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Critical Golf: Unbiased Golf Equipment Reviews

Callaway uPro

Callaway uPro

Score

94

Grade

A

With the release of the “Scoring Plus” module and the latest reduction in MSRP, the Callaway uPro has surged back to the top spot in our rankings, claiming the title of “best golf GPS device.” We loved the intuitive interface, the ability to see satellite maps of the entire hole and determine the distance to any point on a hole, the vibrant color screen and how light and slim the device is. Adding a scorecard and statistics while reducing the price only makes it that much sweeter!
The device does have its flaws – the Callaway uPro wasn’t quite up to the level of some of its competitors in our test of golf courses available. But oh, it is so shiny and sparkly. It’s first in our book. And in the immortal words of Ricky Bobby, if you ain’t first, you’re last.

SCORE
94
GRADE
A
Setup
91
Course Availability
84
Ease of Use
90
Course Details
97
Features
94
Accuracy
94
Cost/Value
92

Pros:

  • New low price is extremely competitive
  • The smallest, and also second lightest, device tested
  • Exceptional color screen
  • Satellite maps of each hole that are both cool-looking and useful
  • Provides distance to any point on the hole along with pre-mapped targets

Cons:

  • Per course fee for ProMode golf courses
  • Shorter battery life, lasting approximately 2 rounds before needing a recharge
  • Satellite images can be challenging to see in bright sunlight

Retail price: $199.00 plus $20 for Scoring Plus module
Availability: Discontinued. Replaced by the Callaway upro mx


91 / A-

Setup
The Good: The attractive and efficient packaging in which the Callaway uPro arrives is the first sign that there has been a significant amount of thought put into everything about this device. The device syncs directly with a web interface, eliminating the need to install any desktop manager software on a computer. Hey, maybe this whole Internet thing is going to catch on after all!
The Bad: Not much to speak of. In the case when the uPro website would not establish a connection to allow us to load courses, we just needed to relaunch the Sync application on the uPro. Be sure to confirm that the Sync application has quit before removing the uPro after updating your course list.
Details:

  • Required Steps. The Callaway uPro makes life easier for users by not requiring the installation of any desktop software on a computer, significantly reducing the amount of time (and in the case of many other devices, trouble) necessary to get up and running. All it takes is:
    • registering to create an account;
    • searching for desired golf courses on the web interface; and
    • plugging the device into the computer through the USB cable, and then launch the Sync program to launch the uPro site and transfer the selected golf courses to the device.
    • updating the software to the latest version and adding the Scoring Plus module was a simple matter of following the instructions (in a manner not dissimilar to the general sync process).

What’s in the Box: The Callaway uPro comes with the accessories listed below. One free download of a ProMode course is also included.


84 / B

Course Availability
Critical Golf Test: The Callaway uPro falls into the lower third of the group in our test of the
availability of golf courses, with 84% coverage. Coverage by type of course was evenly dispersed, with the exception of weakness in “Best New” courses (only 12 of the 20 tested). For whatever reason, uPro also had comparatively weaker coverage among courses in the Midwest and Northeast (15 out of 20 in each). You can easily request courses to be added via the uPro website, but you can also see how many times a course has been requested but is still not available (we have seen into the hundreds!).
Manufacturer’s Claims: Callaway claims to have 25,000 courses in its database, which stands up against the competition.


90 / A-

Ease of Use
The Good: The Callaway uPro impressed us with its intuitive interface. And if you can’t figure out how to use it yourself, the uPro comes with introductory videos pre-loaded on the device (the manufacturer even includes a set of headphones so you can listen to the accompanying audio track). Again, we are impressed with the thoughtfulness that went into the device and its presentation.
The Bad: The device relies on a side button as the primary method of accessing the Pro Mode view of the hole – this is easy enough to use once you know it’s there, but it’s not particularly intuitive. Rechargeable battery life is slightly shorter than other devices.
Details:

