Garmin Edge Explore Review: Complete Buyer Guide 2021



The Garmin Edge Explore is the successor to the highly popular Garmin Edge Touring. With the addition of turn-by-turn cycling navigation and many more useful features, it is solid cycling navigation that you can rely on for short rides as well as hour-long touring rides.

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  • Value for Money
  • Training possibility
  • Autonomy
  • Comfort
  • Performance

If you go, you can either win or not win. If you don’t go for it, you definitely won’t win

Garmin Edge Explore Review: Complete Buyer Guide 2021
Jens Voigt

Are you considering on buying Garmin Edge Explore GPS bike computer for professional or recreational cycling? Read our Garmin Edge Explore review to find all important details of this affordable and high-performance product.

The Garmin Edge Explore is a bike/bicycle GPS navigator device. It has been released in Mid-July 2018 and since then, people have been preferred it over the Edge Touring especially for touring bicycles. Initially it was targeted for the touring market, however with price reduced by 50% to just $249 it became affordable even to recreational cyclists. Moreover, this navigator device has bunch of amazing features and firmly stands ahead of other competitor models in the market. It is especially convenient, has attractive price tag, lots of basic and advanced features that every cyclist needs in his life.

With this unit, you can discover new routes and stay connected to the world wherever you go. It is easy-to-use GPS cycling computer and comes with a wide range of connected and safety features so you can keep in touch with people nearby and ride back home without any problem. The Garmin Edge Explore is indeed the perfect partner to invest in when it comes to touring and adventure.

Features Highlight of Garmin Edge Explore

The Garmin Edge Explore is a model that fits somewhere between Garmin Edge 1030 and Garmin Edge 520 Plus. It is a much simpler version of these two models combined with other distinctive benefits. The device has a more contained size, large screen for convenient route following, and appealing aesthetics. It has a good-sized color display, data screen customization, route navigation, mobile phone navigation, and support for external sensors such as speed or cadence sensors.

The most important and highlighting features of Garmin Edge Explore are:

  • Up to 12 hours of battery life
  • Support for applications and data fields such as Connect IQ
  • 3-inches color touch screen with 240 X 400-pixel resolution
  • Comprehensive navigation system with maps, turn-by-turn advice, route creation, points of interest, and direct route calculation
  • Possibility of making a route within the device to a particular point of interest or address
  • Making of routes depending on a certain distance
  • Capability to upload external routes
  • 16GB internal space with the map of the region of the purchase
  • Excellent compatibility with external sensors like ANT+, Bluetooth, heart rate, speed, cadence, and external lights
  • Customizable data pages
  • Tracking other people with GroupTrack, incident detection, messaging facility among group cyclists, sharing live training with LiveTrack feature, and mobile phone notification
  • Guest mode for brands to provide the unit with precise configurations

Unboxing Garmin Edge Explore

The package of this bicycle navigation system contains:

  • Garmin Edge Explore bike navigator
  • MicroUSB charging cable
  • Two Garmin Edge Explore mount /stems and rubber bands of different lengths (used for putting the device on multiple bike models)
  • Loop to secure GPS bike computer from falling down
  • Documentation needed by the law

Printing instruction or user manual is not included in the package because the operation of this unit is reasonably structured. However, you can download the manual from the company’s original website when needed.

Garmin Edge Explore Review: Complete Buyer Guide 2021

Garmin Edge Explore Features


The display of Garmin Edge Explore is 3-inches with a standard resolution of about 240 X 400 pixels. It has a color touch screen that is easy to use and read. The display is designed and manufactured in a way that the users can use it in different lighting conditions. Thanks to this feature, you can use the device and read the stats even in the dark. The brightness sensor has to be adjusted manually but once properly attuned, 50% to 60% brightness is more than enough for routine use.

Garmin Edge Explore Review: Complete Buyer Guide 2021

What about the touchscreen? It is very well-designed so performs super-fast and precisely in all positions and situations. It comes extremely handy in the map view. The speed feature is updated and when compared to Garmin Edge Explore 1030 this model is now on par and almost ready to be on the smartphone level. Rain, wetness, and moisture are often a challenge for the navigation system’s touchscreen, but Garmin Edge Explore has done a great job. Even with large water droplets on the screen, you can operate the device effortlessly.


