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Garmin Edge 1030 Plus GPS bike computer review

20 Jan 2021
Verdict:

Garmin’s range-topping 1030 Plus computer packs all the features you could ever need for your rides

Cyclist Rating: 
Price: 
£519.99
For 
Easy to read • Excellent touchscreen • Responsive • Loads of functionality
Against 
Bulky • Expensive

The Garmin Edge 1030 Plus is Garmin’s top-of-the-range cycling computer. It’s large and at 126g feels weighty to the hand. Sat on my stem using the standard quarter-turn mount, it takes up most of the stem’s length. Costing over £500 it’s got a price tag to match its size.

But that size makes the Edge 1030 Plus very easy to use, with a large colour screen that gives you loads of data in a single view.

It’s controlled via an On/Off button on its side and a pair of buttons on the bottom, the right hand one starting and stopping recording and the left hand one recording laps.

 

Everything else is done via the touchscreen. Some of Garmin’s older touchscreens have been awkward to use and sluggish, but the Edge 1030 Plus’s is super-responsive.

Even wearing winter gloves, it’s sensitive and handles input quickly and reliably. It’s easy to swipe left or right between data screens while riding and to select options from the large, clear menus.

 

The extra-large display means you can see loads of data on one screen too. Rather than having to squint at a couple of small fields of data and move through screens to see more, I was able to see loads of data on the default main screen, with seven main fields displayed plus a colour gradient profile.

The large screen also makes the map display much more useful, with a large, zoomable view in colour of the road ahead and easily readable road names. There’s also a display of gradient and elevation profile when you hit a hill.

 

As you ride, the Edge 1030 Plus will alert you to hazards like a steep descent or particularly sharp turn, with a small message at the bottom of the screen. Its legibility and ease of use mean that you can concentrate on your riding, rather than peering at the Edge’s screen.

Navigation and ClimbPro

Garmin also gives you turn-by-turn navigation on a pre-mapped course. Again, it’s easy to use with clear turn indicators on screen, an audible alert as you approach and a second at the turn. Stray off course and the Edge 1030 Plus will alert you, then if you continue will quickly recalculate your route and direct you along this.

Buy the Garmin Edge 1030 Plus now from Wiggle for £494

Following a course also automatically switches you to the ClimbPro screen when you hit a hill. This displays the hill length and profile and tells you how far there is to the top, as well as showing your position on the profile and the current gradient.

Plus, you’re told how far it is to the next hill and you can pull up a list of all the hills on a course and how far away each is.

 

Lots of connectivity options

Garmin lets you hook up plenty of other devices to the Edge. It pairs easily with a heart rate strap via either Bluetooth or ANT+ and can be linked up to a power meter. You can use it with Garmin’s Varia lights, with the rear radar light flashing up info on approaching vehicles on the side of the screen.

Pairing up multiple devices didn’t seem to affect the Edge’s responsiveness, which can be an issue with lower powered computers.

Garmin makes starting out with the Edge easier by importing details of peripherals to it that you’ve previously linked up to other Garmin devices, which helps save time.

Charging is via a standard USB cable. It’s not that quick, taking a few hours, but once fully charged the unit will keep going for ages – Garmin quotes 24 hours.

It was nice to be able to go out for multiple rides without needing to worry about charge level or the unit stopping mid-ride. You can buy an external battery pack that clips to the underside of the unit if you want even more range.

The charge port cover feels insubstantial and there’s a small hole below it on the underside of the unit. In wet, muddy conditions this can accumulate water in the space inside the cover. But there’s a good seal around the port itself to prevent water ingress into the Edge 1030 Plus.

Garmin says it’s IPX7 water-resistant – that’s not the highest level, but it was fine for my wet rides.

 

Using a USB cable to connect to a computer is one of several ways of syncing your data to the Garmin Connect app. It’s useful for big software and map updates which can be quickly done using the Garmin Express app.

But the Edge 1030 Plus also comes with Wi-Fi built in, so it will sync directly. That means courses plotted on a computer are immediately available on the unit, without having to faff around syncing the unit before going for a ride.

At the end of a ride, Wi-Fi sync meant that ride stats were available on Garmin Connect on my computer and phone as well as on Strava as soon as I’d got through the door.

There’s also Bluetooth connectivity, that means that if you take your phone along you can use Livetrack to broadcast your progress during a ride to email addresses you input and group tracking to let fellow riders know where you are.

It also means that you can use Garmin’s Incident Detection functionality to let people know if you’ve had a problem during a ride, indicating your location, and you can get text messages and alerts from your phone.

 

Effective companion software

You can use the Garmin Connect app to set a subset of parameters for the Edge, such as time format, your height and weight along with heart rate and power zones. It’s not as comprehensive as Wahoo’s smartphone integration, but useful nevertheless and updates the Edge the next time it’s synced.

Garmin Connect provides you with loads of analysis functionality too. So you can look at your ride data, see the effect that a ride has had on your aerobic and anaerobic capacity and get a score for how hard a ride was. There’s even an estimate of your sweat loss.

 

Garmin Connect’s route planning works well too. Having so much data from so many riders, Garmin can show you the most popular routes cycled on road, gravel or mountain bikes and route you via these. They show up as increasingly deeper shades of purple as their popularity increases.

There’s the option to use OpenStreetMap too, which gives you a bit more detail for off-road trails. You can also search out publicly available courses posted by others within the area of a displayed map.

Buy the Garmin Edge 1030 Plus now from Wiggle for £494.

There’s a ton of other functionality buried away in the Edge 1030 Plus that I didn’t use, like control of some smart trainers and e-bikes.

You can set up training plans and workouts to follow or re-ride a previous route to see if you can up your performance, although some of these require a power meter as well as a heart rate monitor. Plus you can download extra widgets from Garmin’s Connect IQ store to add extra data fields or functionality to the Edge.

It all adds up to a unit that’s intuitive and easy to use and view as you ride, with great background functionality in the Connect app.

It helps justify the Edge 1030 Plus’s big price and bulky profile, making it a computer that should serve well however sophisticated your training and monitoring is.

All reviews are fully independent and no payments have been made by companies featured in reviews

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