Garmin Edge 840: My Long Term Review…

The Edge 840 is Garmin’s top end compact bike computer. And it’s grown on me.

In a good way. Not like a fungal infection or weird right wing views.

It’s featured on the blog already, compared against both its 8 series predecessor and the larger-screened 1040.

But I wanted to do a dedicated, long-term review. Mainly because my Edge 530 vid did well on YouTube. And I want the money, money, money….

So here it is: my Edge 840 review after 9 months of use. Please to enjoy.

*Yes* There’s A Video Version!

Who Is The Edge 840 Aimed At?

Cyclists. Next!

Ok, sure, the Edge 840 is definitely aimed at the enthusiast end of the spectrum. Not least due to the bawsack-emptying price.

Edge 840 review

And whilst the 840 is easy to set up and use, even for beginners, it does keep throwing out training stat-sticles and guff-cronyms more suited to the lycra-trussed semi-fanatic. A category into which I most definitely plop.

Talking of which…

What Does the Edge 840 Do?

Answer: pretty much everything in the velo-computer space. I’m struggling to think of any feature possess-ed of another bike computer that isn’t present on the 840.

It does all the ride tracking and recording stuff. Navigation, certainly. More training features than a shizzley stick knows what to do with.

Edge 840 data grid

Integrations with third party apps like Strava, yup. Connect-ations with speed sensors, heart rate straps, indoor trainers, your favourite Bluetooth sex aid, bien sure.

The 840 will alarum if someone even thinks about moving your bike and tell your parents if it detects you doing a rad powerdrift out of that deathtrap roundabout down the road. Or if you fall off your bike.

The climb-specific feature – I’m not sure of the general term for these things – is best in class.

Edge 840 Climb Explore

And. And. And.

You cannot criticise the Edge 840 for lack of features.

If you have identified a gap in its feature arsenal – fart-senal – let Garmin know. They’re surely out making sacrifices to the velogods for inspiration on what to stick in the Edge 850.

Monkey tennis, any one?

Looks, Size And All That Jazz

I wasn’t wowed by the looks of the Edge 840 when I debagged it. I’m still not.

It’s chunky and utilitarian. The additional buttons, more on those in a bit, sully the clean lines enjoyed by the 830 predecessor.

Edge 840 in my hand

It’s solidly built though. The plastics seem good quality, at least to this amateur materials scientist. And it’s held up well.

Presumably I’ve dropped it the odd time. When not on the bike, it rattles around my box o’ bike computers. Taking all these photos and videos in exotic locales must take its toll. And there’s ne’er a scratch on it.

In terms of size, it’s … compact. To be fair, even large bike computers are modest by smart phone standards. Anyway, it occupies only a small amount of stem or handlebar (or in front of handlebar) space. It’s bit bigger than the Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT V2 but there’s not much in it.

We’ve got the usual Garmin mount on the back. After all these years, I think we can all agree it just works.

Edge 840 mount cleat

I’ve had the odd commenter (emphasis on the odd?) say they picked the 1040, with it’s milled metal cleat type thing, because previous plastic ones had broken. I’ve never had that and the 840 certainly isn’t giving off vibes of risk in that department.

Weight wise we’re talking 90g. Which is basically nothing. Certainly the difference to competitor computers is small enough to make no difference. So we won’t dwell.

Screen

I’ve come to the conclusion I’m quite tolerant. Perhaps not that useful as a hard-nosed consumer champion. Which I am.

The screen on the Edge 840 isn’t the brightest and most contrasty (technical term) in the market. I wouldn’t describe it as ‘washed out’ but it’s certainly not got the eye-popping, high definition seen on the ELEMNT BOLT or the Hammerhead Karoo 2.

Edge 840 on handlebars

And, because, I’m tolerant, I’ve been alright with that.

Partly because I get that it’s a trade-off.

You can’t get spectacular battery life, more on that in a sec, in a small, lightweight device, if you’re powering a 4K OLED screen on your handlebars. Also the touchscreen has to work (the BOLT doesn’t have this issue) and it needs to stand up to crapweather and the occasional clunk and bump.

