Garmin Edge 1030 Plus Reviews don’t tell you this
It’s impossible not to use the Garmin Edge 1030 Plus for two one-hour rides and fail to discover some negatives to moan about. Few reviewers like a good moan though, as it doesn’t sell product…at all.
On the other hand, and let me be clear here, OVERALL the Garmin Edge 1030 Plus is an excellent piece of kit. It’s patently not perfect but it has a LOT of positives and a LOT of good things to talk about. But not today it doesn’t. Today is Mr Grumpy‘s day as he takes over my work for a few hours. To give Mr Grumpy some credit, perhaps he just wants to put forward his version of honesty to help you get a balanced view of a product you are thinking of buying. Perhaps, instead, he’s had a bad day.
Let me be clear again! I’ve completed a fair number of decent rides with the Edge 1030 Plus (several tens of hours so far) and I’ve not found, let alone used, every feature on it this time around (see Garmin Edge 530 Review Bible). But I have linked and synced and CIQ’d and segmented and navigated and paired and lapped and ClimbPro’d and…you get it…I’ve already given it a reasonable turn for its money. (MY money…no Garmin PR freebies here folks – remember that)
For even more clarity – all these negatives may well not make their way into my Garmin Edge 1030 Plus Review. Maybe Garmin will fix them (some have been fixed in the firmware released soon after launch), maybe there are workarounds, maybe Mr Grumpy’s criticisms are either too puerile to mention again or just not important enough for the column inches it will take to wade through them.
Waffle over, let’s go.
Edge 1030 Plus – Aesthetics, Form & Design
Actually, it’s a very pleasant-looking device and the black colour scheme nicely blends with my bike colour. It’s certainly NOT ugly. However it is bland, perhaps it should instead be coloured a metaphorical beige? ie It’s a bit boring-looking. Looking further afield, competitors have tried to be ‘exciting’ with unusual shapes (Bryton) and emblazoning their name all over their (your) device in a very large-pitch font. Yuk! So, beige is good. 1-0 to Garmin.
The on-off button at the side is fine. However, the lap and start/stop button are at the lower end near the handlebars and I can only just get my finger in to use them as the gap to the handlebar is small when I use my existing mount. Of course, I could use the flush out-front mount that came in the box (that I haven’t put on yet 😉 ) or I could just use my Di2 shifter buttons to add a lap. Indeed that’s exactly what I’ll do as it is REALLY awkward to add a lap with the button.
The touchscreen! Ah, Mr Grumpy likes touchscreens, mainly because they are normally awful. However, Mr Grumpy is disappointed as this touchscreen is good. It might even be better than Hammerhead‘s touchscreen. It’s possibly the best touchscreen I’ve used on a bike computer, and I’ve used a few. When Mr Grumpy next borrows my Edge/Bike on a rainy day I will lend him my ski gloves as the touchscreen is sure not to work then. Maybe.
It gets worse for Mr Grumpy: the screen is fairly crisp, clear and readable even with sunglasses on 😉 Mr Grumpy might remind you of the washed-out colours though.
It’s a super-light device and LOOKS much heavier than it is. However, if you’ve never seen one before you might be surprised that the screen is not bigger in real life. It IS a big screen but as this image shows there are bigger alternatives, including your smartphone which is bigger than all of these. To be fair though it IS one of the biggest bikenavs for all you out there with fading eyesight.
I think the ‘newish’, evolving interface of the Edge 1030 Plus still looks dated. Garmin endeavours to add a better logic to all the drop-down menus, slide across screens, slide across menus, various popup screens & numerous nested menu options (it’s always the ones that I use a lot that seem to be deliberately hidden). So Garmin’s Edge interface is getting better but it’s still a bit of a PITA to navigate around, more simply put it’s just too complicated – which is nice if you want a toy to play with but mildly annoying if you want a >$500 bikenav to do a specific task.
Perhaps the only solution that can simplify the interface is to add the ability to hide the gumpf you never want to see.
I know lots of people don’t like the old micro USB port but I’m good with that myself. On the negative side, I’ve found my new USB cable doesn’t always properly connect the Edge 1030 Plus to my PC so that it appears as a drive letter or so it is always recognised by Garmin Express. #MildlyAnnoying
The last Garmin I set up was in June 2020 and it was my 945 – that took quite a long time. Perhaps because I had to install music, credit cards and other fancy stuff. I’m still not sure why the Edge 1030 Plus doesn’t have fancy stuff like NFC-payments for cake stops.
The Garmin Edge 1030 Plus setup was notably quicker, even without using the new automated setup. I was prepared to get annoyed but it was fine in terms of the overall duration.
I had to re-setup one specific screen that was full of data metrics and I was dreading it. Garmin supports SO MANY data metrics that finding the right one was always like finding a needle in a haystack. Well, Garmin has improved this and now have ‘commonly used’ metrics and these were just what I was looking for. Sweet, notably easier but still could be improved although for little long term benefit.
Setting up maps – I don’t want the American maps (I love you guys/girls though), I don’t want the maps from anywhere else either, except maybe France & Spain not that I’ll be going there until next year. Please, Garmin Express STOP TELLING ME THEY ARE THERE TO UPDATE.
I have a few more issues here. First up, I’m on the latest firmware for this.
