This post aims to give you all the information you need to choose between the Garmin Edge 530 vs 830 vs 1030. The first two are both brand new, and come with a lot of awesome new features. 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, 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!
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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
|Best Price right now on Amazon||$304.99||$399.99||Because price is lower than manufacturer's recommended price, we cannot display it. Please click here for current price.|
|Size||1.9" x 3.2" x 0.8" (50 x 82 x 20 mm)||1.9" x 3.2" x 0.8" (50 x 82 x 20 mm)||2.3" x 4.5" x 0.8" (58 x 114 x 21 mm)|
|Processing speed||Double the speed of the 520 Plus||Double the speed of the 820||Not as fast as the other two|
|Weight||2.7 oz (75.8 g)||2.8 oz (79.1 g)||4.8 oz (123 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|
|Battery Life||Up to 20 hours GPS training mode||Up to 20 hours GPS training mode||Up to 15 hours GPS training mode|
|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||No|
|Find my bike computer?||Yes||Yes||No|
|Basemap||Pre-loaded Garmin Cycle Map with Integrated TrailForks content||Pre-loaded Garmin Cycle Map with Integrated TrailForks content||Pre-loaded Garmin Cycle Map|
|Address search (input address and it will plot a route)?||No||Yes||Yes|
|Popularity routing (Trendline) - shows routes used most by cyclists?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Recalculate route on the device?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|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||No|
|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||No|
|Performance Power Curve? (tracks your power output over periods of time)||Yes||Yes||No|
|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||No|
|Altitude acclimation (how well are you adjusting to changes in altitude)?||Yes||Yes||No|
|Water and calorie requirements (reminders based on course)?||Yes||Yes||No|
|Grit rating (how tough is the route)?||Yes||Yes||No|
|Flow rating (how well did you ride the route)?||Yes||Yes||No|
|Hang time (how long were you in the air when jumping, how far did you go)?||Yes||Yes||No|
|Integrated Trailforks? (130,000 trails preloaded on unit)||Yes||Yes||No|
As you can see, there are several differences between these three premium GPS bike computers. Also, the Edge 1030 looks quite different from the other two. The Edge 830 and 530 are the same size, and almost the same weight. The Edge 1030 is bigger, and looks more like a smart phone. All three have the sleek good looks and quality feel that comes with all Garmin bike computers these days. Below is a visual of the differences between these three Garmin Edge bike computers. You cannot see it in the picture, but the 830 is the shiniest!
So How to Decide: Garmin Edge 530 vs 830 vs 1030?
All three are top-quality bike computers that offer a dazzling number of advanced bike training features. You can connect all three to a range of useful 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).
All three offer advanced performance and power analysis, including Time in Zone, FTP (Functional Threshold Power) tracking, cycling-specific VO2 and recovery and cycling dynamics. All 3 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. All three have beautiful color screens. But … the prices are very different!
To simplify matters, I have summed up the 3 bike computers below.
The Garmin Edge 530, Summed Up
The Garmin Edge 530 is an upgrade on the Garmin Edge 520 Plus. With the launch of the Edge 520 Plus last year, Garmin was responding aggressively 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, so the 520 Plus could be slow in functions such as calculating routes. As a result, it seems, Garmin has surprised us by launching the Edge 530 upgrade much sooner than it usually updates. This upgrade is a massive hardware and software upgrade. Most importantly, the upgraded processor is twice as fast!
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. However, the Garmin Edge 1030 has pretty much solved that rain-on-screen problem. Also, the touch screen on the Edge 830 is the best yet seen on Garmin Edge units.
All the same, button control gives you complete control, all the time, even with 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. The Edge 530 retains this limited ability to navigate.
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 and 1030 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). 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 530 can recalculate and get you back on course, if you go off-course while riding a downloaded route.
Upgrades to the Garmin Edge 530 (and to the 830)
There are a huge number of important upgrades to the Edge 530. These upgrades are also on the 830. 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.
- 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. 8: Bike Alarm
- Upgrade no. 9: Find my Bike Computer
Bottom Line on the Garmin Edge 530
In a nutshell, the Garmin Edge 530 will suffice for the bike computer needs of most cyclists. And the cherry on the top is that Garmin has bought it in at an attractive price point, relative to the 1030 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 also have this option.
Or if are a mountain biker, then the Edge 530 (or the Edge 830) are pretty much no-brainers, thanks to the new mountain biking specific metrics.
Note: If you are a mountain biker and already have an Edge 1030, do not despair. These new mountain biking metrics will come to the 1030 in future software updates.
The Garmin Edge 830, summed up
The Garmin Edge 830 is a massive upgrade on the Edge 820. Essentially, these upgrades are the same upgrades that we see in the Edge 530 (see list of upgrades above).
So what’s the difference between the Edge 530 and the Edge 830? 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!).
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.
Expect to pay about $100 extra for these two differences.
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.
The Garmin Edge 1030, summed up
The Garmin Edge 1030 has been the premium choice for a long time, but with all the upgrades offered by the 830 and the 530, it is not looking so attractive right now. Why would you pay more for a unit that does not offer the great new features offered by the 830 and 530? The Edge 1030 usually sells for around $600, which is double the price of an Edge 530. (But expect that price to plummet when the Edge 530 starts commanding the market.)
Note however that the 1030 will get almost all of the upgrades in future software updates. However, no software updates will be able to upgrade its processor time. Also, it will not be getting the Trailforks integration, because of compatibility issues.
The only positive thing to be said for the Edge 1030 right now is that it has 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). Finally, the Edge 1030 has somehow managed to greatly improve touch screen control in the rain.
Naturally, as with the Garmin Edge 830, the Edge 1030 has true turn-by-turn navigation built into it, right out of the box.
Next I have more details on the major differences between the Garmin Edge 1030, 830, and 530.
The Major Differences between the Garmin Edge 530 vs 830 vs 1030, Summed Up
New Features in the Edge 830 and 530
As listed above, the Edge 830 and 530 both have a whole range of awesome new features. The Edge 1030 does not have these features. Most of them will be introduced in software upgrades in the future, but right now, the Edge 1030 is not looking competitive. Especially as the 830 and 530 now have twice-as-fast processors. This cannot be addressed with software updates. Presumably, we can expect a new Garmin Edge 1040 one of these days. But right now, most cyclists are likely to choose an Edge 530 or an Edge 830.
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. 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 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.
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 is very different. The Edge 1030 weighs 4.8 oz (123 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 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. There are many cyclists who insist on the Edfe 1030 purely because of the screen size, as it is easier to see the maps.
Bottom Line on which Bike Computer is Right for You: Garmin Edge 530 vs 830 vs 1030
In our opinion, 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). But only if you are 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, if your eyesight requires the bigger screen of the 1030.
- 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 if for some reason you want to spend extra money on a bike computer with fewer features. And if you absolutely are not a mountain biker, as it lacks all the great new mountain biking metrics. Or, if you are simply forced to because your eyes need the bigger screen. But if that is your situation, I would advise that you hold onto your wallet until the Edge 1040 comes out. It is certain to be packed with all the great new features. In the meantime, expect most of the new features to come to your 1030 in a software update one of these days.
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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