Garmin Edge 1030 first ride review – first impressions

This is the Garmin Edge 1030 first ride review following its released this month. Whilst this is not an in-depth review I have mainly tried to focus on some of the key new features that Garmin have brought to the device with the exception of rider to rider messaging which I cover in this article.

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Garmin Edge 1030 pictures

Garmin Edge 1030 Specs

  • BATTERY:  20 hours battery
  • WEIGHT: 123g weight – This is heavier than the Edge 1000 which is 114g
  • SCREEN: 3.5 inch Touchscreen
  • TRENDLINE POPULARITY ROUTING: Uses billions of miles of Garmin Connect ride data to show you the best on- and off-road routes traveled by cyclists.
  • RIDER-TO-RIDER MESSAGING: Rider-to-rider messaging lets you send prewritten notes from your Edge 1030 to other riders’ Edge devices. Let your friends know if you’ll catch up in a few minutes or if they should go on without you.
  • NEW SMART CONNECTIVITY: Respond to missed phone calls or texts with prewritten messages4 such as “be home soon.†Give your friends and family — even your fellow riders — peace of mind by letting them follow your rides in real time with LiveTrack and GroupTrack2.
  • GARMIN CYCLE MAPS AND ALERTS: Edge 1030 is preloaded with maps and includes turn-by-turn navigation and new navigation alerts that notify you of upcoming sharp turns.
  • LONGER BATTERY LIFE: Your Edge battery should outlast your ride, not the other way around. With Edge 1030, get up to 20 hours of power, and if that’s not enough, add up to 24 more with the optional extended battery pack.
  • STRAVA LIVE SEGMENTS: Race virtually against your Strava friends with second-by-second comparisons, and see how your effort compares to your PR. The new segment explore alerts you to a nearby iconic segment.
  • NEW PRELOADED STRAVA ROUTES CIQ APP: The starred routes automatically sync to your Edge so you can navigate and compete on your favorite segments at the same time.

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Unboxing the Garmin Edge 1030

Garmin Edge 1030 unboxed
Garmin Edge 1030 unboxed

  • Clean Garmin packing
  • lap and Start/Stop buttons moved to the bottom of the Edge 1030
  • Better waterproofing for the MicroSD card

The Garmin Edge 1030 comes in the standard packaging we are starting to see from Garmin and includes the following

  • Garmin Edge 1030 head unit
  • USB charging cable
  • Tether
  • Mounts both standard and extended out-front
  • Documentation

The biggest difference on the Garmin Edge 1030 comparing it to the Edge 1000 is the 3.5 inch screen which is big and clear on first impressions.

Turning over the device you will notice a removable cover that hides a microSD card slot for expanded storage, this is a change from the previous Garmin Edge devices. You will also notice the Garmin Twist mount that now as the gold colored electronic mounts for the Garmin external battery pack.

Garmin Edge 1030 microSD cover
Garmin Edge 1030 microSD cover

Garmin has moved the lap and Start/Stop buttons to the bottom of the Edge 1030 along with the USB port, which is kept covered by a small plastic cover. The power button is on the right-hand side, the same as the Edge 1000

Garmin Edge 1030 USB cover
Garmin Edge 1030 USB cover

When it comes to the unboxing that is pretty much it and not something you can go into much detail about, its a box with the Edge 1030 with some accessories inside

Garmin Edge 1030 setup

  • Straightforward setup and pairing process
  • Sensor setup is very easy
  • Setting up the screens can be a bit awkward

The setup process with the Edge 1030 is pretty straightforward and involves simply turning on the Edge 1030 and following the instructions. The setup screen is the one we are starting to see with all the Garmin devices and this is showing to me that Garmin is thinking about the user experience overall. The all setup process takes about 10 minutes from start to finish and I found it pretty painless if I am honest. I also noticed when setting up the Edge 1030 it transferred across all my user profile settings such as weight, height, power and heart rate which is a change from when I set up the Edge 1000.

Garmin Edge 1030 setup
Garmin Edge 1030 setup

Pairing my various ANT+ sensors to the Edge 1030 is again very easy and I simply just needed to wake the sensors before starting the pairing process. One of the things I found useful was the ability to search for multiple ANT+ sensors and pair them in one go, this saved a lot of time compared to pairing them one by one.

Buyers Guide: Garmin Fenix 5 vs Garmin Vivoactive 3

When going through the Edge 1030 setup process towards the end you are prompted to set up the data screens that you will use whilst out riding

Garmin Edge 1030 connectivity

  • ANT+ connectivity
  • Bluetooth Smart
  • Easy to pair sensors

The Garmin Edge comes with the normal ANT+ connectivity which allows you to connect to a whole host of ANT+ enabled devices and if you have already invested heavily in the Garmin sensor range so this will be welcome news, but no surprise of course. The biggest change here is the addition of Smart Bluetooth connectivity and this will allow you to connect other Smart Bluetooth sensors. Setting up the ANT+ sensors was painless and I did this in around 2 mins, but this is what you have come to expect from Garmin.

