This in-depth post with video reviews aims to give you all the information you need to choose between the Garmin Edge 1040 vs 1030 vs 830 vs 530. The 530 and 830 were major upgrades, and came fully loaded with a lot of awesome new features. Since then, a lot of those features were shared with the 1030. Finally, the new Garmin Edge 1040 offers advances in both software and hardware, and has a (very expensive) solar option. We hope this post will make it easier for you to decide which bike computer best matches your needs.
Chart Comparing the Features of the Garmin Edge 1040 vs 1030 vs 830 vs 530
First off, here is a chart that highlights the differences between these four bike computers.
|If you are viewing on a smart phone, please rotate your phone to a horizontal orientation so you can see the chart better|
|Best Price right now on Amazon||Usually just under $300, but click here for the Best Price Right Now on Amazon||Usually just under $400, but click here for the Best Price Right Now on Amazon||Best Price on Amazon Right Now: $424.00||Best Price on Amazon Right Now for Solar Version: $695.99. Best Price on Amazon Right Now for NON-Solar Version: $599.99|
|BEST SUITED FOR?||Cyclists who want nothing but the best in premium training features; must be OK with pre-downloading routes when they need navigation help, and with button control (not touch screen)||Cyclists who want nothing but the best in premium training features and navigation||Cyclists who want an outstanding bike computer with premium training features and navigation; and who need a bigger screen & free, high-quality maps preloaded on the unit||This is the LATEST UPDATE. Best for cyclists who want nothing but the very best and the very latest premium training features and navigation; enhanced accuracy and responsiveness; and who need a bigger screen & free, high-quality maps preloaded on the unit; and who want the option of solar assistance for battery life on very long rides. Rated the most accurate bike computer ever made, and has the longest battery life ever seen|
|Touchscreen or button control?|
|Battery Save Mode (extends battery life by up to 50% while still tracking all ride data)|
|Option to add Garmin Charge Power Pack (to double battery life)?|
|Bike alarm that connects with your phone?|
|Find my bike computer?|
|Multi-Band GNSS/ GPS (Global Navigation Satellite System/Global Positioning System)||State of the art positional accuracy and coverage — even in the most challenging environments — with multi-system, multi-band GPS technology. Rated most accurate bike computer ever for this mapping function, esp. in tough conditions|
|Cycling Ability and Course Demands||Based on your personal cycling records, this Edge will try to define your cycling strengths, and measure them up against the course demands. For example, it will decide if you are a "flats specialist" or an "endurance specialist". Will you be up to this course? Which parts will be more challenging for you?|
|Type-Specific Maps||Improved maps highlight popular roads and trails, plus searchable points of interest (POIs)|
|Forksight Mode within Trailforks App||Automatically displays upcoming forks in the trail, with context (shows you where you are within the trail network)|
|Solar Option to extend battery life further (for a substantial $150 extra)||For an extra $150, you can get the version that has solar power built into the hardware. You would have to have extreme battery needs in order to justify this|
|Power Guide||Using your own personal history and preferences, the bike computer will help you to pace yourself over a course. Similar to what you can do with the app Best Bike Split. But it is better than Best Bike Split, because you can adjust your aims mid-ride.|
|Hardware change: micro USB||With this model, Garmin has FINALLY switched from a mini to a micro USB connection. Next, expect those personal flying suits that sci fi writers have predicted for the last 70 years|
|Updated and more user-friendly user Interface||The user interface is much improved vs previous models, including better fonts, more granular detail on graphics such as Climb profiles, improved navigation, Connect IQ widgets right on the home page, and very nice ride summary page|
|Up Ahead Waypoints||As seen on the Fenix 7. You can add Waypoints to a course on Garmin Connect, with custom icons. Then as you are riding, you will see a forecast of upcoming waypoints, and estimated time to arrive there|
|Real Time Stamina||As seen on the Fenix 7. This is intended to help you figure out pacing on a ride. It shows you your stamina levels during the ride, so you have an idea of how much more you have "in your tank"|
