Garmin Edge 1030 Plus vs. Edge 1040 (Solar): Should You Upgrade?

Garmin 1030 Plus vs. 1040 in my hands

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This is my comparison of Garmin Edge 1030 Plus vs. Edge 1040 (Solar).

I used both bike computers for a few months, so I summarized their pros, cons, and differences in this article.

The main difference between Edge 1030 Plus and Edge 1040 is that the Edge 1040 has a longer battery life, is faster, and comes in a Solar version that can recharge itself while riding. Other improvements include a redesigned user interface, a USB-C charging port, and many new features.

So, is the Edge 1040 worth paying more?

Let’s find out, or…

Edge 1030 Plus vs. Edge 1040 Basics

Here is the summary of the main differences between Garmin Edge 1030 Plus vs. Edge 1040 (Solar).

FeatureGarmin Edge 1030 PlusGarmin Edge 1040 (Solar)
Mounts in the boxOut front mount
Stem mount
Out front mount
Stem mount
Dimensions58×114×19 mm
2.3×4.5×0.8 in
58×114×19 mm
2.3×4.5×0.8 in
Weight124g126g (133g)
Screen size and resolution3.5″ (282×470px)3.5″ (282×470px)
TouchscreenYesYes
Display colorsColoredColored
Claimed battery life
Real battery life¹
24 hours
18.5 hours²
35 hours (45 hours³)
31.5 hours
ButtonsEasy to pressEasy to press
Smart navigation (rerouting)YesYes
ConnectivityANT+, Bluetooth, Wi-FiANT+, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi
ChargingMicro-USBUSB-C
Start-up time∼15s∼10s
Crash/incident detectionYesYes
Real-Time StaminaNoYes
Power GuideNoYes
More infoGarmin Edge 1030 Plus ReviewGarmin Edge 1040 Review
BuyCheck Price
Check Price (competitivecyclist.com)
Check Price (wiggle.co.uk)
Check Price
Check Price (competitivecyclist.com)
Check Price (wiggle.co.uk)
Check Price (Solar)
Check Price (competitivecyclist.com)
Check Price (wiggle.co.uk)
This table compares the main features of Garmin Edge 1030 Plus vs. 1040 (Solar).
¹Based on my unscientific testing - multiple rides with multiple connected sensors (HR, power meter, radar), and navigation turned on during about 30% of rides. Auto brightness on.
²Almost 2-year-old device.
³In ideal conditions.

Let me now explain them in depth.

Edge 1030 Plus vs. Edge 1040 What’s the Same?

Edge 1030 Plus and 1040 are similar to a large extent. This is because the Edge 1040 is the new generation of the Edge 1030 Plus. They share the same:

  • Display size,
  • box contents (mounts, tether, charging cable, documentation), the Solar comes with 3 mounts and a case,
  • water resistance (IPX7),
  • connectivity,
  • safety features,
  • and more details.

Other features differ. Let’s examine them in more detail.

Edge 1030 Plus vs. Edge 1040 Features Comparison

Below, I compare these two bike computers’ most important features and differences.

Physical Dimensions & Weight

Garmin Edge 1030 Plus and 1040 have almost the same dimensions. However, the 1030 Plus is a few grams lighter (124 vs. 126g), and the Solar version is a few grams heavier (133g).

Both belong among the largest head units you can buy. On the other hand, alternative bike computers like Bryton Rider 750, Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM, etc., are smaller and lighter.

Another change includes the new metal mount on the Edge 1040 (Solar) and sleeker curves. This series also feels more premium in hand than the 1030 Plus.

And the last notable change is the position of the eyelet for the safety tether, which is not centered anymore.

Display

The display size of 3.5 inches, resolution, responsivity, and readability remained the same. It’s one of the biggest among all bike computers on the market.

They can show up to 10 data fields that are easy to read. But, it’s a shame Garmin won’t allow you to show more data fields (12, for example) when they have the space for them.

But, thanks to the improved user interface, the Edge 1040 and 1040 Solar feel clearer. 

The Edge 1040 Solar, as the name suggests, has an in-built solar panel allowing the device to recharge itself. But more about this feature later.

Remember that the 1040 Solar display is slightly dimmer than the Edge 1040 because of the solar panel.

Winner: It’s a draw

Control & User Friendliness

Although these bike computers look almost identical on the outside, they are different software-wise. The Edge 1040 line features a fully redesigned user interface. 

I have to give Garmin credit for it. It’s much easier to navigate and more intuitive than the previous one. 

But, the touchscreen display has minor reliability issues when wet. Wipe the water off with your hand to improve the control.

Using Garmin Edge 1030 Plus when wet
Using Garmin Edge 1040 when wet

Also, when using full-finger gloves, it’s sometimes difficult to tap the field you want to tap, so I recommend buying tight touchscreen-compatible gloves for easier control.

