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Critical Golf: Unbiased Golf Equipment Reviews

Viewti

Viewti

Score

83

Grade

B-

What to say about Viewti…
For starters, their marketing is a disaster. In the past, their name (and price) changes were frequent enough to drive us nuts. Please, please Viewti (if indeed that is the current spelling of either the company or product name)..in the future, stick to whatever naming convention you select to begin. Don’t switch upper for lowercase in the name. Don’t put the year of release in your product name (can anyone see Apple releasing the iPhone 2012?). Don’t have four different versions. Keep it simple.

The last review we completed was for Viewti 2010. We believe this is the same application that has now morphed into the current Viewti app available on iTunes. We are doing our best not to confuse it with the original Viewti, which went by a handful of different names before being discontinued (the last name being…Viewti…grrr!).

In any event, we are including the review of the Viewti 2010 app below as a baseline. Believe it or not, the current version is noted on iTunes as being “Viewti 2011 version”. Seriously. This is insane.

What we are going to do is simply call this Viewti. Whatever the version. And we hope it’s the only paid version they offer. We’ll update this review moving forward, and pretend that this marketing lunacy never happened.

Price: $29.99
iTunes: Download Viewti from iTunes


The makers of the original ViewTi kicked things into gear this year with the release of ViewTi 2010. The company has made significant improvements to satellite images and distances provided and also added the ability to pan, and one level of zoom. But at the same time they have taken a huge step backwards, requiring users to track every shot as it is hit on the course if they want to record any statistics other than hole score (a disaster!). Features unique to the ViewTi 2010 include satellite images of practice ranges, links to practice videos via YouTube, and the ability of the read the slope of the green.

While the initial cost of the application is average for the group, you may not get all the future upgrades for free. The company raised the ire of a number of purchasers of the original ViewTi, including ourselves, by charging those users for access to the new ViewTi 2010 ($8.99 at time of testing). So keep in mind that with the ViewTi family of applications, you may need to pay a yearly fee to get the latest features and functionality.

The ViewTi 2010 has potential, but the company needs to work out the bugs that still exist in the application and reconsider the method of tracking statistics. Until that time, we can’t whole-heartedly recommend ViewTi 2010.

Editor’s note: ViewTi 2010 has announced 3D flyovers and multishot camera features, but we have been unable to access these additions.)

SCORE
83
GRADE
B-
Course Availability
84
Starting a Round
98
Ease of Use
85
Course Details
86
Features
78
Accuracy
90
Cost/Value
75

Pros:

  • Satellite hole view images with ability to pan and zoom
  • Ability to determine distance to any point on the hole, and distance from targeted point to the center of the green
  • Practice range distances to boot!

Cons:

  • Statistics only available if user tracks every shot
  • Bugs in the application
  • Upgrade fees

Price: $29.99
Download Viewti from iTunes


84 / B

Course Availability
Critical Golf Test: ViewTi 2010 scored a reasonable 84 out of 100 in our course coverage analysis. Coverage of “Top 100” courses was excellent (a perfect 20 of 20), though it took a beating in “Best New” courses (9 out of 20). Coverage across regions was strongest in the West, Southeast and Northeast, but trailed in the Southwest and Midwest (both 15 out of 20).
Manufacturer’s Claims: ViewTi 2010 claims to have 23,000 courses in its database, which places it at about average for iPhone golf GPS applications.


98 / A+

Starting a Round
The Good: There is no registration process. Users can elect to either load images for the entire course prior to play by saving a selected course to a list of favorites, or they can immediately start play and allow the images for each hole to load as they advance between holes.
The Bad: Very little – this is the kind of flexibility in starting a round that we wish was on other devices. The only downside is when you are only playing the back nine of a course or in a shotgun start – in these situations, the ViewTi 2010 still requires you to load all images of holes beginning from hole #1.
Details: From the main menu, you have the choice to either Play Golf, View Statistics or Practice. When you choose to Play Golf from the main menu, you can view a list of nearby courses listed by distance from your current location, or sort those courses in alphabetical order. You can also search for any course by typing its name into the search bar at the top, or select a course from a previously saved list of courses.
When the user selects a new course to play, ViewTi 2010 will download the images for hole #1, and then load subsequent hole images as the user advances to the next hole. The downside to this is if there is a poor network connection while on-course, the user may get stuck waiting for the appropriate images to download, or find that they won’t download at all. We recommend users save the course they plan to play to their list of favorites in advance of heading out, which tells ViewTi 2010 to download all images in advance.


