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This year 2018 has not been overly prolific in cycling devices by Garmin. In fact only two have been presented, this Garmin Edge 130 and the Edge 520 Plus (which is really a "rehash" of the original Edge 520). Well, on the same date was also presented the RTL510.
It might seem that this has been a year of transition and that nothing is of much relevance beyond renewing the range or keeping it current, but let's not deceive ourselves, this Edge 130 is a little more than it seems and covers a part of the market that Garmin has not covered until now.
When we are waiting for new launches we always want to see the latest, most expensive, most feature-rich product. It gives us a sense of advancement, awakens our curiosity to see where the market is going and of course activates our most consumerist side. The small Edge 130 does not meet any of these points, and may seem a totally irrelevant product because it has no novel features or lights and bells that make it stand out from the rest of the market. However, it does deceive.
And it does so simply because it looks like a very simple device, but in reality it is full of possibilities, and not only as a unique device to accompany your bike on any outing, but also for those of you who have other more capable devices but want something smaller and lighter for the days of competition.
I've been trying out a loaner unit from Garmin for a little over a month now, so I know everything the Edge 130 has to offer, and I liked it so much that I bought one to add to my collection even before I finished the trial. In the meantime, the trial Edge 130 will be coming back to Garmin in the next few days along with several other devices I have ready to return.
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Let's go back to Edge 130. You want to know what I liked about Edge 130 so much that I got one before I finished the test? I'll tell you later.
- Compatible with all sensors including potentiometers
- High contrast screen
- It has a barometric altimeter
- Support for Connect IQ data fields, solving one of its main limitations
- Route navigation
- It does not reach the announced 15 hours of autonomy
- Limited data fields, especially in terms of power
- No support for guided trainings
Garmin Edge 130 Features
When you first see Edge 130, the first thing that comes to mind is that it's a simple bike computer. It'll tell you how fast you're moving, how far you've traveled, and how long you've been training. Hopefully you'll also know your heart rate, and it'll have a GPS to save the route you've taken. But little else.
What else is such a little thing going to do?
It does more than you'd think. I'm not saying it's a match for Edge 1030, but it's not much of a match for Edge 520 either. Take a look at its feature list because it's longer than the size of Edge 130 suggests.
- It has a barometric altimeter. The data of altitude and meters ascended will be real (and not by GPS)
- In addition to being compatible with GPS satellites, it also supports GLONASS and Galileo
- Supports external sensors, both ANT+ and Bluetooth
- It is compatible with power meters
- Compatible with ANT+, Varia and Varia Radar lights
- Autonomy of up to 15 hours (although the real one with use of sensors is less)
- Route navigation
- The new extended display function is available
- Support for live Strava segments
- Allows you to install Connect IQ data fields
- Connection with smartphone for update, training synchronization and call and SMS notification
- Compatible with LiveTrack
- Accident notification to family/friends in case of unusual slowdown
- Only 32 grams in weight
I will now compare it to the Edge 520. Not because it comes to replace it or because they are similar, simply because the price range in which you will find them is very similar. What can you find in the Edge 520 that is not available in the Edge 130?
- Edge 130's screen is monochrome and 1.8″, Edge 520's screen is color and 2.3″
- On the Edge 130 we can only set up one sport profile, the Edge 520 supports several
- We do not have advanced data fields such as intensity factor, normalized power, TSS... They are available on the Edge 520
- Advanced training and smart roller control cannot be programmed
- Although we can install Connect IQ data fields, it is not possible to install
- Of course, there are no maps, although the Edge 520 does not stand out at this point either (for that you would have to go to the Edge 520 Plus)
- He's missing half his weight (is that bad?)
- The Edge 520 lacks compatibility with Galileo, has no enlarged screen, the display for showing segments is less practical and is considerably larger. Not everything is in favour of the Edge 520 in the comparison...
This is mainly what makes it different from the Edge 520. There are a few more things but this is the most remarkable and what may concern users the most. Which one is better for you? It will depend on your use, keep reading and you will find out.
How Garmin Edge 130 works
The Edge 130 is not a replacement for any other device in the Garmin range. It may look like the Edge 25, but it has nothing to do with it, it is much more complete.
As a new device it is associated with some changes to the button layout. It is not a totally different experience, and if you are used to moving around in Garmin menus everything will sound quite familiar, but there are still some changes.
