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Bushnell neo+ Watch

Bushnell enters the golf GPS watch market with their neo+ watch, leveraging the same database (from their partner iGolf) that they use for their other GPS devices, the Hybrid, Yardage Pro XGC+, and neo+. The watch has exceptional course coverage, and comes preloaded with 25,000 courses, so you can take it right to the course (even better since the syncing process was not available at time of review!).

The neo+ watch provides distances only to the front, center and back of the green, but not hazard distances, and competes directly with the Garmin S1. In a slightly confusing turn, the neo+ watch shares the neo+ name with the handheld Bushnell neo+, but the handheld neo+ provides hazard information in addition to distances to the front, center and back of greens.

The Bushnell neo+ golf GPS watch is quite simple, providing the hole number, par, and distance information on the main screen. It does offer shot distance measurement, but there is no ability to record scores or statistics, and the only additional features are an odometer and an alarm.

The Bushnell neo+ golf GPS watch retails for $199.95 ($50 more than the handheld neo+), and includes course updates at no additional cost.

We favor the convenience of a watch for our GPS information, and the Bushnell neo+ watch is incredibly easy to use for simple front, center and back of the green distances. It’s not much of an advancement on the Garmin S1, which was released last year, as there are now competitive watches with more features (the Garmin S3 enables score tracking, the Expresso (ESN) WR62 provides distances to hazards, and the Motorola MOTOACTV Golf Edition does both), and the blocky styling of the neo+ watch is an acquired taste, but if basic functionality is all you’re looking for, the solid performance and extremely attractive price point place the Bushnell neo+ watch at the top of the list of devices to consider.

SCORE
88
GRADE
B+
Setup/Syncing
N/A
Course Availability
98
Ease of Use
98
Course Details
70
Features
80
Accuracy
89
Cost/Value
92

Pros:

  • Talk about easy to use…
  • Exceptional course coverage
  • No fees to update courses

Cons:

  • No hazard information
  • No advanced features, such as scoring
  • No ability to sync yet

Retail price: $199.95
Three year total cost: $199.95
Availability: Discontinued. Replaced by the Bushenll NEO-X watch


N/A

SETUP/SYNCING

The Good: With courses pre-loaded, the only prerequisite to beginning play is charging the battery.

The Bad: No wall charger is provided, so the only way to charge the Bushnell neo+ golf GPS watch is by plugging the USB cable into your computer. The clip to attach the watch to the USB cable is a bit fickle. The promised syncing capability wasn’t yet available at the time of our testing (see below).

Bushnell neo+ Golf GPS Watch

Click for more images

Details:

  • Required Steps. The only thing you need to do before heading to the course is ensure that the battery is charged. In order to download additional courses or obtain future course updates, PC and Mac users will need to register on the iGolf web site and then download a driver to the computer. Although Bushnell’s marketing materials and the Bushnell/iGolf web site indicate that you can sync the device to get course updates, we had no luck doing so. We then contacted iGolf tech support, who indicated that the syncing capability isn’t yet enabled, but that a future firmware update will rectify the situation. It isn’t exactly to the magnitude of a “bait and switch”, but why they would discuss the feature in the manual and online but not have it ready at the time of product launch is beyond us.
  • Time Required for Setup. Charging the battery takes approximately 3 hours, and involves using the somewhat temperamental charging clip. The charging clip sometimes doesn’t completely latch on to the appropriate contact points on the watch, so don’t walk way until you see the charging/connected indicator on the face of the watch come on and stay on. The charging/connected indicator will read “FULL” and show a full charge meter when the watch is completely charged, but oddly enough, it won’t show the charge level before that. We can’t tell you how long it takes to set up the device for syncing since, as indicated above, that functionality is not supported at the time of this review.

What’s in the Box: The Bushnell neo+ golf GPS watch comes with:

  • Cable (USB-to-charging clip)
  • Quick Start Guide

Required Downloads:

  • Device software driver (for future course updates).


98 / A+

COURSE AVAILABILITY

Critical Golf Test: The Bushnell neo+ watch leverages the course database from Bushnell’s partner, iGolf. Course coverage is 98%, which is extremely high, although that’s what we have come to expect from devices that only need to provide front-center-back of the green distance information.

Manufacturer’s Claims: The Bushnell neo+ watch comes with over 25,000 worldwide courses pre-loaded on the device, which ranks it near the top of our course coverage comparison test. Interestingly, the neo+ watch is designed to only accommodate up to 50 additional course downloads. An unusual limitation, though we will see whether it has any real impact on the typical user.


98 / A+

EASE OF USE

The Good:The Bushnell neo+ golf GPS watch couldn’t be much easier to use – just look at your wrist!

The Bad: More bulky than the standard watches we wear.