85 / B

Ease of Use
The Good: A clean interface that’s easy to navigate. With the exception of…
The Bad: Users may be confused while trying to enter statistics (see details under ‘Features’, below). In addition, if you rotate your iPhone, the ViewTi 2010 scorecard will automatically launch (there is no option to turn this off, as there is with the Golfshot app). This gets annoying since it means that the scorecard will frequently launch unintentionally, like every time you take the iPhone out of your pocket.
Details:

  • Buttons. As with other iPhone golf GPS applications, menus are accessed through on-screen buttons. Upon launching the application, users are presented with a screen with buttons allowing users to:
    • Play Golf (or resume your round),
    • View historical statistics (though not scorecards),
    • Practice, or
    • Adjust account information/user settings, including entering the clubs in your bag and other basic settings.
  • Battery Life. Every iPhone golf GPS application that we tested was a battery hog unless managed tightly. Users can select to dim the screen to reduce battery life. See our intro to iPhone golf GPS applications for additional ways to conserve battery life during play.

86 / B

Course Detail and Mapping
The Good: ViewTi 2010 allows users to the ability to select any point on the course and receive the distance to the point and from the point to the center of the green.
The Bad: Although users can select any point on the course and receive distances, the application would be stronger if it included either a text listing of distances to pre-mapped targets, or mapped the distances to certain points within the satellite views.
Details:

Review of ViewTi iPhone Golf GPS Application

Click image for views
  • Views. ViewTi 2010 has a clean interface, with views of the hole (or portions of the hole) and a view of the green and approach area.
    • Hole view – The distance to the center of the green is displayed at the top of the screen to start the hole. When users select a point on the hole, the distance to that point will appear below the crosshair along with the distance from the target to the center of the green above the crosshair. The distance to the selected point will also be displayed at the top of the screen for easy viewing in case the user’s finger blocks the distance to the point, shown below the crosshair. Once the user has selected a point, the crosshair remains on screen, and the distance to the crosshair remains displayed at the top of the screen, as opposed to the total distance to the center of the green.
      This satellite image of the entire hole usually does not include the tee box to begin, but rather is focused more on the landing area and forward. The user may pan to move the area displayed, though generally not all the way back to the tee box (not a large issue).
      Users can simply double-tap the screen to zoom in or out (there are two levels of zoom) on wherever the crosshair is located.
    • Green view – Once within 190 yards of the center of the green, the user is moved to a view of the green and surrounding area, along with some of the approach. Within this view there is no additional level of zoom, and the player cannot return to full hole view. When the user selects a point on the green or surrounding area in this view, only the distance to that point will be displayed – the ViewTi 2010 does NOT show the distance to the center of the green, so it won’t help you determine the optimal lay-up position if you are within 190 yards of the green and trapped behind a tree.
  • Hole Information. The hole number and par are available in all hole views. Hole handicap is not available.
  • Custom Mapping. No iPhone golf GPS applications, including ViewTi 2010, allow users to add custom hazards and targets to the course map.

Suggestion Box: We would prefer if ViewTi 2010 displayed some distances on the top of the screen in addition to the distance to the center of the green, such as to the front or back of the green or additional hazards.
Also, a simple way to “clear” the crosshairs if you have tapped on a target and then want a quick way to get the distance to the center of the green would be useful. We did experience different responses when double-tapping the screen to zoom in/out. In some cases this action cleared the targeted point and reverted the crosshair to the center of the green, but this did not happen on every hole. It would be nice to have a simple way to clear a targeted point, and have the crosshair move to the center of the green.


78 / C+

Features
The Good: A variety of statistics are (kind of) available, along with a section of the application to assist with practicing.
The Bad: You can only track statistics if you enter the location of each of your shot, club used, and shot result for every hole. And with no way to edit or modify previous shots using this method of capturing statistics, if you make a mistake or forget to enter the location of a shot, all of your statistics will be incorrect moving forward. We could go into greater detail, but let’s just say that this was an awful decision from a user’s perspective.
Lastly, we did experience some bugs within the application, including the application spontaneously quitting while we were accessing features, an inability to access the scorecard on several occasions, and erroneous statistics (GIR and club distances) calculations. Yikes!
Details:

