Garmin Edge 1030 Plus vs. Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM

Garmin Edge 1030 Plus vs. Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM: e holding Garmin Edge 1030 Plus and Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM

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This is my comparison of Garmin Edge 1030 Plus vs. Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM.

I have experience with both bike computers, so I summarized their pros, cons, and differences in this article.

The main difference between Edge 1030 Plus and ELEMNT ROAM is that 1030 Plus has a larger 3.5″ touchscreen display while ROAM only has a 2.7″ non-touchscreen display. Garmin also offers more features and has a longer battery life (24 vs. 17 hours). On the other hand, ROAM is more user-friendly, and you can set it up via a mobile app.

Continue reading to learn more.

Edge 1030 Plus vs. ELEMNT ROAM Basics

Here is the summary of the main differences between Garmin Edge 1030 Plus vs. Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM.

FeatureGarmin Edge 1030 PlusWahoo ELEMNT ROAM
Mounts in the boxOut front mount
Stem mount
Out front aero mount
Stem mount
Dimensions58×114×19 mm
2.3×4.5×0.8 in
77.5×47.2×21.3 mm
3.05×1.86×0.84 in
Weight124g93g
Screen size3.5″2.7″
TouchscreenYesNo
Display colorsColoredColored
Claimed battery life
Real battery life*
24 hours
18.5 hours**
17 hours
14 hours**
ButtonsEasy to pressHard to press
Smart navigation (rerouting)YesYes
ConnectivityANT+, Bluetooth, Wi-FiANT+, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi
ChargingMicro-USBMicro-USB
Start-up time∼15s∼40s
Crash/incident detectionYesNo
More infoGarmin Edge 1030 Plus ReviewWahoo ELEMNT ROAM Review
BuyCheck Price
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This table compares the main features of Edge 1030 Plus and ELEMNT ROAM.
*Based on my unscientific testing.
**On a 3-year-old device.

Let me now explain them in depth.

In the Box

Both bike computers come with two included mounts – stem and out front mount. 

Remember, Garmin and Wahoo mounts are not compatible with each other.

Another difference is that while Garmin uses a standard mount, Wahoo designed an aero mount. 

Garmin 1030 Plus vs. Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM vs. ELEMNT BOLT v2 mounts
Garmin 1030 Plus vs. Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM vs. ELEMNT BOLT v2 mounts

Physical Dimensions & Weight

There is a significant difference between the dimensions and weight of both head units.

Garmin Edge 1030 Plus is larger mainly because of its larger screen (more about it later). It’s one of the largest bike computers on the market.

Its dimensions and weight (124g vs. 93g) make it less suitable for day-to-day riding.

Edge 1030 Plus vs. ELEMNT ROAM Features Comparison

Below, I compare selected areas that I find important as a cyclist. You find the winner at the end of every section.

Ease of Setup

The approach to setting up your new bike computer differs between Wahoo and Garmin.

The pairing process of Wahoo ELEMNT computers is easy and straightforward (you basically just scan a QR code). Then, you can set up everything via the ELEMNT Companion app.

Garmin Edge computers are less user-friendly, and their introduction guide is too long. Yes, some of them can import your settings from previous Garmin devices (which is awesome if you already are in Garmin’s ecosystem), but everything else you need to set using the device.

I like the straightforwardness of ROAM more, but 1030 Plus offers some handy features, which I explain below.

Winner: Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM

Display

The display size and type is the biggest difference between 1030 Plus and ROAM.

1030 Plus has one of the largest displays (3.5″) of all bike computers. It dwarfs ROAM’s 2.7″ display.

Bike computers screen sizes from the left Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT v1, Garmin Edge 520, Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM, Garmin Edge 1030 Plus, iPhone 6s
Bike computers screen sizes from the left are Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT v1, Garmin Edge 520, Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM, Garmin Edge 1030 Plus, iPhone 6s

The larger display is better for navigation, for example. However, Garmin doesn’t allow you to set more than 10 data fields (11 on ROAM) which means the individual data fields are larger on 1030 Plus. 

Unfortunately, they are not always easier to read because of Garmin’s glossy display. ROAM display is easier to read in direct sunlight. 

Winner: Garmin Edge 1030 Plus

Battery Life

The battery life is another area where 1030 Plus has an edge. Garmin claims it can last up to 48 hours of easy use. 

However, I guess nobody who will purchase it won’t pair it with sensors, so this claim is a little pointless. The 24 hours battery life on a ‘heavy’ use is more realistic. 

I was able to get about 18 and a half hours with a connected Varia radar, HR sensor, and power meter when using navigation from time to time. 

To squeeze more out of it, I would need to reduce the display’s brightness. I used the ‘Auto’ setting that increases the brightness in direct sunlight.

The story is a little different from my ELEMNT ROAM, which is now about 3 years old. Its claimed battery life is only 17 hrs, but it still allows me about 14 hours of runtime (with the same sensors).

Winner: Garmin Edge 1030 Plus

Control & User Friendliness

The 1030 Plus features a touchscreen display with additional buttons (for starting a ride, lap, and turning the device on and off). 