You can also customize the Edge 1040’s data fields (and other settings) via the Garmin Connect smartphone app. I tried both methods, and paradoxically, it’s faster on-device. 

It seems that Garmin made some notes when reading reviews and feedback on Wahoo ELEMNT bike computers known for their intuitiveness.

We will see if Garmin implements this functionality to older units like the Edge 830 or 1030 Plus via future updates.

Winner: Edge 1040 (Solar)

Battery Life

The battery life is one of the areas with the most differences.

Garmin claims the 1030 Plus can last up to 24 hours of ‘heavy’ use. The Edge 1040 can last up to 35 and Edge 1040 Solar for up to 45 hours in ideal conditions.

The battery life in the battery saver mode of Edge 1040 is up to 70 hours, and Edge 1040 Solar is up to 100 hours. Crazy. 

The claimed battery life of Garmin Edge bike computers (1040 Solar, 1040, 1030 Plus, 830, 530, etc.)
The claimed battery life of Garmin Edge bike computers

But how is the reality?

With 1030 Plus, I got about 18 and a half hours with a connected Varia radar, HR sensor, power meter, and phone, and turned on navigation for about 30% of the rides. Please, note that the tested head unit was already almost 2 years old.

The Edge 1040 lasted 31.5 hours. Crazy. 

NOTE: I used both head units on auto-brightness.

The 1040 Solar can recharge itself while riding. Garmin claims Solar extends battery life up to 42 minutes per hour in battery saver mode. In ideal conditions, of course.

It has a fully dedicated screen that informs you about this data. It’s pretty cool. 

Garmin Edge 1040 Solar - dedicated 'Solar' data screen showing info about gained battery life
Garmin Edge 1040 Solar (dedicated data screen)

Unfortunately, I have not tested Edge 1040 Solar yet.

Is the Edge 1040 Solar version worth the $150 price difference?

Well, I don’t think so. It feels to me the solar display (and the 64GB storage) is more of a gimmick than a must-have feature. 

In the end, it doesn’t matter if you recharge the head unit every two or three weeks. The battery life is long enough for most riders. But those who absolve ultra-distance cycling events may argue.

If you do bike packing, you can extend the battery life with Garmin Charge Power Pack.

But of course, a small group of people will appreciate every extra hour of battery life.

Are you one of them? Or what are your thoughts on the Solar version?

Winner: Edge 1040 (Solar)

Maps & Navigation

Garmin Edge 1030 Plus and 1040 offer every navigation feature you can think of. However, they differ mainly in calculating speed and accuracy. 

The Edge 1040 is on another level. It’s super fast and accurate. 

For example, loading a 130 km (about 80 miles) route took more than a minute on 1030 Plus, while 1040 was ready in a few seconds. 

Garmin Edge 1030 Plus vs. 1040 - route
Garmin Edge 1030 Plus vs. 1040 – route

The Edge 1040 is also more accurate, thanks to the multi-band GNSS. See the following pictures from my ride. It even nailed what side of the road I was riding on!

Screenshot of my ride illustrating the GPS accuracy of Edge 1040
Garmin Edge 1040 GPS accuracy

Both computers have preloaded Garmin Cycle Maps and enough storage for additional regions. 

The Edge 1040 comes with maps preloaded based on the region you buy it in, while the Edge 1040 Solar has all regions preloaded (thanks to the 64GB storage). 

Garmin Edge 1030 Plus vs. 1040 - navigation
Garmin Edge 1030 Plus vs. 1040 – navigation – note that the arrow of both computers point in different directions (which is surprising)

Unfortunately, you can’t download the maps wirelessly using the smartphone app and have to use the Garmin Express desktop app. Come on, Garmin, it’s 2022!

Another change worth noting is the overall speed of the device and up ahead waypoints. 

The Edge 1040 is faster not only when calculating routes but also when browsing POIs. So if you were annoyed by the speed of 1030 Plus, I recommend upgrading to 1040.

And the last feature I want to mention is the up ahead waypoints. So, when planning a route, you can add waypoints, and the navigation will show you the distance and estimated time to them. 

Remember, the estimated time is based on your average speed. If you go uphill, it will take longer to reach the summit than the estimated time. We will see if Garmin will adjust this feature to provide estimates based on the current speed and other data.

Winner: Garmin Edge 1040 (Solar)

ClimbPro

One of the most popular features of Garmin bike computers, ClimbPro, also got an upgrade. It shows more detailed gradients, providing more information on what’s coming.

Garmin Edge 1030 Plus vs. 1040 - ClimbPro gradient
Garmin Edge 1030 Plus (left) vs. 1040 (right) – ClimbPro gradient

While the Edge 1030 Plus struggled with gradient changes (it was inaccurate), the Edge 1040 seems to be more accurate.

