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Garmin Edge 1030 bike computer review

How does Garmin’s latest top-end computer fare for triathlon?

Our rating 
3.5 out of 5 star rating 3.5
Credit: The Secret Studio

The Edge 1030 replaces the Edge 1000 as Garmin’s latest premium GPS cycle computer. The RRP stays the same at £499.99, and comes with a generous but not overwhelming helping of new features that make it more evolution than revolution. It’s hefty and takes up an entire stem if you use Garmin’s standard mounts, which makes their new out-front mount (included in the box) all the more useful, designed to place the computer flush with your bars.

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So, what’s it got that an Edge 1000 hasn’t? Well, there’s the clean, simple interface that appears on the Edge 820, the display is bigger and the touch screen is markedly better in the wet. Most of the new technical features, such as the integration of Strava Routes, are available on the 1000 and 820 as additional Garmin Connect Mobile apps.

Some examples of new unique features on the 1030 include ‘find your friends’, a built-in direct messaging system that you can only use to communicate with other 1030 users; pre-loaded Strava Routes, TrainingPeaks and BestBikeSplit apps; new metrics such as fitness load and stress scores; and the compatibility with a battery pack (sold separately), which you can attach to the unit to extend battery life to a massive 24hrs. This won’t be needed for 99% of triathletes, and the 1030 has a much improved battery life of up to 20hrs anyway.

Using the 1030 is intuitive and simple, with up to 10 metrics viewable on one data screen. You can connect Garmin Varia lights and control them through the unit, and even customise Shimano Di2 gears to control them. Connected features are impressive, with integrated Wi-Fi so you can update the unit without a phone, live tracking and the standard automatic syncing with Garmin Connect and Strava. Mapping is easily the most extensive you can get on a cycle GPS, with turn-by-turn navigation and new features including alerts that warn you of a sharp turn, and Trendline popularity routing that pulls user-generated data from Garmin Connect to suggest the
best bike routes.

So unless over half your rides involve touring adventures, we don’t think there’s much reason to get the Edge 1030 over the 820 or 520. They both offer turn-by-turn route navigation on saved courses and pump out all the data you need for training and racing. While Garmin have the cycle GPS monopoly, with the much-anticipated release of Hammerhead’s Karoo due soon and Wahoo Fitness staking their claim in the market, the Edge 1030 isn’t the market-crushing innovation it should be.

Verdict: Full of features, but not enough evolution to justify the extra spend 78%

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