In use, the display is certainly readable, at least to these eyes. So it works. It’s just not as shall-we-say sexy as the Karoo 2.

The Edge 840 screen is also reflective rather than matte, again like the BOLT V2 and Karoo 2. On a bright day, when I’m in and out of tree cover, I’ve found this can distract from my oh-so-important-to-view-at-all times performance data. I got over it though.

Edge 840 screen reflections

What can I say. Tolerant.

Battery Life (And Is Solar Worth It)

Ah, the topic I love to hate. I’m convinced it’s boring and it causes viewers to skip to the next crashed supercar resurrection video. But omit talking about it and that’s the only question I get asked.

The battery life of the 840 is very good. Perhaps a 500km audax rider might take an external battery pack but surely no-one would have single ride range anxiety with 26 hours of available on-time*. I certainly don’t.

(* Garmin says up to 60 hours in battery save mode)

Edge 840 battery saver

For someone like me, where a short cycling hollibob comprises 2 or 3 modest length rides, I’ve found it doesn’t need a charge all trip.

And if it does, the 840 has a USB-C charging port, which is both fast to consume electro-juice and becoming ubiquitous as a the cable of choice for fit, handsome thrusters. Of which I count you, yes you, amongst that number.

Edge 840 solar

Like a dedicated dickhead, clearly I bought the solar version. Despite the UK not really seeing much solar, even on the best of summer days. As expected, I haven’t found it a gamechanger.

Solar recharging can, according to Garmin, add 6 more hours of battery life. I haven’t seen that, even on sunny rides. But then standard johnny battery is enough for me, so it’s a poot moint.

Clearly your volume of sun will vary. If you spend half your year in Spain – yes, please – you could probably justify it.

For everyone else, I’d recommend saving the money. I did not, for I am a meat sleeve.

Using The Edge 840

To be clear, the Edge 840 does an excellent job of being a bike computer. Garmin has been doing this stuff a while. The whole ride tracking, data recording and displaying, navigation thing – spot on.

Using the Edge 840

With each Edge generation, Garmin adds a little bit more. Little by little has become a lot. The challenge is making all of these features accessible, intuitive and easy to use. Mo features, mo problems, as my dog says.

The 840 revels in the updated Garmin user interface seen on the 1040 and 540. More features are displayed as widgets on the home screen, with each offering a quick tap to access that aspect of the bike computer. Generally, the 840 relies less on the menus within nested menus seen in previous models.

Edge 840 design

In terms of physical operation, the 840 is Garmin’s first and so far only touchscreen device where all finger-screen actions can also be done using the physical buttons on the side. You can use the buttons to navigate around the screen, select options, tweak all that needs tweaking.

I don’t like to boast too much, but I am quite the fingersmith. I get on with most touchscreens (or at least my diddling digits do). But you don’t have to be with the 840. The meatspace buttons offer a viable alternative for controlling the thing, whether in the wet or because you handy-wandies are cossetted in glovey-wovies.

Edge 840 using buttons

Finally on the making it do things ragga tip, the 840 is now fully ‘settings update-able’, as no one says, from the Garmin Connect app. For older Edges, only limited device settings could be changed. Now, if you want to while away an evening on the sofa, polishing your … data grid display, you can do that from the comfort of your iPhone.


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So, you get the idea. The Edge 840 is an excellent bike computer.

But what, for me, elevates it above other GPSeseses you could buy?

What I Particularly Like About The Garmin Edge 840?

Would the grey haired gentleman with the verbal diarrhoea please stop masticating over the new version of ClimbPro. Other pool users are complaining.

[Monty adopts blank look]

ClimbPro has been a favourite feature of mine since the original version hit the prior Edge generation. It speaks directly to my ‘how much is left of this climb and can I actually get up it’ anxiety complex.

The new version, seen on the 840 and other x40 devices, is even better. The elevation charts feature more granular gradient colour coding, which helps my aforementioned bone china mindset and, importantly, looks hashtag more pro.