Callaway uPro Golf GPS Device

Click image for details
  • Buttons. Like most devices, the device utilizes 5-way navigation buttons, with 2 soft key buttons on the front face and additional buttons on the side. Navigating through the various features is simple and we were comfortable using the device within a couple of holes. We should note that our testers felt that the soft keys were underutilized, and that the reliance on a side button as the only method of accessing the ProMode view of the hole may be misguided.
  • Screen. The color screen of the device is bright and clear, making text easy to read in a variety of lighting conditions. On extremely sunny days we found the satellite images could look washed-out, and were not as crisp as images on devices that use graphics instead of satellite images, but a tradeoff we are willing to accept. Satellite images generally lack the contrast of graphic hole views, which we find much easier to view across all lighting conditions.
  • Form Factor. Light and slim, the Callaway uPro is perfectly sized for tucking into a pocket during a round.
  • Starting a Round. The uPro does not automatically locate what course you are on, so the round is initiated by selecting the desired course from a list (the device will list the courses in order of proximity once it locks on to the user’s position).
  • Battery Life. Battery life on the uPro is on the short side – the bright screen and video flyover views are the likely culprits. Our reviewers found that the device would last approximately 2 rounds before it needed recharging. The device does allow adjusting its settings to save power, such as reducing the brightness of the screen and the amount of time before it enters “sleep mode”.

Check out the Critical Golf comparison of golf GPS device features.


97 / A+

Course Detail and Mapping
The Good: The uPro is absolutely unmatched with respect to course detail, providing a veritable cornucopia of information about each hole for ProMode courses.
The Bad: Users cannot customize existing course maps with additional targets.
Details:

Callaway uPro Golf GPS  Views

Click image for views
  • Views. The Callaway uPro provides courses in two modes: Basic and Pro – Basic Mode maps are free, while ProMode maps come at a cost ranging from $1.20 to $10 per course (there are discounts for buying courses in bulk). The features in the Basic Mode maps are limited to those available for run-of-the-mill golf GPS devices (identifying certain hazards and providing distances to the front, middle and back of the green). The Pro Mode maps are what make the Callaway uPro exceptional, featuring a video flyover of each hole, a satellite map of each hole, and the ability to measure distances to any point on the golf course. In our view, the significant functionality from the Pro Mode maps easily justify the additional cost.
    • Basic Mode/Green view – A simple reading of distances to the front, middle and back of the green.
    • Basic Mode/Target view – Provides a list of hazards, along with a picture to indicate the type of target (bunker, tree, etc.), and distances both to reach the target and to clear the target. Our reviewers were pleased that the Callway uPro always provides both of the distances. The targets are listed in order of proximity to the user’s location.
    • ProMode/SmartView – The Callaway uPro’s ProMode provides the user with practically unlimited flexibility of views based on an astounding overhead satellite map of the hole. The device will zoom in to the section of the map it believes is most relevant to the user based on the user’s location (what the manufacturer calls its “SmartView”), and provides distances to reach and to clear various targets on the map. White, red and yellow dots indicate distances to points on the green, hazards, and those where distance would be displayed if not limited by screen space. Even better, the user can override the SmartView and pan and zoom anywhere on the entire hole. Even if a desired point isn’t mapped as a target, users can highlight the point using a cursor on the map and simply click to determine the distance from their current position (the uPro’s “AnyPoint” feature). Even better, users can also perform layup measurements so you can plan successive shot distances.
    • Rotation of targets – The borders of all greens and most targets are mapped – which means that wherever you are on the course, the device will rotate the map to show you the yardage to the edges of the green (or target) closest to and farthest from you, not just the yardages to the edge closest to and farthest from the tee box.
    • ProMode/Video flyover – Courses mapped in ProMode also have an introductory helicopter-type flyover of an aerial map of the hole, similar to the ones shown on TV during professional tournaments. The flyovers show the shape of the hole, the relevant hazards and the shape of the green, with lines drawn across the fairway at 200, 150 and 100 yards (in blue, white and red). This is extremely helpful on a course that the user has never played, but is admittedly less useful on a course with which the user is already familiar.
  • Hole Information. The hole number and par are available on both of the Basic Mode views (ProMode only shows the hole number, so users need to toggle back to Basic Mode to see the par for the hole). Hole handicap is not available.
  • Custom Mapping. The Callaway uPro does not allow users to add new hazards to the course map, but this isn’t a problem with this device because of the aforementioned ability to calculate the distance to any point on the map (or for that matter, the distance between any two points on the map). The vast majority of devices don’t provide a map of the entire hole, listing only specific hazards on each hole – for those devices, the ability to add a hazard that might be relevant to a particular user is far more important.

