Garmin Edge 540 vs. Edge 840 (Solar): Which One to Buy?

Me holding the Garmin Edge 540 Solar and 840 showing their front side.

CyclistsHub is supported by its readers. We may receive a commission if you buy products using our links (learn more).

This is my comparison of Garmin Edge 540 (Solar) vs. Edge 840 (Solar) that I have been using for a few weeks now.

Garmin has just introduced these new head units. In this article, you will learn about their differences, and I will also try to help you understand which is the best for you.

The main difference between Garmin Edge 540 and 840 is that the 840 (Solar) has a touchscreen display and buttons, while Edge 540 (Solar) is only button-based. 840 (Solar) has larger storage. And finally, the 840 (Solar) is also more expensive than the 540 (Solar).

The Edge 840 offers the best value of all models. The touch-screen display is excellent. The button-based 540 is sometimes awkward to use. You can skip solar models due to their relatively low effectiveness.

Edge 540 vs. Edge 840: The Basics

Here is the summary of the main features and differences between Garmin Edge 540 vs. Edge 840 (Solar).

FeatureGarmin Edge 540 (Solar)Garmin Edge 840 (Solar)
InterfaceButtons onlyTouchscreen + buttons
Mounts in the boxOut front mount
Stem mount
Out front mount
Stem mount
Dimensions57×85×20 mm
2.2×3.4×0.8 in
58×85×20 mm
2.2×3.4×0.8 in
Weight80g (85g)85g (89g)
Screen size2.6″2.6″
Storage16 GB32 GB
Address Search
On-Device Course Creation
Display colorsColoredColored
Claimed battery life
Real battery life
26 hours (32 hours)
27.50 hours¹ (Edge 540 Solar)
26 hours (32 hours)
24.25 hours (Edge 840)
ButtonsEasy to pressEasy to press
Smart navigation (rerouting)YesYes
Multi-band GNSSYesYes
ConnectivityANT+, Bluetooth, Wi-FiANT+, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi
Start-up time∼13s∼13s
Crash/incident detectionYesYes
BuyCheck Price
Check Price (
Check Price (Solar)
Check Price (
Check Price
Check Price (
Check Price (Solar)
Check Price (
This table compares the main features of Garmin Edge Edge 540 (Solar) vs. 840 (Solar).
¹Most of the rides took place under cloudy skies or in weak sunshine.

Edge 540 vs. Edge 840: What’s New?

Here are the biggest changes with these new bike computers:

  • Solar options (540 and 840)
  • Edge 840 has the same buttons as the 540
  • Increased battery life from 20 to 26 hours (compared to the Edge 530 and 830)
  • New ClimbPro (doesn’t require having preplanned route)
  • Revamped user interface (the same one known from Edge 1040)
  • Power Guide and Real-Time Stamina features
  • Simplified setup/pairing process
  • More accurate GPS (Multi-band GNSS)
  • Increased price
  • And many more

Edge 540 vs. Edge 840: What’s the Same?

Both bike computers have the same:

  • Box contents (mounts, tether, charging cable, documentation)
  • Display size and resolution
  • Water resistance (IPX7) 
  • Maps
  • Sensors
  • Connectivity
  • Safety features

These features include turn-by-turn navigation, Strava live segments, auto-sync with 3rd party apps, compatibility with 3rd party sensors, etc.

Edge 540 and 840 are also available in bundles that include additional sensors.

TIP: You might also be interested in the accuracy of my Edge 540 and Edge 840 predictions.

Edge 540 vs. Edge 840: Features Comparison and Differences

Below, I compare the essential features of Edge 540 and 840. In summary, there are not many differences between them, except for the following:

  • Edge 840 has a touchscreen (540 doesn’t) and physical buttons
  • Edge 840 is 5g heavier
  • Edge 840 has double the storage (32GB)
  • Edge 840 is more expensive

Physical Dimensions & Weight

Garmin Edge 540 and Edge 840 have the same dimensions. However, the 840 is 5g heavier.

Both belong among the mid-size bike computers suitable for day-to-day use, including bikepacking trips.

They fit between smaller head units like Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT v2 and larger ones like the Edge 1040.

Ease of Setup

To set up both these bike computers, you have to pair them with the Garmin Connect smartphone app, go through the setup guide, and pair them with sensors.

If you have already used a Garmin Edge bike computer, 540 and 840 can import your settings to save you some time setting up the data pages and data fields.

The good news is that Garmin also implemented the possibility of setting up these bike computers via the Garmin Connect smartphone app. It’s not as polished as the Wahoo ELEMNT app, but it’s a step in the right direction.

The entire setup process is simplified because you can now scan a QR code. You can watch the following video for more details.

I declare Edge 840 as the winner of this area because browsing menus and changing data fields is easier and faster thanks to the touchscreen display.

Winner: Edge 840 (Solar)


The display size (2.6″) of Edge 540 and 840 is the same (similar to the Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM 2.7-inch display). 

The biggest difference is the display type.