Bushnell neo+ Golf GPS Watch

Click for larger image

Details:

  • Buttons. The Bushnell neo+ GPS watch has five buttons: front (which also doubles as the power button), back, shot, menu and select.
  • Screen. Though the screen viewing area is a mere 0.8 square inches, making it the smallest golf GPS screen available, the black and white screen is easy to read. The backlight on the watch will remain on for approximately 4 seconds any time a button is pushed. There is no ability to modify the default time the screen remains backlit.
  • Form Factor. The neo+ watch has a black rubber and plastic exterior, and weighs 1.9 ounces. We aren’t fans of the styling, which looks a bit dated compared to the likes of the Garmin S1 and Motorola MOTOACTV watches. As with other golf GPS watches, there is the fantastic time-saving advantage of being able to access readings with the simple turn of a wrist, which, while it may seem minor, does speed up the pace of play (and will keep your playing partners from telling you to quit digging in your pockets for your GPS device). The watch band is easily adjusted to fit different wrist sizes.
  • Starting a Round. Users will need to first select “play golf” from the main menu and then, once the satellite signal has been acquired, select a course from a list of options within a 20-25 mile radius. If you don’t start on the 1st hole, the watch won’t automatically find the hole on which you begin, but advancing to the appropriate hole is a relatively painless process.
  • Battery Life. We have been disappointed in golf GPS watch battery life for other devices, so were pleased find that we were easily able to play two 5-hour rounds and still have battery life left. Bushnell claims a battery life of a whopping 14 hours, far beyond what we’ve seen in competitive devices. On top of that, Bushnell claims up to 1 year of battery life when the device is used exclusively as a watch. Curiously, we did experience one case when the battery drained itself overnight, likely because it was continually trying to find a GPS signal while indoors.

For more details, check out the Critical Golf comparison of golf GPS device features.


70 / C-

COURSE DETAIL AND MAPPING

The Good: The neo+ watch only provides mapping of the front, center and back points on the green, so this is not an area of strength for it.

The Bad: No hazard information is available. Unlike the competing Garmin S1, Garmin S3 and Motorola MOTOACTV, the neo+ watch doesn’t have the ability to provide distances to the near and far points of the green based on player position, but rather only fixed front and back points of the green.

Bushnell neo+ Golf GPS Watch

Click for larger image

Details:

  • Views. The Bushnell neo+ GPS watch provides a main “hole view,” which displays distance information for each hole, and secondary screens for distance measurement, battery level, and time.
    • Hole view – This screen displays the hole number, par, and distances to the center of the green (in larger text in the center of the screen) and front and back of the green (in smaller text at the bottom of the screen) points. Pressing either the “Front” or “Back” button triggers the watch to provide only the distance to the front or back of the green for approximately 12 seconds before it returns to displaying all three distances. This additional “feature” seems rather unnecessary, as all three distances are already provided in the main view. We would prefer if the time was also displayed on the main hole view – there seems to be room on the screen for it.
    • Measurement view – Activated when the user presses the “Shot” button, this view displays only the measurement of a particular shot. While measuring your shot distance, you can’t toggle to another view – you have to stay in shot measurement until you are done or the measurement will be lost.
    • Battery level view – To see the battery charge level you will need to toggle to a different dedicated battery screen, which is accessed through the “Menu” button. You don’t have to exit your current round to check the battery level.
    • Date/time view – Before you begin a round, this is the default view, displaying the date and time. Once you begin a round, you must press the “Menu” button to access the date/time view. Also available are an alarm – you don’t want to oversleep and miss your once-in-a-lifetime tee time at Pebble Beach – and a countdown timer.
  • Hole Information. The hole number and par are always shown on the main Hole view screen. Hole handicap is not available.
  • Custom Mapping. Users cannot add custom points to the course data, nor can they modify any existing map information.

Suggestion Box: Given that hazard distance information is available on the handheld Bushnell neo+ and on the Expresso (ESN) WR62 (which looks sneakily similar to the Bushnell neo+ watch, and is also partnered with iGolf), we were disappointed to see this missing from the neo+ watch. Rather than having redundant views dedicated to showing just the distances to the front and the back of the green (those distances are already indicated on the main hole view), how about adding hazard distances?


80 / B-

FEATURES

The Good: Shot distance measuring, auto hole advance, and an odometer that will measure how far you have walked and how quickly. And it’s also waterproof to 30 meters!

The Bad: Did we mention that the neo+ watch has a spartan feature set? You won’t find overhead hole maps, the ability to track scores or statistics, or calculation of club distance averages.

Details:

  • Shot Tracking. The neo+ watch can measure shot distances, though it does not have the ability to save this information or link the results of a specific shot to a club to calculate average shot distances.
  • Score and Statistics. Not available on the neo+ watch. Rats.
  • Auto-advance. The neo+ watch is supposed to automatically advance to the next hole during play, though we quite often had to manually advance as the watch wouldn’t find the next hole. Manually changing holes is easily done through the use of the Menu button, though it does take 5 button presses to advance just one hole.
  • Preferences. The Bushnell neo+ watch has a limited set of adjustable settings, including unit of measurement (yards or meters), sound (whether or not a tone sounds every time you press a button), and time (if you want to set the time before a GPS signal is located, or override the time). You may ask yourself, “Self, why would you ever want to override the automatically determined time?” Well, the Bushnell neo+ watch defaults to determining the time based on the longitude of your location. But since time zones aren’t entirely based on longitude, you may find cases where the default time is incorrect and need to manually set the time or time zone. We’d like to pretend that we just sit around pondering about these types of things out of some kind of natural cartographic curiosity, but truthfully we only know because one of our reviewers just happened to be vacationing in a place where this was an issue. To those of you who live in northwestern Michigan, you’re welcome.