Winner: Garmin Edge 1040 (Solar)

Real-Time Stamina

Garmin introduced the Real-Time Stamina feature earlier this year on their Garmin Fenix 7 smartwatches, and now, they implemented it on the Edge 1040.

Garmin Edge 1040 on a bike with the Real-Time stamina feature turned on
Garmin Edge 1040 Real-Time stamina feature

What is Real-Time Stamina?

In short, you will see how long you can ride at the current pace and how much you have left in the tank.

Here is a little longer explanation that is important to understand how this feature works:

The Real-Time Stamina estimates your exertion throughout the ride, so you can better manage your effort. 

It works based on your heart rate, power, and VO2 max. 

  • Stamina shows how much performance you have left in the tank based on your current pace. It takes into account your current effort and your previous activities. This means that it won’t be 100% at the start of a new ride if you won’t recover from the previous one. You can restore some of your stamina by slowing down and riding at a lower intensity.
  • Potential stamina shows to what percentage you have exhausted your potential energy. It’s mainly useful for longer efforts.

What if your stamina comes close to zero?

As your stamina approaches zero, you will likely find that your ability to sustain hard efforts is significantly compromised. You may be unable to attack or maintain speed on climbs. You will still, however, likely be comfortable sustaining moderate-intensity efforts slightly below your lactate threshold or FTP provided you still have potential stamina available. (Source)

What if your potential stamina comes close to zero?

When your potential stamina is depleted, you will probably find maintaining even a moderate-intensity effort is a significant challenge. It doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be able to put one foot in front of the other but expect to find yourself more focused on simply completing the course than achieving a great result. (Source)

I recommend watching the following video where Dan explains the feature based on his Time Trial.

I like the feature, although I don’t rely on it (sometimes, you just have to ride the group tempo). 

Anyway, it seems Garmin is shifting its focus toward providing its customers with helpful data and locking them in its ecosystem.

Power Guide

Power guide is a feature similar to structured training but applicable to routes.

It allows you to adjust the effort level you want to ride at based on your FTP. 

Screenshot from Garmin Connect - Power Guide example
Power Guide example

So, you can take the ride easily if you want to ride in your endurance zone. Then, the head unit will calculate your power targets so you won’t go too hard.

Of course, you can always adjust the power levels mid-ride, for example, if you feel well. 

I find this feature useful when I want to improve on a certain route. But I honestly don’t use it very often.

Winner: Garmin Edge 1040 (Solar)

Other Features

Garmin Edge bike computers offer many features. To name a few:

  • ClimbPro shows stats about the upcoming climbs based on a pre-planned route. This feature is helpful for climbers and riders who want to pace themselves better in climbs.
  • MTB Dynamics measures your jumps, grit, and flow. It’s useful mainly for mountain bikers.
  • Incident/crash detection detects if you crash and notifies your emergency contacts.
  • Virtual Partner that you can use for pacing yourself. 
  • Suggested workouts (and rest days) based on your activities.
  • Points of Interest navigation, and many more.

Both head units can display Strava live segments, are compatible with apps like Trailforks, and you can customize them with 3rd party apps from the Connect IQ store.

1040 is richer in features, but both bike computers crush their competitors.

Winner: Garmin Edge 1040

Total score: Garmin Edge 1030 Plus (0) | Garmin Edge 1040 (4) | It’s a draw (1)

Edge 1030 Plus vs. Edge 1040 FAQ

My Verdict

The Garmin Edge 1040 brought many improvements and features compared to the 1030 Plus. Most notably:

  • Longer battery life (especially the 1040 Solar)
  • New features (Real-Time Stamina, Power Guide, etc.)
  • More detailed ClimbPro
  • Redesigned user interface
  • More accurate GPS

These improvements make the Edge 1040 line the most advanced bike computer on the market and the clear winner of this comparison.

But, this doesn’t mean the 1030 Plus is a bad bike computer. Thanks to hefty discounts, it’s more tempting than ever…

So, which one will you choose? Let me know in the comments.

2 thoughts on “Garmin Edge 1030 Plus vs. Edge 1040 (Solar): Should You Upgrade?”

  1. I don’t have a clue what you base your battery life on, but an edge 1030+ in my real world testing is at 63% battery remaining after a 22h – 420km ride (with 8 hours in the dark included)
    So your 22h is totally underrating this device.

    1. Hi Rik,
      Thanks for sharing your experience. I base it on multiple rides with it (I can send you links to email if you want). I also added a note that the device was not brand new but more like 1-2 years old (my bad I thought I included it but I had it in my 1030 Plus review). I had multiple sensors connected to it (power meter, HR monitor, radar). Furthermore, I used navigation during a few rides which further contributes to increased battery drain.
      I admit that my battery testing is not standardized, but I tried to provide real-life experience.
      I hope this clarifies things a little.
      – Petr

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