Garmin Edge 1030 ANT+
Garmin Edge 1030 ANT+

Garmin Edge 1030 menu and UI

  • New crisp menu
  • Easy to start and get out riding
  • Some settings not under settings

Garmin has improved the menu and user interface of the Edge 1030 making it easier to read when you are setting up the unit. Finding the information you want seems to be easier on the Edge 1030 and comparing this to an Edge 520 with lots of button presses. There is also a new My Stats section which you can view training load and training status which is really useful, I just wished Garmin would integrate this with the rest of the platform on Garmin Connect to link all devices.


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Garmin Edge 1030 first ride edit data
Garmin Edge 1030 screen edit – blocked by text prompts

Setting up the activity profile is fairly straightforward and you can have unto 8 screens with 10 data fields on each. When setting up the screens I didn’t find it as easy as the Edge 1000 and for instance when editing to the data fields the top and bottom of the screen would be covered by a text prompts which didn’t allow you to easily see underneath depending on the data.

Garmin Edge 1030 screen

  • Using gloves it does not perform well
  • Not as responsive as the Edge 820
  • Nice big 3.5 inch screen

Using the screen was one of my biggest disappointments when using the device for the first time. Whilst I was not expecting Smartphone quality I was expecting it to be better than previous devices and to be honest the Edge 820 performed better and I would say it’s on par with the Edge 1000. The screen seemed laggy at times on setting up the screens and when I was out riding it took a couple of times to register a swipe. I also tested it with gloves on and it was useless and in the end just took them to continue the ride rather than doing any further experiments with the gloves on

Garmin Edge 1030 first ride screen

Garmin Edge 1030 first ride review

  • Navigation works well both via Strava and Garmin Connect routes
  • Crashed 3 times
  • Elevation data is out

Getting out on a ride is pretty quick and from turning on the device to starting he tracking it takes around 1 minute, it takes me longer to put my helmet on. As I have explained I did 2 rides with the Edge 1030, with the first one being an installation ride before I took it on the main ride

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The installation ride

The first ride was only a steady 6 miles around my local village and this involved getting used to the screen and controls. I used the TRENDLINE routing feature to create a round-trip course, interesting it created the same route that Garmin Connect created and that my Garmin Fenix 5x created. This ride was uneventful in terms of feature testing apart from it crashed within 2 minutes of the ride and I had to restart everything to get going again, not a great start eh?

Garmin Edge 1030 first ride review

The 2nd, first ride

The 2nd ride was with some of my regular riding buddies and this took us on a local “loop” of the surrounding villages which is around 40km in total. Setting up the device once again was painless to start the ride and this time I use the Strava IQ app to download a route. After a bit of a mess around trying to get Strava to connect it finally worked, this was because it was not clear how to authenticate it to my account, but I got there in the end.

When I first loaded the Strava route and got ready to set off the Edge 1030 crashed, a quick reboot got me back up and running. Then 15 minutes into the ride it crashed again! After the 2nd reboot, the Edge 1030 performed ok.

Garmin Edge 1030 live strava segments

The navigation of the Edge 1030 using Strava was great and it gave me regular turn by turn directions and kept me on course, I did go off course as I was dropped by the group and it kept annoyingly warning me to turn around, even after 1 mile off course and I could not find how to stop this.

Buyers Guide: Garmin Fenix 5 vs Garmin Vivoactive 3

One thing I really liked was the Live Strava segments. This is a great upgrade from the previous versions and it now shows you the time against a KOM and the time against a PR or target you have set with a view on the map. This feature is really clear and gives you the information you need at a glance

Ending the ride is painless which is relief despite some of the in-ride challenges and the data presented afterward is good, similar to what you get on a Fenix 5 series. One of the biggest issues I take with Garmin’s training load and status it’s not synced across devices and this then forces you to use one device, which is not always a great choice.

Garmin Edge 1030 training status

Garmin Edge 1030 first impression’s

Whilst it’s too early to give a full verdict on the Garmin Edge 1030, I can give you some pointers around my experiences so far

  • Easy painless setup process and pairing sensors is really easy
  • The touchscreen is nice and big, but it’s not as responsive as the Edge 1000 and I had a terrible time when using gloves
  • The menu is a big improvement and UI works really well apart from a few niggles
  • It does seem a bit laggy at times when using it
  • Rider to Rider messaging needs to be reviewed
  • It’s crashing far too often in my view
  • Strava and TRENDLINE routing works well based on limited use, however, TRENDLINE seems to give me the same results as Garmin Connect and my Fenix 5x.
  • Elevation data is out comparing this to other data sources, I need todo more testing on this

My advice, if you already have a solid cycling computer and thinking of buying the Edge 1030 then hold off until all the reviews are out and Garmin have ironed out the bugs. I hope you enjoyed the Garmin Edge 1030 first ride review and if you have a question please leave it below.

Garmin Edge 1030 vs Garmin Edge 1000

This is a question I have been asked a lot over the last couple of weeks and my current advice is if you have a Edge 1000 and its working well, then stick with it for now or until it breaks. If you are don’t have either then hold off until the full reviews are out to make a informed decision

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Jon Ratcliffe
I have a huge passion for technology having worked in the sector for over 18 years in a variety of roles. I cover Wearables, tech and smart home. My reviews and information will talk about how the product works in reality and not just what the marketing departments want you to think.

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