If you liked the no-frills approach of Garmin's Edge 25, you'll be in for a treat with the Edge 20. It strips almost everything down to the bare minimum you need – great if if you're a tad technophobic, are obsessed with weight or simply don't care about having a plethora of metrics available at a moment's glance.
With that in mind, let's start by mentioning what the Edge 20 doesn't do. As with the Edge 25 there is no power data, but going a step further there's also no cadence, heart rate or live tracking – simply put, there is no ANT+ or Bluetooth for external sensors. Though with a device as basic as this it's strange to see segments supported, giving you feedback for segment start and end points.
As the lightest unit in the Edge range, the 20 weighed in at a feathery 24g on our scales (without mount). The dimensions and resolution are identical to the Edge 25. The mounting system, with its quarter-turn lock, remains familiar for anyone already invested in the Garmin ecosystem.
Garmin's proprietary cable clips over the ever-familiar quarter turn mount
What won't be so familiar is the new proprietary cable for the Edge 20 and the Edge 25. The cable connection snaps in firmly and holds securely, but my preference would see the use of a micro USB connection similar to the Edge 520 and 1000. Presumably this is omitted due to the size of the device, but with many other gadgets also charged via micro USB, it's just another cable waiting to be forgotten the next time I go away.
Usability-wise we encountered a few issues. First, you have to make sure you're happy with your two pages of data fields because once you start your ride, there's no going back into the system options to change them. This also extends to changing settings such as auto scroll and auto lap.
Second, the auto pause kicked in a little too often during a couple of cyclocross training rides in fairly dense woodland (something that GLONASS is supposed to help with) – so much so that I had to save the current ride, turn auto pause off, restart the Garmin from scratch and then faff around post-ride merging two .FIT files so as not to spam my hordes of Strava followers with broken up rides.
Textured buttons work well for grip but a hard click on press would have been preferred over the soft press for greater feedback
Okay, so it wasn't actually that much of a hassle in retrospect. But as auto pause works well for road cycling (you know, for all those cafe stops) but not so much for cyclocross and maybe cross country mountain biking by proxy, it's a setting you'll have to remember to change if you switch between disciplines.
With its ultra basic features set, the Edge 20 could appeal to both ends of the cycling spectrum. For more casual users end it'll suffice for recording the absolutely most basic data possible with only breadcrumb routing available. But its size and weight could appeal to competitors scrutinising every last gram – such as cross country mountain bikers or trans-continental racers.