|Satellite Systems:||GPS/GLONASS||GPS/GLONASS/Galileo||GPS/GLONASS||GPS/GLONASS/Galileo plus Multi-Band GNSS|
|Basemap||Pre-loaded Garmin Cycle Map with Integrated TrailForks content||Pre-loaded Garmin Cycle Map with Integrated TrailForks content||Pre-loaded Garmin Cycle Map||Pre-loaded Garmin Cycle Map|
|Address search (input address and it will plot a route)?|
|Popularity routing (Trendline) - shows routes used most by cyclists?|
|Recalculate route on the device?|
|Calculate route back to start?|
|Create a route on the unit?|
|Create a round-trip route on the device?|
|Find nearby POI (points of interest)?|
|Rider to Rider messaging?|
|Garmin Connect compatible?|
|Automatically syncs your rides?|
|ANT+ (to connect your devices?|
|Bluetooth Smart (aka BLE or Bluetooth Low Energy)?|
|Unit to unit transfer (share your data with friends with similar units)?|
|Incident detection (so someone is automatically notified if you have an accident)?|
|LEV/ebike compatibility via ANT+?|
|Compatible with heart rate monitors, plus speed and cadence sensors?|
|Shimano Di2 electronic shifting integration?|
|Can it download free apps and widgets from the Connect IQ™ store?|
|Advanced workouts? (so you can create customized, goal-directed workouts)|
|Virtual Partner (so you can compete against a digital cyclist)?|
|VO2 Max estimate? (the maximum amount of oxygen a person can utilize during intense exercise)|
|FTP tracking? (Functional Threshold Power is the average power that a rider can produce over the course of an hour)|
|Time in heart rate training zone?|
|TrainingPeaks iLevels (WKO4)|
|ClimpPro (feature that shows you graphically the grades ahead)?|
|Performance Power Curve? (tracks your power output over periods of time)|
|Does it compute calories based on heart rate?|
|Strava Live Segments on the unit?|
|Aerobic training effect?|
|Heat acclimation (how well are you adjusting to heat)?|
|Altitude acclimation (how well are you adjusting to changes in altitude)?|
|Water and calorie requirements (reminders based on course)?|
|Grit rating (how tough is the route)?|
|Flow rating (how well did you ride the route)?|
|Hang time (how long were you in the air when jumping, how far did you go)?|
|Integrated Trailforks? (130,000 trails preloaded on unit)|
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!
Related Post: Garmin Edge 530 vs Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt
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As you can see immediately from the chart, there are several differences between these four premium GPS bike computers. The Edge 830 and 530 are the same size, and almost the same weight. The Edge 1030 and 1040 are bigger, and look more like a smart phone.
All four are premium bike computers with an awesome set of features. All have the sleek good looks and quality feel that comes with all Garmin bike computers.
Related Post: 7 of the Best Bike Computers – from Budget to Premium
So How to Decide: Garmin Edge 530 vs 830 vs 1030 vs 1040?
All four offer a dazzling number of advanced bike training features. You can connect all of them to a range of useful devices and sensors, such as heart rate monitors, and speed, power, and cadence meters. All of them 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. However, the 1040 is even faster, thanks to the brand new Multi-Band GNSS, which will not be shared with the rest of the line. All four will record your bike rides and will wirelessly transfer your data to Garmin Connect (or Strava, or several other apps).
All four offer advanced performance and power analysis, including Time in Zone, FTP (Functional Threshold Power) tracking, cycling-specific VO2 and recovery and cycling dynamics. However, the 1040 has some attractive new training features (see chart). We particularly like the new Cycling Ability and Course Demands on the 1040, which will help you to plan your training rides with more accuracy.
All four offer live tracking – which means designated people can track where you are. All four are very connected, with phone call and text message alerts, and a ton of other connected features. All four have beautiful color screens. But … the prices are very different!
To simplify matters, I have summed up the four 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, 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 surprised us by launching the Edge 530 upgrade much sooner than it usually updates. This upgrade was a massive hardware and software upgrade. Most importantly, the upgraded processor is twice as fast! We confess that the 530 is our personal favorite and hits our sweet spot for outstanding performance at a competitive price.