On a return to Brighton ride, I strayed up Ditchling Beacon which is short and nasty enough to benefit from ClimbPro as I always forget what is around the next corner of the hill and how many corners there are. To cut a long story short, ClimbPro was a bit of a random number generator, at least it was in terms of the ‘metres to go’ metric which was off by 100m (one hundred) and I think it had me going downhill when halfway up the hill. I’m not sure if a speed/distance sensor would have helped but the GPS (+GLONASS) clearly wasn’t positioning me correctly on the hill perhaps because of the trees, the hill, or maybe the DEM map contained incorrect elevations? Anyway: It sure looks pretty, but it’s sometimes a pretty random number generator. I have to point out that a year ago with the Edge 530, the ClimbPro feature had problems admittedly it’s much better now and usually ‘works’.
On a different ride, when letting the Edge 1030 Plus re-route after a deliberate miss-turn, the 1030+ correctly directed me up nearby Juniper Hill (next to Box Hill), however, ClimbPro just didn’t pick up the change from Box to Juniper at all ie to ClimbPro the hill didn’t exist and it finishes at roughly the same point at the top! I always forget what’s coming on that hill too, despite having done it quite a few times..grrr, just what ClimbPro was designed for.
The 1030+ clearly has some leftover logic in its navigation engine that is designed for cars not bikes. For example on a bike, I can easily make a u-turn if I go the wrong way without having to turn left and go round a block before coming back to that same left turn to retrace my route to the correct place.
The maps are visually uninspiring at times and visual directions are not always clearly given, for example, in certain specific circumstances where colours clash or blend on the screen. I vaguely recall a road through a forest where I thought ‘oh, that’s not clear’. That’s why I find a relatively rubbish screen like on the Wahoo sometimes easier to get directional info from at a glance. Garmin is prettier though, for sure. But when I want directing I want directing…not prettying.
I got several errors when re-routing, the whole navigation just fails sometimes. Garmin will fix these bugs once they determine the exact causes.
I had incorrect directions given at a simple roundabout/circle with exits at each point of the compass (ie 90-degree turns). I might have done that navigation with the pre-release firmware (it came with an old version on it) and/or the screen may have orientated itself incorrectly to confuse me and send me in TOTALLY the wrong direction. I don’t know. It was wrong however I look at it.
Even with the latest firmware, starting a 200km route took a long time.
I like how the navigation screen pops into view when you have a turn to make and even sometimes when it gives a sharp bend warning, which is useful. However, I like to have the route showing all the time when I am going fast down a hill that’s new to me, just to know how steep upcoming bends are, plus on the other hand, at times when I am pootling along slowly, there’s little point of warning me of an upcoming sharp bend.
On another long ride, we were all out of drinking water on a hot day in the middle of nowhere. I just wanted the Garmin to show me the nearest basic shop. Instead, I got Costa coffee and various other places, some of which were probably service stations on a fairly major road 3.1km away (again, it’s directions for cars kinda, despite what someone will say below). I would have thought ’emergency bike shop’, ‘coffee/cake shop’ and a few more bike-relevant choices would constitute a relatively small list of ’emergency/routine’ POIs for cyclists. I just gave in with the Garmin and got my phone out (well, someone else did I was doggedly trying to find the shop on the Garmin to prove my expensive new tech worked).
There’s probably a feature squirrelled away somewhere that will solve or help some of the above and maybe after many more tens more hours of use I’d become even more familiar with it. Maybe. It should be either ‘obvious’ or ‘easy’. It wasn’t either.
Rendering/drawing the screen sometimes was glitchy and incomplete. Maybe the Edge was calculating something in the background? I don’t know, but when it can’t draw the screen properly it makes the device seem underpowered (generally it’s NOT underpowered when using this firmware version)
There are sensor dropouts on the latest firmware.
It happens for me with the Varia radar. However, with a Wahoo Elemnt alongside the Edge 1030+, the Wahoo drops the Varia more often than the relatively rare dropouts on the 1030+. I do NOT see this as a problem for what I’ve seen.
I could have sworn I saw some of the cycling dynamics metrics dropout as well as perhaps with the KICKR17 too but I’ll have to investigate that further if I have time.
For a bit of fun, you can get one device to control your turbo (Elemnt, in my case) and then also connect the Edge to the same turbo as well. If both devices follow the same workout but with, say, a 10-second difference in start time then you can play a very weird game of “match the target wattage” as each device wrestles for control. Top Tip: Never do this with any kind of ramp test, it ends up like an episode from Gladiators with a fight on a slippery slope and you lose.
A notable number of people want super accuracy for their bikenavs, many bikenavs seem accurate enough to me, including the 1030+ (more on this later).
GNSS accuracy issues MAY impact on your speed or the start/end of your STRAVA live segments, which STRAVA fix later, also screen/alerting rendering lags may hinder you being given timely directions. Yet for simple route recording, even a battery-saving GPS track is perfectly fine for me, even if you want ‘accurate speed’ then a simple speed sensor works very well.
A positive note
There are VERY MANY positive notes that I will make on the Garmin Edge 1030 Plus on another day.
I’d like to leave this post on the positive notes that are the relatively new integrations with 3rd party WORKOUTS and COURSES which, although not perfectly executed, are nicely executed and seamless and quick enough to keep me happy. ie you can nicely suck in workouts from TP and courses from STRAVA.
Note: I think there are some bugs with the syncing of courses but I didn’t delve deeper as the courses I wanted WERE synced when I needed to use them but there were other courses that seemed not to be synced.
So if you don’t ever navigate then you will have little to pick fault with on your Garmin Edge 1030 Plus other than a (still) cumbersome menu/user interface and an occasionally glitchy feature or two that Garmin will endeavour to quickly fix.
It’s a great bikenav but it should be even better for the money.
On the off-chance you still want a buy an Edge 1030 Plus and support this site then the image below gives lots of options.