In this post I summarise the key differences between the Garmin
I should point out that whilst I own the
So it’s more of an informed (and handy!) summary, rather than an in-depth, hands-on comparison (at least as far as the 1030 Plus is concerned).
Where Has This ‘Plus’ Come From?
An excellent question. With an answer that I’ll fudge cos I don’t know.
[Commence speculation mode]
Every now and then, Garmin seems to release a higher-powered or more-featured version of an existing model but without redesigning the case.
The Edge 520 Plus added on-board navigation and other features to the existing 520, before Garmin moved on to the 530, which replaced both.
But since Garmin wasn’t yet ready to move to the next generation 10xx device with a new shell (you’ve got to imagine this would be the 1040?), it released the interim 1030 Plus.
Where In The Range?
Easy. The top.
The waters were a little muddied whilst Garmin was still selling the 1030 (sans Plus). Was the faster but cheaper (and smaller)
With the 1030 finally having departed
this mortal coil the Garmin website, it is now clear that the Edge range runs:
And we’ll politely ignore the Edge Explore as it doesn’t have a number and is clearly for absolute losers (I jest!).
When Were They Launched?
(With the real question being, when will they be replaced?)
As mentioned, the 1030 Plus is the newer of the two models, launching into the veloverse in June 2020. The 830 was released in May 2019.
Garmin tends to release new Edge models every 3-4 years. And it hasn’t ever done an ‘in-sync’ update of the 10xx and 8xx model families in the same year.
As to when the update happens, I certainly don’t have any intel. Speculation gathers on the internet. To hedge my bets, it’s likely that the “840” will replace the
Are They Still Updated?
Yes. They’re both current, highly illustrious, members on the Garmin Edge line up. Both receive regular firmware updates from Garmin, some of which feature full blown new features.
At the time of writing (early March 2022), the latest firmware update was released on 1 February 2022.
Navigation & Mapping
In terms of the navigation and mapping software, the
And the way you interact with the navigation features, which is really the key difference between the 830 (with the touchscreen) and the 530 (using the buttons on the side), is the same.
Both the 1030 Plus and the 830 are touchscreen, which makes using the maps without repeatedly punching yourself in the face a heck of a lot easier.
In summary, both devices have full onboard navigation. You can plug in a destination or select a point of interest from the list, and the
You can upload a route file to follow, or sync one from Strava or other route creation apps, and the device will flash up turn directions and generally keep you on the straight and narrow (beautiful lanes in your ideal cycling paradise… maybe).
If you go off course, both the
Both have three different map formats: the original ’Classic’ colour scheme and then the recently added High
Voltage Contrast and Mountain Biking themes (with latter better denoting off-road routes).
So all in all very similar. Except for one key aspect. With the
Shock horror. You probably already knew this.
Anyway, in pure dimensional terms, the
So the larger screen obviously allows for the map screen to show more detail. Or the same area just with high definition.
More is always nicer (not always nicer) but I guess it’s for you to decide whether you need the additional screen area and if it’s worth the extra cost.
I’ve never yearned for a larger screen area than on my 830. If I want a big ol’ map interrogation session, I’ll whip out my iPhone.
Both devices have touchscreens and I’ve generally found recent Garmin touchscreens to work well. They work fine (for me – we’ve all got different fingers) in the rain and are a bit hit and miss with gloves on (and to be fair, my iPhone is entirely miss with gloves on).
Whilst they don’t have
For some reason Garmin limits the maximum font size, even when you reduce the number of data fields down to one, leaving loads of white space (versus Wahoos which allow for wahoosive font sizes).
This is the same for both the 830 and the 1030 Plus though, so if we’re coming those two devices (we are), this is a wash.
Size and Weight
With great power (larger screen) comes great responsibility (a larger device case).
The 1030 Plus is larger than the
For the dimensionfans:
- 1030: 58 x 114 x 19mm
- 830: 50 x 83 x 19mm
Putting that into not-particularly-well-defined context, the 830 isn’t ‘mini’ but I’d still say it’s a ‘compact’ bike computer.
This in turn means that the 1030 Plus isn’t ‘jumbo’.
The 1030 Plus doesn’t look like a behemoth, either in your hand or ‘pon your handlebars. In a 1030 Plus versus modest sized smartphone boxing match, the former would be punching well above its weight class.
Talking about weight, more plastic and whatever else they make these out of means the 1030 Plus comes in at 124g versus 79g for the 830.
If the 45g (about 3/4 of an energy bar) difference has a material impact on your riding performance or enjoyment then I think you might have come to the wrong website.
