The Edge 1000 is a new addition to Garmin’s cycling specific GPS family of devices and takes over from the Edge 810 as the flag ship device of the range. It represents quite a shift from the current crop of devices with a new form factor, updated firmware and a whole host of connectivity options. But is it a step up functionality or just a fancy new case?

Hardware
The first thing that strikes you about the Garmin Edge 1000 is the size of the device. Although thinner than the Edge 810 by around 5mm, it is 20mm taller and around 6mm wider than the previous range topper. The increase in size is mainly to accommodate the new larger 3” capacitive screen which boasts a higher resolution of 240x400 compared to the 2.6” 160x240 screen of the Edge 810. This screen is one of the most notable upgrades and not only is the touch screen far more responsive but the clarity of the screen is a leap forward from the fairly low resolution Edge 810. The only concern is that the screen is made of glass which will always be a worry if accidently dropped or damaged in a crash. In the time that I’ve spent with the device I haven’t been that unlucky so I can’t really say how robust it is, but it’s worth noting it as a potential weakness on a device that is made for the great outdoors.

Once you get past the upgraded screen you notice that the overall feel of the Edge 1000 is that of a high quality device. It feels more like a decent smart phone then the previous generation rough and ready Garmin GPS devices. It has a good weighted feel to it, in part due to the fact that it is 18g heavier than the Edge 810, but that just adds to the feeling of quality. Quality comes at a price though and the Edge 1000 starts at £439.99 with the perfomance bundle tested here coming in at £499.99.

It has the same button configuration as its sibling along with a micro USB port and micro SD card slot for additional maps and storage. The Edge 1000 also shares the same 90 degree twist mounting system as the rest of the Edge range.

When it comes to mounting the Edge 1000 on your bike, there are two options provided in the box. You can either go with the usual rubber band attached stem mount which is dependable but can mount the device a little far back and out of your immediate eye line, or with the slightly more in vogue out front mount. At first I tried to attach the Edge 1000 to my Edge 810 mount with little success. After a bit of head scratching I soon realised the due to the increase in size of the device it no longer mounts in front of your stem but instead on a modified version of the Garmin out front mount that sits the device above the front tip of the stem. I’m not sure about any noticeable effect on aerodynamics, but it’s not quite as neatly mounted out of the way as the Edge 810 is.

The sheer size of the Edge 1000 may also make mounting the device on a shorter MTB stem using the rubber band mount difficult. Either way, the choice of two mounts means that you will always find a way to get it fitted and ready for action.

Connectivity
As always with a device like the Edge 1000 connectivity is everything and Garmin’s new flagship doesn’t disappoint. The basics are covered as you would expect with support for ANT+ accessories such as the heart rate monitor, cadence and speed sensors which are included with the bundle on test. Power meters are also supported along with a nice addition of support for gear shift information if you are lucky enough to have a Shimano Di2 system with the ANT+ connector.

As with the Edge 810 the Edge 1000 has Bluetooth support which enables you to connect the device to an iPhone or Android smart phone with a freely available Garmin Connect App. This not only allows for wireless uploads and live tracking as supported by the Edge 810, but also now includes on display alerts for phone calls and text messages. This is a really neat feature for when you are riding and can’t hear your phone ringing in your jersey pocket. All of this added to live weather updates and social media connectivity really represents a step up by Garmin when it comes to offering a device that fits in with the way people use modern technology to great advantage.

If all that wasn't enough the Edge 1000 also supports WiFi which means that you can connect it to your home network for wireless uploads. This appears to work well and connects swiftly as you arrive home from a ride. A synchronisation icon appears in the tool bar and uploads you ride data direct not only to Garmin Connect but also Strava if you have linked your accounts. This makes uploading you ride data totally hassle free.

Software
The Edge 1000 has been treated to a complete firmware overhaul that makes the most of the upgraded hardware and larger screen. The basic options and menu navigation remain the same as the Edge 810 but Garmin have improved the home screen that now offers short cuts to the more common menu items. A pull down connectivity menu that can be opened by swiping down from the top of the screen is a nice touch and there is much appreciated sleep option which is a welcome feature for when you want to temporarily disable the device without the need to reboot it.

The increased screen size and clarity also offers an improved navigation experience with the base maps installed on the device being far more detailed than in previous Edge devices. This offers navigation akin to that of the Edge Touring which is a definite plus as you don’t need to buy additional detailed mapping for everyday navigation. Of course you may always wish to install you own maps which you can still do in the same way as with previous Edge devices.

