Garmin Edge 830 vs 1030 Plus: Do You NEED To Go Top Of The Range?

In this post I assess the key differences between the Garmin Edge 830 and the Edge 1030 Plus and hopefully help you decide which is best for your needs.

Both are high end Garmin bike computers, crammed with training and TopBikeFun features. But both cost a fair chunka change. Understanding and comparing what you get, and what you don’t, is key to choosing which to buy. And that’s exactly what you’ll get from this post.

I’m not a professional reviewer – whatever that is – I just buy a load of bike computers, largely funded by my blog, test them out and give you my thoughts.

Despite being around for a while, the Edge 1030 Plus is a relative newcomer to the Sportive Cyclist test stable: the GPS Stud (not my nickname). I’ve had the 830 for ages. At some point soonish, I’ll buy the new Edge 1040 and add that to my list of comparisons.

But let’s stop wittering and get into the post. Starting with the important things…

Where Does The ‘Plus’ Come From?

An excellent question. With an answer that I’ll fudge cos I don’t know.

[Commence speculation mode]

Every now and then, Garmin seems to release a higher-powered or more-featured version of an existing model but without redesigning the case.

The Edge 520 Plus added on-board navigation and other features to the existing 520, before Garmin moved on to the 530, which replaced both.

The Edge 1030 Plus is (obviously) the equivalent half update of the Edge 1030. My big bad guess is that when the 530 and 830 were launched, two years after the 1030, it was very obvious they’d had a CPU upgrade. They immediately became much more usable, showing the Edge 1030 up.

But since Garmin wasn’t yet ready to move to the next generation 10xx device with design changes to warrant a whole new number (which we now know is the Edge 1040), it released the interim 1030 Plus.

[Speculation over]

Garmin Edge 830

A powerful bike GPS with full on-board mapping. The touchscreen is responsive and works well, both in the map screen and for moving around the menus. Excellent training and safety features.

If you click this link and make a purchase, I earn a commission at no additional cost to you.
Garmin Edge 1030 Plus

Top-of-the-range bike GPS with large colour touchscreen and super fast processor. Similar features to the 830 (i.e. lots of sophisticated ones) - the larger screen makes them easier to use.

If you click this link and make a purchase, I earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Where In The Range?

This used to be easy. The Edge 1030 Plus was previously the monkey at the top of the tree. Then the 1040 came along, with two versions.

For the Edge 830, the waters were a little muddied whilst Garmin was still selling the 1030 (sans Plus). Was the faster but cheaper Edge 830, with it’s smaller screen, above or below it (it was certainly better value)?

With the 1030 finally having departed this mortal coil the Garmin website, and inserting the two new Edge 1040 models in HashtagTopSpot, it is now clear that the Edge range runs:

And we’ll politely ignore the Edge Explore 2 as it doesn’t follow the same numbering convention and is clearly for absolute losers (I jest!).

When Were They Launched?

(With the real question being, when will they be replaced?)

As mentioned, the 1030 Plus is the newer of the two models, launching into the veloverse in June 2020. Despite this, it has been the first to be superseded.

Superseded rather than replaced because the 1030 Plus still for sale. It remains a perfectly viable and attractive bike computer purchase, even if it no longer occupies the tippity top slot in the Garmin range. Particularly as the 1040 launching has shifted the 1030 Plus down in price (not officially – yet – but the 1030 Plus is now being discounted by some retailers).

The 830 was released in May 2019.

Garmin tends to release new Edge models every 3-4 years. And it hasn’t ever done an ‘in-sync’ update of the 10xx and 8xx model families in the same year. Also, we’re towards the end of 2022 now and new bike computer launch season has likely closed.

All of which points to Garmin launching the next 8xx series bike computer in April / May 2023.

(As is hopefully clear to you, I am a random muppet writing blog posts in his man-and-pain cave so I have no actual intelligence on this. Arguably in any sense of the word, ‘intelligence’).

Are They Still Updated?

