This in-depth post with video reviews aims to give you all the information you need to choose between the Garmin Edge 530 vs 830 vs 1030 Plus. The Edge 1030 Plus is a recent upgrade of the flagship of the series, and it has got a lot of attention. I hope this post will make it easier for you to decide which bike computer best matches your needs.
First I have compiled a chart that compares the key features offered by these bike computers, including training metrics and navigation. Then I discuss the differences between the three bike computers. Then, I offer some advice on which Garmin Edge to buy, based on your needs. If you don’t have enough time to read all of this, you can jump to the Bottom Line on which Garmin Edge bike computer is right for you. Otherwise, please read on for more details!
First off, here is a chart that highlights the differences between these three bike computers.
Chart Comparing the Features of the Garmin Edge 530 vs 830 vs 1030 Plus
|Best Price right now on Amazon||Around $300, but please click here for current price on Amazon||Around $400, but please click here for current price on Amazon||Around $600. Because price is lower than manufacturer's recommended price, we cannot display it. Please click here for current price.|
|Size of screen||1.9" x 3.2" x 0.8" (50 x 82 x 20 mm)||1.9" x 3.5" x 0.8" (50 x 82 x 20 mm)||2.3" x 4.5" x 0.8" (58 x 114 x 19 mm)|
|Processing speed||Double the speed of the 520 Plus||Double the speed of the 820||Double the speed of the 1030|
|Weight||2.7 oz (75.8 g)||2.8 oz (79.1 g)||4.4 oz (124 g)|
|Waterproof rating||IPX 7 (you can drop it in 3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes, and it will still work)||IPX 7||IPX 7|
|Screen size||2.6" (66.04 mm)||2.6" (66.04 mm)||3.5" (88.9 mm)|
|Display resolution||246 x 322 pixels, color||246 x 322 pixels, color||282 x 470 pixels, color|
|Touchscreen or button control?||Button control||Touchscreen, much improved over the 820||Touchscreen, much improved over the 1030 (basically the 830 screen, but bigger)|
|Battery Life||Up to 20 hours in GPS training mode||Up to 20 hours in GPS training mode||Up to 36 hours in GPS training mode, up to 48 hours with minimal sensors and backlighting|
|Battery Save Mode (extends battery life by up to 50% while still tracking all ride data)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Option to add Garmin Charge Power Pack (to double battery life)?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Bike alarm that connects with your phone?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Find my bike computer?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Basemap||Pre-loaded Garmin Cycle Maps with Integrated TrailForks content||Pre-loaded Garmin Cycle Maps with Integrated TrailForks content||Pre-loaded Garmin Cycle Maps with Integrated TrailForks content|
|Ships pre-loaded with high-quality maps for two countries, plus can download any other countries for free?||No||No||Yes|
|Address search (input address and it will plot a route)? AKA On-Device Course Creator||No||Yes||Yes|
|Popularity routing (Trendline) - shows routes used most by cyclists?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Recalculate route on the device?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|New re-routing options?||No, but will arrive in a future software updatea||No, but will arrive in a future software updatea||Yes. Choose from Rejoin where you left course; Skip ahead to course; or Cut across|
|Calculate route back to start?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Create a route on the unit?||No||Yes||Yes|
|Create a round-trip route on the device?||No||Yes||Yes|
|Find nearby POI (points of interest)?||No||Yes||Yes|
|Rider to Rider messaging?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Garmin Connect compatible?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Automatically syncs your rides?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|ANT+ (to connect your devices?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Bluetooth Smart (aka BLE or Bluetooth Low Energy)?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Unit to unit transfer (share your data with friends with similar units)?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Incident detection (so someone is automatically notified if you have an accident)?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|LEV/ebike compatibility via ANT+?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Compatible with heart rate monitors, plus speed and cadence sensors?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Shimano Di2 electronic shifting integration?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Can it download free apps and widgets from the Connect IQ™ store?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Advanced workouts? (so you can create customized, goal-directed workouts)||Yes (much improved over 520 Plus)||Yes (much improved over 820)||Yes|
|Virtual Partner (so you can compete against a digital cyclist)?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|VO2 Max estimate? (the maximum amount of oxygen a person can utilize during intense exercise)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|FTP tracking? (Functional Threshold Power is the average power that a rider can produce over the course of an hour)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Time in heart rate training zone?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|TrainingPeaks iLevels (WKO4)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|ClimpPro (new feature that shows you graphically the grades ahead)?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Performance Power Curve? (tracks your power output over periods of time)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Does it compute calories based on heart rate?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Strava Live Segments on the unit?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Aerobic training effect?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Heat acclimation (how well are you adjusting to heat)?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Altitude acclimation (how well are you adjusting to changes in altitude)?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Water and calorie requirements (reminders based on course)?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Grit rating (how tough is the route)?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Flow rating (how well did you ride the route)?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Hang time (how long were you in the air when jumping, how far did you go)?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Integrated Trailforks? (130,000 trails preloaded on unit)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
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As you can see, there are not very many differences between these three premium GPS bike computers. However, the Edge 1030 Plus looks quite different from the other two. The Edge 830 and 530 are the same size, and almost the same weight. The Edge 1030 Plus is bigger, and looks more like a smart phone.