The most noticeable improvement in the software though is the general performance of the device. Boot up time is massively improved with the Edge 1000 being ready to use in around 10 seconds, compared to almost 30 seconds with the Edge 800/810. The GPS will also lock quicker and with a stronger signal. The real win though is with the way that it connects to any paired accessories, with the HR monitor and cadence sensor connecting flawlessly. I have experienced problems switching between bikes with different cadence sensors in the past with previous generation Edge units but the Edge 1000 feels far more robust in its connections with paired accessories. The Bluetooth phone connection also appears to be improved over the Edge 810. The Edge 810 was never bad, just not as slick as it should have been and it looks as though Garmin have noticed and addressed these deficits with the Edge 1000. I'm sure the upgraded hardware is also a factor here but these small improvements really make a big difference in the general user experience.

Although the overall feel of the software is great there are still bugs which can become quite frustrating. One of which is an over eager screen lock which randomly activates when swiping between screens whilst on the move. Not great if it locks on a data screen when you need to read the map for navigation! The procedure to unlock it again seems just as random.

This type of issue will soon get picked up in a firmware update so you will just need to make sure that you keep on top of the available online updates though the Garmin Express software which is provided with the Edge 1000. The Garmin Express software will also automatically sync your device with Garmin Connect to ensure that you can analyse your performance post ride online with minimum fuss which is also a nice touch.

On the subject of Garmin Connect, one of the major selling points of the Edge 1000 is that it supports ‘segments’ through Garmin Connect which enable you to create sections on your favourite route and have a heads up display of your performance whilst riding them. This sounds great in theory and would represent a great advantage over Strava segments as when pushing yourself to beat the best segment times you can measure your efforts with instant on display feedback. I say in theory because it appears as though the demand for the service has made it almost impossible to create a segment in the first place. I can only imagine that Garmin will beef up their servers and improve the service but as it stands I’ll have to report back when I actually get a chance to try it out. In the meantime Garmin have hooked up with Strava to allow automatic upload to Strava via the Garmin Express software. I'm at a loss why Garmin would do this if they are attempting to create a rival service but it appears to work well. I just wonder why they would open up to the competition before proving their own service?

I’ll keep an eye on these services as they really represent a great reason to upgrade to the Edge 1000 and I’m really excited to try them out. I’m just disappointed that they didn’t anticipate the demand before they released the new hardware.

Accessories
Garmin provided us with the Edge 1000 Performance Bundle which includes the Premium Heart Rate Monitor and the Speed and Cadence Sensors. The Heart Rate monitor is nicely designed with a comfortable strap which separates from the sensor via two poppers to allow it to be chucked into the washing machine after a few rides. I've been using my Edge 705 strap for years and this latest premium version is unsurprisingly much more comfortable and practical.

The Speed and Cadence sensors are also updated with a new ‘no magnet’ design. The wireless sensors attach effortlessly and automatically calibrate which allow them to be easily switched between bikes. The cadence sensor attaches directly to the crank arm and the speed sensor to either hub with a neat rubber band style system which holds the sensors securely to the bike. There is no longer a need to attach magnets to either the wheel or the crack arm. It’s a neat system which works well and again shows that Garmin are innovating when it comes to their cycling range of products.

Summary
All in all there is no doubting that this is Garmin’s best cycling GPS to date. It not only feels like a quality piece of kit but also performs better with a much improved display, better connectivity, a snappier feel to the menus and a far improved boot up time. The Edge 1000 really has taken a solid step up from a functional piece of outdoor tech to a slick must have cycling gadget.

The only real downside is that the software and services that surround the hardware are not allowing the device to fully realise its potential. I really hope that the enhanced features in Garmin Connect get beefed up to allow the Edge 1000 to do what it was designed to do and facilitate a new dimension to your favourite training rides. But at the moment the segments feature is just not mature enough to be really accessible and the Strava connectivity makes their own segments a little bit pointless,I'm completely baffled as to why Garmin teamed up with a potential rival before their own service had a real chance to thrive. Maybe it was in an effort to calm the hoarding masses of Edge 1000 owners annoyed that they couldn't access the segments feature on Garmin Connect?

The good news is that the solid foundations are there in the hardware for when the services are ready to step up. You may want to wait for this to happen before you upgrade from an Edge 800/810 but if this is your first step into premium GPS tech and you're happy with the premium price tag, then I’d go straight to Edge 1000.