Suggestion Box: It would be nice if the Callaway uPro prompted the user on whether to skip all of the video flyovers for that round (it does provides a prompt before each hole, but that can lead to pressing the “skip” button 18 times per round if you know the course pretty well). The device has a setting that will shut down all video flyovers, but we would like the flexibility to make that decision just once at the beginning of each round, instead of having to go deep into the preferences menu to change the setting back and forth. And yes, we realize that we’re REALLY nitpicking at this point.


94 / A

Features
The Good: The Callaway uPro is packed with unique features that we fell in love with. There are lots of “ooohs” and “ahhhhs” when you show the device to your friends.
The Bad: A couple of a minor quibbles – it would be nice to have more detailed statistics available, such as sand saves and which direction the fairway was missed, and we would like to see aggregate statistics across all of our rounds (the uPro only shows statistics for each separate round).
Details:

  • Shot Tracking. The Callaway uPro provides a simple interface to mark the distance of shots. Purchasing the Scoring Plus module adds the ability to indicate which club you used on the shot, and aggregates data on the minimum, maximum and average distances for each club. Nifty if you are a data junkie, but it requires a bit of diligence on your part to measure each shot.
  • Score and Statistics. The new Scoring Plus module (available for an additional $20) enables users to track scoring for up to 4 players and statistics for one player. The statistics tracked are fairways hit (but not which direction it was missed, if applicable), GIR (the user clicks a check box to indicate if the green was reached in regulation or not, as opposed to the device backing into the answer based on overall score and number of putts), and number of putts. A summary of score and statistics is available at all times by selecting the “Summary” tab at the top of the page. The device will advance to the scorecard when it thinks you have left the previous green, but we found it frequently hadn’t advanced by the time we had arrived at the next tee box, and usually just wound up manually selecting the scorecard from the menu screen in order to enter scores and statistics.
  • Clock. The time is handily displayed on both Basic Mode screens, so you can quickly calculate how many precious minutes of sunlight are remaining when you are playing in the late afternoon. “Seriously, what is the group in front of us thinking? The sun is about to set! It’s your 4th putt, so JUST PICK UP THE FREAKING BALL!”
  • Auto-Advance. The device provides the option of automatically advancing the user to the next hole, with preference settings to either automatically advance without a prompt, prompt the user to advance, or leave the user to advance holes manually.
  • ProMode SmartView. We know we already mentioned the ability to pan and zoom anywhere on a satellite view of the hole under “Course Detail and Mapping” above, but it’s so important that we wanted to mention it again.
  • Preferences. The Callaway uPro allows users to change backlight settings, power conservation functions, and even the size of the font used to display distances. Additional preferences enabled in the version 4.0 software update are the ability to select which mode is first displayed as you advance to a new hole (Basic Mode, Pro Mode, or Virtual Green Mode), whether or not the green is outlined on the overhead views, whether the hole number is indicated in Pro Mode, and which green views are available (Basic Green, Virtual Green, or both). Nice!

Check out the Critical Golf comparison of golf GPS device features.


94 / A

Accuracy
Device Accuracy: Our test of device accuracy found the uPro to be on par with its competitors, with readings to known points coming well within the acceptable margin of error of three to four yards.
Mapping Accuracy: We played quite a few rounds on a variety of different golf courses with the uPro (we told you we really like the device!) and found no problems with mapping accuracy.
The uPro always shows a distance to a reference point no matter how close the user is to that reference point, which enabled us to test distances at short range (and shows that the manufacturer has extreme confidence in the device’s accuracy). Some manufacturers elect to intentionally stop displaying yardage distances when the user is within a short distance (30 or 50 yards) from a reference point.


