Garmin recently launched it latest version of its flagship GPS cycle computer in the Edge 1030. The price remains the same as the previous model at a penny under £500, but is the new model a step up on previous attempts?
Life of Tri is well familiar with Garmin technology having tested a range of running, triathlon and cycling products, and although the new 1030 comes with some new features (which we like), there is nothing revolutionary in the offering.
The 1030 has incorporated the interface from the 820 with the bigger display of the 1000. We found the touch screen was more responsive, even in the wet which, were some grumbles we had with the 820. The majority of new features seem to be technical ones including:
- A built-in direct messaging system that you can use to communicate with other 1030 users.
- Pre-loaded routes from Strava, TrainingPeaks and BestBikeSplit.
- New metrics (fitness load and stress scores).
- Compatibility with a battery pack (sold separately), which you can extend battery life to a massive 24hrs.
I doubt whether the need for an additional battery will affect 99% of triathletes because the 1030 has a much improved battery life of up to 20hrs anyway, but it is a nice feature to have if you can’t or have forgotten to charge the unit.
Navigation around the 1030’s interface is intuitive and simple (but Garmin tend to always get this right), with up to a huge 10 metrics viewable on screen. Garmin are very good at brining out additional components for their devices, and with the 1030 you can control Garmin Varia lights through the unit. Connected features are impressive, with integrated Wi-Fi so you can update the unit without a phone, including live tracking and syncing with Garmin Connect and Strava. You can even adjust your Shimano Di2 gears through the unit.
Use of mapping is straightforward and some of the best we have seen on a cycle computer, with turn by turn navigation and warning of hazards like sharp turns. The unit is large compared to some of the other models, but Garmin provide a new mount which will allow the unit to sit flush with your handle bars. This is definitely a plus point from us.
The main issue we can see with the Edge 1030 is that there isn’t a huge amount more on offer from the 1000, 820 or 520 models. If you are in the market for an update from a lesser model than we highly recommend the 1030, but if you already own one of the models mentioned above, I would hold off. With other competitors due to bring out new models soon (Hammerhead being one such competitor), it should be an interesting time ahead, especially if Garmin’s monopoly of the cycle computer market is tested.
Life of Tri Verdict: An excellent piece of kit. If you don’t already own one of the top models in the field, we would recommend the Edge 1030. If looking for something revolutionary, hold off on the upgrade just yet.