The Garmin Edge 1030 Plus offers a silly number of data fields on a device that is very easy easy to use on a daily basis. The battery life is brilliant and I found ClimbPro to be one of the most useful apps I've ever used. But the price is staggering and it really annoys me that such a pricey head unit still features massive bezels.
Mat reviewed the original Edge 1030 a couple of years ago, and what Garmin likes to do with its 'Plus' models is add a few features and generally try to improve things. Here, we've got a very similar form factor to the original, with the only visible change being that the colour has gone from white to black. We still have the large screen that is still very easy to see, so I'll stick with what Garmin has added. I'll run through this in the order of what I found most useful.
Before I go into that, overall I found the Edge 1030 Plus incredibly easy to use. The size makes it easy to see the screen; the touchscreen is far better than Garmins of old, the battery life is great, ClimbPro is genuinely useful, setup is easy and, as ever, there is a crazy number of metrics to train to. But the price is also very high and I'm not overly thrilled by the lack of phone-based customisation, nor the amount of screen space given over to not being screen space.
First up is battery life. What should be an oh-so-boring feature has genuinely been an exceptional improvement in my experience. I barely needed to charge this, with the Edge 1030 Plus easily lasting a whole week of my general riding with the backlight always on, a range of sensors connected including Di2, power and heart rate as a minimum, my phone providing notifications, and maps running in the background.
Try as I might to drain the battery, I couldn't fully test Garmin's claims that this thing will go for 24hrs on one charge.
Once I was over the thrill of not spending my time charging the 1030 Plus, the next best thing is ClimbPro. As a rider who likes going uphill, I have been using this app a lot. It has all the data that I need to pace climbs really well and it is displayed in a way that makes it simple to use.
The colour-coded profile of the climb is incredibly useful. At 196bpm when there is sweat in my eyes and my lungs are burning, being able to see easily that the gradient eases from red (steep) to green (not so steep) soon is just the kind of information that I need. The specific percentage gradient isn't important, but for the times when my heart isn't trying to escape my chest, that data is there too.
The top left corner of the screen displays the distance to the summit which I found to be very useful for judging when to open the taps, increasing the pace to 'finale effort'. It can be a bit depressing if you're suffering on a long climb, but for pacing those final few kilometres, it's very useful.
ClimbPro isn't perfect, though. The default setting has a big colour-coded elevation profile in the middle of the screen, with 'distance to go', 'time remaining', 'grade' and 'elevation' as the preset data fields. The only one of those I used was 'distance to go'. 'Time remaining' never seemed to be accurate enough to judge my effort on, but I couldn't swap this out. The remaining two spots are swappable, so I put my three-second power and heart rate in place of the default options. You can pick any metric so there's a bit of customisation available, but overall, it's a super-useful tool for pacing your effort and one that I've found far more useful than Strava Live segments.
I've always got on very well with Garmin's mapping, and now the turn guidance can be paused for those times that you want to deviate from your route, to head to the cafe, for example. It's great as it means you don't have those constant 'off-course' beeps annoying you.
Garmin will also pop you back on track should you go wrong. The Edge 1030 Plus displays three options. You can loop back to rejoin the course where you went wrong, join the course further along, or cut across the course. The options are easy to view and then select, and I didn't have any issues with the 1030 Plus sending me down goat tracks.
You also now get worldwide mapping for free. The 1030 Plus now has 32GB of storage, up from 16GB, and it comes loaded with the maps for the region where you bought the device plus one other region – although ours came with Europe mapping plus North America and Africa. To get more regions, you just go to Garmin Connect and they are available for free.
While we're talking about mapping, Trailforks is loaded and is very useful when heading off-road. I only have a cyclo-cross bike for heading off-road, so I don't think I've tested this fully, but I was still able to pick routes based on difficulty. It just means that you take the correct trails, something that can be hard to do when you're unsure of an area.
Garmin has had its 'Training Load' data for a while now, but this is the first time that I've found it useful as a training metric. The 1030 Plus pulls your training data, including daily stuff from a connected watch, and uses this to give you a suggested daily workout. It is basic stuff – there is no way yet to tell the device itself that you're trying to get to a particular level of fitness – but the basics of training zones and how they should be applied are here. When my Training Load was high, the 1030 Plus would suggest easy days in the lower zones for recovery; when it dipped, the scheduled harder sessions told me that I could do with some threshold work.
Following the device's recommended sessions isn't the best way to improve – you'd want a proper training plan from a coach or other source for that – but it does at least suggest taking it easy when that is needed. Training sessions from an external source can, as before, be loaded onto and followed on the 1030 Plus.
A neat feature, albeit one that you'll only use the first time you boot up the 1030 Plus, is the easy setup. This will give you the option to migrate your data pages from an old Garmin. You can also auto-connect all the sensors that you've used in the last year, making the out-of-the-box experience rather like getting a new phone. That means no more spending an hour setting up the device, you can just go and ride your bike.
One thing that is still badly needed is the ability to customise data screens from the smartphone app. The competition has it, and the fact that Garmin still doesn't feels like a massive oversight.