To begin with, there are fewer buttons. On the left side, there is only the button to turn the Edge 130 on and off. The same button also serves to activate the display lighting, which can be set to 10 or 30 seconds on or left on permanently, at the cost of reduced range.
Meanwhile the right side only has two scroll buttons, the upper one will also serve as a menu button if you keep it pressed.
As you can see, both of these arrangements are not the usual Garmin arrangements, and as a smaller device there is not as much space for buttons.
Where everything is kept as we are used to is at the bottom of the screen, with the start/pause and turn buttons.
But the difference here is that these buttons are also used for menu control. The start button will be used to confirm or access a menu, and the dial back button to return to the previous menu. In the past these two buttons only had their specific mission.
The menu also varies, and is now much simpler. As soon as you turn on Edge 130, the cycling display will appear with battery and sensor information at the top. You must wait until it finds both a GPS signal and all the sensors (you'll know because the icons stop flashing) and you can start your workout by pressing the start button.
If you press the scroll buttons instead of starting the activity you will see the notification and time screens.
If you want to enter the menu to change some settings, press and hold the top scroll button to enter the main menu where everything becomes more familiar to the Garmin user.
This is where you can change profile settings, activate navigation, view statistics and history, etc.
As for data pages, we can configure up to 5 screens with a maximum of 8 data in each one of them. The difference with other models of greater range is that in the case of the Edge 130 there is only one cycling profile, it does not offer different profiles depending on the type of use you are going to do (road, mountain, race, etc.).
In addition to these five data screens we can add other predefined screens for map, compass, altitude, time, notifications or segments.
The rest of the profile settings are the usual ones. You can set alerts, autolap (although it is not possible to set the distance), automatic pause... The usual.
The Edge 130 is a model designed for the lower end of the range, but it is compatible with all types of sensors. Garmin has not blocked the use of any of them, as it usually does with cheaper devices. In particular, it supports all of them:
- Heart rate via ANT+ and Bluetooth
- Speed and/or cadence via ANT+ and Bluetooth
- ANT+ or Bluetooth potentiometers
- Lights through ANT+
- Radar Varia through ANT+
Particularly noteworthy is the compatibility with potentiometers.
If you use pedals that have cycling dynamics, such as Garmin's Vector 3 or Assioma (when updated), Edge 13 will not display or record it. This information will be lost in the wind.
Where Edge 130 is most limited is when selecting some data fields, especially those related to power. We have the most basic data such as 3-second power or return power; but more advanced options are not available: current factor (IF), normalized power (NP), 10 or 30-second average power, etc.
This is the most important limitation, although it is possible to solve it thanks to Connect IQ as I will show you later.
Once you have set up your options you can start recording your workout. The screen will show the screens you have selected, both the data screens and the specific screens you have selected (compass, map, altitude, etc.) I especially like the one with the segments (from Garmin or Strava), because it follows the latest design that Garmin offers in the new devices and that is much more useful than the first one we saw in the old Edge 520.
In addition to showing the route profile, the target we are competing against is variable, changing it according to how fast we are.
While you are recording your workout you can access the menu by pressing the top scroll button. It will allow you to make any changes to screens or settings without having to stop the recording.
You can also choose the back to home option to get the route to return to your origin. It will show you the path you have followed to that point. Or you can mark a location to return to later thanks to the compass. It will simply tell you the direction to follow and the distance, but not the path because Edge 130 does not have a map. Although I will talk a little more about navigation below.
After completing your workout you can synchronize it by connecting the Edge to your computer or by Bluetooth through your mobile phone, and you can view it on the web or in the mobile application.
Again, we can see that the power analysis is also different for Edge 130, as we have more detail in more advanced models. Here you can compare the data shown for Edge 130 (left) with Edge 1030 (right) for the same workout.
Adding missing data fields
The biggest limitation of the Edge 130 is the power support, not in the aspect of allowing it to be used with a potentiometer to measure power, but in the data it offers. The offer is quite limited, allowing only these power data to be selected:
- 3s average power
- Average power
- Lap average power
- Power kJ
- Maximum power
- Power zone
It may be sufficient for a large number of users, but more advanced users will be more limited because there is no trace of more advanced fields such as intensity factor, normalized power, 10s, 30s or 1s averages, etc. In this case two things must be taken into account.