94 / A
Cost/Value
Retail Price: At a new low price of $199.00, the Callaway uPro is one of the least expensive devices in our cost comparison (and it only drops one notch in the comparison rankings if you add the $20 additional surcharge for the Scoring Plus module).
Fees for Access to Course Database: Users pay a per-download fee for each Pro Mode course. The base price per Pro Mode course is $10, but Callaway provides bulk discounts ranging from $8/course if the user buys a pack of 5 courses down to $1.20/course if the user buys a pack of 150 courses. Basic Mode course downloads are available for free, and provide course detail on par with some of the competition. The features available only on the ProMode courses are what make the Callaway uPro stand out from the crowd, however, and we think the additional functionality is well worth the cost.
Three-Year Total Cost of Ownership: At a projected three-year total cost of ownership of $269.00 (which incorporates our assumptions on the number of new courses a typical user will want to add each year and assumes purchase of the $20 Scoring Plus Module), the uPro fell into the bottom third of devices tested in our cost comparison. A user’s actual three-year cost of ownership will vary based on how many courses are desired and whether they are purchased in bulk.
Value: The Callaway uPro provides an amazing combination of top-notch performance and exceptional features. With a new aggressive price point, we think that users will be more than pleased with the value that they receive.



  • Sunny7

    I purchased one of these for Christmas, but sadly had to return it. After a really bad customer service experience with Callaway, the Upro would still not work with a Mac. I found Callaway very difficult to work through this problem with and finally gave up.

    • Richard Bonar

      Must not understand how to download!

    • gt0989

      Sorry to hear that. I have had mine for a few months and I love the progress tracking.
      I think at the prices out now you can noot find a better product. I got mine new for 139.00 on ebay

  • BJohnson

    This product is trash, I am having major problems trying to download courses. My sync just stops and never restarts and now my upro won’t even work. This is why I am going to move to a laser rangefinder. I wouldn’t recommend this product to anyone, just spend the extra money for a laser rangefinder.

    • Arahans Yasmin

      1 of the only people I have heard with a negative comment, must not know how to use a computer!

    • cp12

      I love mine. work great. i was about to get a garmin before I heard you could not see the screen in bright sun light.

    • Daler52943

      If you are using Internet Explore 9 ,Delete it and go back to IE8. I bet it will work.

  • Normaronson

    I heard there is a new version coming out in April of this year, anyone know if this is true

    • Jerry Sweas

      Now that it is April any updates on either an upgrade to the hardware or software?

      • There have been no additional upgrades to the software since the release of the Scoring Plus module, and no further software upgrades to the uPro are planned.
        Callaway announced a new GPS device, the upro mx, at the PGA Merchandise Show in early 2011. The device is expected to be available in May 2011 and we expect to have a review available the same month.

  • SmallVoice

    After playing a season with this and just downloading the scoring plus, this product only gets better.

    The knocks on short battery life are so insignificant relative to the overall value of the product. The battery is good for 2 rounds provided you focus on your game. Besides why not carry an extra battery? In a game where we carry a dozen balls that cost approximately $50 and know we could loose them, why all the belly aching over carrying a small backup rechargeable battery?

  • Dhodge1969

    what is the vr tab

    • The VR button does not have functionality which we use while on the course (the button may have been included with the intention of using it to access future features which never materialized).
      “The VR button is currently only used while in Preview Mode. In this mode, pressing the VR button changes the current simulated user location to the next demo user location for that hole when simulating play.” – Callaway uPro User Guide

  • Peggy_byrd

    I have had my uprogo since the first of January, They have told me that the courses in Ms are on my uprogo
    but they have never added those so we can download those courses When I call the support line they always tell me it will be the next week. Several people from our club purchased them, but since they have not added the courses. Three people from our course have bought another brand. I would not buy another upro

    Peggy

  • Luschei

    Having trouble seeing my courses after connecting and logging on — updated to Internet Explorer version 9 recently on my browser — is this a known compatibility issue?   Thanks anyone.   

    • Jwilson1355

      Try using Mozilla Firefox, it’s much better than ie for downloads. 

  • Bgilbertson29

    This uPro device is a waste of money.  I took me days to finally get it initially working with Windows 7 and customer service is horrible – expect a wait of 30 to 60 minutes with no help when they finally get on the phone.  When I use it on the golf course, it constantly changes holes and when I am looking for yardage, and I have to manually change holes and wait for a minute while it goes through the hole flyover, which is also a big waste of time since the display is illegible.  I just tried to download another course and the process does not work. 