Button Control on the Garmin Edge 530
Like the 520 Plus, the Garmin Edge 530 has button control, not touch screen control. This is different from the Edge 830, Edge 1030, and Edge 1040. Personally, I prefer button control. Sometimes I find screen swiping doesn’t work perfectly, especially in the rain. And especially when wearing gloves. However, the Garmin Edge 1030 and 1040 have solved that rain-on-the-screen problem. Also, the touch screen on the Edge 830, 1030 Plus, and 1040 are 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 cyclists 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. It added 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 navigation features on the Edge 530 remain inferior to those on the 830 and the 1030, but the Edge 530 is better than the 520 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 safer to bike, rather than simply the shortest route.
- You can use the preloaded Yelp app to find nearby bike shops, coffee shops, etc. And you can 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, 1030 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 trail maps right on the unit. The Garmin Edge 520 Plus did not 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.
Video Showing the Upgrades to the Garmin Edge 530
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, rivaling those of dedicated apps.
- Upgrade no. 7: Bluetooth Smart connectivity, which means you can connect to more things faster, 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 features of the Garmin Edge 530:
Bottom Line on the Garmin Edge 530
In a nutshell, the Garmin Edge 530 will be more than enough for the bike computer needs of most cyclists. And the cherry on the top is that it has an attractive price point ($275). relative to the 1040, 1030, 1030 Plus, 830.
Is the Garmin Edge 530 For YOU?
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; and
- you prefer button control rather than touchscreen control; and
- you do extremely long rides, (20 hours of battery life); or
- you are a mountain biker (because you are probably going to love the mountain biking metrics).
Note on Battery Life
In practice, you will probably get less than 20 hours if you use multiple sensors. However, on all four of these bike computers you have the option to plug in the Garmin Charge external batttery pack, to extend battery life to more than 40 hours. And of course, the 1040 offers a solar option to extend battery life to the point where you won’t have to think about battery life for many days.
The Garmin Edge 830, summed up
Related Post: Garmin Edge 830 vs 820: What’s the Difference?
The Garmin Edge 830 was a massive upgrade on the Edge 820. Essentially, these upgrades were the same upgrades that we saw 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 is 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. You 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.
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; and
- connectivity with every possible sensor, smart notifications, and the latest apps; and
- you also want premium mapping and navigation features; and
- you prefer touchscreen control.
Related Post: Garmin Edge 530 vs 830: What’s the Difference?
Related Post: Garmin Edge 1030 PLUS vs. 830 vs. 530
The Garmin Edge 1030, summed up
The Garmin Edge 1030 was the premium choice for a long time, but with all the upgrades offered by the 830 and the 530, and now the 1040, it has serious competition.
Garmin Shares its Upgrades across the Range
Note however that the 1030 has received almost all of the upgrades that the 1030 Plus has, in software updates.
However, no software updates will be able to upgrade its processor time.
The most positive thing to be said for the Edge 1030 is that it has largest screen of any bike computer except the 1040 (which is the same size). This makes it great for seeing maps with ageing eyes. A bigger screen is easier to read (especially when viewing maps). Also, a bigger screen makes it that much easier to work the touch screen controls. This is 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.
This is a major upgrade to the Garmin Edge 1030 Plus. There are a number of reasons to say that the Garmin Edge 1040 is quite simply the most advanced and best bike computer available in the world today. The question is, do YOU need a bike a computer this good? That’s for you to decide, of course.
The video below sums up the new features of the Garmin Edge 1040. It is worth noting that usually, Garmin rolls out most of the new updates to the rest of the lineup, eventually, in software updates. However, this is NOT the plan with the 1040. Therefore, if you actually need or want these improvements, you will have to think about springing for the 1040.
Video Showing Upgrades in the Garmin Edge 1040
Updates Unique to the Garmin Edge 1040
The Garmin Edge 1040 introduces several new features that will only be seen on the 1040. This is unusual in the Garmin Universe. Usually, the new features that come in with an upgrade are later shared with the other models. No word yet on why this decision was made. Some are linked to hardware constraints.
Cycling Ability and Course Demands
We find this new feature to be a lot of fun for interactive use. Based on your personal cycling records, the Edge 1040 will try to define your cycling strengths, and measure them up against the course demands. For example, it will decide if you are a “flats specialist” or an “endurance specialist”.
