The Bushnell Neo XS is the latest GPS watch for golfers from Bushnell. More well known for their laser distance finders, Bushnell have recently started adding GPS devices to their catalogue. Coming in at around £150 GPS watches are more suitable for the price conscious golfer who doesn’t want to spend £250 or more on a range finder, or who doesn’t want to pay for a monthly membership for course information as the deal goes with Skycaddie.
Bushnell use www.igolf.com maps and GPS information. iGolf map out their courses using satellite imagery such as those displayed on Google Maps. This does throw into question the accuracy of the device. I have tested the device on my home course and there is only one tee where it is out by 10 yards. I try and remember to check it whenever I am walking past a fairway marker or standing on the tee to see if the two match up. So far I have been happy enough with the Bushnell not to go back to the laser range finder or Skycaddie.
The marketing material from Bushnell claims the Neo XS has 12 hours of battery life – enough for 3 rounds of golf. I have found that after 2 rounds, the battery level indicator is down to just a single bar so I wouldn???t be comfortable trying to do a third round with it.
Happy with the accuracy
Considering there is no monthly membership or having to go through the hassle of downloading new courses, the accuracy is a good enough compromise. Having the front, middle and back of a green allows you to plan which club to hit from the tee on par 4’s, and plan layups on par 5′.
Very simple to use and nice size.
The screen is really clear and easy to read. The watch is not bulky, so it does not feel like it will impede your golf swing at all.
Features you would expect
The Neo XS has the all the basic features you would expect. You can measure the distance of your shots with ‘ball marking’. The watch also tracks how far you have walked during your round of golf, and how long it has taken so far. I’m not sure how useful these last 2 features are, I guess the stats may give you an interesting conversation point in the bar!
Time sets itself
No fiddling around with the watch to set the time. It sets the time based on the GPS information it receives from satellites. This is also good if you are a traveling golfer as it will automatically set the time for the time zone you are in.
Can register to get GPS updates
You can register your watch at https://bushnell.igolf.com/ to get updates to course information.
Hazard information hit and miss
The Bushnell Neo XS stores four pieces of hole information each hole. Most holes I play have more than 4 separate things to call out (bunkers, end of fairways, other hazards etc). It isn’t clear in the instructions whether the hazard information is to the hazard, or to carry the hazard.
With this information being limited to 4 call outs I hardly every switch to this view. This is where you really miss a handheld GPS unit that has the view of the hole with a moveable distance point.
Watch cannot be used while charging
My motocaddy 3 comes with a handy usb port which can be used to plug your GPS device in while you are playing if it is low on battery. Unfortunately when you plug the Bushnell Neo XS into charge it switches to the battery indicator view until it is unplugged. It would be nice if you could charge and use the GPS functionality at the same time for those instances when you have forgotten to charge your watch.
No wall charger provided
A USB to watch cable is provided, but no wall socket. Bushnell must want you to always charge your watch through plugging it into your computer.
Thankfully being a geek I have lots of wall adapters, but if I didn’t I would find this quite annoying.
Scoring and Statistics
The Neo XS does not have any scoring or statistics recording ability. Nothing else to say on the matter! If you want your GPS device to be able to store this information you are going to need to spend a bit more money on it.
Us golfers should be use to tan lines anyway ??? but I haven???t worn a normal watch for many years so was surprised to be seen a strap tan line again! Not a big issue but certainly something you do not get from a GPS device sitting on your trolley or attached to your bag.
With the Bushnell Neo XS being one of the cheaper GPS watches out there, it really is good value if all you want is front, middle and back yardages for the green. This is more than enough for most golfers. With my golfing reduced a bit these days due to a family increasing in size it is good enough for me.
For the golfer who wants more information about yardages, and the ability to record their round stats on a device, you will probably want to look at a handheld device, and consider something with a annual membership to ensure the courses are fully mapped and accurate.