Written on: 29/10/2008 by simondaw (1 review written)
The integration of an accurate heart rate monitor, efficient odometer, a reasonably reliable altimeter and a fairly decent navigation system is a plus. I use it with Openstreetmap, which is free and which works well except that you lose the turn-by-turn navigation aspect. I pre-plan routes using one of a number of websites, then load the route to the unit. This works well, and means one is not reliant on the unit to choose the best route - something I think is probably more problematic when cycling. Works for me.
If one chooses to use Garmin's own maps, be prepared for a hefty bill on top of the price of the unit. It can lose signal under cloudy skies, although I don't think it's any worse than my car's satnav in this respect; it's more noticeable because it tells you! The file system relies on and produces TCX files which are a bit of a faff compared to the "standard" GPX files. However, there are online converters which do the job quickly and painlessly (just Google TCX and GPX).
The Garmin Edge 705 seems to be getting mixed reviews. Overall, I find that it's pretty accurate, and that I've been able to adapt it to do the job I want it to do. I wouldn't be happy with it if I was expecting to use it like a car satnav - the display is too small, really, and other reviewers tend to point out that it can suddenly decide you need to do a "U" turn, or that it takes you via an inefficient route, or that the warning messages are delayed. Although I don't use the search feature (because I can't, using Openstreetmap). I have some experience of the latter - going off of a manually planned route results in a stream of messages, which often seem illogical. Nonetheless, I've found, like others, that it's made me explore routes I certainly wouldn't otherwise have tried; a few minutes on the PC can derive great routes which are easy to follow on the 705. It feels a nice, solid unit, and I enjoy using it.