This discussion has been locked.
You can no longer post new replies to this discussion. If you have a question you can start a new discussion

Coming from the Edge 830

I've owned almost every iteration of these edge devices -- 705, 800, 810, 820, 830. I absolutely adored my trusty 810, the 820 was disappointing, but the 830 has been a great unit for me. However, it had been showing some age, I like new gadgets, and sadly I dropped the 830 on some rocks and damaged the screen enough that it's probably not waterproof (or sweatproof) any more. With a much better excuse than "I want it", I ordered an 840, and well, I'm finding that the new UI seems to be awful?

There are numerous little animated "hints" all over the UI, do those stop appearing after a while?

The extra buttons are more confusing than useful right now, but I haven't actually taken it out for a ride. The buttons do feel like they have been redesigned to be more tactile, so that's good, but holding the unit in my hand feels like some weird lumpy thing that I don't quite know how to hold properly. Did anyone want these buttons, or is it an attempt to be more like the Wahoos (which I hate).

My incredibly useful Accuweather widget doesn't show up in the pull-down page any more??? Can I access it somewhere other than several taps deep in the "Connect IQ" option.

I have to scroll through the home page instead of tapping an icon? This is awful. Scrolling and swiping is the worst possible interaction - screens are dirty with sweat or rain, and some people wear full finger gloves.. I guess the extra buttons are supposed to make that better? But now I have to push a button several times instead of one tap?

And the floating menu button on the home page never vanishes, but there's a duplicate item literally on the home page. Wtf guys?

I didn't care for the 810 to 820 UI changes, but eventually got over it, and the 830 was bigger, faster, and better. I still think the 810 UI was better than the 830, but now this 840 is even more jarringly different than the 810 to 820. It feels like they have tried to cram a "modern web UI" into a tiny cycling computer that should not have anything of the sort. Garmin should hire someone who does industrial HMI design instead of web design. :(

I wish I was a design tester for Garmin, because I love their stuff and want it to be great, but clearly their designers would hate me, hah!

I know most of my interactions will just pressing start and going, with the occasional activity profiles switch, so am I being overly critical here? I've already set up refurbishing my damaged 830 with an eye on just returning the 840. Can anyone coming from an 830 tell me about their experiences after a few weeks of use?


  • I came from an 830 to 840 and I'm pretty happy with the new UI. I like having the buttons as I can use them with thicker gloves or when it's wet/muddy instead of trying to swipe on the screen.

  • That's the only use case I can imagine for the buttons, and while it would be useful to me in the end I decided to just return it. The UI is poorly suited for small screens and it just annoyed the *** out of me. A refurbished 830 will do for another few years at least.

  • I'm with you on the home screen swiping being so badly designed. Especially given all the added buttons. 

  • Agree they need a good UI guy or group.  I'm coming from scientific/diagnostic instrument design and this UI wouldn't come anywhere near being acceptable with respect to usability and human factors requirements.

    Coming from a 820, it's a huge change.  Only a dozen rides or so and am still learning the UI.  One thing is it can be tough to find specific settings/functions as they layout is pretty inconsistent and disjoint.  e.g.  Finish an activity and save, no problem. To discard it, tap the gear icon (settings) and then discard.  Discard is an action, not a setting.  Want to turn off/on course guidance?  Go NAVIGATION, COURSES, 3-dot menu, TURN GUIDANCE off/on.  Turn guidance is a nav setting, not a saved course setting. The, tap on the field and it goes back to the previous field without any indication it changed.  You need to tap on the 3-dot again to see if it indeed changed to the desired state.  Seems I'm always searching trying to find things.  A menu map would be very handy. 

  • If you went through and built a navigation tree, you'd find that there are a lot of things out of place. The course guidance you mentioned already, and the strava segment settings are not in settings, they are under training. It's as if two different people are in charge of the navigation.

    If I was to guess, some manager said "why are we maintaining separate code for watches, touchscreens and non-touchscreens", so they are trying to unify it. Only, you really have four categories to serve -- watches, large touch screen, small touch screen, and small screen w/o touch. What works for one doesn't necessarily work for the other. One thing that really struck me as odd on the 840 was the permanent three-bar (burger) menu on the main screen that also exists at the very end of the list, so it's replicated for no good reason.

    Then there are the menus that take up 80% of the screen. On a tiny device, why are you only taking up "most" of the screen? None of the screen you aren't using is useful, and now everything else is smaller. Maybe it works fine for the large screen, but it's just wasteful on the smaller.

    The 820/830 had a decent "home" screen with quick access to the most popular functions, which are easily accessed with taps alone. The 840 home screen is weird, with superfluous animations and colors (that really add nothing that I could see but are a bit confusing and distracting), and you have to swipe up and down to navigate. The swipe navigation is hands down the absolute worst interaction "feature" of the device. It's OK for flipping left and right between screens, but everywhere else it's just horrible and much better accomplished by tapping up/down arrows. They should be minimizing the amount of motion required to interact, e.g. if you want to page down twice, would you rather just tap a down button twice or have to swipe up twice? The device is not a cell phone and shouldn't try to be.

    I'll stop now, but I almost wish I had screen shots of all the 830 vs 840 so I could make a slide show outlining the poor decisions made.

    Garmin certainly gets the vast majority of their revenue from watch sales, so I guess I should be glad they still bother with cycling units, but I wish they wouldn't keep hammering round pegs into square holes.

  • Well, I had the 830 for several years and got an 840 a few days ago. I allways disliked the UI of the 830. For me, it was somewhat unhandy. Even after some years with the 830 I often did the wrong thing. In my opinion, the 840 has a much more effective and logical UI. Still far away from an Apple Watch but Garmin goes the right direction. However, one thing, I am still missing is a map zoom using the typical two finger gesture known from built-in car navigation systems, smart phones, digital cameras and so on.

    The additonal buttons of the 840 are just an option for situations where the touch screen can not be used. So nothing to complain about.

  • No, the "pinch zoom" is not a good idea here (or in a car) for several reasons. First, it's TERRIBLE for a small screen. Second it requires too much hand-eye interaction in a situation where you should not be taking your hands off the bars and eyes off the road (which is why it is BAD for cars). Third, it's in an environment where people wear full finger gloves, and screens get wet from rain or sweat.

    The UI should be controlled by taps and button, with virtually no gestures. Gestures require a more sensitive touch screen and too much interaction. You should be able to accomplish all of the most common tasks with as few interactions as possible, which improves safety because you can keep your eyes on the road and hands on the bars.

  • For me, it is much more distractive to find the tiny + and - buttons on the screen of the 840 and to tap on them for several times until the desired magnification is reached. The pinch zoom would therefore be much more efficient. Even in my Mercedes and BMW cars I use the pinch zoom gesture for the touch screens and the touch controllers (if available) without any significant distraction.

    But you are right, for a tiny screen, which in addition is not as responsive as a touch screen of an up to date smart phone, a pinch gesture might not be the best choice. However, in my cars with their 10 and 14 inch screens, I would always prefer the pinch gesture. And this also holds for a 3" touch screen of a digitial camera.  

  • Two-finger zoom is avaliable on both 830 and 840, but you need first to tape the "hand" button to unlock the map.

  • Damn, you are right. However, during the gesture the screen is blank and appears back after the gesture has been stopped. Not a very convenient behaviour, but this might be due to the limitations of the CPU. This seems to be a tradeoff we have to live with if we want a long lasting battery.