The first is that there are metrics that aren't there simply because Garmin didn't want to add them. Nothing limits Garmin from providing an average of the last 10 seconds of power. Or instantaneous power (although few people will use it). This is an absence that Garmin makes of its own free will, not because of device limitation or any other limitation.
There is a second thing to consider and that is with the more specific metrics such as normalized power, TSS, intensity factor, etc. These metrics come from algorithms that, if included, Garmin would have to pay a fee for their use. And they have not been added given the most basic profile of this model -and its lower price-.
Although we must not forget that we have Connect IQ available for data fields, which opens the door to a multitude of applications. So what is not offered as standard 1TP10We can get it in a "parallel" way.
An application is available from the Connect IQ Store: AppbuilderWith it you can have all those data fields that Edge 130 lacks and in a very simple way. But we have a limitation, we can't add more than two Connect IQ data fields to the activity profile, so you will have to choose which ones you want to add.
After installing the application you will have to configure the data field through the application on your smartphone.
Just enter the necessary data.
- Label: The name that the data field will have on the screen. In this case I have put the normalized power, so I have called it NP.
- Formula:Where does the formula come from? From the application examples page. Or from the instructions it displays, create your own data field.
- Display format:: To choose if we want decimals or not, or if it is a time or pace field.
- Record data to FIT file:If we want to save this data to the FIT file (and have it available in the workout analysis) we obviously need to select this option.
And with this you'll have your power data field normalized, something that Edge 130 doesn't offer as standard. It's also possible to put more than one value in the formula, so you can put more than one data in a single data field and be able to get around the limitation of up to two Connect IQ data fields.
In my case I have finally added a field to show three data (we are not limited to one, we can select several): lap normalized power, total normalized power and intensity factor. The formula used is this:
lapavg(timeavg(power,30,1)^4)^0.25 + '/' + avg(timeavg(power,30,1)^4)^0.25 + '/' + formatdecimal(avg(timeavg(power,30,1)^4)^0.25 / MY_FTP, 3)
However, I modified the formula after the photo to add decimals in the case of the intensity factor.
If you want to add a second field you will need to download another application (that's why there are the Appbuilder B, C, D, etc.) and repeat the configuration procedure, since when you select the data field you have created you will have to select the application where you have entered the field.
It's a great application that opens the door to a multitude of additional data fields (which you can also have on any other device, not just the Edge 130). Plus, if you like math you'll enjoy being a pig in a poke by designing your own algorithms from all the variables you can use. Five stars without a doubt.
Extended display function
The extended display feature was introduced with this Garmin Edge 130. It will not be unique to this one, although that is perhaps where it makes the most sense. Other Garmin models that support this feature include the Edge 1030, Edge 820 and Edge 520 Plus, and it is expected that they will come to market in the future.
What is the extended screen? When we put the Edge in this mode it will act as a remote screen from another main device. It will not record data, nor will it use GPS or have specific alerts. It simply displays data from another device, acting as a remote screen. Something like the Apple Airplay, but in a sports version.
The watches that are currently compatible with this feature are the Forerunner 645, Forerunner 735XT, Forerunner 935 and the Fenix 5 and Fenix 5 Plus ranges (5S and 5X included).
It is activated directly from the device's main menu.
Once selected, Edge 130 becomes a sensor and waits to receive a connection.
Next on your watch you will need to do a sensor search, just as if you were looking for a pulse sensor or potentiometer. A "Display" sensor will appear along with the device ID that the Edge 130 displays on the screen.
Once selected, both will be linked. Nothing else needs to be done on the clock, as it is just another sensor to be searched for at all times. And while the Edge 130 is in this mode it will display the clock information whenever it is in close proximity. Likewise, if you turn the Edge off and back on, it will do so again in the extended display mode, not in normal use mode.
If you want to exit this mode, simply press and hold the menu button to return to the main menu and retrieve the full functionality of your Edge.
As for the enlarged screen, the screen of the Edge will be divided in two. In the upper part we have two data fields that cannot be modified: total time and return time. In the lower half we have the data fields that we have configured in the clock.
You can see that there is a slight delay in the information that shows something less than a second, but it does not affect its use at all.
We can use the scroll buttons on the Edge to change the screen between those we have configured on the clock. And I insist, where you have to select which screen you want to see is on the clock since the Edge simply reproduces the information that it dictates.