In terms of price, the range is usually as follows:
All three have the sleek good looks and quality feel that comes with all Garmin Edge bike computers these days. Below is a visual of the differences between these three Garmin Edge bike computers.
So How to Decide: Garmin Edge 530 vs 830 vs 1030 Plus?
All three are top-quality bike computers that offer a dazzling number of advanced bike training features. All three have beautiful color screens. The 830 and 1030 Plus have touch screens, while the 530 is button controlled only.
You can connect all three to a range of training devices and sensors, such as heart rate monitors, and speed, power, and cadence meters. All three can connect to these monitors using both ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart. They all have access to both GPS and Glonass satellite systems, so they acquire a GPS signal fast. All three will record your bike rides and will wirelessly transfer your data to Garmin Connect (or Strava, or several other apps).
Advanced Analysis of Your Cycling Performance and Power Output
All three of these bike computers offer advanced analysis of your performance and power. These include Time in Zone, FTP (Functional Threshold Power) tracking, cycling-specific VO2 and recovery, and cycling dynamics.
Plus, they all offer the new mountain bike metrics, which offer cool new ways to motivate you on your mountain bike – such as how long you were in the air, and how hard your ride was (Grit rating).
They also all have the Trailforks app – with 130,000 mountain bike trails – preloaded on the unit! Basically, wherever you are, you can just stop and choose a nearby trail. You will be able to preview the route, and all important details about it.
In terms of connectivity, all three offer live tracking – which means designated people can track where you are. All three are very connected, with phone call and text message alerts, and a ton of other connected features.
To simplify matters, I have summed up each of the three bike computers below.
The Garmin Edge 530, Summed Up
The Garmin Edge 530 is an upgrade on the Garmin Edge 520 Plus. The Edge 520 Plus was Garmin’s strong response to increasing competition from the likes of Wahoo. However, there were complaints that with all the upgrades to that model and the extra maps, the processor was not up to the job. As a result, the 520 Plus could be slow in functions such as calculating routes.
Then suddenly, Garmin surprised the cycling world by launching the Edge 530 upgrade much sooner than it usually updates. This upgrade was a massive hardware and a software upgrade. Most importantly, the upgraded processor is twice as fast! But it also came with a whole bunch of new cycling metrics, blazing a trail for the rest of the range. Now, all three of these bike computers share these features.
Button Control, not Touch Screen Control
Like the 520 Plus, the Garmin Edge 530 has button control, not touch screen control (as found in the Edge 830 and Edge 1030). Personally, I prefer button control. Sometimes I find screen swiping doesn’t work perfectly, especially in the rain.
Improved Touch Screen on the Edge 830 and 1030 Plus
However, the Garmin Edge 1030 Plus and 830 have solved that annoying rain-on-the-screen problem. The touch screen used on both of them (in different sizes) is the best yet seen on Garmin Edge units. Almost all users have nothing but praise for it. Even in the rain.
All the same, button control gives you complete control, all the time, even with bulky gloves on. On the other hand, many people prefer touchscreen control. Some people find they have become so used to touchscreen controls on their phone that it has become intuitive. If this is you, you may find that not having touchscreen control is annoying.
What’s So Different about the Garmin Edge 530?
So, what is so different about the Edge 530? Quite a lot, actually. In fact, I wrote an entire post about it:
The Edge 520 did not give you cycling-specific maps and could not calculate routes of any kind; plus, it could not give you turn-by-turn directions as you cycled. All you got were the most basic of maps, plus breadcrumbs-type navigation if you downloaded courses to it. There were work-arounds you could do, but they were time-consuming.