For more details, check out the Critical Golf comparison of golf GPS device features.


89 / B+

ACCURACY

In our on-course testing the Bushnell neo+ watch generally provided readings within five yards of course marked distances. We do note, however, that when we took the neo+ watch out on the course with other Bushnell GPS devices, we generally found that the other devices most closely matched each other (and were slightly closer to the marked course distances), while the neo+ generally differed by a few yards.

The neo+ watch will continue to display distances to points regardless of how close you are to those points (some devices will stop showing the distance to a point when you are within a certain number of yards from that point).

We did experience completely inaccurate mapping at one of our tested courses, to the extent that the device was rendered unusable. This is presumably an error by someone at iGolf who was mapping based on a satellite image, as not only were hole numbers incorrect, but tee boxes were paired with the wrong greens on certain holes.


93 / A-

COST/VALUE

Retail Price: The Bushnell neo+ watch retails for $199.95, making it one of the least expensive golf watches.

Fees for Access to Course Database: As with other “plus” (+) devices in the Bushnell family, there are no additional fees for access to the Bushnell/iGolf course database.

Three-Year Total Cost of Ownership: With no cost for access to the course database, the three-year total cost for the Bushnell neo+ GPS watch remains $199.95. This makes the neo+ watch watch one of the lower-priced golf GPS devices in terms of overall cost over three years, though it is one of the most expensive golf GPS devices that doesn’t provide hazard distance information.

Value: For players looking for an affordable golf GPS watch, the Bushnell neo+ watch is absolutely one to consider. Basic distances are all that many players want, and the neo+ watch delivers them in an easy to use interface.


Callaway upro mx+

The much anticipated Callaway upro mx+ has finally come to market, and its feature set and aggressive price point have erased the bad taste left by the bumpy launch and recall of the upro mx. The original upro set the standard for slim and lightweight GPS devices, and the upro mx+ continues the tradition, weighing in at a mere 3.15 ounces. A reasonably functional touchscreen is supplemented with a nifty optical finger navigation button, which operates like a mini trackpad, and touchscreen shortcuts, such as double-tapping anywhere on the hole map to zoom in on that point.

Changing up its business model from past devices, Callaway now provides all levels of its course maps with no additional yearly or per course fees. GoMode and Basic Mode text and green maps are already preloaded on the device, and you can add as many advanced ProMode maps (which include satellite imagery) as you’d like without spending an additional dime.

With aerial satellite photos, you don’t have to worry about whether an artist has failed to sketch in an extremely relevant creek. Callaway also continues to provide its slick video flyovers, which are extremely helpful for understanding the way to think about each hole, particularly the first time you play a course.

Our primary complaints are that the touchscreen doesn’t always respond as quickly as we’d like, the optical navigation button sometimes stopped working (necessitating a restart of the unit), and the positioning of the buttons on the touchscreen crams the two features we accessed most often (zoom and score entry) nearly on top of one another. We also would like to see Callaway add basic shot distance tracking to the device. And we never quite figured out the arbitrary nature of the battery meter.

With the upro mx+, Callaway has re-entered the golf GPS market with a more stable device than the upro mx. There were still too many rough edges for us to truly fall in love with the device, but the satellite images, form factor and price alone make it worthy of consideration in your purchase decision.

SCORE
91
GRADE
A-
Setup/Syncing
95
Course Availability
89
Ease of Use
90
Course Details
95
Features
94
Accuracy
93
Cost/Value
93

Pros:

  • The smallest and lightest full-featured golf GPS device
  • No fee for access to the course database
  • Smooth video flyovers
  • Free uxplore portal to track your game

Cons:

  • Middle-of-the-road touchscreen
  • No tracking of shot distances (although Callaway promises to rectify this in an upcoming software update)

Retail price: $249.99
Availability: Discontinued. No replacement product is planned. Unfortunately, Callaway has moved in a different direction and has de-prioritized golf GPS devices. A sad tale that started with a company, uPro, that held such potential and floundered and now died under Callaway ownership. It is unknown how long Callaway will continue to make their upro mx+ supporting website, Callaway uxplore, available, and we do not recommend purchase of this product.
Amazon.com price: Check price now


95 / A

SETUP/SYNCING

The Good: Basic and GoMode courses are preloaded on the device. Syncing software automatically launches Callaway uxplore website and syncs the device when plugged in.

The Bad: ProMode courses must be individually selected and downloaded – but at least they’re free! We did experience syncing issues, but these were solved by uninstalling and then reinstalling the uxplore software.