Yes. They’re both current, highly illustrious, members on the Garmin Edge line up. Both receive regular firmware updates from Garmin, some of which feature full blown new features.

At the time of writing (end of September 2022), the latest firmware updates were released on 2 September 2022.

In terms of the navigation and mapping software, the Edge 830 and the 1030 Plus are the same.

And the way you interact with the navigation features, which is really the key difference between the 830 (with the touchscreen) and the 530 (using the buttons on the side), is the same.

Both the 1030 Plus and the 830 are touchscreen, which makes using the maps without repeatedly punching yourself in the face a heck of a lot easier.

In summary, both devices have full onboard navigation. You can plug in a destination or select a point of interest from the list, and the Edge 1030+/830 will plot you a route.

Garmin Edge 1030 Plus

Top-of-the-range bike GPS with large colour touchscreen and super fast processor. Similar features to the 830 (i.e. lots of sophisticated ones) - the larger screen makes them easier to use.

Check price - Amazon Check price - Competitive Cyclist
If you click this link and make a purchase, I earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

You can upload a route file to follow, or sync one from Strava or other route creation apps, and the device will flash up turn directions and generally keep you on the straight and narrow (beautiful lanes in your ideal cycling paradise… maybe).

If you go off course, both the Edge 830 and 1030 Plus will alert you and attempt to recalculate a way back to your original route (which admittedly is sometimes, “Do a U-turn”…).

Both have three different map formats: the original ’Classic’ colour scheme and then the recently added High Voltage Contrast and Mountain Biking themes (with latter better denoting off-road routes).

So all in all very similar. Except for one key aspect. With the Edge 1030 Plus you can see ‘more map’ (technical term)… because it has a bigger…

Screen

Shock horror. You probably already knew this.

Anyway, in pure dimensional terms, the Edge 830 sports a 2.6″in screen (or 246 x 322 pixels), whilst the 1030 Plus commands 3.5″ of diagonally-measured screen real estate (or 282 x 470 pixels).

So the larger screen obviously allows for the map screen to show more detail. Or the same area just with high definition.

More is always nicer (not always nicer) but I guess it’s for you to decide whether you need the additional screen area and if it’s worth the extra cost.

Before buying the Edge 1030 Plus (and also the Hammerhead Karoo 2), I never yearned for a larger screen area than on my 830. If I want a big ol’ map interrogation session, I’ll whip out my iPhone.

That said, I can’t deny that having a bit more screen real estate to play with on the 1030 Plus (in the zooming-in-and-out, swooping-around-the-map-screen sense) hasn’t been a Brucie-bonus on the larger device.

Both computers have touchscreens and I’ve generally found recent Garmin touchscreens to work well. They work fine (for me – we’ve all got different fingers) in the rain and are a bit hit and miss with gloves on (and to be fair, my iPhone is entirely miss with gloves on).

Whilst they don’t have Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT levels of sharpness and definition (which I’m 99% certain isn’t the correct technical term), I’ve found recent Garmin displays fine to read in most (if not all) riding conditions (though this recent comment on another post suggests that not everyone agrees!).

For some reason Garmin limits the maximum font size, even when you reduce the number of data fields down to one, leaving loads of white space (versus Wahoos which allow for wahoosive font sizes).

This is the same for both the 830 and the 1030 Plus though, so if we’re coming those two devices (we are), this is a wash.

Size and Weight

With great power (larger screen) comes great responsibility (a larger device case).

The 1030 Plus is larger than the Edge 830. By about 8mm in width and just over 30mm in length (so an inch and a bit longer for the imperialists).

For the dimensionfans:

  • 1030: 58 x 114 x 19mm
  • 830: 50 x 83 x 19mm

Putting that into not-particularly-well-defined context, the 830 isn’t ‘mini’ but I’d still say it’s a ‘compact’ bike computer.

This in turn means that the 1030 Plus isn’t ‘jumbo’.

The 1030 Plus doesn’t look like a behemoth, either in your hand or ‘pon your handlebars. In a 1030 Plus versus modest sized smartphone boxing match, the former would be punching well above its weight class.