The best thing about Garmin Edge Explore is that the more you use this device, the more it will benefit you. This GPS system already has a map with pre-loaded courses for you to discover. When combined with features like turn-by-turn navigation, this device delivers visualization beyond your expectations.

With this product, you can:

  • Know your track not only in the form of distance but the type of terrain for riding.
  • You can even connect the device to your PC and make your own track/course in detail and then transfer it to the Garmin Edge Explore wirelessly. After downloading the course, go to the saved courses folder and view the elevation of your course and its map.
  • Moreover, you can use this feature and make multiple courses via round-trip function and distance of your travel.
  • Install other courses from any third-party software and update the existing routes whenever needed.

Battery Life

As per the manufacturer’s claim, the Garmin Explore Edge has a battery lifespan of up to 12 hours. This realistic value is easy to achieve with a display brightness of 60% even if you have paired sensors and your smartphone connected to the device. However, it is still advised you take a power bank along to make the most of your purchase.

Alternatively, you can improve the Garmin Edge Explore battery life by:

  • Using the device in energy-saving mode. In this working mode, the display will only work and illuminate upon touching or giving a navigation hint. Through this mode, you can double the runtime of the device and achieve as much as 20 hours of unbelievable battery life on the go. If you know your way and only want to keep a record of your ride, this mode is the best option.
  • Use a backlight and connected sensors. With this mode, the Garmin Edge Explore navigator can last for 13 hours.

Charging Socket

Garmin Edge Explore Review: Complete Buyer Guide 2021

The battery here is permanently integrated but can be charged through a MicroUSB. You can access the socket through its rear cover at the back. This arrangement makes this unit very compact and weather-resistant with an IPX7 rating.

Charging Case

The Garmin Edge Explore case is welded tight so quite hard to open. When it comes to Garmin Edge Explore 830, it is compatible with the Garmin Edge Explore external battery pack. But, this model unluckily lacks all sorts of contacts for such an accessory so incompatible with other product lines. The user can also charge the battery while using the device and navigation. A USB socket is attached to the underside of the case that comes in handy in emergency situations.

Connect IQ Application And Other Smartphone Features

To benefit from the comfort features of Edge Explore from Garmin, you can connect the device to your smartphone via Garmin Edge Explore Bluetooth connectivity. Upon pairing, the connection between the device and your phone will be instantly established and will remain properly maintained throughout your journey. Thanks to this feature, you can also enjoy call/messages notification or turn them off when not in use.

Additionally, the Garmin Connect Application is also available for your convenience. You can easily download it from Google Play or Apple App Store. Another hidden feature of the Garmin Connect Application is the Garmin Connect IQ app that you can download on your Garmin Edge Explore device. Upon installation, this app will keep a complete record of your activities and automatically upload it on Strava and Komoot by following these steps:

  • Use Garmin Connect IQ app and download Strava and Komoot applications then log in with your account details.
  • Identify the code given on the screen and open the main webpage of the applications via your PC or smartphone. Enter the code and Garmin log in details to connect your device.
  • Now you can download your planned and pre-existing routes and use them offline for more convenience.
  • Once you finish your ride on your Garmin Edge Explore, the Bluetooth connection will automatically upload your route details to your Strava and Komoot account which you can then access from your completed tours.

Both these applications are precisely interesting as you can later upload your routes wirelessly and use offline navigation course as per requirement.

Sensors And Connections

Garmin Edge Explore Review: Complete Buyer Guide 2021
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Multiple sensors are easy to connect with the Garmin Edge Explore cycling computer navigation system. There are two wireless interfaces available for this purpose i.e. Bluetooth LE and ANT+.

To add different sensors and devices, the menu options include:

  • E-bike
  • Edge remote control
  • Cadence
  • Heart rate
  • Speed
  • Light
  • Radar
  • VIRB action camera
  • Backlight

The sensors you cannot pair the Garmin Edge Explore with include electronic circuits, power meter, and HUD (head-up display) Varia Vision. Once you have connected any sensor to the device, it can easily be activated or deactivated according to the situation. If you use multiple sensors of the same type, try changing their names and keep complete track of the menu. Thanks to this feature, you can be sure of the faultless and reliable connection as well as the activation/deactivation of the sensors as many times as you want.