Details:

  • Required Steps. Course maps in Basic Mode (essentially text-based distances to hazards and the front/middle/back of the green) and GoMode (hole maps with pictorial renderings) are all preloaded on the upro mx+, but in order to load ProMode courses, you’ll need to utilize the upro sync software. The steps include:
    • creating a free account at the Callaway uxplore web site;
    • downloading the upro sync software to a computer (Mac or PC);
    • connecting the upro mx+ to the computer through the micro-USB cable;
    • when prompted by the device, selecting “Sync” or “Charge” mode (in this case, “Sync”);
    • when prompted a second time by the device (in what seems to be a largely duplicative step), selecting “Mac,” “PC” or “Charge” mode (in this case, either “Mac” or “PC”, depending on your choice of technology);
    • at this point, the uxplore web site will automatically launch, enabling you to log in. Once logged in, the device will sync any new round data on the device. To add more courses, click on “Pro Mode”, then “Find More Courses” to select courses to download to the device, and finally “Sync” to start the process;
  • Time Required for Setup. It took us just a few minutes to get the software downloaded and installed. The time for ProMode updates depends on the number of courses being added to the device – it took approximately 1 minute per course (we added a batch of 8, which took 8 minutes, and then tried again with just a single one, which took 1 minute). There were 77 GoMode/Basic Mode updates available for our device (for different states and regions). Loading the California update took only a few seconds, but it wasn’t clear that the update had been completed until we disconnected the device and reconnected it (at which point California was no longer listed as one of the regions for which an update was needed). Charging the battery will take up to 3 hours.

What’s in the Box: The Callaway upro mx+ comes with:

  • Rechargeable battery
  • USB cable
  • AC adapter
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Screen cloth

Downloads:


89 / B+

COURSE AVAILABILITY

Critical Golf Test: Callaway is slowly but steadily improving its ProMode course coverage, moving up in our course coverage test. The upro mx+ still, however, trails most competing devices.

Manufacturer’s Claims: Callaway claims to have more than 25,000 courses available around the globe, which places it about average in our course coverage comparison test.


90 / A-

EASE OF USE

The Good: Lightweight and slim, making it easy to carry around. Optical finger navigation and shortcuts such as double-tapping the screen enhance usability.

The Bad: Positioning of buttons on touchscreen is suboptimal. Lag in touchscreen and optical navigation button response. On occasion the optical button stopped working and required us to restart the device. Inaccurate battery meter.

Callaway upro mx+ Golf GPS Device

Click for image

Details:

  • Buttons. The Callaway upro mx+ has three buttons. The power and mode buttons are on the right side of the device, and a large “optical finger navigation button” is on the face of the device. The optical finger navigation button is a track pad of sorts, and because it is more sensitive than the touch screen, was the easier way to select specific points on the hole. We found, however, that there was sometimes a lag between use of the optical button and the movement of the cursor on-screen, resulting in the cursor seemingly moving on its own after we had placed it in the appropriate position. We also experienced a number of times when the optical button simply stopped working during the round, and required a restart of the device…argh!

    All other controls are accessed through the touchscreen. The touchscreen interface for the navigation menus is nicely done, but the positioning of the touchscreen buttons within the actual ProMode screens left something to be desired, as functions we often accessed (such as zoom and the scorecard) were cramped next to each other, leading to frequent erroneous selections.

  • Screen. The color touchscreen is bright at higher backlighting settings, but we wouldn’t suggest going much below 85%.
  • Touchscreen Sensitivity. Our experience with the Callaway upro mx+ was that using its touchscreen is a lot like hitting a ball out of a bunker – early on, it’s a confounding process, and there are a lot of curse words involved, but once you learn the proper technique and practice a bit, it becomes easier. The key was developing the feel for the brief lag before the touchscreen responds. For example, in navigating through long lists, it was important to touch the screen and leave the finger on the screen for a moment, before moving the finger to initiate momentum scrolling. Zooming in and out was another challenge – we eventually learned that the key is to touch the zoom bar, hold your finger there until the grey bar comes up, and THEN and only then should you slide your finger to the right or left to zoom or unzoom. Trying to slide your finger before the grey bar rises up just results in anger and frustration. One note – the touchscreen sometimes doesn’t respond well to a dry finger, so if you’re having trouble, try giving it a lick (your finger, not the touchscreen) – or just rub your finger on the side of your nose (crude, but effective!).
  • Form Factor. The upro mx+ comes in a wonderful form factor that is on par with that of the Garmin G6. It’s the same width as the G6, a tiny bit longer, but also thinner. At a mere 3.15 ounces, the upro mx+ weighs slightly less than the G6, and is one of the lightest GPS devices tested.
  • Starting a Round. After powering up the upro mx+, the user needs to push the “Play Golf” button on the touchscreen. If the device has acquired satellites and locked in to the current location, it will display a list that begins with “ProMode Courses” and then follows with a list of nearby courses that are available in GoMode/Basic Mode. If satellites have not yet been acquired, the list will being with “Pro Mode Courses” and then follow with a list of countries for which GoMode/Basic Mode courses are available, after which the user selects the relevant state and then narrows down to the desired course alphabetically. If “ProMode Courses” is selected, a list of available ProMode courses will be displayed. Once a course is selected, the device defaults to displaying the first hole – you will need to manually advance to the appropriate starting hole if you are playing the back nine or in a shotgun tournament.
  • Battery Life. The internal rechargeable battery is marketed as providing 5-7 hours of life, subject, of course, to the settings for the backlighting and delay before entering “sleep” mode. We didn’t have any problems getting through a full round, but were never even close to being able to get through two rounds. We’re not sure what was going on with the battery meter on the device we tested – it never seemed very reliable. At times it would show a full charge after we had been using it for a full round, but would then show a much lower (and seemingly accurate) level if we powered the device off and back on.