The Edge 520 Plus went a long way towards addressing these issues, adding a much better base cycling map, and some ability to give turn-by-turn directions. But the navigation features on the 520 Plus were still not as advanced as those found on the Edge 820 and Edge 1030. These features were much improved on the 530. However, the navigation features on the Edge 530 remain inferior to those on the 830 and the 1030 Plus.
The Garmin Edge 530 and Navigation
Specifically, this is what the Garmin Edge 530 can and cannot do, when it comes to mapping and navigation:
- The Edge 530 comes preloaded with Garmin Cycle Maps, so it can navigate along a saved route, or to a saved point (such as your office or your home, or the local pub), without an internet connection. Plus, you get turn-by-turn directions and alerts for turns ahead.
- After you follow a route, the Edge 530 can guide you back to the start.
- The Edge 530 has the Trendline Popularity feature, which highlights routes that other cyclists prefer. This has the major advantage that you are shown routes that are actually fun or safe to bike, rather than simply the shortest route.
- You can use the preloaded Yelp app to find nearby bike shops, coffee shops, etc. – and navigate to them with turn-by-turn directions.
- You cannot find nearby POIs (Points of Interest) and navigate to them (only the Edge 830, 1030 and 1030 Plus have a full suite of POIs). However, the Yelp app does almost the same thing.
- You cannot input an address and ask the Edge 530 to navigate to that address (which you can do with the Edge 830 and 1030 Plus). Basically, this means you need to plan ahead, and download new routes to your Edge 530 before you set off on your bike. For many cyclists this is not a deal-breaker … but for some, it is.
- The Garmin Edge 530 has integrated Trailforks, which means it has 130,000 trails right on the unit. (The Garmin Edge 520 Plus did not have this.) The 830 and 1030 Plus also have this.
- The Garmin Edge 530 can recalculate and get you back on course, if you go off-course while riding a downloaded route. (The Garmin Edge 520 Plus could not do this.) The 830 and 1030 Plus can also do this.
This video sums up the upgrades to the Garmin Edge 530
Upgrades to the Garmin Edge 530 (and to the 830 and 1030 Plus)
There are a huge number of important upgrades to the Edge 530. These upgrades are also on the 830 and the 1030 Plus. Below is a list of the most important ones:
- Upgrade no. 1: Speed: The processor is twice as fast.
- Upgrade no. 2: Full Navigation Maps (Garmin Cycling Maps): Re-route on the fly while cycling if you go off course! Use back-to-start routing.
- Upgrade no. 3: ClimbPro: Tells you on the fly about the grades ahead on downloaded routes. Great for serious climbers.
- Upgrade no. 4: Mountain Biking Metrics: Including Grit rating, Flow rating, Hang time, and fully integrated Trailforks app with 130,000 trails.
- Upgrade no. 5: Brand New Performance Metrics: Including Performance power curve; Heat acclimation; Altitude acclimation; Water and calorie requirements.
- Upgrade no. 6: Better Structured Workouts
- Upgrade no. 7: Bluetooth Smart connectivity, which means you can connect to more things, while using less battery power
- Upgrade no. 8: Longer Battery Life: Plus you can use an added battery charge pack, so you can have more than 40 hours of battery life
- Upgrade no. 9: Bike Alarm
- Upgrade no. 10: Find my Bike Computer
This graphic sums up some of the cool new features on the Garmin Edge 530:
Bottom Line on the Garmin Edge 530
In a nutshell, the Garmin Edge 530 is a premium bike computer with loads of features that will be more than enough for most cyclists. And the cherry on the top is that Garmin has bought it in at an attractive price point, relative to the 1030 Plus and 830 ($299). This one is for you if you want absolutely premium bike training features in a small, light, affordable package, and you like the convenience of turn-by-turn directions, but you do not need your bike computer to calculate routes on the fly for you. Plus, you are more into button control than touchscreen control.
And if you do extremely long rides, then the Edge 530 is ideal, thanks to greater battery life (20 hours vs 15 hours on the 520. Plus, you have the option to plug in the extra Garmin Charge power pack to extend to more than 40 hours). In practice, these hours contract if you use multiple sensors, so this could be a big bonus for very serious cyclists. Of course, the 830 and the 1030 Plus also have this option.
The Garmin Edge 830 is a massive upgrade on the Edge 820. Essentially, these upgrades are the same upgrades that are in the Edge 530 (see list of upgrades above).