LiveTrack has been given some updates that will benefit your loved ones more than you, but the functionality now makes it very good to use. Those tracking your ride from home will have your location as before, but they also get your route on the screen. The update is coming to the 530, 830 and original 1030 too.
The final change comes at the screen. Garmin has used the screen tech from the 830 and made it bigger. This results in fabulous performance in the rain as well as consistency when wearing gloves. I have experience of the terrible 820 touchscreen and this is far better in terms of ease of use.
That said, why, when the smartphone market has moved away from the giant forehead, chin and edges design to bezel-less screens, does the cycling computer market still give over a huge proportion of the screen to nothing?
Okay, so that is what is new over the Edge 1030. My only real gripe is with the lofty price. You simply can't escape the fact that £520 is good smartphone territory. It's an extra £20 on the original Edge 1030, and very expensive compared with others: the Hammerhead Karoo 2 is £313 (and currently out of stock) and Dave found the original better for mapping, though it was quite bulky, while Wahoo's Elemnt Bolt is still massively popular for the smartphone-based screen customisation and the price of just £184.99.
Garmin's Edge 830 also gets the ClimbPro feature that I've loved using, and it's really hard to see how the price hike from £349.99 to £519.99 is justified. ClimbPro is also on the Edge 530, which is £259.99. If you can survive without the bigger screen size, either of these would be a very good choice.
If money is no object, though, then you've got a brilliant device here. It is missing a few features that big rivals have, but the performance day to day makes this a very good option.
Powerful, easy to see data and great to use, but ouch, that price
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Garmin Edge 1030 Plus
Size tested: 3.5in screen
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Garmin says, 'Never stop cycling with the ultimate GPS bike computer. Edge 1030 Plus is ready for any ride, from remote gravel trails to epic climbs.'
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
PHYSICAL DIMENSIONS 58 x 114 x 19 mm
DISPLAY SIZE 3.5" (88.9 mm) diagonal
DISPLAY RESOLUTION 282 x 470 pixels
WEIGHT 124 g
BATTERY TYPE Rechargeable lithium-ion
BATTERY LIFE 24 hours
BATTERY SAVE MODE
IN-RIDE POWER COMPATIBLE (GARMIN CHARGE BATTERY PACK)
WATER RATING IPX7
Maps & memory
ABILITY TO ADD MAPS
STORAGE AND POWER CAPACITY 32 GB internal memory
ROUTES 100 courses
HISTORY Up to 200 hours
AMBIENT LIGHT SENSOR
Daily smart features
CONNECTIVITY Bluetooth®, ANT+®
CONNECT IQ™ (DOWNLOADABLE WATCH FACES, DATA FIELDS, WIDGETS AND APPS)
TEXT RESPONSE/REJECT PHONE CALL WITH TEXT (ANDROID™ ONLY)
VIRB® CAMERA REMOTE
SMARTPHONE COMPATIBILITY iPhone®, Android™
Safety and Tracking Features
Activity tracking features
Training, planning and analysis features
DOWNLOADABLE TRAINING PLANS
DAILY WORKOUT SUGGESTIONS
TRAINING EFFECT (AEROBIC)
RACE AN ACTIVITY
PHYSIOLOGICAL MEASUREMENTS (MAY REQUIRE USE OF ADDITIONAL ACCESSORIES SUCH AS HEART RATE STRAP AND/OR POWER METER)
Outdoor recreation features
CLIMBPRO™ ASCENT PLANNER
ALERTS (TRIGGERS ALARM WHEN YOU REACH GOALS INCLUDING TIME, DISTANCE, HEART RATE OR CALORIES)
ON-DEVICE COURSE CREATOR
GARMIN CYCLE MAP (ROUTABLE CYCLING-SPECIFIC STREET MAP) Yes (multi-region)
CYCLING DYNAMICS COMPATIBLE
INTEGRATED TRAILFORKS TRAIL DATA
POWER METER COMPATIBLE
COMPATIBLE WITH VARIA™ RADAR (REAR-FACING RADAR)
COMPATIBLE WITH VARIA™ LIGHTS
ANT+™ ELECTRONIC SHIFTING
SHIMANO DI2 SYNCHRO SHIFT INTEGRATION
SMART TRAINER CONTROL
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well. I was able to clearly see data and navigation details, and the fact it rarely needed charging was a bonus.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The battery life is fabulous but ClimbPro is the app for me.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The price is just a huge jump up from pretty much anything else on the market.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's an extra £20 on the original Edge 1030 and very expensive compared with others: the Hammerhead Karoo 2 is £313 and Wahoo's Elemnt Bolt is just £185.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? I'd have the 830.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
Great to use, but lacking some features of rivals, and just look at that price.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale Supersix Di2 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, club rides, general fitness riding, I specialise in the Cafe Ride!
Son of a Marathon runner, Nephew of a National 24hr Champion, the racing genetics have completely passed him by. After joining the road.cc staff in 2016 as a reviewer, Liam quickly started writing feature articles and news pieces. After a little time living in Canada, where he spent most of his time eating poutine, Liam returned with the launch of DealClincher, taking over the Editor role at the start of 2018. At the weekend, Liam can be found racing on the road both in the UK and abroad, though he prefers the muddy fields of cyclocross. To date, his biggest race win is to the front of the cafe queue.