The most notable feature of Garmin Edge Explore is its ease of use and convenience. Thus, it is clear that the device is easy-to-access and comes with a logically made functions. You can operate the navigation system through the touchscreen and use the following buttons.

Garmin Edge Explore Review: Complete Buyer Guide 2021
Power button (1)It is present at the left side of the unit and is used to turn the device on/off and to close/open the main menu screen.  
Touch screenYou can use the touchscreen to make all of your inputs, records, and courses.  
Two additional buttons (2) (3)These buttons are located at the bottom. Use the round button and start-stop button to carry out the desired function.  

The main functions of Garmin Edge Explore are:

Garmin Edge Explore Review: Complete Buyer Guide 2021GO buttonThis massive button will take you to the activity recording page. Simply push the button and start recording. It will also show the altitude profile and the map while giving access to data pages and compass.  
Garmin Edge Explore Review: Complete Buyer Guide 2021Destination inputThis menu allows you to select functions such as coordinates, POIs, your favorite routes, addresses, and recently used navigation destinations.  
Garmin Edge Explore Review: Complete Buyer Guide 2021Route  menuIt allows you to select the saved routes. You can also perform other functions like round-trip routing, route planner, or making routes from previous tours.  
Garmin Edge Explore Review: Complete Buyer Guide 2021Hamburger iconThis menu bar at the bottom takes you to the setting screen and the activity log, you can manage the sensors and connections.  
Garmin Edge Explore Review: Complete Buyer Guide 2021The IQ iconThis icon is used to access Connect IQ application.

To access the Deep-L access menu, swipe the screen from top to bottom. With this feature, you can quickly set the useful functions on the device. Use this menu to adjust phone settings, screen brightness, sensor menu, and get direct access to settings. To get to the Widgets menu, swipe right or left. The overall working is very easy so every user is sure to find his way at the beginning of the ride.

GPS System

The Garmin Edge Explore GPS comes with a pre-loaded map. This feature helps you locate the new routes and courses while still keeping the pre-existing ones. This does not end here, the GPS also track your riding time, the distance you have covered from one destination to another, the total elevation of your ride, and the speed of your ride. Once you are done riding the bike, every movement and distance are recorded and sent to your smartphone. You can then store the data and analyze your overall progress and share it with your friends and family members.

The system also notifies you when you break your record, make new achievements and cross your own markers by covering an even greater distance. All these features work in synchronization with each other to help you progress and keep challenging yourself for better statistics. They do so while making sure you can ride the bike peacefully without getting irritated by any hurdle. With Garmin Edge Explore you can keep riding to your destination while the GPS tracks you and alert others in the nearby region of your location.

Safety Features

This device is loaded with multiple safety features. Before connecting the Garmin Edge Explore with your smartphone, you have the option to choose up to three emergency contact numbers. There is a special button at the edge of the device that notifies your emergency contacts if you press it for three seconds. Moreover, there is an auto-incident detection feature. This option automatically alerts your contacts when it detects any collision.

LiveTrack and GroupTrack

If you want other people to keep a track of your ride or just view it for any reason, try using the LiveTrack feature on Garmin Edge Explore. It sends your live location to any one of your contacts and keeps you in touch with them.

The device also comes with Garmin Edge Explore and GroupTrack feature. You can use this option and go on a ride with your friends while keeping a track of each other’s location. Another feature is pre-written messages that can be used to message fellow riders. The purpose of adding all these features is to make sure you are focused on your riding and not distracted by your phone at all times.

Usability And Compatibility With Other Devices

Many customers already cherish the usability of this device. With Garmin Edge Explore, they are only a click away from their main navigation keys. The usability and functionality of the system were kept simple intentionally to make sure you are never distracted with your phone while figuring out the routes.

The power-key button also works as an emergency button, plus you have the start/stop key that can be used to record the lap time. To finish, there is a lap key that notes down the stats when you finish a whole round. As far the compatibility is concerned, you can use different applications to import courses from third-party software. The Garmin Edge Explore is itself able to connect with multiple devices to make your riding experience even better. For example, you can connect Garmin Edge Explore to any rearview radar or smart-lights and use this feature to know about the vehicles behind you.