The fact that we move the screen in the edge does not mean that the clock will change, so we can have one screen with data in the clock and another different one in the edge.
So we can have a screen in the clock with four data that we are not interested in having always available although we do consult them (distance, cycling time, slope, etc.) and in the Edge see those that are relevant at all times (intensity factor, normalized power in lap, heart rate, etc.).
This way you can have up to 10 data simultaneously, six visible directly on the Edge screen (the four on the clock plus the two fixed) along with an additional four to be consulted simply by looking at the clock.
Here we can use all the data fields that the clock has, including those that are not available on Edge 130: normalized power, plus power averages, etc. The only limitation is that we cannot display Connect IQ fields.
The same alerts will appear on screen as on the clock, so if you have alerts set up they will also appear on the Edge screen.
I insist on repeating that in this mode the Edge 130 is not recording anything and we are not using its GPS, everything will be recorded on whatever the clock is recording. This is definitely a feature designed with triathlon in mind. You can leave the Edge on the bike with the zoomed-in display mode on (it will not turn off) and when you get back from swimming, it will connect to the clock exactly as the other sensors on the bike will. You will avoid having to hit the start recording button and you will not have the cycling part duplicated.
Among all the things the Garmin Edge 130 offers is also navigation. Of course it's not advanced navigation and the Edge can't display maps on screen, but we can download routes and follow them as dotted routes, just like on watches like the Fenix 5 or FR935.
Routes can be created through Garmin Connect, or imported into the web and then synchronized to the Edge wirelessly.
You have a third option which is to use the new route creator which is available in the new versions of Garmin Connect.
This utility imitates the creation of routes that can be made on Edges that do have a map, with the advantage of a much faster experience thanks to the huge power difference in favour of your smartphone. It also uses the Trendline function to opt for popular routes.
By making a basic selection of the type of route you want to take, the approximate distance to travel and the direction of departure, the application calculates a route that you can then send to the device.
After synchronizing the route you can select it from the navigation menu.
After opening the route you can see a summary, view the map and the altitude profile.
Once the route has been started, Edge 130 will show you the route to follow. Remember, without maps, simply track the route.
The Edge display will alert you when you are approaching a turn, telling you where to go and how much farther to go. You don't have to be on the navigation screen all the time, it will also display the warning on any data screen and be superimposed on the rest of the information.
If you go off-road it will indicate that you are off-track, but obviously without a map it will not be able to create an alternative route for you.
As you can see it is a simple navigation, similar to what you can have in any clock other than a Fenix 5 Plus, but in many cases it is more than enough. The limitations can be in areas where there are many detours, or having to take an exit in a roundabout with several exits and not hitting the right one.
Finally, remember that, additionally, we can make the return trip at any time of our route. It offers us two options, through the same route or in a straight line.
The first option will guide us through the same path we have followed, while the second option will show a compass arrow that will indicate the direction you should follow and the remaining distance.
Opinion Garmin Edge 130
I suppose I can sum up my opinion of the Garmin Edge 130 simply by my actions. As soon as I tried it I decided to replace my Garmin Edge 520 with the new Edge 130. My case is different though, as I also have an Edge 1030 which in many ways is very similar to the 520.
With Edge 130 I have a much smaller device that is perfect for race days (and why not, any other training as well). I can use it either independently or by displaying watch information. And on days when I need something more specific I can go back to the 1030 and use its map navigation, its larger size for better visibility or guided training. As a complement, Edge 130 is a great option and my clear choice for race day. Wearing Edge 1030 on a cycling segment of a triathlon would not make much sense or be too comfortable for me. There the little 130 is like a fish in water and I have the ability to use it by itself or as a watch data display. I think Garmin has created a perfect device with triathlon in mind. And as such it fits me perfectly in its use, much better than the Edge 520 did.
This is my case, I have a multitude of devices and I can switch between one or another at my leisure, but it doesn't apply to all the others. If I had to choose a single computer for everything maybe things would be different and I would opt for some superior model, at least at this time when the price difference between the Edge 130 and the Edge 520 is very small given the novelty of the 130. In a few months when it is possible to find the 130 at cheaper prices maybe you should think seriously about using the extra features of the Edge 520.
Don't be fooled by its small size and being a low-end device from Garmin, it is fully capable of meeting the needs of the most advanced users.
Buy Garmin Edge 130
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