Garmin unveils Edge 1050: ‘brightest and smartest cycling computer ever’ with smartphone-like touchscreen – but no solar charging

Garmin’s new-look flagship head unit adds a upgraded touchscreen, enhanced group ride features, built-in speaker and more – and will exist alongside the Edge 1040 and Edge 1040 Solar

Just two years after launching the Edge 1040, Garmin has unveiled a new flagship head unit, the Edge 1050, which it says is its “brightest, smartest and most connected cycling computer ever.” The brand seems to have focused on bringing the touchscreen display as close as possible to that of a smartphone. Garmin calls the 1050’s screen ‘vibrant’ – it's now liquid crystal compared with the 1040’s transflective MIP (memory in pixel) and has a much higher resolution – 480 x 800 pixels compared to the 1040’s 282 x 470 (both are 3.5in displays).

Garmin says the Edge 1040 and Edge 1040 Solar are not being replaced – they will exist alongside the Edge 1050.

The new unit – which has a new angled casing and all-metal buttons plus a replaceable quarter-turn mount – is slightly longer and wider but slimmer than the 1040. It weighs 161g compared to the 1040's 133g. It has the same 64GB of storage as the 1040.

The 1050 will not feature solar charging, which was touted as a gamechanger when the 1040 launched. According to Garmin, the Edge 1050 combines “superior navigation, performance tracking, cycling awareness and smart connectivity – all while impressively delivering up to 20 hours of battery life in the most demanding use cases and up to 60 hours in battery saver mode." The 1040 in the non-solar version claims 35 hours in ‘demanding’ and up to 70 in saver mode. It’s likely that the brighter LCD touchscreen consumes more power than the MIP – which Garmin sees as a fair trade-off. Since the 1040 is not being phased out, Garmin says users can choose between a super bright screen or solar charging and a longer battery life.

Three views of the Garmin Edge 1050

That said, 20 hours is enough for the vast majority of rides, and it's common practice to take a battery pack for rides away from mains power for any length of time. It seems as though Garmin has decided an ultra-long battery life is no longer its priority. 

However, it has bolstered the 1050’s features with a raft of upgrades and, perhaps surprisingly, the addition of a built-in speaker that allows users to hear workout and navigation prompts and alert riders and pedestrians with a virtual bike bell. There are new additions such as on-device course creation and Garmin Pay, imported from the smartwatches. Directly from Garmin, here’s a list of what’s new:

  • New improvements to GroupRide lets 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 leaderboards 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 riders1.

Garmin says GroupRide updates and road hazard alerts will be available on Edge 540, Edge 840 and Edge 1040 series cycling computers soon. 

  • Hear workout and navigation prompts and alert riders and pedestrians ahead using an on-device bike bell.
  • 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.

Like Garmin’s top devices, the Edge 1050 offers access to advanced training tools: there are free Garmin training plans including event adaptive training plans that that adapt based on performance and recovery, while daily suggested workouts provide ride suggestions based on a current training load and VO2 max.

Riders on a mountain road with the Garmin Edge 1050

Additionally there are the insights from Firstbeat Analytics such as estimated VO2 max, training status, heat and altitude acclimation while features like ‘cycling ability’ and ‘course demands’ allow users to match their abilities to the demands of a specific course in order to focus training in a more specific way.

Garmin’s Trendline Popularity Routing helps find the routes most travelled by other Garmin users, and it’s also possible to use pin drop navigation to send a POI ('pin') from Apple Maps and automatically navigate to that location.

As for performance metrics, the Edge 1050 includes real-time stamina insights for tracking training efforts or evaluating pace. ‘Power guide’ now takes wind data and current stamina to make real-time adjustments to power targets. As before, ClimbPro lets riders see the remaining ascent and grade for each climb – whether riding a pre-set course or not – while Climb Explore lets riders see nearby climbs on-device or in Garmin Connect.

The Edge 1050 includes Garmin’s safety features like LiveTrack and incident detection and is of course compatible with its Varia line of cycling radars and smart lights – and those from other brands – as well as inReach satellite communicators. It pairs pairs to Tacx smart trainers and can also be customised with data fields, apps and widgets from the Connect IQ Store smartphone app.

The suggested retail price has increased to £649.99 (the standard Edge 1040 is £519.99 while the 1040 Solar is priced at £629.99) and the new Garmin Edge 1050 is available immediately. Check out Garmin’s website for all the details.

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