The interaction with it is like when using a phone, but the 1030 Plus screen is less responsive.

Wet Garmin Edge 1030 Plus control
Using Garmin Edge 1030 Plus with wet display

Touchscreen displays have a few disadvantages, though. For example, they may not work 100% well when you have sweaty fingers, wear full finger gloves, or it’s raining, but 1030 Plus works pretty fine. 

However, sometimes when I ride in a TT position with my hands holding the bike computer, I accidentally go into the menu or another screen. So I have to use the lock screen feature.  

On the other hand, ROAM has 3 buttons under the display and 3 on the sides. The buttons under the display are hard to press and would deserve a better design. 

ELEMNT ROAM control illustration

Luckily, ELEMNT bike computers are user-friendly, and you find everything within a few clicks. Unlike Garmin, where you can dive into the ‘menu rabbit hole.’

My learning curve with 1030 Plus was longer than with ROAM. Sometimes, I still struggle to find the feature I am looking for. Maybe because of so many features available or less user-friendly menus.

Winner: Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM

Maps & Navigation

I divided the following part into two sections. One focuses on navigation, turn-by-turn directions, etc., and the other on the use of offline maps.

Navigation

Garmin Edge 1030 Plus and Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM can provide turn-by-turn directions and recalculate your route when you go off-course.

The difference between these head units is that Garmin is less dependent on your smartphone. You can search and create new routes directly from it.

With ROAM, the on-device experience is not as flawless (and some features are missing), so I recommend using Wahoo with your smartphone.

The turn-by-turn directions work well on both devices. Wahoo provides them sooner and can also faster recalculate routes. But, you can’t select what type of roads to include (depending on what bike you ride). 

Garmin can do this, and it can also alert you about dangerous turns. In addition, you can leverage the POI (Points of Interest) navigation. These ‘points’ include grocery stores, gas stations, tourist attractions, and more. 

1030 Plus can also suggest a route based on the given distance, starting point, and direction.

Offline Maps

Both devices come with preloaded maps that are relatively detailed. However, you can also download selected locations.

Garmin Edge 1030 Plus vs. ELEMNT ROAM - 1030 Plus map focused
Garmin Edge 1030 Plus vs. ELEMNT ROAM – 1030 Plus map focused

While with 1030 Plus, you have to use a desktop app (Garmin Express) to download maps to it, with ROAM, you can use the smartphone app (ELEMNT Companion).

One of the most significant limitations of ROAM is the 2.78GB of internal memory. It allows you to download only a few countries.

Wahoo ELEMNT app maps (Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, UK)
Wahoo ELEMNT – app maps

Thanks to the 32GB internal memory on the 1030 Plus, you can download maps of half the world. This makes 1030 Plus less dependent on your smartphone.

Winner: Garmin Edge 1030 Plus

Extras

Garmin Edge bike computers, especially the 1030 Plus, are packed with more features than ELEMNT ROAM. 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 better pace themselves 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.
  • 1030 Plus can suggest workouts (and rest days) based on your activities.
  • Virtual Partner set a virtual partner that you can use for pacing yourself. 

ROAM, on the other hand, only offers one extra feature that Garmin doesn’t have. The LED strip can indicate your speed, power, or HR. 

Both head units can display Strava live segments, of course.

Winner: Garmin Edge 1030 Plus

Total score: Garmin Edge 1030 Plus (4) | Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM (2)
Overall winner: Garmin Edge 1030 Plus

Edge 1030 Plus vs. ELEMNT ROAM Pros & Cons Summary

Below I summarized the pros & cons of both head units.

Edge 1030 Plus Pros

  • Large, touchscreen display
  • Large internal storage
  • Many features (ClimbPro, Incident detection, POI navigation, and many others)
  • Long battery life
  • More detailed maps and navigation
  • Easy to read (but glossy) display

ELEMNT ROAM Pros

  • Easier to use and more user-friendly
  • Customizable via the ELEMNT Companion mobile app
  • Easy to read display (less glossy)
  • Aero mount included
  • Button-based
  • Decent battery life

Edge 1030 Plus Cons

  • Too big and ‘heavy’ for casual riding
  • Less user friendly
  • Not customizable via a mobile app

ELEMNT ROAM Cons

  • Smaller display
  • Hard to press buttons
  • Fewer features
  • Small internal storage

Edge 1030 Plus vs. ELEMNT ROAM FAQ

My Verdict

The clear winner would be the Garmin Edge 1030 Plus if I were to rate only features. 

However, other features such as user-friendliness need to be evaluated as well. Here, for example, the Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM has the upper hand.

So, which one should you buy?

Go for 1030 Plus if you don’t mind spending more on a features-rich bike computer with a large touchscreen display.

It’s less dependent on your smartphone, and features like incident/crash detection can save your life.

If you look for a more compact form factor with a button-based interface and customizability via a mobile app, ROAM is the way to go.

When you learn to use it with your smartphone (for example, for post-ride analysis), it offers a lot for much less.

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