Is the Wahoo Elemnt or the new Garmin Edge 1030 best for navigating long rides?
We have full reviews of each computer already online, and this one-ride experiment wasn’t meant to be a comprehensive shoot-out. Instead, I just wanted to answer two questions:
1. Does either computer live up to its battery life claims? (Wahoo claims ‘up to 17hrs’ for the Elemnt; Garmin claims ‘up to 20hrs’ for its Edge 1030. Spoiler alert; neither does.)
2. And which computer’s navigation is easier to follow?
Wahoo has emerged as a welcome competitor to the dominant Garmin in the cycling space. When the Elemnt launched, its superior battery life when using navigation drastically outshined the Garmin Edge 1000, which was the GPS giant’s marquee nav unit at the time.
Wahoo claims 17hrs of battery life on the Elemnt; Garmin claims ‘up to’ 20hrs on the Edge 1030
Faced with this competition, Garmin ramped up battery life with its latest Edge 1030, which was designed to take an additional battery that doubles its claimed 20hr battery life.
The problem with claimed ‘up to’ battery life is that it often represents best-case situations, where the unit is being used just to record your ride, not as a navigation unit to guide your route.
For most of the Edge computers below to the Edge 1030, using navigation means a maximum battery life of about 4.5hrs, in my experience.
When riding unknown roads, it’s always best to follow a person who knows where they are going. But I used navigation on both units the whole way to test battery life
With the Edge 1030, Garmin has taken a huge leap forward, but battery life when using navigation does not hit that claimed 20hr mark. In this one-ride test, the Wahoo’s battery performed better.
In terms of ease of use, both work for navigation, but the Garmin was clearly superior in both the visual presentation of information and the real-time compensating for going off-route.
Watch the sub-5-minute video above to see how the computers fared.
When off route, the Elemnt flashes red on its upper LEDs, but the Edge 1030 suggests a way to get back onto the route, more like a car GPS