In 2019, MyGolfSpy awarded SkyCaddie’s SX500 the designation of “Best Handheld GPS” primarily due to an intuitive design, outstanding visuals, and a speedy processor.
That said, if there was a knock on the SX500, it was that with a 5” screen and uber-durable case, it was noticeably larger than whatever smartphone one was used to lugging around. With that in mind, SkyCaddie has released the SX400 (with a 4” HD screen) which has the same requisite list of features in a more compact package.
Like the SX500, the smaller sibling comes pre-loaded with 35,000 courses which have been mapped with multi-constellation navigation satellite systems and what SkyCaddy calls ground-verified, sub-meter precision. Additionally, with an expected battery life of 20+ hours, the intention is to give golfers a device which yields a nearly touch-free user experience with minimal required upkeep.
During play, the intuitive user interface leverages patented IntelliGreen technology and “Dynamic HoleVue™”, to automatically reorient the display to mirror the view from the golfer’s current course position. Distances to hazards and other relevant points of interest also adjust accordingly.
Proponents of GPS based systems are quick to point out that multiple distances are simultaneously visible on the screen, whereas laser rangefinders require golfers to scan and take numerous measurements, which is less efficient. Conversely, the laser rangefinder loyalists tout the accuracy (some models offer measures to 1/10 of a yard) and tactile response many units offer to confirm the golfer has locked on to the intended target.
SkyCaddie’s answer is PinPoint® technology which requires users to enter pin sheet or green zone information to receive precise distances to the front, center, and back of the green – and perhaps most importantly – the pin. Again, pertinent distances and information update automatically based on the players’ current position and angle of approach.
For golfers interested in stat-tracking or digital scoring options, both the SX400 and SX500 utilize RangeVue® and Shot Distance Management to help golfers keep track of how far the ball actually goes with each club, and theoretically make better course management decisions as a result. Scoring options include stroke and Stableford templates with room to record basic statistics such as the number of putts and fairways hit.
Like other SkyGolf e-golf products, the SX Series is built around the SkyGolf 360 platform, which allows golfers to wirelessly upload performance data captured during their round into a cloud-based warehouse that provides real-time statistics to help golfers analyze strengths and weaknesses. According to Jacqui Surman, SkyGolf Senior VP and COO, “the graphics and interface of the SX500 and SX400 are incredibly appealing and really give you every bit of information tour pros get from their caddies to play your best golf.”
In some fashion, the SX series serves as a proxy for a broader conversation which centers around the capabilities, benefits, and limitations of both GPS-based and laser rangefinders. As both options look to integrate features of the other (ex. GPS systems adding pin location features and lasers integrating basic GPS hole layout screens) consumers undoubtedly are presented with more options, but it’s debatable as to whether or not consolidating multiple technologies in one device is where the market is ultimately headed.
As always, post your thoughts and questions.
The SkyCaddie SX400 retails for $299.95 in the U.S. and comes with the introductory offer of a 1-year Double Eagle Worldwide Membership (a $59.95 value). After the first year, memberships start at $30 per year.
For more information, visit www.skygolf.com.