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Garmin Edge 1030 review

The Garmin Edge 1030 is the best bike computer the company has to offer and it wants to make you a better rider

Garmin Edge 1030
(Image: © Garmin)

Our Verdict

The Garmin Edge 1030 is the biggest and the best cycle computer Garmin makes. A large touchscreen backed with countless features and connectivity make this the bike computer to beat.

For

  • Advanced navigation mapping
  • Large color touchscreen
  • ANT+, Bluetooth Smart and Wi-Fi
  • 20+ hour battery

Against

  • Larger and weightier than some
  • Pricey

The Garmin Edge 1030 is the company's flagship bike computer and, as such it's the most expensive but also the one with the most comprehensive feature list. From connectivity to battery life to mapping to metrics - this is the best bike computer that you can get right now.

Garmin Edge 1030: What you need to know

The Garmin Edge 1030 is the big daddy of the Garmin bike computer family not only in literal size but also in specs. There are no compromises with this cycle computer. 

Garmin has improved the mount since the Edge 1000 but that's just the start of the extras this unit packs in. Essentially this is the smartest unit yet, pulling in data from sensors as well as a connected phone to offer the broadest view of information. It also plays nice with Strava allowing you to ride routes others have set times on, but also to pull in your courses to follow easily.

Mapping and navigation are the best here over all other Garmin units. It's not Google Maps level easy to use but it's vastly superior to most other options found in dedicated cycle computers.

So this tracks every metric you can imagine but is it all worth that top end price tag?

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Garmin Edge 1030

(Image credit: Garmin)
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Garmin Edge 1030

(Image credit: Garmin)
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Garmin Edge 1030

(Image credit: Garmin)
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Garmin Edge 1030

(Image credit: Garmin)
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Garmin Edge 1030

(Image credit: Garmin)

Garmin Edge 1030: Design and build

  • 20+ hours battery
  • 4.3oz heavy
  • 3.5-inch touchscreen

The Garmin Edge 1030 is a big unit in the league of cycle computers, standing tall with a 3.5-inch display that not only works with touchscreen but has enhanced water-resistant making it the clearest yet, no matter the weather. The auto adjusting screen brightness also helps with that clarity and battery life.

Garmin says battery life tops out at 20 hours which is actually a conservative estimate and you may find yourself getting even longer, depending what kit you have connected. There is also the option to get a battery extension pack which can add another 24 hours to the life. Stick it on battery saver mode and you could be pushing the 80 hour mark - take note tour riders. 

Connectivity is great with Wi-Fi for fast uploads, ANT+ for all your sensors and Bluetooth Smart which is ideal for heart rate monitoring. 

The outer edging is now white, not for everyone. There are three tactile buttons as well as those touch controls, making it easy to use even with gloves. There is also a microSD card slot with improved waterproofing. This helps bring the entire unit up to IPX7 rating for waterproofing and knock resistance. 

The out-front mount is improved to place this level with the handlebars, instead of above. Landscape mode, which nobody used in the Edge 1000, is now gone - leaving more room for lots and lots of features. 

Garmin Edge 1030: Features and connectivity

  • Advanced navigation mapping
  • Bike alarm, ClimbPro, Gear tips
  • Strava features
  • Rider-to-rider comms

The Garmin Edge 1030 has more features than we could list here without costing you a day. So, instead, here are some of the best smart offerings that make the Edge 1030 stand out.

Trendline is a nice feature of Garmin's which uses all the routes added by its riders so that you can find a ride, from a list of billions. But Garmin isn't locking you into that alone, it also supports Strava Live Segments so you can pick from them, or even browse them live as you're cycling. Mapping is not only turn-by-turn for pre-set routes but can also take you to a certain address just by searching - and you get points of interest too, ideal for a coffee stop. 

TrainingPeaks is an app pre-loaded to take you through your routine - ideal for sticking to a plan, say with VO2 max limits being pushed. Of course you need sensors for a lot of the better metrics testing features. 

Bike alarm, which sounds if movement is detected, is great for popping into shops. ClimbPro, which gives you average ascent angle and distance and automatically appears when you start ascending, is great. Gear tips is helpful taking weather into account to alert you to what gear you need to bring on a ride. Hydration and calories data is useful so you can see how changing what you consume affects your performance. 

Rider to rider communication is helpful but it does just have a selection of messages and requires other riders to have compatible Garmin kit. If they do then LiveTrack is a nice feature that lets you see where everyone in your group is - ideal if you want to separate out a bit without being held back.

There's more, there's lots more, with extras added all the time in the Connect IQ app store. So expect to continue to get your money's worth even long after buying this bike computer.

Garmin Edge 1030: Performance

  • Fast mapping and re-calculation
  • Superb battery performance
  • Touch screen issues

The Garmin Edge 1030 is plenty fast for loading up routes and re-routing when you deviate. It's still not smartphone fast but it does the job just fine. Crucially, turn-by-turn navigation is right when you need it.

The touchscreen is useful but there can be times when a swipe doesn't register. This is especially the case when wearing gloves. So you could save a few bucks and go for the Edge 830 with buttons if this is more your thing.

Battery life is superb, at 20 hours without a problem. Of course when you connect ANT+ and Bluetooth sensors plus a phone and go out on a bright day with the screen at max and use features like rider-to-rider messaging and GroupTrack, you'll notice that the battery does get chewed through faster. But the key here is that you can have it all and still not need to worry about the battery on anything under a full day of riding. 

GPS and GLONASS navigation are super accurate, very quick to acquire and don't seem to reduce battery life quickly. The barometric altimeter is also very accurate which is great when on a climb and using the ClimbPro feature so you know how long you've actually got left.

Should I buy the Garmin Edge 1030?

The Garmin Edge 1030 isn't cheap. But if you want all the features Garmin has to offer and you want it with the largest screen available, Wi-Fi uploads and the best possible mapping setup, then the Edge 1030 is for you.

If you can live without the address specific route planning, uploading or using pre-planned routes instead, and you don't need the biggest screen or touch controls, then the Edge 830 or even Edge 520 Plus may do the job just as well for you without the cost.

Garmin Edge 1030: Verdict

The Garmin Edge 1030 is the flagship bike computer from Garmin and as such offers the best features, the best performance - touchscreen niggles aside - and the ultimate future-proofing. Constant updates and new apps make this a device that will keep earning its cost long after you've shelled out.

There are cheaper options that still offer most major features but this does it without compromise, making it one of the best cycle computers money can buy.

As well as bike computer reviews, we also look at whether you need a dedicated bike computer, while we also review and rate the best bike trainers