In terms of size, the Edge 130 measures in at 41 mm wide, 63 mm long and 16 mm deep. It’s noticeably smaller than the Edge 520 while only being slightly longer than the lower end Edge 20 and 25 models. Weight-conscious riders should note that the Edge 130 weights 33 grams versus the Edge 520’s 60 grams.
The small size and relatively light weight also make the Edge 130 highly versatile for mounting on your bike. The Edge 130 uses Garmin’s familiar twist and lock mounting system and works with both out front and o-ring mounts. Considering the size of the device, an out front mount is probably unnecessary (unless your personal preference requires it). Instead, the Edge 130 slots comfortably on the stem of both road and mountain bikes without issue. If you’ve gone full enduro slammed stem on your mountain bike, the size and weight mean that mounting on the handlebar is stable with little risk of wobbling loose or swinging upside down as you bounce over rough terrain.
The Edge 130 doesn't waste too much space with a screen that measures 1.8 inches diagonally. Coming from a larger screen device, the Edge 130 screen feels rather diminutive at first but Garmin has done an excellent job with the sharpness of the display. The characters, numbers, and graphics on the black and white screen are crisp making them easily readable. After the review, switching back to my Edge 520, I found myself missing the Edge 130's clarity and pixel-dense screen. In the dark, rain, or bright sunlight the screen remains highly visible. A neat feature is being able to switch the screen off if you wish not to be distracted by data measurements or to save battery.
You can customise the Edge 130 to squeeze eight fields of data on each screen. It's a tight fit and not all measurements are suited to being limited to one small box among eight, so reducing that number allows some measurements added width across the screen. There are also graphic displays, such as elevation graphs and the navigation screen.
Thankfully, the Edge 130 does not have a touch screen instead using five buttons found on the edges of the device. The smaller form factor means that Garmin has adapted the user interface. It does not take long to adjust to the new system, as it is well thought out and fairly intuitive.
The Edge 130 retails for R3,849 for the device alone or R4,599 if you include a heart rate monitor.
The small size of the Edge 130 does not seem to have a big influence on the Edge 130’s feature offering. It packs a number of important elements that the similar sized Edge 20/25 models sorely lacked, offering the core functionality that the majority of riders will use for most of their riding.
The Edge 130 is the first Garmin device that can use multiple positioning systems. The GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo are all supported. A first for Garmin's cycling range of computers. The Edge 130 uses GPS out the box but riders looking for greater accuracy (or experiencing GPS inaccuracies) you can add either GLONASS or Galileo to the mix but at the cost of increased battery drain. Elevation changes are measured by a barometric altimeter.
The Edge 130 offers navigation but it is basic. There are no base maps, so the routes are simple lines drawn on a blank screen. It is easy enough to follow the course and there are turn notifications to assist. Navigation at an event that provides route files should not be an issue. The lack of a base map does mean that navigating through urban areas can be a bit hit-and-miss, as the details of exactly which road to turn down are not always absolutely clear.
While the Edge 130 does display basic power numbers; like average power and 3-second power, it does not record more advanced metrics like normalised power and TSS, nor does it allow for interval training sessions and FTP tests. Those who require more in-depth training and racing numbers will need to look further up the Garmin range.
The Garmin Edge 130 talks to the outside world via ANT+ and Bluetooth allowing connectivity to a wide range of sensors.
Bluetooth connects the device to a smartphone allowing it to display basic text messages and to perform other tasks (like uploading rides) through the Garmin Connect App. The Edge 130 also supports Strava Live Segments and Garmin's LiveTrack features.
I was unable to connect the Edge 130 to my Android phone having to remove the device from Garmin Connect for the phone to recognise it each time. I’ve had no such issues with my Edge 520 which connects flawlessly. This meant that I had to connect the Edge 130 to my computer for activity uploads. Frustratingly, I can’t offer any explanation for the discrepancy.
We did test connectivity with an iPhone and although pairing with IOS was seamless, device syncs and activity uploads weren't always automatic as you'd want them to be, often requiring a reset of Bluetooth on the iPhone in order to get Garmin Connect and the Edge 130 syncing.
For me, and I do bring this up in all my Garmin reviews, I find it cumbersome that communications are reliant on Garmin Connect to integrate with third-party services. I find that direct connections to services result in a far better experience. It is not a deal breaker but its certainly an area Garmin could work on to improve an otherwise well rounded and refined device.
The Edge 130’s size is both an advantage and disadvantage when it comes to battery life. The small black and white screen is power frugal but the size of the device limits room for the battery. Out in the wild, being used with sensors, the device lasts for around 10 hours. Not all that close to the 15 hours claimed by Garmin but that number is probably more likely without using sensors.
If you are puzzled by all the features offered by modern GPS computers, then the Edge 130 will be less daunting. Instead of striving to do everything for every type of rider, the Edge 130 knows its place as a user-friendly GPS computer for the average rider. Since the Edge 500, Garmin has lacked a device that has satisfied this brief and the toned down Edge 130 is a worthy successor delivering an almost faultless experience. The selection of features with a refined user experience and compact, non-intrusive form factor make the Edge 130 one of the best in its class. Less is definitely more with the Edge 130.