    • grod

      How did you get windows 7 to work  with the upro?

      • Celine

        You have to set the “Compatibility Mode” in the Tools menu

  • realtordave

    Callaway should be embarassed by this product!

  • Jims

    An iPhone app can do the same thing for a lot less money.
    Calloway service is very slow and uninterested in helping.
    Mine stopped working and I was told to use a different plug (after sending 3 emails).
    I can’t believe this is made and supported by Calloway.
    My advice: do NOT buy this!

  • Brown-bob

    I have not had any problems( owned 6 months). I have owned two skycaddies and found the UPRO much better than either Skycaddies. Once you understand all the features offered it is a great product. Talk about lousy customer service try to deal with Skycaddie!!!

  • John garcia

    Type your comment here.had it two weeks need instructions on how to use it ?? tri tip

  • Jmccaleb1

    Customer Service is non-existant.  No response via phone or e-mail.  Think twice before purchasing this product. 

  • Upset

    Just spent over an hour to re-register in the Uexplore website, downloaded the Mac version, re-registered and still cannot connect to upload courses. The instructions on the website is extremely poor- you have to try practically every click to see what each one does and find your way. Extremely poor website design and support.

    • JoePro11

      Hang in there and read the instructions on the website under Support first. Older Device needs firmware u/g before it will sync properly (took me 3 tries before I figured that out …)  All is working fine now, took me ~45 mins, which is way too long, but I got there and it’s working great.  I like the upgrades and it converted me to FREE unlimited courses + total conciousness, based on my 12 existing credits. So at least I got that goin’ for me, which is nice.

      • Upset

        Thanks Joe, I have downloaded the upgrade (I went from a pc to a Mac) and installed in Mac. When connected, the upro say connected to host, but the upro site say upro disconnected ? I’ve searched FAQ, read the instructions, but find not item related to this ? I emailed question to Callaway support- still waiting for answer. Tried calling – say 60 – 90 minutes wait. If you have any suggestion, it would be appreciated – thanks.

  • Dsmutley

    I have been using my Upro since getting it in Jan. from our local costco (159.00 +tax). I think I’ve done about 25+ rounds on 5 different courses in my area and 1 more in Oregon. I have bee EXTREMELY satified with this unit so far. Initial syncing sometimes takes a couple tries but everything else works well. I also own a early model skycaddie that is less friendly than the UPRO.. Advice for all… read the freakin directions, use it, play with the buttons (on the course) it is not intuative to your needs unless you read the instructions and somewhat know what you’re doing when you get on the course.

  • Dsmutley

    I have been using my Upro since getting it in Jan. from our local costco (159.00 +tax). I think I’ve done about 25+ rounds on 5 different courses in my area and 1 more in Oregon. I have bee EXTREMELY satified with this unit so far. Initial syncing sometimes takes a couple tries but everything else works well. I also own a early model skycaddie that is less friendly than the UPRO.. Advice for all… read the freakin directions, use it, play with the buttons (on the course) it is not intuative to your needs unless you read the instructions and somewhat know what you’re doing when you get on the course.

  • Dsmutley

    I have been using my Upro since getting it in Jan. from our local costco (159.00 +tax). I think I’ve done about 25+ rounds on 5 different courses in my area and 1 more in Oregon. I have bee EXTREMELY satified with this unit so far. Initial syncing sometimes takes a couple tries but everything else works well. I also own a early model skycaddie that is less friendly than the UPRO.. Advice for all… read the freakin directions, use it, play with the buttons (on the course) it is not intuative to your needs unless you read the instructions and somewhat know what you’re doing when you get on the course.

  • Dsmutley

    I have been using my Upro since getting it in Jan. from our local costco (159.00 +tax). I think I’ve done about 25+ rounds on 5 different courses in my area and 1 more in Oregon. I have bee EXTREMELY satified with this unit so far. Initial syncing sometimes takes a couple tries but everything else works well. I also own a early model skycaddie that is less friendly than the UPRO.. Advice for all… read the freakin directions, use it, play with the buttons (on the course) it is not intuative to your needs unless you read the instructions and somewhat know what you’re doing when you get on the course.