What’s the Difference between the Edge 530 and the Edge 830?
Well first, the 830 uses touchscreen controls, not button controls. Importantly, its touch screen is much improved over the Edge 820. In fact, it’s the best touchscreen Garmin has yet come up with. But, it’s still not as good as a smart phone (few things are!).
True Turn-by-Turn Navigation
Second, the Garmin Edge 830 has true turn-by-turn navigation built into it. So, you can use it much like a car GPS – simply input an address and the unit will calculate a route to get there. But unlike a car GPS, the Edge 830 has an invisible but important layer – Garmin heat maps. Basically, this is data derived from recorded rides by real cyclists, which tells Garmin which routes are most popular with cyclists. This enables the unit to calculate a route for you that is more cyclist-friendly.
Video Review of the Garmin Edge 830
Bottom Line on the Garmin Edge 830
In a nutshell, the Garmin Edge 830 is for you if you want absolutely premium bike training features in a small, light, package, plus connectivity with every possible sensor, smart notifications, and the latest apps, AND you also want premium mapping and navigation features. Plus, you prefer touchscreen control over buttons.
Related Post: 9 New Features in the Garmin Edge 830
The New Garmin Edge 1030 Plus, Summed Up
The Garmin Edge 1030 Plus was an upgrade that just had to happen. This is because all the upgrades in the 530 and the 830 meant that there was no longer any reason to buy the 1030. This was a problem as it was the flagship of the series for a long time.
With the upgrade to the 1030 Plus, the flagship is once again a very competitive option to consider.
As before, the Edge 1030 Plus has the largest screen of any bike computer. This makes it great for seeing maps with ageing eyes. A bigger screen is not only easier to read (especially when viewing maps), but also a bigger screen makes it that much easier to work the touch screen controls (something I find quite important when riding a bike in the rain).
Naturally, as with the Garmin Edge 830, the Edge 1030 Plus has true turn-by-turn navigation built into it, right out of the box. Just like the 1030. But what’s new in the Garmin Edge 1030 Plus?
Physical Changes to the Garmin Edge 1030 Plus vs Garmin Edge 1030
The new Garmin Edge 1030 Plus is all black, rather than mainly white. More importantly, the touch screen display has been upgraded. It is now the same screen as the upgraded 830, but bigger. The 830 screen was a major upgrade in terms of the touchscreen working so much better. Similarly, the Edge 1030 Plus screen is much improved. Expect to be able to use it (without cursing) in the rain, while wearing gloves!
With this bike computer, the iconic Garmin beeping noise has changed. The tone is very slightly different, and it is noticeably louder. Also, the speaker is in a different spot.
More Memory on the 1030 Plus
The new Garmin Edge 1030 Plus has 32 GB of onboard memory, rather than 16 GB. So, you don’t need an extra memory card.
Just as happened with the 530 and 830 upgrades, the Garmin Edge 1030 Plus has a major upgrade to its processor speed. It is now rated at double the speed.
Longer Battery Life
Depending on how many features and sensors you use, the battery could now run for up to 48 hours. For most users, it would be reasonable to expect 36 hours.
There is an option to extend battery life, as this unit still has a connection port to attach an external Garmin Battery, adding on another 24 hours.
The new Edge 1030 Plus ships with a bunch of free maps pre-installed. For example, if you buy your Garmin Edge 1030 Plus in North America, you will get a full set of high-quality maps for North America and Europe. And, if you need more, you can just log into Garmin Express and download them for free!
New Re-Routing Options on the Garmin Edge 1030 Plus
The Garmin Edge 1030 Plus retains a great navigation system, with audible and visual prompts. And if you go off route, there are now three options:
- You can choose to rejoin where you left the course.
- You can choose to skip ahead to get back on the course up ahead.
- Or you can choose to cut across to your planned route.
You get a visual preview of each choice, so you can choose wisely.
New Pause Routing Option
Say you are on a planned route and you suddenly decide to go off-route for a coffee. Now you can pause the routing, so your Garmin does not beep at you constantly.
New Training Options
These include a new Daily Suggestion Workout.
The LiveTrack experience has been improved for those tracking you. More details on this in my post comparing the Garmin Edge 1030 vs. Edge 1030 Plus. https://averagejoecyclist.com/garmin-edge-1030-plus-vs-garmin-edge-1030-whats-new-about-the-garmin-edge-1030-plus/
Auto Synching during Bike Computer Setup of the Edge 1030 Plus
As you set up your new Garmin Edge 1030 Plus, it will automatically import all your activity records, user and activity profiles, and all of your sensors (up to 30). This makes for a really stress-free setup process.