Garmin Edge Explore For Bike Navigation

For every cyclist,  navigation is undoubtedly the most important feature of this device.  Overall we can say that the navigation system with pre-existing routes works efficiently.  With the help of Connect IQ Application,  designed routes with Strava and Komoot can be transferred wirelessly to your GPS navigator.  There are many pre-installed maps from the area from there you have purchased yours  Garmin Edge Explore (its north America for Amazon USA).

To start the navigation:

  • Tap the destination entry or route  to open the corresponding menu and  get further options
  • Select search by address option and get the results in the list
  • Select POIs  as a destination for navigation and begin your journey
  • Look for other options in the target input menu such as  back to start ( to navigate back to the starting point),  search map ( to navigate any point on the map),  favorites ( save your favorite destinations here), and recently found (  to know the history of recently navigated areas)

Go to tour settings and try different routing modes.  You can now optimize your route for gravel biking, touring, road cycling or mountain biking.

Garmin Edge Explore for MTB

Thanks to features like turn-by-turn navigation, the Garmin Edge Explore has become an important name in the world of mountain biking. For MTBs, this device delivers top-of-the-line navigations that you can rely on despite your long-hour touring rides. You can use smartphone pairing for better navigation. The riders are free to use the pre-existing maps or create a new one as per preference.  Another great feature that comes handy with MTBs is that you can pair the device with Varia bike lighting and rear view radar. This radar helps detect bikes behind you and let others know of your presence on the track. However if you are riding for the big mountains then altimeter may be handy which is lacking on this model.

Garmin Edge Explore Comparison With Other Edge Models

Garmin Edge Explore comparison table

Garmin Edge Explore VS Edge 530

Screen: Garmin Edge Explore has a larger screen of 3-inches whereas 530 has a 2.6-inches display screen.

Mapping: Both units have an excellent navigation system with turn-by-turn mapping and customizable routes. However, 530 has a faster processor to make the mapping experience more smooth.

Performance: 530  rules over Garmin Edge Explore with its barometric altimeter, MTB, and safety features.

Price: The Edge 530 is a bit expensive whereas the Garmin Edge Explore is an affordable option for potential buyers.

Garmin Edge Explore Vs Edge 520 Plus

Technological features: You have more features to use with 520 Plus like technology sensors and ANT+ technology.

Location sharing: Garmin Edge Explore is best when it comes to real-time location sharing but 520 plus still has more sharing options as you can send messages to other connected riders as well.

Performance: Edge 520 plus is the right choice to improve performance and it can keep a check on your form/performance while riding.

Set up: Garmin Edge Explore only takes a few minutes to set up.

Garmin Edge Explore Vs Edge 830

Screen: Garmin Edge Explore has a bigger screen as compared to 830 which makes it bright and easy to read.

Performance: With Garmin Edge Explore you can track distance, time, speed. The same options are available with Edge 830 but at a higher price tag.

Battery life: Edge 830 shines here as it offers 20 hours of battery life.

GPS tracking: Both models have Garmin Cycle Map for smooth navigation.


Q) Can I Update Maps On My Garmin Edge Explore?

Yes. You can easily update your customized and pre-existing routes on Garmin Edge Explore. In fact, after a certain period of time, Garmin makes all of your future updates free of cost.

Q) Can I Add An Extra Battery To The Bottom Of The Unit?

No. you cannot add any extra battery to the bottom of the Garmin Edge Explore unit.

Q) Do I Need Any Additional Sensors To Detect Cadence And Speed?

With Garmin Edge Explore, you don’t need any additional sensors for speed knowing that the GPS is working adequately. Garmin has its own cadence sensors, you can make the purchase and select the one according to your needs.

Final Thoughts

Garmin has finally been able to introduce a product in the market with rich features yet easy to follow arrangement. You can find Garmin Edge Explore Bundle offers including the device, sensor or mountain bike bundle that is attractively priced, which are handy if you are looking for upgrade or starting new. For routine cyclists, it has all the functions they need for the most of outdoor expeditions. So, if you are new to this sport, Garmin Edge Explore is highly recommended for its convenience, reliability and safety.

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