For more details, check out the Critical Golf comparison of golf GPS ease of use.


95 / A

COURSE DETAIL AND MAPPING

The Good: The ability to determine the distance to any point on the course. A plethora of pre-mapped targets that don’t clutter the screen because they aren’t revealed until you zoom in. Indicator shows the player’s position on the hole map, and distances to the edges of the green and/or hazards are shown relative to that position.

The Bad: No real complaints – although if we’re making a wish list, it would be nice to have green contour maps such as those available on the Skycaddie SGXw.

Callaway upro mx+ Golf GPS Device

Click for more views

Details:

  • Views. The Callaway upro mx+ enables three different views: “ProMode,” which provides an overhead satellite image of the hole, “GoMode,” which provides a sketched graphic of the green and any greenside bunkers, and “Basic Mode,” which provides text distances to the green and a list of hazards (see images at the right). The “Mode” button toggles between the three modes.
    • ProMode – This view displays an overhead satellite photograph of the hole. The user can zoom in by either (a) using the Navigation button to advance through three “SmartView” zoom levels (see below), (b), using the touchscreen to fine tune the zoom through a variable number of levels, depending on the length of the hole, or (c) double tapping the touchscreen on a point on the map to zoom in on that point – double tapping again will zoom back out. By touching the screen, you can drag and pan across the hole map to see any part of the hole.

      The upro mx+ automatically chooses a zoom level based on your position on the hole. The device also chooses two additional zoom levels that it thinks are relevant, and the user can quickly cycle through these three views (Callaway calls them “SmartViews”) by pushing on the Navigation button.

      By touching a button at the bottom left of the screen, you can turn on Callaway’s “AnyPoint” feature. Two circles (each with a dot in the center) will appear – one will be in the center of the green (the Green Circle), and a second will appear in the middle of the hole (the Layup Circle). The upro mx+ will show the distance from your current position to the Layup Circle, and from the Layup Circle to the Green Circle. Touching either circle enables you to move it – the point of the Layup Circle is pretty obvious, and the Green Circle can be moved to replicate the position of the flagstick on a given day. Using the touchscreen to position the circles can be difficult, both because of the responsiveness of the touchscreen and the fact that your finger will likely be blocking your vision of the point you’re trying to target. We found it best to use the optical finger navigation button (which operates like a trackpad) to pinpoint the circles. Note that you cannot use a tee on the touchscreen in lieu of a finger – it won’t respond.

      One of upro’s strengths has always been the number of hazard points that it identifies in ProMode. The upro mx+ is smart about the distances it displays at a given time – as you zoom in on a hole, the device will show you more and more distances. If there is an available mapped point for which a distance is not displayed, the device will put a yellow point on the map, letting you know that you can zoom on that point to obtain the yardage. It’s a nice way to keep the overall presentation uncluttered, and yet still have a large amount of information available should you want it. Note that the hazard distances are not available if you activate AnyPoint, but ostensibly you don’t need them, since you can just position the cursor to any point of interest.

      The player’s position on the hole is indicated on the map, and the upro mx+ shows distances to near and far points of hazards and greens based upon where the player is relative to those points. This level of detail is available because Callaway maps a number of points around the edges of each green and hazard (Callaway claims to have mapped thousands of points per hole).

    • GoMode – GoMode displays a drawing of the green and any greenside hazards, and indicates the distances to various points on the map based upon the player’s position on the hole (as with ProMode, this is enabled by mapping numerous points around the edges of the greens and hazards). The image of the green doesn’t rotate relative to your position, but the device indicates the far and near points on the green with red and yellow dots that are in line with where you are. The flagstick position can’t be modified, but you can use AnyPoint to determine the distance to any specific spot on the map.
    • Callaway upro mx+ Golf GPS Device

      Click for image
    • Basic Mode – Basic Mode provides the distance to the front, middle and back of the green, as well as to a list of hazards, which are identified with different clip art icons. The icons are just generic drawings, and while they do give an indication of whether the hazard is on the right or the left if there are multiple bunkers, it isn’t necessarily obvious which one is which. The hazards are, however, presented in order of proximity to the player’s position. We did see some bugs in the listing of hazards (see right) – either a hazard isn’t displaying, or there is simply an error in displaying the list.
  • Hole Information. The hole number is displayed on all Modes. The par for the hole is only visible on the “change hole” and scorecard entry screens. Hole handicap information is not available on the upro mx+.
  • Custom Mapping. Users cannot map points on their own.

94 / A

FEATURES

The Good: Video flyovers, scorecard entry,

The Bad: No ability to track the distance of your shots.