  • tom mcgolfer

    Have had the UPRO for about a year.  Basically like it but find some features more than annoying.  I can’t get the automatic hole advance to work and Callaway support was not very helpful.  It also tends to pick out the wrong hole when holes are close.  Annoyingly slow to pick up the hole I’m on in the manual mode.  Yardages are right and any point measurement feature is nice.  New score keeping software on their site is really only in  beta mode  (e.g., it ain’t finished).  Have no idea where it came up with scores and courses for me and you cannot delete course scores (they say they are working on it).  Come on, with a product as good as this is overall, it is astounding that they put out a feature that is not fully developed yet.

  • Stephen Storey

    Have had a upro for over a year.  My chief problem has been getting it to sync with my mac OSX 10.7.  It won’t acknowledge that my u pro is connected.  When I click on mac connect, nothing happens.  This has been very time consuming and frustrating.

  • HH

    Bought this through Ebay.
    Product was junk; never worked correctly.
    Retailer took it back.

  • Frustrated with UPro

    Owned an earlier version of the Skycaddie previously.  Was impressed with all of the features of the UPro.  Bought one.  Biggest mistake..  Battery doesn’t last a full round. Callaway support sent me a new battery.  Still doesn’t last a full round.  Automatic hole advance does not work well.  Needs a lot of adjusting during the round.  Old Skycaddie did not have all the features but it would change holes as required and needed very little  adjustments.  Battery never ran down during the round.  

    • Claude Lamontagne

      You’re absolutly right for the battery. Mine don’t last a single round also. I bought a second one but when you have to restart the whole thing in a middle of a round is… so now I’m gonna buy a Leupold GX3i or GX4i as soon as tomorrow…

  • NO to Callaway uPro

    Don’t waste your money. one free pro mode (the pretty pictures) course want any more it more costs. Costomer service a joke had to get PGA pro and his callaway rep to the PGA tour involved to remedy original problemalso hard to use. returned it got a golf buddy tour it worked great right out of the box with no hidden charges for additional courses

  • CdrBS

    Agree that online and phone service stinks.  My problems are twofold:
    1. Adding just one course in Promode takes hours of sync time.  When I added several it “synced” for over 5 hours and I finally just disconnected but found the courses had been added.  I followed the instructions on the site to fix this but it’s the same; tried on two PCs, XP and Vista.
    2. The screen has shed much of its antireflective coating.  I used plain water and a cotton hankie; would that do it?
      Good news.  They now offer unlimited Promode uploads for $60.  Should have been free at $400 but this is better than the original pricing.

    • 1. One ProMode course shouldn’t take more than ~5 minutes to sync (tested on a Mac, though that shouldn’t make a difference what time of machine) – certainly not hours!
      2. We haven’t had any issues with the screen during use, including cleaning with water and a towel while on the course.
      The ProMode fee is $59.99 for unlimited, and retail price is $199. Aggressive pricing, certainly.

    • Claude Lamontagne

      I have an iMac and having no problem with the uPro

  • deadeye

    I’ve had my uPro 3 years and overall am extremely pleased.  Had a few issues but all were resolved, once by having to send it back however it was replaced by what appeared to be a new unit but was labled reconditioned (if it was you could not tell).  The sync time is a little slow if you want to do a lot of course changes so plan accordingly.  Battery time is a non issue, lasts for at least 28 holes but buy a spare just in case.  With the $$ I spend on golf an extra battery is nothing.  Customer service has been good, one time had an inexperienced rep but got through it.  The web site has been constantly improved since I purchased years ago and I use a windows vista laptop, which I always bring along on golf vacations, just in case.  I can’t imagine golfing without my uPro.

  • Claude Lamontagne

    Have my Upro for the last 2 years. Battery life is a minus. I even bought a second one but when the first one passed out you have to put the other one in and restart the whole thing. I’m buying a Leupold rangefinder now for more precision on where the pin is so even if they change some holes on the course I’m still OK.

  • Piper

    This is the worst piece of technology I have ever purchased. Charger socket does not work (it keeps falling out), sync and uploading courses take hours on high speed line. I could live with the smaller screen size but on course, it is a royal pain to get the needed yardage. … not recommended. maybe I purchased a lemon.