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Wearable Tech

Garmin's new bike computer can track you and up to 50 friends in real time

The Edge 820 and Edge Explore 820 have GPS for tracking distance and speed. They can also provide bike-specific turn-by-turn navigation and crash alerts to family and friends.

Garmin

Garmin on Wednesday announced two new GPS devices, the Garmin Edge 820 and Edge Explore 820, which look to replace the company's existing Edge 810 model.

The bike computers feature a 2.3-inch high-resolution touchscreen that is said to work with gloves and wet fingers. Both devices are equipped with GPS, GLONASS and an altimeter to track distance, speed, location, and ascent and descent in real time as you ride. When paired with an iPhone or Android phone, they can also display notifications for calls and text messages.

One of the more interesting features is a new GroupTrack mode. This lets you see where other riders in your group are when the device is paired with your phone. The feature is said to be able to track up to 50 riders within a 10 mile radius, although it remains unclear if everyone in the group would need to be using an Edge 820 or if other Garmin bike computers will be compatible. I've reached out to Garmin to clarify this and am waiting to hear back.

Other features include preloaded maps for bike-specific turn-by-turn navigation and the ability to create a course right on the device. The Edge 820 and Explore 820 are also compatible with Garmin's Varia cycling awareness line. That includes the company's rearview radar system, smart bike lights and Google Glass-like Varia Vision. There's even a built-in incident detection feature, which will alert and provide a map to a list of preset contacts in the event of a crash.

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Garmin

The Edge 820 is slightly more advanced than the Edge Explore 820. It adds VO2 max measurements when paired with a heart rate strap or compatible Garmin watch, along with a recovery advisor, Functional Threshold Power and watts/kg tracking, Strava Live Segment and advanced cycling dynamics when used with Garmin's Vector pedals.

Battery life for both devices is said to be up to 15 hours, although a new battery saver mode can extend it for up to another seven hours.

The Edge 820 and Edge Explore 820 are available now for $400 and $350, respectively. Garmin is also offering an Edge 820 bundle with a speed sensor, cadence sensor and a heart rate strap for $500. International pricing wasn't immediately available, but the US price converts to about £300, AU$525 for the Edge 820 and £265, AU$460 for the Edge Explore 820.