Callaway upro mx+ Golf GPS Device

Click for more images

Details:

  • Video Flyovers. A video flyover of each hole is available, complete with red, white and blue markings showing the points that are 100, 150 and 200 yards from the center of the green. The flyovers are just simulated using the satellite maps, but they provide a nice introduction to holes on courses that you have never played before.
  • Shot Tracking. At the time of its launch, the upro mx+ does not have shot tracking capability (the FAQs on Callaway’s web site state that it will be added in a future software release).
  • Score and Statistics. The upro mx+ can track scores for up to 4 players, and will track putts, fairways hit and greens in regulation for one player. Users can view past rounds from the device itself or on a computer after syncing. We did experience bugs (click on the image above, and advance to the second and third images) where the upro mx+ incorrectly calculated our score relative to par, showing an 82 on a par 72 course as “+13”.
  • Callaway upro mx+ uxplore Portal

    Click for more images
  • Callaway uxplore Portal. The Callaway uxplore website stores and aggregates statistics and scores using an easy to navigate and polished interface. The portal makes it easy to search and review particular rounds, show trends over time, and even compare yourself to the Callaway uxplore community. It also allows players to see satellite views of courses with flyovers (though distances provided to hazards are of little use to most since they are provided based on back tees with no ability to change this setting), and includes common shot locations from the community (odd as we can’t track shots on our device, so we aren’t sure where this data comes from). It’s a good start and you can see the potential. The bug for score relative to par mentioned above carried over to the portal.
  • Auto-advance. The upro mx+ will automatically advance to the next hole (there is no option to turn this feature off). The user can manually select a hole as well.
  • Preferences. The upro mx+ has a basic set of adjustable preferences: measurement unit (yards vs. meters), power settings (normal, longer or shorter battery life), time zone, language, backlight brightness, font size on the display, and whether or not an outline is superimposed around each green. We’re not sure how the power and backlight brightness settings mesh with one another – changing the former didn’t seem to automatically change the setting for the latter.

For more details, check out the Critical Golf comparison of golf GPS device features.

Suggestion Box: It would be nice if there was some visual differentiator on the score entry screen to indicate the holes for which scores have already been entered – there’s nothing to tell you that you’ve forgotten to enter a score unless you separately click to view the entire scorecard.


93 / A-

ACCURACY

Device Accuracy: Our test of the Callaway upro mx+ on a variety of courses revealed readings that were within 3-4 yards of sprinkler head markings and our laser rangefinder readings. The upro mx+ will show distances regardless of how close you are to the green, which gave us comfort in the accuracy of the device.

Mapping Accuracy: The maps are generally accurate, although on one course, the image on one hole was clearly dated, as a bunker that no longer exists was still displayed.


93 / A

COST/VALUE

Retail Price: The Callaway upro mx+ has a retail price of $249.99, making it the least expensive device that provides hole maps (as opposed to just textual distances).

Fees for Access to Course Database: Callaway has changed its pricing model, and access to all course maps, including ProMode maps, is provided at no additional charge.

Three-Year Total Cost of Ownership: With no cost for access to the course database or updates, the three-year total cost of ownership of the Callaway upro mx+ stays at $249.99 (hey, that’s math that we can do without a calculator!), making it one of the least expensive devices in our cost comparison of golf GPS devices among those that provide hole maps, and the least expensive with satellite views (the competitor being the Sonocaddie V500).

Value: The Callaway upro mx+ is attractively priced for a device that has a strong feature set (excluding, of course, shot distance tracking). The touchscreen wasn’t our favorite, but the double-tapping feature and optical finger navigation button provide alternatives. Add in a sleek lightweight form factor, and you’ve got a device to be reckoned with.


Titleist Lightweight

The Titleist Lightweight Stand Bag (okay, I want to work in product marketing at Titleist, because I’m pretty sure that even I can come up with a better name than that) is a high-quality basic lightweight bag at a reasonable price. It is actually almost identical to the Sun Mountain Superlight 3.5. The look, the EZ-Fit straps, the integrated handle and the legs are all the same. Our presumption is that they all come off the same manufacturing line and then are branded as either Titleist or Sun Mountain (if not, somebody better get their patent lawyer on the phone). As a result, we’ve borrowed liberally from the text of the other review. Some would call that laziness – we prefer to call it efficiency.

SCORE
90
GRADE
A-
Club Storage
91
Legs
95
Straps
87
Pockets/Storage
87
Rain Hood
83
Carrying Impressions
92
Style
90
Innovation
83
Cost/Value
95

Retail price: $160
Amazon.com: Check price now
Golfsmith: Check price now

Editor’s note: this review is for the 2010 version of the Titelist Lightweight. Manufacturers generally make minor changes to bag models each 1-2 years. We have provided links to check prices for the latest version of the bag.


91 / A-

CLUB STORAGE

The Titleist Lightweight Stand Bag has a 6-way top that splits the club area into 6 sectors. There are two full-length dividers that run the length of the bag, so the club storage space is divided into three major sectors, with each of those split into two through the 6-way top. In any event, clubs generally don’t run afoul of one another very often. To us, this is pretty close to our ideal club storage setup – not too many sectors, but enough that it’s easy to find clubs.


95 / A

LEGS

Great legs! These are Stacey Keibler or Elle Macpherson quality gams we’re talking about. Wide rubber feet (the Stacey/Elle analogies have now ended) provide excellent stability, and the legs pop out easily upon setting down the bag. There is an element of independent suspension in the legs, in that they don’t both automatically pop out the same amount, which is helpful when dealing with uneven lies. The Titleist Lightweight Stand Bag also adds a Velcro strap to lock down the legs when you’re using a cart or traveling.


