Garmin Edge 1050

Garmin Edge 1050, brighter and smarter.

Garmin has launched the Edge 1050 which it says is “brightest, smartest and most connected cycling computer ever“. Why brightest? That’ll be the brand new 1000nit display. What’s a nit, good question. A nit is a unit of measuring brightness. One nit is equivalent to the light from a traditional candle per square metre. With Garmin’s smart-watches now sporting super-bright and responsive OLED displays, it therefore makes sense for the Edge 1050 to get one. Let’s take a quick look at what else has changed.

The Garmin Edge 1050 has a brighter more responsive screen
The Garmin Edge 1050 has a brighter more responsive screen

The Garmin Edge 1050 is the fifth evolution of Garmin’s range topper, so what are the changes? First off, it’s had a bit of a physical makeover. The casing has a new angled design, all-metal buttons and a replaceable quarter-turn mount. Dimensions are 60.2×118.5×16.3mm compared to 59.3×117.6×20.0 mm for the 1040. Weight is 161g, making it a bit heavier than it’s predecessor, which is 126g.

Edge 1050, what’s new?

Hiding under that new casing is a built-in speaker. You can now get audible alerts for all kinds of things. As well as workout and navigation prompts, the Edge 1050 will warn you about upcoming gravel sections, it even acts as a bell! Hit the on-screen bell icon and let other trail-users know you’re there. You can even operate it from your Shimano or SRAM shifter

The Edge 1050 can tell you what the road surfaces are
The Edge 1050 can tell you what the road surfaces are

Next up is Garmin Pay, yes you can now use your bike computer to pay for your mid-ride coffee. With the look and performance of a smart-phone, adding contactless payment to the list of features makes sense. There’s also a PIN-protected alarm that notifies you via your compatible smart-phone if your bike is moved. So you can relax as you pay for coffee, knowing your bike is safe.

  • Refreshed Design: Angled casing and discrete, all-metal buttons, plus a replaceable quarter-turn mount are complemented by a vivid, 3.5” liquid crystal display.
  • Garmin Pay Contactless Payments: Don’t worry about digging into your pocket to pull out cash; breeze through mid-ride café or snack stops with a tap of the Edge.
  • Built-In Speaker: Hear workout and navigation prompts and alert riders and pedestrians ahead using an on-device bike bell.

Other features allow you to create a route while you’re out and about. So if you change your mind about where you’re going mid-way through a ride, you can create a new one. The Edge 1050 will also let you know what the route surface is like, so you can avoid the off-road when on your nice road wheels. Alternatively you could discover some great gravel routes around you.

  • On-Device Course Creator: Easily create courses right on the device using the responsive touchscreen and toggle different map overlays on or off.
  • Surface Type: See paved or unpaved roadways on the Edge while riding and get alerts for upcoming unpaved sections.
  • Ride-Specific Routing: Get routing suited to a specific ride—whether it’s mountain, gravel or road.
  • Map Manager with Wi-Fi® Connectivity: Add, swap, or update additional maps via Wi-Fi right on the cycling computer

Ride together

If you and your fellow riders are using Garmin, then you can take advantage of the GroupRide features. These allow you to communicate while using your Garmin head unit. Handy for letting the group know you’ll be late to the start, again. Alternatively you can point out hazards on the route that will be available to all Garmin users. This can be a particularly aggressive dog, or that pothole that never gets filled in. The alert will flash up on your screen with one of four icons. If the issue is still relevant, you can click on it and confirm it.

Will the Edge 1050 tear your group apart, or add some friendly rivalry?
Will the Edge 1050 tear your group apart, or add some friendly rivalry?

The in-ride leader boards could add a bit of friendly competition to your rides; or tear it apart! With the Edge 1050 informing you not only who was doing the most work, climbed or rode the fastest, you’ll have to choose which group of friends you use it with! The GroupRide updates and road hazard alerts will be available on Edge 540, Edge 840 and Edge 1040 series cycling computers soon.

  • New improvements to GroupRide let riders stay connected with in-ride messaging, live locations and incident detection alerts that can notify and route fellow riders to a cyclist in need of help. Cyclists can also add some competition to their ride with in-ride leader boards for climbs, plus witty postride awards, including Speed Racer (highest max speed), Chatterbox (most heavily using the GroupRide messaging feature), Worker Bee (most time spent pedalling) and more.
  • Receive road hazard alerts on-screen that are reported by fellow cyclists – like potholes or fallen trees – and even contribute hazards to help alert other riders.

Battery life

With that super-bright screen there has to be a trade off, in this case reduced battery life. While the previous model has a claimed life of 45 hours – for the solar model – the Edge 1050 has 20. That can however be boosted to 60 hours in battery saver mode. The Edge 1040 will still be available, so you can choose whether you need that super-long battery life, or alternatively you can go for a brighter, more responsive screen. Personally I rarely need that much battery life, as my rides tend to be around 3-4 hours; so I’d plump for the nicer screen.

Ride data and guidance

The Edge 1050 will still have all the ride data that we’ve come to expect from Garmin. A new power feature is that the power-guide now uses wind data and the rider’s current stamina to make real-time adjustments to power targets. So if you are riding to power, this should give you a more accurate figure. Garmin use Firstbeat Analytics to provide training insights like VO2 Max, training status, heat, and altitude acclimatisation. These can be used to help evaluate your training.

With Garmin’s ClimbPro you can see the remaining ascent and grade for each climb; whether you’re actually on it or not. Meanwhile you can use Climb Explore to see nearby ascents on your head-unit, allowing you to avoid that 20% monster on the way home! You can also record and analyse your mountain bike metrics with Grit and Flow.

For added confidence during a ride, Edge 1050 includes safety features like LiveTrack and incident detection. So should the worst happen, you’ll be able to let others know. This is a feature I’ve used before and really rate. The Edge 1050 is compatible with Varia cycling radars and smart lights, as well as inReach satellite communicators.

Timothy O’Donnell, professional triathlete and Garmin-sponsored athlete says:

“I’ve seen a lot of Edge iterations over the years and none have ever had me as excited as the 1050. The user interface on the new Edge is amazing. Whether it’s messages, the weather or Strava segments, everything is quickly available. The new features are amazing as well; I never have to worry about my wallet again with Garmin Pay now on the Edge. And being able to create courses on the Edge (and finding water stops) is a huge plus too. 

But I have to tip my hat to the built-in speaker—there is a bike bell button! My days of yelling ‘on your left’ are finally over! The new display is insane and it completely changes the experience. The vibrant colours and amazing contrast make the display crisp and easy to see.

As an experienced rider, I really appreciate the ease of use of the new Edge 1050. Honestly, new features and tech get harder to use for us old-timers, but the Edge 1050 integrates them perfectly and makes them easily accessible.”

Available now the Edge 1050 has a suggested retail price of £649.99.

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