Review: Garmin 705

As part of the our trip we will be using all forms of technology to navigate from place to place; from paper maps, mobile phones and stand alone GPS navigation system. The Garmin 705 is a generation or two behind the times, having been superseded by the Garmin 800, 810 and the newest addition to the Edge family the Touring and Touring Plus which have larger screens and updated user interfaces. However, the 705 packs in loads of features and everything we need, including:

  • route navigation
  • gps tracking
  • waypoint marking
  • route planning
  • route uploading and downloading

Garmin705 Depending on where we are in the world, and our access to power, the Garmin will be used as either a tracking device for our riding, or a last resort when we are lost. My initial impressions of the Garmin 705 are somewhat mixed. This Edge model is really geared towards training; functions such as heart rate and cadence sensors are available and quite simple to set up expanding the kind of data you can collect on any given ride. But for us, theses functions are things we would be interested in, but not things we need, and certainly not things we need for this ride. The user interface is a bit dated, but functions perfectly well. The navigation function in my limited experience is a bit hit and miss when it comes to efficiency. The Garmin seems to pick a route that dosent ever seem to be the fastest, most direct or have any logic behind it. Being able to select the fastest, quietest, least hilly route are features which would be great, but the 705 unfortunately does not have. The speed of the unit is also a bit slow at times. Calculation time can be sluggish to say the least, both calculating the initial route, but also when you go off course. However, once the directions are loaded up the turn by turn directions are amazing and is a feature I can not praise enough. The heads up warning and turning notifications are great and once you get in to the habit of using the navigation system it is flawless One of the issues I have had with the unit was screen glare, in sunny conditions the screen was difficult / impossible to see. This can be combatted by having the backlight of the unit on at all times, which drains the battery obviously, or by applying an anti-glare screen cover. Having an iPhone has spoiled me for UIs when it comes to electronics. And the UI is another downside of the Garmin 705. Inputting an address is a bit slow, and reminds me of the early days of cell phones. The central joystick is used for every step in the menus including inputting street names / cities and will leave you wishing for a touch screen. Garmin sells maps for the 705, generally a standard map will come pre-loaded on your unit based on where you buy your unit, however if you are going further afield you have to purchase additional maps. However, there is an alternative! You can download OpenStreet Maps for a specific region and load them on to your unit for free. DC Rainmaker has written a fantastic guide on how to do this, with step by step instructions. See it HERE OpenStreetMap The unit also accepts MicroSD cards, so if you are going on a long tour that will bring you through different regions, you can preload different areas on individual MicroSD cards. All and all the Garmin 705 is fantastic, despite being a bit of a dinosaur; the routing, directions and tracking are top notch. If you are looking for a GPS unit for cycling and are not looking to break the bank the 705 is the way to go.

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For a more extensive review of the 705 see Frank Kinlan’s blog HERE Instructions on how to load routes on to your Garmin at Easter Cape Mountain Biking HERE

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