If it is important to you then I doubt you’ll care too much about having to deal with the 830’s smaller screen from a navigation and route following perspective (because the guy in your team car is there to help with directions).
In which case, go for the 830 and save the fraction of a pound in weight and the multiple pounds in money (other currencies are available).
GPS makers generally don’t go around disclosing the inner specs of their devices. But the 1030 Plus and the 830 perform the same so it’s safe to assume their tech gubbins are also the same or similar.
When the 830 was released, along with the 530, many of the new features were added to the previous 1030 (no plus). This highlighted that the 1030 was quite sloooooooowwwww compared to the new model.
So Garmin released the 1030 Plus primarily to correct this lack of processing grunt in its top of the range device.
Both the 830 and the 1030 Plus have a good amount of battery life. Certainly more than I could reasonably use in one ride or probably a few rides. I’ve never felt annoyed by the frequency with which I’ve had to put recent Garmins on charge.
Still, for what it’s worth, the
If that is insufficient for your burgeoning ultra-endurance career, then might sir or madam consider investing in a Garmin Charge power pack, which provides another 24 hours of power.
No difference. Next!
Both top end Edges connect to the same cornucopia of data sensors, indoor trainers and other random devices that you might want to link with your bike computer (including the not-so-random-and-in-fact-excellent Varia
So no good reason to pick between the devices in this arena.
Training And Other Features
And that theme continues.
Pretty much all of the software features that Garmin builds into its Edge devices are common to both the 830 and the 1030 Plus. With one exception (that feels quite minor).
All of the safety and tracking features are the same (live tracking – for family members that are avid ‘dot watchers’; incident detection; bike alarm)… which I must admit not to using on a regular basis.
I am, however, a big fan of Garmin’s ClimbPro feature (specific and colourful analysis of the length and gradient of each climb on your route). It features on both the 1030 Plus and 830, so no worries there.
Which brings us to training, where the 1030 Plus has one teeny-tiny sub-feature that differentiates it from the
Do not fear, the
- Ability to upload and follow sophisticated workouts – based on power, heart rate, time, distance, Haribos consumed
- Dynamic performance monitoring and training status – both features tracking and assessing the effectiveness of your training and how fit you are
- Cycling dynamics (if you have pedal power meters)
- Feed and drink reminders.
And a lot more…
So the only difference, [tiny fanfare on a mini-bugle] is that the
Daily Suggested Workouts uses Garmin’s Firstbeat Analytics ‘engine’ to, er, suggest your next training session based on your current fitness, recent training history and recovery level. The feature was introduced first on the 1030 Plus (in mid-2020) before being implemented on a much broader range of Garmin watches later in the year, where I’m guessing it has more widespread appeal.
One thing to note: I’m pretty sure Daily Suggested Workouts on the
Bigger screen, bigger battery, bigger price (unsurprisingly).
On a device only basis, Garmin has the
And you can buy a decent amount of other bike stuff (good set of pedals, years supply of inner tubes, sufficient muck off to bathe in) for £170.
So, the all important question…
Which Should You Buy?
Ach, it all comes down to size.
If having greater screen real estate, particularly when using the maps and navigating, is your priority then the
The extra battery life is also handy.
I’ve certainly seen commentary on this funky new YouTube website that suggests the larger device is better for bike packing and touring, particularly for multi-day trips. If that’s your priority, go for the
For everyone else, the
If you use an Edge as a training tool (beyond measuring outputs), the 830 is to all intents and purposes the same as the 1030 Plus.
I’m not sure how many riders there are that are sufficiently interested in training performance to pay £170 for the additional Daily Suggested Workout feature that aren’t already sufficiently knowledgeable or motivated to follow an actual long term structured training programme (negating the need for daily dynamic suggestions).
Maybe Garmin know differently (I’m sure they do – I’m just an uninformed veloblogger, wittering into the void).
If the question is…
Which One Would I Buy?
Then the answer right now is simple. I have bought the
I obviously have an ulterior motive in that I write and make videos about these things to fund my addiction to clarky cat, so I buy a fair number of bike computers (and receive some for free to review). But I still struggle to spend over £500 on a bike computer.
People do though (as my Amazon stats evidence) and my sense is that 1030 Plus owners are happy with their purchase. If you don’t have deep pockets and short arms like me, and you do invest in an
With that muddled conclusion I’m away. Links to the bike computers mentioned in this post are below (affiliate links – if you buy something I may get a commission).
Until next time, safe cycling.