Thursday, July 21, 2022

Garmin Edge 1040 Solar Review

Circle Of Life

Garmin first cycling computer to add Solar element and introduced multiple/,multiband GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) which basically meant higher accuracy even in difficult (read: under canopy like in trails). Along with it the Edge1040 (pronounced as ten-forty) has a few upgrades that many has asked for like a metal mounting point that is also compatible with extended battery pack. It also claimed to be able to calculate route faster and better and it is the first Garmin that comes with USB-C support.

A bit closer look
I have been using the (much older) Edge 1000 for years. A workhorse, large enough display, works well, limited routing, fast sync (over wifi) but has been struggling with the touchscreen as it gets locked up when it rain or covered in sweat. Then I can't access anything until I switch it off and restart - which then resulted in not capturing the whole ride data. Not cool.
Garmin Edge 1000

I received a loaner unit from Garmin Malaysia a few weeks ago and has been using it for my indoor and outdoor ride. Intend was to test it as usual, and to provide feedback to Garmin and to help you (potential users) to understand what it is capable of. However, I would want to caveat it by saying I really only has the Edge 1000 as comparison, and of course my Fenix6ProSolar and the Fenix7xSapphireSolar. Why this is important is the solar-capability, and how they will all ties into the True-Up function to ensure a real reporting of my overall fitness and ability.
This will be very straight forward unboxing. Beside the Edge1040, there were enough hardware to install the unit securely on any bikes and with sufficient to go around at least 4-bikes. We all have at least 2 bikes right?
Hardware for mounting. Sorry floor a bit dirty

I am not sure about models preceding the Edge1040, but this unit comes with it's own silicon cover. Which I wished I had with my Edge1000! And of course, the safety tether which makes all sense to install in case the unit falls off unexpectedly (it can happen)
The Edge1040 with the silicon cover and the tether

The Edge1040 comes in two version; the Solar and Non-Solar. Pricing wise is at recommended RM3,699 for Solar and RM3,450 (bundled with HRM-Dual and Speed+cadence sensor). 

Here are images of the unit without the silicon cover. Explanation in the photos where required.
New: Metal weather cover vs the older silicon. Take note of the LAP button on the left and the Start/Stop button on right
bottom with the weather cover opened, showing the USB-C charging point

clean layout. Take note of the very visible (grey/black) solar element

Side view

Back showing the aluminium mountin with battery pack ready and not clearly shown is the bottom left where the tether goes in

left side, power button

top, in case something did not know you are using a Garmin

This is how it look with the silicon case

clean right side

sufficiently protected on all side except the back. Tether installed

left side with power button covered

Nice touch on the silicon cover with GARMIN in bold

full access to the bottom portion. Lap and Start/Stop button covered

no issues to access the charging port. Take note of the tether coming through next to the USB-C port on the right

Clean design. Functional and buttons at all the expected places. Nothing a current Garmin user need to change or adjust to get it going immediately. Speaking of immediately, the setup of this unit was surprisingly easy, and this include importing all the sensors and settings you have in your Garmin Connect.

Setting Up First Time
As this is unofficially (as it's a loaner) my second unit of Garmin cycling computer, the setting up of this was super easy - and I must say that it was almost minimal effort from user perspective. It not only pulls all your rides and data (you will know why later), it also sync all the required sensors, including those you will not use on cycling like my Stryd Power Meter. Well perhaps, there will be time i may take/hold the Edge1040 and go for a run?
First time start up

Firmware version 9.03 @ 42% charged

Loading Maps

Comes with Trailforks too, meaning there are info on global trails as well

Choose your language

Pair to Garmin Connect and let the magic happen

Very straight forward

I swear I did not skip any photos. It just went to this once it sync-ed!

There were minimal interaction and the steps were indeed seamless. I recalled having to do many things manually on my Edge1000. I am impressed. 
Here is the video screen recording of what happened. Quick and simple.
The other things that needed my intervention to complete the setup were the Wifi and Incident Detection, which was completed pretty fast as well.
The Wifi upload of workout is way faster than mobile sync

One reason for Garmin is this on safety. I Always have them activated when I run or cycle alone
Firmware Update
The unit came with firmware 9.03 which was then updated to 12.11 when i completed my sync. On July 15th when I sync it on Garmin Express, another update and this time to version 12.15.
July 11

I love firmware update
The device is ready for more rides!