These software updates will go out to other Garmin Edge bike computers later this year, via a software update. This will include the Garmin Edge 1030, 830, and 530. However, if you already have an Edge bike computer, you will not be getting the free maps via an update.
Video Highlighting Changes to the Garmin Edge 1030 Plus vs Garmin Edge 1030
Next. I have more details on the major differences between the Garmin Edge 503 vs 830 vs 1030 Plus.
The Major Differences between the Garmin Edge 530 vs 830 vs 1030 Plus, Summed Up
New Features in the Garmin Edge 530 and 830 and 1030 Plus
All of these bike computers have a whole range of awesome new features. All of them have upgraded, twice-as-fast processors. All of this was debuted with the 530, but have now been replicated in the 830 and the 1030 Plus. Also, a much improved touch screen debuted in the 830, and has now been replicated in the 1030 Plus (only bigger).
Maps and Navigation
All three bike computers have built-in Garmin Cycling Maps and the ability to give turn-by-turn directions. However, if you need a bike computer that will calculate routes for you on the road, your choices come down to the 830 or the 1030 Plus. But very importantly, the Edge 1030 Plus ships with all the maps you need for the country you are in, plus another country. And it has plenty of onboard storage for all these maps, and more.
On the other hand, if you don’t mind making your cycling plans in advance, you can download routes to the Edge 530, and get your turn-by-turn directions when you ride. And of course, it can navigate to saved places, and to places on the Yelp app.
Touchscreen vs Button Control
The Edge 1030 Plus and 830 both have touchscreen control, while the Edge 530 is operated with buttons. So, your preference on this matter is important. The good news is that Garmin touch screens just keep getting better. Early iterations could be sluggish in response, but that has improved a lot. Both the 830 and the 1030 Plus have great touch screens.
Does Size Matter to You?
These three bike computers have significant differences in size and weight. The 830 and the 530 are almost identical, but the 1030 Plus is very different. The Edge 1030 Plus weighs 4.4 oz (124 g), the 830 weighs 2.8 oz (79.1 g), and the 530 weighs 2.7 oz (75.8 g). The 830 and the 530 have 2.6″ diagonal screens with 246 x 322 pixels high resolution.
The Edge 1030 Plus is very noticeably bigger, with a 3.5″ screen and a screen resolution of 282 x 470 pixels. It looks more like a smart phone than a bike computer. There are many cyclists who insist on the Edge 1030 Plus purely because of the screen size, as it is easier to see the maps. This is more likely with older cyclists, like me.
Bottom Line on which Bike Computer is Right for You: Garmin Edge 530 vs 830 vs 1030 Plus
If you don’t need much in the way of navigation, the best value for most people right now is definitely the Garmin Edge 530. With the latest updates and the attractive price point, it seems to be unbeatable, really. In fact, respected cycling authority DC Rainmaker has said that it “looks like the best bike computer ever.” However, it ultimately depends on what you personally need, so read on …
- Buy the Edge 530 if you want a premium bike computer with awesome new training features, at a very reasonable price relative to other premium bike computers. (Prices are around $300 for the 530; around $400 for the 830; and around $600 for the 1030 Plus). But only if you are content with only having navigation and turn-by-turn directions if you download routes beforehand.
- Don’t buy the Edge 530 if you really enjoy touchscreens. In that case, you might want to choose the Edge 830. Or the Edge 1030 Plus, if your eyesight requires the bigger screen of the 1030 Plus.
- Buy the Edge 830 if awesome training features and full-feature navigation are important to you (that is, you want to be able to input addresses into the unit while you are riding, and then navigate to them with turn-by-turn directions).
- Buy the Edge 1030 Plus if you have problems seeing a smaller bike computer. And awesome training features and full-feature navigation are important to you (that is, you want to be able to input addresses into the unit while you are riding, and then navigate to them with turn-by-turn directions). And you want an awesome range of free maps. Or you especially want any of the new features, such as increased storage, longer battery life, improved Live Tracking, Daily Workout guidance, etc. But note that most of these upgrades will get to the other two bike computers soon.
It comes down to what you need and value, and how much you are willing and able to pay for it. It’s a tough choice, but somebody’s got to make it!
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