87 / B+

STRAPS

Like most of its competitors, the Titleist Lightweight Stand Bag features 4 adjustment points for the straps. The straps feature plush velour padding, a slight improvement over the Sun Mountain Superlight 3.5 .


87 / B+

POCKETS/STORAGE

The Titleist Lightweight Stand Bag has 6 total pockets.

  • 1 large garment pocket runs along the right side of the bag.
  • A small velour-lined valuables pocket runs long the outside of the garment pocket. Note that the valuables pocket is NOT waterproof.
  • One medium-sized and one small pocket rest on the spine of the bag.
  • A medium sized ball pocket is on the left side of the bag, with an additional beverage pouch along the outside of this ball pocket.

The Titleist Lightweight Stand Bag includes traditional straps on the right side of the bag for holding an umbrella and a ring for attaching a towel.

It’s a very standard layout, but one that works well.


83 / B-

RAIN HOOD

The bag stumbles a bit with its rain hood. Securing the hood is a somewhat convoluted process of threading two Velcro straps through anchors on the front of the bag (instead of around the legs, which was our first guess), then snapping two buttons around the straps, and finally threading a final Velcro strap around the handle. We think Titleist went a bit overboard with the security levels – we’re not trying to protect Fort Knox– we just want to keep our clubs from getting drenched.


92 / A-

CARRYING IMPRESSIONS

The Titleist Lightweight Stand Bag performed well through our test rounds.

  • Weight. The bag came in at 4.7 pounds (including the rain hood), a touch heavier than its Sun Mountain twin, but still the second lightest bag we tested.
  • Balance. The bag rested evenly across our shoulders.
  • Padding. We would have appreciated a bit more padding where the bag rests against the user’s lower back, although we recognize that would add weight.
  • Handles/Straps. One fantastic feature of the Titleist/Sun Mountain bags is the handle that is integrated into the rim of the bag. The user simply grasps this handle with the right hand to place the bag securely on the ground (and activate the legs) and slide the strap off of the right shoulder in one simple motion. This became such a natural motion for us that we would search in vain for the same handle when testing other bags.

90 / A-

STYLE

It’s a nice-enough looking bag, but where Titleist Lightweight Stand Bag excels is its number of color combinations – a whopping eleven choices (outdoing even the Sun Mountain Superlight 3.5)! Some of the colors are a bit exotic, but hey, different strokes for different folks. The color choices include:

  • Black and gold, with white trim
  • Black, with white piping
  • Navy blue with white piping
  • Red, with white piping
  • Baby blue and brown, with white trim
  • Navy blue and light green, with white trim
  • Red and navy blue, with white trim
  • Pink and black, with silver trim
  • Purple and navy blue, with silver trim
  • Denim blue and black, with silver trim
  • Grey and black, with red trim
  • Royal blue and black, with yellow trim

83 / B-

INNOVATION

Like the other Titleist/Sun Mountain bags, the Titleist Lightweight Stand Bag gets points for the innovative integrated handle at the top of the bag. But other than that, there’s nothing revolutionary about it.


95 / A

COST/VALUE

The simple design and easy-to-use features (other than the rain hood) made this one of the best bags we tested. Add on the fact that at $160.00, the Titleist Lightweight Stand Bag was one of the least expensive bags in our comparison, and you’ve got yourself a fantastic value.


Caddytek CaddyLite ONE

A few things jumped out at us in our evaluation of the Caddytek CaddyLite ONE. First, the folks at Caddytek have some interesting ideas on the use of capital letters. Secondly, a cart that is remarkably easy to unfold and also quickly folds back down into a compact shape becomes pretty popular for use by our review team.

It doesn’t perform at the level of a high-end cart – there is limited storage space, the tires create a bit more resistance, the foot brake is an acquired taste, and our test cart was a little creaky.

But there are a lot of things that we liked about the Caddytek CaddyLite ONE, including its good looks and its reasonable price. If you want to try out an entry level push cart without making too much of a financial commitment, the ONE is an excellent option.

SCORE
90
GRADE
A-
Size/Weight
91
Ease of Set-Up
96
On Course Impressions
85
Storage/Accessories
83
Style
90
Value
91

Retail price: $169.00
Availability: Discontinued. Replaced by the Caddytek CaddyLite EZ

Pros:

  • Folds into a flat and compact shape
  • Simple to fold and unfold
  • Bargain pricing – we’ve seen some colors available for as low as $109

Cons:

  • Limited storage space
  • Plastic (EVA) wheels don’t roll as easily through the rough
  • Awkward foot brake

91 / A-

SIZE/WEIGHT

At 16.5 pounds (as tested), the CaddyTek ONE is about average among the push carts we’ve tested (compare this to the lightest cart, the Tour Trek Tahoe, at 10.5 lbs., and the heaviest cart, the Sun Mountain Speed Cart V2, at 20 lbs.). When it’s folded, the CaddyTek ONE is nice and compact at only 15.5 inches tall. It’s not quite to the level of the Sun Mountain Micro Cart, which is 12.5 inches tall when folded, but it’s still easy to stow away in the trunk of most cars, including compacts.


