Sunday, March 18, 2012

Garmin Edge Touring series focuses on navigation

Garmin Edge Touring and Edge Touring PlusUPDATE: Here’s our hands on review of the Edge Touring Plus.

Garmin has announced the Edge Touring and Edge Touring Plus, a series we first caught wind of a couple of months ago. Unlike other Edge models these are focused more on navigation than fitness.

The new series features preloaded “Garmin Cycle Maps” (apparently on an included microSD card), and cycling, tour cycling and mountain bike modes. They offer a round-trip routing option that will calculate up to three routes to choose from, and display their distance and elevation profiles.

Garmin Edge Touring series screenshots

Garmin Edge Touring series screenshots

It appears that the Touring series is based on the Edge 800 hardware, albeit with very different firmware and features. The Edge Touring Plus adds ANT+ heart rate monitor compatibility, a barometric altimeter, and “will even display key data such as range or remaining charge from ANT+ compatible eBikes.” A notable accessory is the solar-powered external charger.

Of maps and trails

I will be interested to see how good the trail database is for mountain biking. If it works well, expect to see similar routing functionality on future hiking models. And on the subject of maps, check out what DC Rainmaker has to say in his initial hands on look:

Garmin has pre-loaded the unit with free maps from Openstreet – which is actually a pretty big shift for the company where most maps cost users money.  This past spring you saw the addition of Openstreet to Garmin Connect for map creation – in preparation for this unit being offered.

Now he may be looking at a European model, but having OSM maps could ultimately make for a very accurate trail database, although updates are questionable if it comes on a microSD card. Still, you can always load routes from Garmin Connect.

I’ve never been a big fan of the Edge series, just because I’m a mountain biker who is more focused on navigation than fitness stats. Guess I’ll have to try one of these!

Availability and price

The new models are expected to ship this fall (the Garmin product pages say 3-5 weeks) and are priced at $249.99 and $299.99 MSRP. Here is the full news release and a promo video:

 

About Rich Owings

Rich is the owner, editor and chief bottle-washer for GPS Tracklog. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus.

Comments

  1. Rich,

    Any ideas if this could substitute for one of Garmin’s mapping series units? Use it to put down points with extra information, load custom maps onto the unit, easily pull tracks, etc.

    I like the idea of having the routing functions for my personal use, but need the mapping functions for the side business.

    • I imagine you can add info to waypoints, and download tracks from it, but the custom maps compatibility is a good question. It is not currently listed as compatible, although the Edge 800 is.

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