The Garmin Edge1040Solar has a very similar interface to my Fenix6ProSolar and my Fenix7xSapphireSolar. It has a "glance" function where it will show (editable) information. I've set them up to show what I will usually want to see. Familiarity is good when it comes to info. So I have something similar to my F7x when i scroll through the Edge1040Solar.
It confirmed what I knew all these while - I am just an endurance rider

What is new
With almost no baseline to compare apart from the Edge1000, the biggest changes I can comfortably share would the list below, as much as I can find out in the past weeks of using it. The biggest change is the Power Guide (think of it as the wrist based Pace Pro but using Power as, well, Guide), Multi-GNSS and Multi-band tracking improves both accuracy in the most challenging urban and/or heavy canopy trail area. Some of the other significant changes: 
– Solar (RM3699) and non-Solar model (RM3450)

– Power Glass specifically for Solar model only. 15% elements
– 32GB for non-Solar and 64GB for Solar model. Edge 1000 has 8gb with option for micro-SD. 
– Pre-loaded North America & EMEA for base version
– Pre-loaded North America, EMEA, AU/NZ Maps for Solar model only
– Multi-band/Dual Frequency GNSS/GPS
– USB-C connection
– Metal mounting
– Completely new user interface everywhere
– Tether/lanyard is now not linked to the charging door. I like this new location vs at the bottom of Edge1000
– Connect IQ Widget Glances to Homepage/Dashboard
– Power Guide for per-course training/racing guidance
– Up Ahead for distance to waypoints, also road hazard/sharp bend
– Nice Cycling Ability to bucket you into your ability (this I believe links to your dominant training load).
– Real-Time Stamina to show energy/distance/duration left during workout
– There is Location Search which also include your most recent search from navigation panel. The search result is super duper fast. Having big space help i supposed. Search on the fly but watch the road!
– Added new ‘Bike Shops’ & “Water Stops” categories for navigation search 
– Post-Ride ClimbPro Splits on device. So you can rethink your decision riding those elevations.
– Ability to re-scheduling of primary workouts (aka instead of just "skip workout", you can now move it from the device itself without using phone)
– Added support race/event driven Daily Suggested Workouts. FR955/255 feature now on your cycling computer. Similar algorithm as Fenix6/FR945 "daily suggested workout"
– All your paired sensor information to summary page. Battery info/charge stage were super useful.
– Added new consolidated post-ride Highlights screen with PR’s. This is cool and no longer need to refer to Strava or the phone immediately to look if there were any. If the unit say none, then none lah.
– Added estimated battery remaining when toggling Battery Saver mode. Sort of not relevant for Solar Model if you do gain time from sun exposure.
– You can config data field and pages from phone
– Increased weight slight from 115g (Edge1000) to 133g. Same physical size but with more "real estate" as the buttons moved to the bottom side instead of the Edge bottom below screen.
– Super battery life from 8 hours from Edge1000 on GPS+Glonass+sensors to up to 45 hours (in Multi-Band GPS mode with Solar)

My training load last Saturday. Notice the Ride Summary has more details.

What I like - battery status of all the sensors connected to the Edge1040Solar

When I was doing my research and review, I found out that the Edge1040 has everything all the previous Edge model has, plus more from my experiences in using the above and Edge1000. In short, it's a big upgrade if you are coming in from older than Edge1030 product... my Edge1000 was from 2014.

To Solar or Not to Solar
The whole purpose of this posting is to show the Solar charging capability right? I've been using Garmin with Solar elements since the launch of it in Fenix6 series. While the feature does work especially if you are exposed to the sunlight for considerable period (read: like 3-4hours of run or ride under the sun), it is hardly something many would do unless they are hardcore runner or cyclist or triathletes. I've ran with the Fenix6 (smaller 46mm screen) on 2% power and it lasted a whole 8km run at no shift in battery power. I've done so with the current Fenix7x (52mm) and the battery capability were really a notch or two above Fenix6. Now, we have the Edge1040Solar, where the panel is way larger and the solar element in the Power Glass is 15% coverage vs what was on the Fenix series of only 7%... plus, Edge1040Solar throw in a widget to convince you how much time you gain, battery wise for riding under the sun.
Resultant of the 2hours ride, where another 2 was spent idling while waiting. Total sun exposure was an hour

12% intensity for an hour returns back 13mins. Not bad.

What is nice this time is that the Edge1040Solar on phone app (Garmin Connect) has additional info page to show what are the gains, visually. This is something I wish present in the Fenix series, and not just the visual of how much sun intensity that took place - because to me, that's not material and doesn't give me any idea how that hardware feature translate to what it's supposed to do.

But with the Edge1040Solar... it become apparent.

and if the above visual wasn't apparent enough, it shows up in the right side window pane of your ride in Garmin Connect.

While it's still too early to tell, I can say that the Solar charging looked promising. I've yet to try to routing in real life situation as I rarely need to route due to where I cycle (always a fix direction and location) but for a longer term review, I shall do a few and see how it goes, including mid-ride rerouting just because why not. So stay tuned for the longer (mid-term) review for as long as Garmin allow me to loan the unit.
100km planned!

Wait up for longer term review as I take this unit for more indoor and outdoor rides! Leave a comment below and let me know what more you want me to test and show you.

This unit of Garmin Edge 1040 Solar is on loan from Garmin Malaysia. If you are interested and want a unit yourself, please visit Garmin Malaysia and find out where you can get them. Remember to get official unit from Garmin Malaysia as it comes with a 2-years warranty!

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