The release of the 520 Plus by Garmin really helped stiffen up the competition. Why? Because no one is offering what the 520 Plus brings to the table in that price bracket.
That is fine and all, because the competition is key in bringing more features into the lower price bracket. But the question remains: is the 520 Plus the one to go for?
Do not fret, dear reader. If the title is anything to go by, we are here to help you make your decision. In this Garmin 520 vs. 520 Plus article, we are going to cover all the necessities.
After having a go at our comparison guide, you ought to be able to decide on which one you ought to pick up for yourself. Have a read.
Garmin 520 vs. 520 Plus – Comparison 2020
|Edge 520||Edge 520 Plus|
|DISPLAY SIZE||2.3″ (58.4 mm) diagonal||2.3″ (58.4 mm) diagonal|
|WEIGHT||2.1 oz (60 g)||2.2 oz (62.5 g)|
|HISTORY||up to 180 hours||up to 200 hours|
|CONNECTIVITY||Bluetooth®, ANT+®||Bluetooth®, ANT+®|
|PRICE||Check Price||Check Price|
Garmin 520 Review
The 500 series of Garmin computers have made their marks in the hearts and minds (and handlebars, excuse the pun) of cyclists all around the planet, and the new Garmin 520 is no different.
A companion to help monitor your stats throughout your cycling, the 520 keeps the simple to use, informative and convenient.
These are just a few of the things it carries over from its predecessors whilst adding so much more on top of all that.
And the key feature, we believe, of the Garmin 500 series is its compact size. It goes without saying that these miniature computers are meant to go on the handlebars of your bike.
But it certainly helps if they are below a certain size. You would not want to have something the size of a book bobbling along on your handlebars.
Moreover, the display is not touch-sensitive. The buttons, laid out on the sides are our means of navigating the unit.
Simple enough, we believe you can start using the 520 without the need to consult the manual.
Furthermore, you can simply attach to the bars and start using immediately, this 520 scores an A for user-friendliness in our books.
In the box, you get the 520 itself, an attachment set, and the manuals. The attachments are basically small plastic bits that you apply on the handlebars, which are held in place by two very strong elastic bands.
Let us have a glance at the interface. Here is where the 520 really shines. The 520 offers us all the relevant metrics such as the speed and the distances traveled, and of course, the heart rate, cadence, elevation, etc.
It even shows the calories burned and the training metrics. All of these are shown without overwhelming the user.
Also, the 520 allows you to connect your smartphone (both IOS and Android), so you can transfer useful info from your Garmin to your smartphone (your Strava details) and vice versa.
You can view your texts and calls from your handlebars if you keep your 520 connected to your smartphone.
Garmin claimed total battery life of 15 hours for the 520. But with medium levels of brightness, we reckon you ought to see about a weeks’ worth of cycling with this in your handlebars.
Garmin 520 Plus Review
Imagine all the great features of the 520 we reviewed earlier and add in the turn-by-turn functionality of the maps, and you will get a solid idea of what the Garmin 520 Plus is.
A better built-in computer, that manages the same battery life as the unit it replaces, the 520 Plus is for those who seek the best GPS on their handlebars.
The best part is that the navigating is done by the onboard computer of the 520 Plus itself, as is, therefore, very straightforward.
It is exactly what every power cyclist needs when planning out routes. This is a very commendable upgrade as Garmin usually does not offer such navigation features on units of this price bracket.
We are happy to report that like the 520, the 520 Plus also forgoes the touch screen feature. And we know, it is a useful feature.
But trust us, on handlebars, at the height of rough trails, accidental touches and ghost touches make tracking data and getting to where you want to be on the interface that much tougher.
Also, the relayed information is basically the same as the 520. The 520 Plus displays additional navigation and route data.
If you are a professional athlete, the added FTP monitoring, V02 Max, and recovery data should be right up your alley.
Granted, with this unit, you cannot adjust routes on the fly, but it does reroute you back to your original course.
The display itself is a color display, and while it is not an OLED one, the color is not overbearing, and you essentially just get what you need at that moment with no more, no less.
Garmin Edge 520 Plus or Garmin Edge 520?
Truth be told, there is only one key difference between the Garmin 520 and the Garmin 520 Plus.
Otherwise, it basically is the same shell design, the same button layout, and everything else.
The built-in computer has been revamped to support in-device navigation capabilities.
There are a set number of things we must get out of the way beforehand. The 520 plus is pretty much region-based.
That is to say, the Plus will contain the set of maps for the region you purchase it from.
If you buy it from somewhere in Europe, it will contain the complete map set for Europe.
The same is the case for North America and others. One new thing that Garmin added to their Maps feature would be an additional overlay, the ‘Trendline Popularity’.
This is essentially a routing data set which tells you the routes taken by other satellites.
What is different from the top-end models, however, is that the route you want to take must be created in advance and downloaded on to the device.
The only set difference between the Garmin 520 and the 520 Plus is the turn-by-turn map navigation feature.
So naturally, this feature alone commands an additional premium. This raises the pricing overall of the 520 Plus over the 520.
Thus, whether the navigation feature is a must-have is for you to decide.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Below are the most commonly asked queries regarding the comparison between the two products:
Do any of these Garmin Edge 520s or the Edge 520 Pluses come with water resistance?
Yes. To a certain extent. Both the Edge 520 and the 520 Plus come standard as IPX7 waterproof rated.
Which means they are protected against accidental spills or dips underwater to a depth of 1 meter up to 30 minutes.
Do these Garmin Edge 800 series devices come with Bluetooth?
We are not sure about the other, but the Edge 520 and the Edge 520 Plus certainly come with Bluetooth connectivity to your smartphone, levied by the Garmin connect app. Data transmission is both ways.
How to update the Garmin Edge 520?
Before the update process, make sure you have a Garmin Connect account set up and running. Also, download the Garmin Express app.
Step 1: Connect your Garmin to your PC or MAC using any USB cable.
Step 2: Open the Garmin Express app on your PC or MAC. If there is an update available, the app will send the update directly over to your Garmin device.
Step 3: Obey the instructions that appear on the screen.
Step 4: As the update installs, DO NOT disconnect your Garmin device from your PC or MAC.
How to pair my Garmin 520?
Step 1: In your 520, go to Menu > Settings > Bluetooth > Enable > Pair Smartphone.
Step 2: Follow the instructions that appear on the screen.
Step 3: Select the option that adds your device to the Garmin Connect account.
From where to download Garmin’s companion apps for PC?
Head over to Garmin’s website and check the downloads page.
And that is basically all there is to it. We are near the end of our Garmin 520 vs. 520 Plus article. And we believe we covered all the necessary bits and bobs.
The Garmin 520 by itself is an awesome piece of tech for all the cyclists out there.
And the 520 Plus adds in a map functionality. Opt for the 520 Plus if the navigation feature is a must-have.
Catch you in the next one.