Garmin 800

It’s not really a product review, but I’ve just got myself a Garmin 800. I bought it off a friend from the City of Lancaster Tri Club, as he is upgrading. I’ve had a Garmin 500 for almost six years, and I’m very happy with it, and apart from the odd times when the screen freezes, I’ve not had any problems with it. So why did I buy an 800? Maps, that’s why. The 800 that I’ve bought comes pre-loaded with maps for the whole of Europe, perfect for touring or for when you’ve entered Skelmersdale and can’t find your way out.

This morning was my first ride with my new toy, a regular 12 mile loop up and over Littledale. First problem I encountered was the main screen didn’t have my preferred data displayed. I like distance, total ascent, speed, time and time of ride. A quick Google search and I was all set, after a brief moment getting confused with the instructions for the 810 and 820.

Next issue was that it wouldn’t fit where my 500 fits, as I have 15mm of fork steerer above the stem (I like the bars a bit higher for longer touring). Fortunately my new Garmin came with three mounts for in front of the bars, and once I’d found the 3mm allen key I was set. For a laugh I decided to use both Garmins and compare the results, although I did look a bit like DC Rainmaker when he’s doing multiple reviews.


The ride was a bit wet and windy, and I had to adjust the 800 as I had lap distance instead of total distance on the front screen.

How did the two compare?

Distance and time were identical, as expected, but elevation was about 7.5% higher with the 800. The map screen worked fine as well. When I returned home I uploaded the 800 to Strava (here) – no double counting for me. Battery life, the 500 was at 95% and the 800 was at 86%, although I had messed around with the screens when I was out. Even so, the 800 will have a significantly shorter battery life, something that I will have to keep an eye on.

Overall I’m very happy with my new purchase and I’m looking forward to plotting some new routes in the future.