Talking about weight, more plastic and whatever else they make these out of means the 1030 Plus comes in at 124g versus 79g for the 830.

If the 45g (about 3/4 of an energy bar) difference has a material impact on your riding performance or enjoyment then I think you might have come to the wrong website.

If it is important to you then I doubt you’ll care too much about having to deal with the 830’s smaller screen from a navigation and route following perspective (because the guy in your team car is there to help with directions).

In which case, go for the 830 and save the fraction of a pound in weight and the multiple pounds in money (other currencies are available).

Processor Power

GPS makers generally don’t go around disclosing the inner specs of their devices. But the 1030 Plus and the 830 perform the same so it’s safe to assume their tech gubbins are also the same or similar.

When the 830 was released, along with the 530, many of the new features were added to the previous 1030 (no plus). This highlighted that the 1030 was quite sloooooooowwwww compared to the new model.

So Garmin released the 1030 Plus primarily to correct this lack of processing grunt in its top of the range device.

Battery Life

Both the 830 and the 1030 Plus have more battery life than I could reasonably use in one mahoosive ride or a few decent-sized ones. I’ve never felt annoyed by the frequency with which I’ve had to put either device on charge.

Still, for what it’s worth, the Edge 830 bumf says up to 20 hours. The 1030 Plus purports to have an additional 4 (so a whole one of your human earth days in total).

If that is insufficient for your burgeoning ultra-endurance career, then might sir or madam consider investing in a Garmin Charge power pack, which provides another 24 hours of power.

Both the Edge 830 and 1030 Plus are compatible, connecting with the ‘Charge’ via electrical contacts in the mount/cleat type thing on the back of each device.

Connectivity

No difference. Next!

Both top end Edges connect to the same cornucopia of data sensors, indoor trainers and other random devices that you might want to link with your bike computer (including the not-so-random-and-in-fact-excellent Varia Radar – read my review here).

So no good reason to pick between the devices in this arena.

Training And Other Features

And that theme continues.

Pretty much all of the software features that Garmin builds into its Edge devices are common to both the 830 and the 1030 Plus. With one exception (that feels quite minor).

All of the safety and tracking features are the same (live tracking – for family members that are avid ‘dot watchers’; incident detection; bike alarm)… which I must admit not to using on a regular basis.

I am, however, a big fan of Garmin’s ClimbPro feature (specific and colourful analysis of the length and gradient of each climb on your route). It features on both the 1030 Plus and 830, so no worries there.

Which brings us to training, where the 1030 Plus has one teeny-tiny sub-feature that differentiates it from the Edge 830.

Do not fear, the Edge 830 has absolutely everything the serious, semi-serious and (my category) rank amateur cyclist might need from a training perspective:

  • Ability to upload and follow sophisticated workouts – based on power, heart rate, time, distance, Haribos consumed
  • Dynamic performance monitoring and training status – both features tracking and assessing the effectiveness of your training and how fit you are
  • Cycling dynamics (if you have pedal power meters)
  • Feed and drink reminders.

And a lot more…

So the only difference, [tiny fanfare on a mini-bugle] is that the Edge 1030 Plus has ‘Daily Suggested Workouts’ (and the 830 doesn’t).

Daily Suggested Workouts uses Garmin’s Firstbeat Analytics ‘engine’ to, er, suggest your next training session based on your current fitness, recent training history and recovery level. The feature was introduced first on the 1030 Plus (in mid-2020) before being implemented on a much broader range of Garmin watches later in the year, where I’m guessing it has more widespread appeal.

One thing to note: I’m pretty sure Daily Suggested Workouts on the Edge 1030 Plus requires you also to be using a power meter on your bike (it suggests structured workouts based on power data). So it’s a little redundant if you don’t have a power meter and you don’t plan to buy one.

Garmin Edge 830

A powerful bike GPS with full on-board mapping. The touchscreen is responsive and works well, both in the map screen and for moving around the menus. Excellent training and safety features.

