Garmin Edge 1040 Review: It’s on Another Level! But…

Garmin Edge 1040 review: Edge 1040 in my hand

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This is my Garmin Edge 1040 review. I was lucky enough to get my hands on it as soon as it became available in the Czech Republic.

You will learn how it differs from 1030 Plus, what I like and dislike about it, and if it’s worth it.

Let’s get to it.

SPOILER ALERT: The Edge 1040 series is the new best bike computer on the market, and I can recommend it. Feel free to buy it here.

Thanks to pulsmetry.cz for lending me Edge 1040 for this review.

What’s New Compared to the Edge 1030 Plus?

The Edge 1030 Plus has been Garmin’s flagship cycling navigation for about two years. Except for a few small things, it lacked basically nothing and satisfied even the most demanding users.

The Edge 1040 comes in two options:

  1. Garmin Edge 1040
  2. Garmin Edge 1040 Solar

As the name of the third variant suggests, it includes a built-in solar display for charging while you ride. 

The claimed battery life increased from 24 to 35 hours over the 1030 Plus. The Edge 1040 Solar should last up to 45 hours in ideal conditions. 

We’re talking up to 70 and 100 hours with the battery-saving mode switched on. This battery life has no competition.

Other changes include:

  • More accurate GPS (Multi-band GNSS)
  • Redesigned user interface
  • Customizable data fields via a smartphone app
  • Real-Time Stamina feature that tells you how long you can ride at a given pace (based on your power)
  • More sophisticated training features
  • Switch from MicroUSB port to USB-C
  • Power Guide that recommends power targets for a given route
  • Slight redesign (new metal mount, sleeker curves)
  • ClimbPro provides more gradient information

And many more that I am still discovering. 

Here are a few comparison pictures of the Garmin Edge 1040 vs. 1030 Plus.

In the Box

The box of Edge 1040 includes the standard contents we are used to.

  • Garmin Edge 1040
  • Out front and stem mounts
  • USB-C charging cable
  • Tether
  • Manual

The Solar version also includes a black silicone case.

Initial Setup

Pairing is the same as with previous Garmin bike computers. If you’ve used an Edge device before, your user settings (including data fields) can be automatically downloaded from your Garmin Connect account.

This detail saves you time and prepares your unit to ride in minutes.

My Experience with Garmin Edge 1040

I’ve been using Garmin Edge 1040 for about a month now. Here are my main takes:

  1. The Edge 1040 is much faster (e.g., when calculating routes or finding POIs) than the 1030 Plus. 
  2. The new user interface looks more modern and is more intuitive.
  3. The head unit feels more premium, thanks to the slight redesign.

My Edge 1040 froze multiple times when navigating. After a software update and soft reset, I haven’t encountered this problem yet.

What is a soft reset, what is it good for, and how to perform it?
Soft reset reboots your Garmin device and can resolve issues like sudden freezes.
Hold the power button for 15-30 seconds to perform the soft reset. Then, turn the device on using the power button.

Let’s now dive deeper into individual features.

Display

The 3.5-inch display is still the same as on the 1030 Plus. It has the same brightness, readability, controllability, etc.

Remember that the 1040 Solar display is slightly dimmer due to the solar panel. Unfortunately, I haven’t had the chance yet to test 1040 and 1040 Solar side-by-side.

It’s a shame that Garmin only allows you to set up a maximum of 10 data fields. Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM display can show up to 11 data fields simultaneously, while a much smaller (2.7-inch) display.

Control & User Friendliness

The new user interface and smartphone customization are features I looked forward to the most on the Edge 1040. 

The menus are more intuitive and clearer, providing a better user experience.

For example, the Dashboard shows you more detailed info about your rides, training, weather, etc., and you can further customize it.

By implementing customization via the smartphone app, Garmin tries to match Wahoo ELEMNT bike computers.

Paradoxically, it’s easier to customize data fields directly on the device. The Garmin Connect app is not as intuitive as Wahoo ELEMNT Companion, and the touchscreen display simply works well. 

I also tested the ability to control the display when wet. Again, it reacts pretty well, but not always 100%. I recommend wiping the water off once it accumulates.

The problem with full-finger gloves is that they have to be snug enough so you can press the area you want to press. For this reason, I prefer button-based bike computers.

Maps & Navigation

Garmin Edge 1040 (Solar) offers every navigation feature you can think of. For example, it can navigate you to a selected address, points of interest (POI), back to start, etc.

It also comes with preloaded maps of specific regions, and you can download more detailed TOPO maps for free.

The difference between 1040 and 1040 Solar is the larger storage (32 vs. 64 GB), so the Solar comes with more regions preloaded. 

Both head units are super fast when loading routes or calculating new ones. Currently, Edge 1040 is probably the fastest in this matter. Unlike 1030 Plus, it loaded my 130 km route (80 miles) within seconds.

Garmin also introduced a new feature called Up Ahead. It allows you to add waypoints to the course so you will know the remaining distance to a summit, buffet, café, etc. Remember, you have to create the route in the Garmin Connect app.

GPS Accuracy

The Edge 1040 is one of the most accurate bike computers, thanks to the multi-band GNSS. 

I concluded two tests:

  1. Comparison with another bike computer (Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT v2).
  2. Comparison of different systems (Multi-GNSS Multi-band, Multi-GNSS, and GPS).