Edge 840 ClimbPro

Even better, ClimbPro on the 840 kicks in whenever you hit any climb. The previous version only worked when following a pre-loaded route.

And generally I’ve found it accurate – the Edge doesn’t identify phantom climbs or, worse, not recognise at all the secret alp that you’ve clearly started ascending.

Edge 840 ClimbPro whilst riding

If you’re a dirty sado-masochist, ClimbPro also helps you find local slopes nearby for you to flagellate yourself up.

So ClimbPro is a big tick in the bunghole for buying the Edge 840.

And I really like all the training features.

Do I use them all? No.

Do I use any of them, really? [Silence]

Do I know what they all mean? Erm…

Edge 840 training load

In truth, I know enough of the exercise science behind them to be dangerous (I do!). The stats are legit. As the kids say.

One day I’ll use them in anger to work on my fitness. One day…

In the meantime, I enjoy my bike computer telling me my training status is ‘Productive’ and my Cycling Abilities, such as they are, dress to the Aerobic Capacity side of the trouser leg.

Edge 840 Cycling Ability

I like that Garmin has ‘gone woke’ and given all three input methods – touchscreen, physical buttons and the phone app – full control over the 840.

The initial setup of the device and the subsequent syncing of your data, to and from Garmin Connect, Strava and mountain biking apps like Grindr, was/is straightforward and consistently stable and hassle-free.

Ultimately the Edge 840 just works. And works well.

Some Reasons For Not Buying The Edge 840

Here’s some quick-fire points. I’ll try to control my addiction to exposition.

You’ve already got a bike computer. There’s no rocket science to this one. The 840 isn’t doing anything fundamentally different to older Garmins, or devices from competitors. It won’t turn you into a pro rider, if your current one hasn’t.

Edge 840 and 830

You really hate touchscreens. The 840 can be controlled entirely without a digit swipe but you are paying for the privilege. This one is pocket science: buy the cheaper Edge 540, which is materially identical to the 840, sans screen du touch. Or the Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT.

Edge 840 and Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT

You like touchscreens but you want more of them. Or more of this one. Look, you want a larger screen! The 840 is a compact device. It has a compact screen. Avid navigators could well benefit from greater map estate. Maybe you want to display twelvety-hundred data fields. The Edge 1040, or the 1030 Plus, are great imax alternatives.

You really don’t need all the bells and chutney-whistles. For every bobbing lycra-warrior wanting all the sufferstats from that last sweetspot threshold tickler, there’s a rider that just wants to ride. All the features, options and inherent complexity of the 840 could get in the way. There are simpler options. The two Wahoo ELEMNTs spring to mind.

Finally if you want a brighter and more contrasty screen. There are definitely some riders that prefer a simple data screen, with large digits and no sunny reflections. If that’s you, again I’d consider either the V2 BOLT or V2 ROAM, or maybe the Hammerhead Karoo 2, although I’d check the shorter battery life will work for you.

Cost

The Edge 840 is not a cheap bike computer.

The device-only RRP is £450 without solar (Garmin describes it as ‘standard’) and £520 with electro-fuel generation (‘solar’).

Those of a US persuasion get $450 (standard) and $550 (solar). So relatively (a lot) better value for the non-solar 840 compared to what us former imperial overlords are being charged.

To put the cost of the Edge 840 in perspective, here’s a quick comparison list. These are (mainly) manufacturer prices. You may well get better deals in practice (less likely on the 840 and 1040).

Wrap Up

Boom. We’re done. Links to all the devices mentioned are scattered throughout the post. They tend to be affiliate links so I get a small percentage if you use them – you pay the same price.

Check out my other blog posts. I’m a dickhead in those as well.

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Peas out.

Monty - Sportive Cyclist
Monty is an enthusiastic road cyclist with only moderate talent. He started Sportive Cyclist in 2013 to record the journey to his first 100 mile ride, the RideLondon 100. Over time the blog has expanded to include training advice, gear reviews and road cycling tales, all from the perspective of a not-very-fit MAMIL. Since you're here, Monty would also like you to check out his YouTube channel. Also, Monty really needs to stop referring to himself in the third person.

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