Continuing the deep dive series I’ve had a bit of a play with extended display mode on my Edge 130 and Edge 820 as well as the Fenix 5 and Forerunner 935. If you have a request for a future deep dive post please let me know in the comments, otherwise I’ll choose randomly and write them as and when I get time.
The conclusion here is that this is a really nice feature for multi sport activity but pretty pointless otherwise. If you’re just on the bike you may as well record on both devices and delete one later. This would then protect you from device crashes or battery drain causing data loss too while remote display means your watch is the only data you get. If the watch dies, you get nothing.
What is extended display?
Extended display is an Ant+ profile to allow one device to show the information from another. The list of devices currently supporting this is quite small, but seems to be growing slowly. The below screenshot of the thisisant.com directory seems to be out of date since my Edge 130 definitely supports it, and the Edge 1030 has this in beta.
This functionality is mainly useful for scenarios such as Triathlon where you may be using your watch for the whole event, but don’t want to move that watch for the bike section.
Setup seems identical on my Edge 820 and Edge 130 devices (within their differing menu systems, of course).
- Press menu or press and hold menu depending on device.
- Select Extended Display, or Settings->Extended Display Mode
- Connect your watch
At this point, your computer will look like the below:
Don’t believe what it says though, neither my Forerunner 935 nor Fenix 5 took any notice of the Edge when I held them close in any mode. Instead, go into the menu on your watch and choose “Add New” under Sensors and Accessories. Here it will find the display just like any other Ant+ sensor. You can search all or search just for extended displays.
Once added, you can just start an activity on the watch and the display of the Edge will mirror it. You can see below the new icon (a kind of Edge/phone looking thing with Garmin logo) on the Fenix start screen showing that there is an external display connected. Next to this the eagle eyed amongst you will also notice the sunshine symbol for my Tempe which happened to be on my desk. The Tempe never connects normally so this was quite a surprise. Garmin effectively broke Tempe functionality with the Fenix 3 onwards, presumably in favour of battery life. It used to be awesome (on Fenix 2 and GPSMap) on hikes to record a more accurate temperature with the sensor attached to a bag strap in the shade.
Then when it’s go time press start on the watch. Don’t press start on the Edge, it won’t do anything. You’ll notice in the below image that the times are not identical, and this is due to a little lag between the devices. It’s not a huge issue though in most scenarios but may mean your power numbers update more slowly on the handlebar so maintaining effort will need a little more concentration. It’s only a second though.
The screens you see on the Edge are the same as those on the watch, so modifying them is done by modifying screens on the watch as usual. To me it was somewhat annoying that Garmin sets the display to leave total and lap times on the screen as well as the fields from your watch. If you thought you were going to get nice large display of 3 fields you’re out of luck here from what I can tell, you only get the lower half of the screen and it’ll show the number twice if you have either of those fields on the watch display.
The watch and Edge can show different screens and each controls its own page with the usual method (swipe or buttons). From what I can tell, when in display mode the devices never time out or shut down so you can switch on before a triathlon and it’ll “just work” when you get on the bike. Given that it’s not using GPS this should not affect battery life drastically as it’s a passive display device. This means you should get a really long display time from it if your watch doesn’t drain its battery first.
If you try to connect a second extended display (you have to force this on the watch under sensors) it will disconnect the first one. This is also how you change between different screens if you have multiple set up. In the shot below I had the Edge 820 connected then connected the Edge 130 and started an activity. This seems like reasonable behaviour, although it would be nice to have one Edge 130 showing power and one showing other stuff given their size.
Finally, the activity is only recorded on the watch. This is the crucial piece of info for me and defines the value of this technology. For triathletes who can ONLY record the whole event on the watch, this makes sense. For the rest of us, why would you decide not to record natively on both devices and use them for their own data display?
- Do the buttons work on the Edge? No, only up/down to select a different screen.
- How do I edit screens on the Edge? You don’t, it mirrors the watch screens. It can display a different screen from the one on the watch though.
- Can I connect two Edge screens? Nope, connecting a second one will disconnect the first
- Can I connect the screen half way through an activity? Yes, as soon as the screen is found it will connect and display.
- Does the Edge still record data? Nope. None.