While Edge 540 (Solar) has a non-touchscreen and 7 physical buttons, 840 has a touchscreen display and also 7 buttons.

Me holding the Garmin Edge 540 Solar and 840 showing their display.
Edge 540 Solar display is slightly dimmer

Their resolution, the number of colors and data fields they can display, readability, etc., are the same. 

To learn more about their usability, continue reading the following section.

Winner: It’s a draw (depending on what display type you prefer, it’s either Edge 540 or 840)

Control & User Friendliness

The 840 is easier to control, thanks to the touchscreen display.

However, this only applies to ideal conditions. Once it starts raining, sweat drips from your nose onto the display, or you wear full-finger gloves, the story is different. 

The Edge 840 will still work pretty well (just like the Edge 1030 Plus vs. 1040), but not 100% of the time. You will sometimes need to perform the movement of your finger multiple times when it’s wet.

On the other hand, when you want to browse maps or change data fields, it is much easier to do so on the 840 than on the 540.

One of the biggest changes is that the Edge 840 models also have the same buttons as the 540, making them more tempting for those who prefer button-based computers.

My experience with the Edge 540 Solar was ‘meh.’ I mean, the system is clearly designed for touch-screen devices and using it with buttons is not efficient.

So, before making your final call, consider the features you plan to use and your riding style. 

For example, if you set the data fields once and leave them as they are and won’t use navigation or maps too often, the 540 is the way to go (considering about 25% lower price than the 840). Otherwise, I strongly recommend the 840.

Another thing I want to point out – you shouldn’t expect today’s smartphones’ level of responsivity. Bike computers are not as good (yet), maybe, except for Hammerhead Karoo 2.

Based on my experience with 530 and 830, the 840 is the clear winner in ease of use.

Winner: Edge 840 (Solar)

Battery Life

The claimed 26-hour battery life is the same for both bike computers. The Solar models bump it to up to 32 hours in ideal conditions.

This increase is relatively disappointing compared to about a 40% jump on the 1030 Plus to 1040 (Solar).

I got around 24.25 hours with Edge 840 and about 27.50 hours with Edge 540 Solar. This was in side-by-side testing and with the same sensors connected.

Me holding the Garmin Edge 540 Solar showing its display.
Edge 540 Solar display

Garmin claims that Solar models add about 25 minutes per hour of riding. The smaller solar panel is less effective than on 1040, and 540 Solar (840 Solar) seems like a worse deal because the 1040 Solar adds 42 minutes per hour (but costs the same extra 100 USD).

A screenshot of the Edge 540 Solar charge during one of my trips in Italian Dolomites.
Garmin Edge 540 Solar charge – during my Passo Fedaia trip (see route)

Winner: It’s a draw (Solar models last longer)

Maps & Navigation

Edge 540 and 840 offer almost the same navigation features. These include turn-by-turn directions, recalculating routes, courses, popularity heatmap, etc.

Garmin Edge 540 navigation page.
Navigation | Source:

The 540, however, doesn’t offer address search or on-device course creation. Due to the smaller storage capacity (16 GB), you also won’t have enough space for multiple map regions. 840 has two regions preloaded.

And another downside is that you can’t update maps via WiFi, and you have to connect the devices to a PC. This applies to both head units.

Winner: Edge 840 (Solar)


Garmin Edge bike computers offer the following features I want to highlight:

  • Power Guide and Real-Time Stamina are features introduced on 1040 (Solar). All models of 540 and 840 get them too.
  • ClimbPro shows stats about the upcoming climbs. Newly, you don’t have to have a pre-planned route, and the data are more detailed. Unfortunately, the data screen offers limited customizability.
  • MTB Dynamics measures your jumps, grit, and flow. It’s useful mainly for mountain bikers.
  • Incident/crash detection detects if you crash and notifies your emergency contacts.
Garmin Edge 540 Solar, Hammerhead Karoo 2, Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt v2 and Garmin Edge 840 on my handlebar with the ClimbPro, Climber, or Summit features open.
ClimbPro (vs. other ClimbPro-like features)

Winner: It’s a draw

Total score: Garmin Edge 540 (0) | Garmin Edge 840 (3) | It’s a draw (2)

Edge 540 vs. Edge 840 FAQ

My Verdict

The clear winner between Garmin Edge 540 and 840 is Edge 840 because of the touchscreen display and physical buttons.

The question is whether you should consider buying the Solar version or not. It costs $100 more, but you get extra 25% battery life. I recommend considering your riding style and preferences.

The smaller solar panel doesn’t give as much power as the larger one on the Edge 1040 Solar, so it’s a worse deal.

From my experience with Edge 540 Solar and 840, I recommend buying Edge 840 (I bought it for myself). The solar models don’t make too much sense.

If you mind being an early adopter who will likely encounter software bugs, I recommend waiting a few weeks until Garmin fixes them.

Do you agree with my conclusion? Which bike computer do you consider? Let me know in the comments below.

About The Author

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top