Check price - Amazon Check price - Competitive Cyclist
If you click this link and make a purchase, I earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Price

Bigger screen, bigger battery, bigger price (unsurprisingly).

On a device only basis, Garmin has the Edge 1030 Plus on its website at £520/$600, which is not an insignificant chunk-a-change. *But* Garmin is clearly allowing retailers to sell it at discounted prices: it’s available on websites like Wiggle at more like £380 (or you can check out the price on Amazon).

The Edge 830 is on the Garmin website at £350/$400, and at the time of writing (Oct 2022), I can’t see it discounted around t’internet.

So the official price difference is £170 (in favour of the 830) but the reality is that right now (presumably due to the introduction of the Edge 1040), the Edge 1030 Plus is available at or just below the same price as the 830.

Which makes things interesting, as we consider…

Which Should You Buy?

Ach, it all comes down to size.

If having greater screen real estate, particularly when using the maps and navigating, is your priority then the Edge 1030 Plus is the one to plump for. Assuming the extra moolah requirement doesn’t tip you in into eternal penury.

The extra battery life is also handy.

I’ve certainly seen commentary on this funky new YouTube website that suggests the larger device is better for bike packing and touring, particularly for multi-day trips.

For everyone else, the Edge 830 is more than adequate. Navigation is perfectly usable (despite the smaller screen). It’s a neat little (compact…) device that looks sufficiently ‘pro’ on your handlebars.

If you use an Edge as a training tool (beyond measuring outputs), the 830 is to all intents and purposes the same as the 1030 Plus.

If the price difference was truly £170, I’m not sure how many riders are sufficiently interested in training performance to pay an uplift for the additional Daily Suggested Workout feature that aren’t already sufficiently knowledgeable or motivated to follow an actual long term structured training programme (negating the need for daily dynamic suggestions).

Maybe Garmin know differently (I’m sure they do – I’m just an uninformed veloblogger, wittering into the void).

If the question is…

Which One Would I Buy?

Well, I bought the Edge 830 first. Despite all my blogwealth (ahem), I could not bring myself to buy the Edge 1030 Plus until it reduced from it’s original launch price.

I obviously have an ulterior motive in that I write and make videos about these things to fund my addiction to clarky cat, so I buy a fair number of bike computers (and have received a few for free to review). Despite this, I still struggled to spend over £500 on a bike computer.

When the 1030 Plus fell to less than £400, I snapped it up so that I could see what all the BigDeviceFuss was about (there is no big device fuss).

And I like it. A lot. The larger screen on the Edge 1030 Plus is objectively better – it makes the device easier to use. But the resulting larger overall size of the 1030 Plus is not so big that it becomes unwieldy or looks ugly on the bike.

Assuming there’s not too much in it price wise, right now I’d be guiding you towards the Edge 1030 Plus over the Edge 830.

With that, I’m away. Links to the bike computers mentioned in this post are below (affiliate links – if you buy something I may get a commission).

Until next time, safe cycling.

Garmin Edge 830

A powerful bike GPS with full on-board mapping. The touchscreen is responsive and works well, both in the map screen and for moving around the menus. Excellent training and safety features.

If you click this link and make a purchase, I earn a commission at no additional cost to you.
Garmin Edge 1030 Plus

Top-of-the-range bike GPS with large colour touchscreen and super fast processor. Similar features to the 830 (i.e. lots of sophisticated ones) - the larger screen makes them easier to use.

If you click this link and make a purchase, I earn a commission at no additional cost to you.
Monty - Sportive Cyclist
Monty is an enthusiastic road cyclist with only moderate talent. He started Sportive Cyclist in 2013 to record the journey to his first 100 mile ride, the RideLondon 100. Over time the blog has expanded to include training advice, gear reviews and road cycling tales, all from the perspective of a not-very-fit MAMIL. Since you're here, Monty would also like you to check out his YouTube channel. Also, Monty really needs to stop referring to himself in the third person.

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