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18

Hours Researched

2

Experts Interviewed

16

Products Considered

33.8 Million

Readers

2018 GOLF GPS BUYER'S GUIDE

Do you still search for ground markers to determine how far you have to the center of the green? If so, we are here to tell that you need to get with the times. Why pace off yardages when modern a GPS will give distances to nearly anything on the golf course. Many are stylish enough to be worn as an everyday wristwatch. Some even include activity monitors for those interested in tracking their fitness.

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The process of buying anything in today's time has become stressful and time-consuming. We feel the best reviews are those that help you make the right choices and help you get the most out of your time and money. This way you can buy with confidence and eliminate a lot of the guesswork. We are here to help show you how a product will perform before you buy.

One key to our testing protocols is that we test products head-to-head. We select the top products from each category and put them through extensive and detailed head-to-head testing. We test both in the lab and in the field. We score each product across a range of weighted categories. We then rank the products, explain why products finished where they did, and give awards to the best-performing products in the category.

The majority of scoring centered around the features of the GPSs as most submissions did the same basic things.  We also considered the ease of use and accuracy of the GPSs. The display screen was included in the scoring because some displays were significantly clearer than others.

THE METRICS

We're always fine-tuning the process to make sure we're collecting the best data possible. Continuing that trend we've updated and refined this year's analysis to bring you the best buying advice possible.

2018 GPS FEATURES CHART

NameCostCourseGame TrackingActivity TrackingHole MappingBatteryWarranty
Bushnell Phantom$99.9936,000+YNAPP10 hrs1 Year
Garmin S10$149.9941,000+YNY12hrs1 Year
Garmin Approach S60$399.9941,000+YYY10hrs1 Year
Shot Navi N2$99.9930,000+YNY15hrsNA
Shot Navi HUg$159.9930,000+YYY10hrsNA
Shot Navi W1-GL$149.9930,000+YNN8hrsNA
Voice Caddie T2$199.9940,000+YYN10hrsNA

 

We put in hours of testing leveraging data-driven protocols and new metrics. The metrics and attention to detail are better than ever.

For GPS testing we went to a golf course and used a Bushnell Tour V4 laser rangefinder to find the distance to the center of the green. We then compared the readings provided by the GPS to those provided by the laser. Testers were then asked questions regarding the reliability of the course mapping features. We found that effective course mapping was more important than precise distances, though both were considered in scoring.

In addition to the common features we considered, testers were also asked to look through the feature list offered by each of the GPS tested. They were free to test out any features they found interesting. We then asked specifically worded questions regarding the functionality, features, and display of the GPS's.

Display (20 points) - How clear is the picture on the screen? Is the display intuitive or is it cluttered and confusing? The best performers in terms of display screen rival the clarity of an Apple Watch. The worst GPS's had displays that were little more than numbers on a screen.

Features (45 points) - All GPSs give distances to targets, but not all of them include pedometers, heart rate monitors, TruSwing, or the ability to make calls. These additional features can take the golf GPS experience to the next level. Poor performers in this category were effective at little more than providing distances. The best GPS's in terms of features did literally more than you can imagine.

Functionality (20 points) - The majority of GPSs on the market today have auto course recognition. This means that as soon as you hit play on the GPS the machine attempts to find the satellite necessary to provide distances. Because this feature exists for the majority of products on the market, those GPS's that require you to download courses are simply not as user-friendly. Some submissions were also designed in a way that made operation a breeze. Top performers tended to stand out due to the organization of the screen and the functionality of the GPS as a whole.

Accuracy (15 points) - How accurate are the numbers the GPS provides compared to those provided by the Bushnell V4 laser rangefinder? While we found little difference in the distances the GPSs provide, the more data per hole the GPS offers, the better frame of reference the golfer has. The more the player knows about the hole he's playing, the better he's likely to perform.

Final grades were awarded based on total scores. Best Overall is our highest overall scoring GPS, and awards are given to the top three submissions. Also, more specific Best in Class recognitions are awarded to GPS's in certain categories (like accuracy, display, and features ) that push the industry's design envelope.

We also give an "Editor's Choice" and a "Best Buy" award to those products that provide value products that compete with the bigger names on performance.

THE BEST GOLF GPS OF 2018

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Garmin Approach S60

Garmin Approach S60

"Best GPS OF 2018"

Display
1st
Features
1st
Functionality
1st
Accuracy
1st
Total
94.5
1

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What We Liked

The Garmin S60 has been crowned number 1 for the second consecutive year. The S60 has multiple features that allow you to not just play golf, but also keep track of your health on a day-to-day basis. It records everything from how many steps you take to how many laps you swam during your pool session. The Garmin watch is not just the only GPS that offers a touch screen, but it is also the only one we tested that has a color display for easy, stress-free use.

Pros

  • Big touch-screen for easy viewing and ease of use
  • Color display
  • Multiple health-focused features
  • Extremely comfortable
  • Easy charging system
  • 41,000 preloaded courses

Cons

  • Only available in a couple of colors
Garmin S10

Garmin S10

Display
2nd
Features
3rd
Functionality
1st
Accuracy
1st
Total
86.5
#2

Shop & Support

When you shop online consider using our special link. It helps support this site and other golfers around the world. #ConsumerFirst

What We Liked

The Garmin S10 is the “Most accurate GPS of 2018” and another great addition to the impressive Garmin GPS family. The simplicity of the product makes for easy use for every player. The S10 acquires the satellite within seconds which allows your to get on whatever feature you want faster. The Garmin watch also recognizes what course and hole you are on without the need to scroll through the settings menu. Although the readouts on the screen are black and white, they are crisp and easy to read.

 

Pros

  • Quick satellite acquisition
  • User-friendly
  • High-resolution display
  • 41,000 preloaded courses
  • 12-hour battery life

Cons

  • Black and white display only
Bushnell Phantom

Bushnell Phantom

"Best Value"

Display
2nd
Features
6th
Functionality
1st
Accuracy
1st
Total
84.5
#3

Shop & Support

When you shop online consider using our special link. It helps support this site and other golfers around the world. #ConsumerFirst

What We Liked

The Bushnell Phantom was crowned “Best Value GPS of 2018″. The Phantom comes with nearly 40,000 courses preloaded on the device as well as Bluetooth technology for auto course updates. The GPS provides distances to the front, middle and back, allowing the players to choose his desired club and will also highlight up to 4 hazards on the chosen hole.

Pros

  • Intuitive design is easy to use
  • 40,000 courses preloaded
  • Provides accurate distances to front, middle, and back
  • 10-hour battery life

Cons

  • Limited features and add-ons

2018 GPS Buyers guide

NameDisplayFeaturesFunctionalityAccuracyTotal
Garmin Approach S601st1st1st1st94.5
Garmin S102nd3rd1st1st86.5
Bushnell Phantom2nd6th1st1st84.5
Voice Caddy T24th2nd5th4th84
Shot Navi W1-GL5th5th5th4th80.5
Shot Navi Hug6th4th7th4th80
Shot Navi N27th7th4th4th79.5

 

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