my impression on the Edge 520 is taken from the many reviews out there, I am not lucky enough for Garmin to send me one to review, and, of course, my Edge 500 was bought with my money, I am not a renowned person in the bike world to get one for free as some do, I am just a biking enthusiast and this is just my impression of a product as a humble biker.

In this post I want to share my point of view of how the Edge 520 does not impress much on over the Edge 500 owner and the reasons why I will stay with my Edge 500 for the time being. A device like this is perfect for not using your phone as a tracker, which probably has already a GPS, and also is a valid option, but as you may know its height accuracy is pretty bad. On the other hand the Edge series have a barometric altimeter which is perfect for this kind of tracking. Using an external GPS tracker is perfect for not overusing the battery of your phone and save it for emergencies.

Here you can check the current prices and offers of the best Garmin GPS for bikers, the Edge 500 (mine), the Edge 510, the new Edge 520, the Edge 810 and the Edge 1000 which are the top models from Garmin.


The size I think it is the most important point on why I will stay with mine, the Edge 500 is pretty much smaller than the Edge 520, which is almost as big as the Edge 800. The Edge 500 is compact and has the perfect size for enough fields to check at riding time. I even use it as a hiking GPS, I put it on the outer mesh pockets to get enough GPS signal reception and works just fine. The weight of the Edge 520 has increased to 80g. when the Edge 500’s is just 58g.

Edge 500: 10
Edge 520: 5
Winner: Edge 500


The touch screen seems nice and it is clearly more user friendly, counting it works good with gloves as they state. I don’t know if it really has any real usefulness, here I lack enough information but I am really doubtful on how this can improve the manipulation of the device and over all on riding conditions. The buttons on the Edge 500 works exactly as they should, they offer enough tactile information to know if you really pressed the buttons, and being on the side offer you the ability to keep your balance manipulating the device while you are on movement.

The color screen in the Edge 520 is a nice touch but I don’t think it is really needed, if they assure me it does not use more battery then it's okay, if not they should have stayed with the black and white one.

The Edge 500 has a small reflection when found in direct sunlight but is not enough to not see the fields on the device, also the light is good for riding on dark situations. Also is recommendable to use a cheap cover to avoid wear on the unit.

Edge 500: 7
Edge 520: 8
Winner: Edge 520 for small gap


Of course connectivity possibilities have been much more improved, now being able to share through your mobile your ride information, with current social network addiction, many of us like to share our rides online as soon as possible. Until now, the Edge 500’s integration with services is good enough, due to these services improving and trying to make as easy as possible the user’s experience, Strava for example let you upload your ride in a couple of clicks, also you can use Garmin's service, Garmin Connect, and also you should check our comparison of Strava vs Garmin Connect. It’s not instant but good enough for me. The connectivity with sensors and power meter remains the same, which was good enough. Perfect for use at home with your trainer, check our Minoura B-60r review, during winter.

Edge 500: 7
Edge 520: 8
Winner: Edge 520 for small gap


The software is where the Edge 520 should improve more over the Edge 500, as I have not tested the Edge 520 I only can assume that it will improve the Edge 500 capabilities. It has many new options Strava integration being the most expected, weather integration, fields depending on the profile, etc. Many users have always been critic with the courses functionality on the Edge 500, maybe I am the only lucky one that got an Edge 500 that worked more or less okay with courses, some minor error drawing in big courses but apart from that it was even useful, as I stated before I also use it for hiking courses. Another typical problem is the lack of refresh on some stats or the battery gauge hanged on 99%, but minor problems really that can be easily fixed.

The Edge 520 probably will have bugs on its first weeks of life, but Garmin has enough time to improve the software on their device and introduce new features which we would love to see.

Edge 500: 6
Edge 520: 8
Winner: Edge 520

Battery life

The Garmin Edge 500 has an official battery duration of 18 hours, according to Garmin, I never experienced with the battery, so I would have to believe it as true. On the other hand the Edge 520 has a duration of 20 hours, it seems the battery may have increased and probably the device is more battery efficient, but the two options are more than enough for a good ride.

Edge 500: 8
Edge 520: 9
Winner: Edge 520 for small gap


I bought mine for around 200€ (around $240) at amazon in 2012, which was the complete package, with HRM strap and cadence sensor. The Edge 520 has a price of $330 for the basic package. The increased price on the Edge 520 may cause some entry level enthusiasts to opt for other brands or the old model at a reduced price, and of course to use the Strava integration you will need to pay the premium features which rise the price on 60€ per year.

Edge 500: 7
Edge 520: 4
Winner: Edge 500


With price:
Edge 500: 7.5
Edge 520: 7

Without considering the price:
Edge 500: 7.6
Edge 520: 7.6

So, taking into account the price, it is really hard to beat the Edge 500, the Edge 520’s improvements have its drawbacks, it really don’t make it advance the Edge 500.

The idea of this post was to give enough reasons to stay with our Edge 500 or, if you have not any of the two devices, to get a small idea of the changes between the two generations.

But don't get me wrong, the Edge 520 is a great device, so, my recommendations depend on your situation:
  • If you are happy with your Edge 500: stick with it for a couple of years, at least, wait for other options and wait for how the 520 evolves.
  • If you have it but you want to improve your experience: get an Edge 800 or the Edge 810 vs the new Edge 1000.
  • If you don’t have any of them: with my points at hand, decide which can be better for you. Look for offers on the Edge 500 or price reductions if it gets below 180€ or $200 for the complete package can be a good deal. If you want the Edge 520 it may be a good option too even considering the increased price tag, or you can check for other GPS devices of other brands, which I am preparing a new post to do a small comparison of some of them.

You can compare easily the prices of the Garmin Edge devices on ebay and amazon with #WhereToBuyBig Thanks to all the readers and visitors!
This post was published first at Put in your basket, 6:43 PM