Based partly on this, will you be up to this course? Which parts will be more challenging for you? This assessment can and does change over time, depending on what cycling you do. If for example you usually cycle 40 miles to and from work on a flat route, but you start off using your 1040 while on a vacation cycling in the Alps, it is most likely going to classify you as a climbing specialist. And then reclassify you after you spend a few weeks not doing any climbing.
Type-Specific Maps are improved maps that highlight popular roads and trails, plus searchable points of interest (POIs).
This new feature resides within the included Trailforks App. It automatically displays upcoming forks in the trail, with context (that is, it shows you where you are within the trail network). This can be useful for making informed on-the-fly route decisions.
The new Garmin Edge 1040 has a Power Guide, which uses your own personal history and preferences to help you to pace yourself over a course. This is similar to what you can do with the app Best Bike Split. But it is better than Best Bike Split, because you can adjust your aims mid-ride.
Real Time Stamina
This feature was previously seen on the new Garmin Fenix 7. It is intended to help you figure out pacing on a ride. It shows you your stamina levels during the ride, so you have an idea of how much more you have “in your tank.” We found this useful for making on-the-fly route decisions.
The Edge 1040 has a metal mount, as opposed to the plastic mount on all the other models. A lot of people appear to be quite excited about this. Personally, I have used the plastic mounts for decades and absolutely never had a problem with any of them.
Should you Buy the Garmin Edge 1040 Solar?
This is the first time Garmin has bought solar to its bike computers. For the privilege, you will need to pay a whopping $150 extra. So the question is, is it worth it?
Personally, I would not. However, it may be something you want. Probably only if you do multi-day cycling events, so you desperately need multiple days of battery life. Or you have a terrible memory when it comes to charging your devices. And you live in an area that has a lot of sunshine.
If not, the relatively small increase in battery life hardly seems worth the extra $150. Honestly, I am not sure how they justify so much extra for this extra feature. It seems over-priced for what it is.
Next I have more details on the major differences between the Garmin Edge 1040, 1030, 830, and 530.
The Major Differences between the Garmin Edge 1040 vs 1030 vs 830 vs 530, 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.
However, most of these features have now been shared with the 1030. Specifically, all of the upgrades below have been shared:
- Shared Upgrade: ClimbPro: Tells you on the fly about the grades ahead on downloaded routes. Great for serious climbers.
- Shared Upgrade: Mountain Biking Metrics: Including Grit rating, Flow rating, Hang time, and fully integrated Trailforks app.
- Shared Upgrade: New Performance Metrics: Including Performance power curve; Heat acclimation; Altitude acclimation; Water and calorie requirements.
- Shared Upgrade: Better Structured Workouts, rivaling those of dedicated app.
- Shared Upgrade: Bike Alarm
- Shared Upgrade: Find my Bike Computer
Maps and Navigation
All of these 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 or the 1040.
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 1040, 1030 and 830 all 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 bike computers have significant differences in size and weight. The 830 and the 530 are almost identical, but the 1030 and 1040 are very different.
The Edge 1030 and 1040 weigh 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 and 1040 are very noticeably bigger, with a 3.5″ screen and a screen resolution of 282 x 470 pixels. They look more like a smart phone.
Bottom Line on which Bike Computer is Right for You: Garmin Edge 530 vs 830 vs 1030 vs 1040
In our opinion, the best value for most people right now is definitely the Garmin Edge 530. With the huge range of features 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; around $400 for the 1030; around $600 for the 1030 Plus and the 1040; and a whopping $750 for the 1040 with the solar option). 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 or 1040, 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 your eyes need the bigger screen.
- Buy the Edge 1040 is you need the bigger screen, and you also want top-of-line new training features and the highest level of accuracy ever seen in GPS recording.
- Buy the Edge 1040 Solar if you plan on circumnavigating the globe on your bike. Or you just have a really bad memory and tend to forget to plug your bike computer into the wall.
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!
Please note that as an Amazon Associate I may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.
Buy a Garmin Edge 530:
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Buy a Garmin Edge 1030:
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