Review of ViewTi 2010 iPhone Golf GPS Application

Click image for features
  • Shot Tracking. Surprisingly, ViewTi 2010 does not have the ability to track the distance of specific shots. You can track the location of each shot and in theory this should calculate average distances (which will display by club when selecting the club for each shot, and also at any time for the Driver via the statistics menu).
  • Score and Statistics. ViewTi 2010 allows the user to enter scores for themselves and their partners. Disastrously, users cannot manually enter any statistics detail such as chips, penalty strokes, or sand shots. In order to track any information other than their score, users will need to mark the location of every one of their shots, the club used and shot result. ViewTi 2010 then calculates hole score, fairways hit, GIR, sand saves and penalty strokes for the player (users cannot track statistics for partners). You can later modify the result of the shot, but not the club used.In our opinion this method of tracking statistics is simply a pain, and ViewTi 2010 would be better served to let users enter the information manually. If the user forgets to record all of this information while at the spot of the ball, the result will be incorrect statistics that continue to carry forward through that round and beyond.While the user can select to manually enter the score if desired, once they start to track the location of a shot on any hole, they need to continue to track the rest of the shots. There is no ability to stop tracking every shot during play of the hole and enter a score at the end of the hole. If you forget to record one or more shots during play, the only way to keep your correct score will be to later on that hole enter some “fake” shots. Suboptimal!

    Players can manually enter scores for some holes and track shots on others, but in this situation ViewTi 2010 will display those holes as having 0 putts on your scorecard.

    • ViewTi 2010 can display statistics (see images at right) for either the most recent round, the previous 5 rounds, or all rounds. Users can navigate between driving statistics (average and longest drive, along with the percentage of times the fairway was missed), GIR (and the percentage of missed greens) and GIR with long, mid and short clubs (though they don’t mention which clubs these refer to), putting information, scrambling and sand saves, and scoring details such as average score per par.
    • The scorecard, accessible only by rotating the iPhone screen sideways, displays scores and score relative to par. If you are tracking statistics, it will also display fairways hit, GIR, putts, sand saves, and penalties for each hole as well as for the round. The scorecard will show score and score relative to par if you are scoring for your playing partners. You can also send the scorecard to your Facebook page or email it.
  • Review of ViewTi 2010 iPhone Golf GPS Application

    Click image for more
  • Auto-Advance. ViewTi 2010 does not auto-advance from hole to hole, so the user needs to manually advance to each hole.
  • Review of ViewTi 2010 iPhone Golf GPS Application


    Click image for practice
  • Practice. ViewTi 2010 has a “Practice” menu (see images at right). Within this portion of the application, the user can obtain satellite images and calculate distances for driving ranges, access their camera to record multiple pictures or video without leaving the application, read the slope of the green, and access YouTube videos of golf lessons on different parts of their game (not created by ViewTi).
  • Preferences. Users can modify three settings: clubs in their bag (covering virtually all common clubs), yards/meters, and screen dimming.

Suggestion Box: We’ve said it before and need to again: ViewTi 2010 needs to allow for entering statistics manually – the current interface for statistics is unbearable.


90 / A-

Mapping Accuracy
Mapping Accuracy: ViewTi 2010 showed reasonable mapping accuracy. Most holes were in a range of 4-5 yards of the marked distance, though we did experience a number of holes that were off by up to 10 yards. We did notice that ViewTi 2010 took longer to update distance readings that most other iPhone golf GPS applications.


75 / C

Cost/Value
Retail Price: ViewTi 2010’s retail price is average among applications tested at $29.99. We should note that we have seen the price for ViewTi products change over time (the company likes to keep us on our toes!), so be sure to confirm prior to purchase.
Fees for Access to Course Database: All courses are included within the cost of the application.
Three-Year Total Cost of Ownership: We list the ViewTi 2010 in the middle of the pack in our in our three-year cost comparison. Given the company’s history of charging for an upgrade to the latest application (from the original ViewTi to ViewTi 2010), we have to assume that if users want the latest features and functionality in the future, they will be paying upgrade fees for ViewTi 2011, ViewTi 2012, etc. Other iPhone golf GPS applications, notably Golfshot and AirVue, have provided new features and functionality at no additional cost to buyers of earlier versions.
Value: If you have already invested in the original ViewTi, the upgrade fee may well be worth it (or at least something to consider versus AirVue). But it’s hard for us to feel good about the value of the application when the statistics interface drives us nuts and when it seems that ViewTi sees us as an annual recurring revenue stream.


Tested: v2.48