As expected, the Edge 1040 with the Multi-GNSS Multi-band system was the most accurate. The Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT v2 struggled a lot with accuracy.

See the following pictures from the same segment of the same ride.

Battery Life

Garmin Edge 1040 (especially 1040 Solar) has a dramatically longer battery life than the previous generation.

Garmin claims 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. 

I could squeeze about 31 and half hours from 1040 with an HR monitor, a power meter, Varia radar, and a smartphone connected. The battery was still at 4 %. Impressive.

The question is, do you need such a long battery life? It’s great you don’t have to recharge it every week.

But most people won’t need the extra battery life of the 1040 Solar. It’s a cool technology, but its efficiency is still relatively low*. 

*Garmin claims Solar extends battery life up to 42 minutes per hour in battery saver mode in ideal conditions, leading to up to 45 hours of battery life.

So, unless you are a rider who needs longer battery life because of some super long endurance events, I don’t think you should pay extra for Solar just to have longer battery life.

It will be interesting to see if engineers and product managers will still try to improve these parameters or focus on another, for example, software features. What do you think where the bike computers will be heading?

Real-Time Stamina

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

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

What is the 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 more detailed explanation:

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. Therefore, 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)

Honestly, I like this feature. It’s probably one of the directions Garmin will move towards. 

I found out it’s surprisingly accurate, so it helps me pace mainly on longer rides. 

If you struggle with pacing and tend to go too hard too early, this feature could be the solution. 

Power Guide

The Power Guide feature is similar to structured training but applicable to planned routes.

It basically suggests to you the power zones of the course based on your FTP. Here is a screenshot of creating a Power Guide in the Garmin Connect web app:

Power Guide example
Power Guide example

So, you can take the ride easy if you want to ride at your endurance zone. Then, the algorithm will calculate the power targets so you won’t go too hard.

Or, if you feel well and ambitious, you can go harder than usual (but not too hard so you won’t blow out) and improve your PRs on your favorite loop.

Of course, you can always adjust the power levels mid-ride based on your fatigue.

Connectivity

There are no significant connectivity changes. The Edge 1040 still offers Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and ANT+ support so that you can connect it to sensors or your smartphone. Of course, it can auto-sync activities, etc. 

However, it no longer supports the Varia Vision sensor, device transfer, and duplicate Bluetooth pairing process.

Garmin Edge 1040 Alternatives

Here are some Garmin Edge 1040 (Solar) alternatives worth considering.

  • Garmin Edge 1030 Plus is the previous generation Edge 1040 offering the same display size. But it’s cheaper, doesn’t have as many features, and isn’t available in the ‘Solar’ version.
  • Garmin Edge 830 offers almost the same features as the 1030 Plus but is more affordable. On the other hand, it has a smaller (2.6″) display and lacks features such as training suggestions, POI navigation, and more.
  • Hammerhead Karoo 2 offers a smartphone-like experience. It’s more affordable but has shorter battery life and GPS accuracy.

Garmin Edge 1040 FAQ

Garmin Edge 1040 Technical Specifications

Below I summarized Garmin Edge 1040 (Solar) technical specifications.

Technical specifications

  • Battery life: 35 hours, 45 hours (Solar), USB-C charging port
  • Display: 3.5in / 88.9mm (282×470px)
  • Touchscreen: Yes
  • Weight: 126g (Solar 133g)
  • Dimensions: 118×59×20 mm
  • Strava live segments: Yes
  • Smart trainers control: Yes
  • Smart navigation (rerouting): Yes
  • Crash/incident detection: Yes
  • Connectivity: ANT+, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi
  • Waterproofing: IPX7
  • Storage: 32GB (Solar 64GB)

Conclusion

With the introduction of the Edge 1040 and especially the Edge 1040 Solar, Garmin has taken another step towards dominating the bike computers market.

My impressions of using it are positive. It’s super-fast, accurate, more user-friendly, and packed with features like Real-Time Stamina that are helpful for an effective pacing strategy.

But I encountered a few issues; for example, it froze multiple times when navigating. However, it seems software updates and soft reset resolved this because I haven’t encountered them anymore.

As with the 1030 Plus, the Edge 1040 is not for everyone. This is mainly due to its high price and large form factor.

The Edge 1040 is ideal for cyclists who require long battery life, detailed maps, accurate and fast navigation, and those who know how to leverage their training data to improve their performance.

Recommended Accessories

Below are some recommended accessories for Garmin Edge 1040.

Garmin Varia RTL515 Radar

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B086TVFX1D&Format= SL300 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=cyclistshub 20&language=en US
… for your safety (read my Garmin Varia RTL515 radar review)

Garmin Varia RCT715 Radar with Camera

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B09T5VBDPC&Format= SL300 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=cyclistshub 20&language=en US
… for your safety (read my Garmin Varia RCT715 radar review)

Two Bolt Out Front Mount

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B081S3C8ZH&Format= SL300 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=cyclistshub 20&language=en US
… for integrated cockpits

2 thoughts on “Garmin Edge 1040 Review: It’s on Another Level! But…”

  1. What a great review. I’ve got a Garmin 1030 and am considering an upgrade, so your review was really insightful. Thank you.

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