96 / A

EASE OF SET-UP

As with most golf push carts, the Caddytek CaddyLite ONE requires some assembly. The instructions are reasonably detailed, and the entire process only took two minutes. Note that as with the Bag Boy TriSwivel, the manual fails to tell you that when shipped, the axle of each rear wheel has a little rubber cover on it that needs to be removed before you pop it into the hole. In the case of the ONE, the rubber covers are much looser, so it was pretty obvious that they needed to be removed. Still, would it be too much to ask for a simple line in the manual about this?

The unfolding process for the CaddyLite ONE is where it really excels. Step one is to pull the front wheel out and pivot it 90 degrees until it clicks into position. Step two is to pull on the cart and extend it until it clicks into place. And you’re done! Of course, this is TWO steps, and not ONE…but before you clamor for Caddytek to rename the cart, note that the first step of rotating the front wheel is actually optional (it just makes the folded cart a little flatter).

A complaint we have with the ONE is that although it is supposed to “click” into place when it’s folded, the retaining bracket is extremely loose, and thus when it is picked up with one hand, the cart has a tendency to droop and begin to unfold.


85 / B

ON COURSE IMPRESSIONS

The Caddytek CaddyLite ONE will get you and your clubs around the course, but it requires a little more work. The EVA plastic wheels don’t cut through the rough very easily, so you have to expend some extra effort. One thing we did appreciate was that the cart’s low center of gravity and wide profile kept it stable across a broad range of terrain.

  • The bungee straps for securing a bag to the cart (there are upper and lower straps) are easy to hook together, and keep the bag snugly in place.
  • We weren’t big fans of the ONE’s foot-activated brake system. Located just inside the left rear wheel is a pedal. Pressing on the pedal with your foot will activate a spring that inserts a pin into the nearest notch to stop the wheel from rolling. Pressing on the pedal a second time will activate the spring again and release the pin. While this sounds simple enough, the brake pedal is far forward enough that extending your foot to reach it can be awkward. There are only nine total notches into which the brake pin can extend, which means that the cart will continue to slide a bit forward or backward before the brake catches it.
  • As mentioned above, the wheels are made of solid EVA plastic, so there is no danger of winding up with a flat.
  • The handle pivots up or down to fit the height of the user. There is a minimum height below which the handle will not pivot. The ridges of the rubber grip on the handle are a little rough – not enough to peel off any skin, but they create enough friction that you’ll notice them.
  • The alignment of the front wheel is adjustable to the extent that you find that the cart is veering in one direction. An Allen wrench is necessary to make these adjustments – one is supposed to be included with the cart, but for whatever reason, ours came without one.

83 / B-

STORAGE/ACCESSORIES

The storage and accessories available on the Caddytek CaddyLite ONE include:

  • a small valuables tray with a magnetic lid. The tray wasn’t large enough to fit our “test case” of 2 golf balls, a GPS device (we tried it with a Skycaddie SGXw, a upro mx+ and a Garmin G6), an iPhone, a set of keys, and a wallet – we were only able to get the lid to close if we excluded the GPS device. The tray has 3 indentations that are meant to fit golf balls, and has a small elastic strap, the purpose of which escaped us. [Editor’s Note: We think we’ve finally figured out the strap – it seems to secure a phone perfectly.]
  • a plastic clip attached to the lid of the valuables tray that is designed to hold down a scorecard and secure a pencil.
  • an umbrella mount that holds an umbrella upright to provide you with shelter when it’s raining or if the sun is beating down on you. The umbrella mount quickly screws into a hole on the handle. One nice feature is that there are two knobs that can be used to adjust the angle at which the umbrella is held (one for forward/backward and the other for left/right), resulting in pretty good coverage. The umbrella mount clips underneath the handle for storage and access during play – unfortunately, it’s so big that it must be removed from the clip to allow the CaddyLite ONE to completely fold, leaving you with the quandary of figuring out where to put it when you store the cart.
  • a moderately-sized cup/bottle holder that will hold most bottles. The bottom of the cup/bottle holder is nylon webbing, which can be velcroed up or down to keep the cup or bottle snug
  • five holes for storing extra tees
  • two holes for storing ball markers
  • a stencil cut-out for marking a straight line on a ball

90 / A-

STYLE

The Caddytek CaddyLite ONE actually took us by surprise with its looks. The lower center of gravity and the acute angle at which the bag rests give it an aggressive stance. The red trim on the wheels and handle matched well with the silver model we tested.

The ONE is available in three colors – black, silver and neon green. The wheels are silver with red trim for the black and silver models, while they are black with red trim for the neon green version.


91 / A-

VALUE

The Caddytek CaddyLite ONE retails for $160, placing it as the second least expensive golf push cart we tested, and it seems to be available for significantly less at online retailers. The construction of the aluminum body seems sturdy enough, but it made enough creaks as we pushed it around the course to give us some pause about the overall fit and finish of the cart.

In summary, the ONE doesn’t quite have the polish of some of the more sophisticated entrants in the market, but if you’re looking for an entry-level product, it provides reasonable performance at a reasonable price.