IZZO Swami 4000
If you are looking for the most basic of GPS devices, you’ve come to the right place. The bare-bones IZZO Swami 4000 provides text distances to fixed points at the front, center and back of the green. There are a few improvements from the prior generation IZZO SWAMI 3000 including a 1.8″ color screen, auto-advance between holes and shot distance measurement. The IZZO Swami 4000 also provides the hole number, time, and battery level in the distance screen. Why mention these simple features in our summary? Well, because there isn’t much else to talk about. No graphics, no hole handicap information, no ability to keep score. Rats.
The device is thicker than we would like, and we found that when it was slipped into a pocket, the Swami 4000 had a propensity to lose the satellite signal (maybe that’s why a belt clip is provided). IZZO doesn’t support the Mac (c’mon now…in this day and age?), so Mac owners will be unable to update the courses on the device…which is problematic since we ran into some serious course mapping issues that can only be solved through syncing the device and receiving the latest course maps.
While the IZZO Swami 4000 is extremely limited in features, it is the lowest-priced golf GPS device in our current rankings, and could be suitable for those who are both looking to save some bucks and only require only the most basic of distances.
- One of the lightest devices in our tests
- Easy to read distances
- Least expensive GPS device over three years
- Distances to fixed points at the front, center and back of green only
- Significant course mapping errors during testing
- Extremely long sync times
- Not compatible with Macs
Retail price: $119.99
Three year total cost: $119.99
Amazon.com: Check price now
The Good: The IZZO Swami 4000 has all courses pre-loaded onto the device. Charge it and go!
The Bad: The map updater software, required to ensure you have the latest course data, isn’t available for Macs.
- Required steps. With courses already pre-loaded on the Swami 4000, you can hit the course as soon as the battery is charged.
To make sure you have the latest course maps you’ll want to use the Swami 4000 Update software. This involves:
- Downloading the free IZZO Swami 4000 Update software on a PC;
- Running Setup Tool and launching the “Golf Course Link” software;
- Plugging in the IZZO Swami 4000 via a USB cable, powering the device on and syncing via the software.
- Time required for setup. Since the courses are already preloaded on the device, you technically don’t need to do anything before you use it (besides charging the battery, that is). We recommend, however, that you take the time to sync the IZZO Swami 4000 to make sure you have the latest course data. Our time to sync the device for course updates (which updates all courses worldwide) took a whopping 2 hours and 5 minutes. That’s right…over two hours to update a device that provides only the most basic distance information. We’re not sure what to say other than that is a really really really long time to update simple course data. The good news? We didn’t have the device driver issues that we did with past IZZO devices.
What’s in the Box: The IZZO Swami 4000 is packaged with:
- AC Charger
- USB Cable
- Belt Clip
- Protective soft bag
Critical Golf Test: The IZZO Swami 4000 has made great strides and now finishes at the top the pack in our golf course coverage tests, covering 98% of the courses we sampled. As the Swami 4000 provides only fixed distances to the front, center and back of the green, we expect this level of coverage.
Manufacturer’s Claims: IZZO claims that its course database includes over 28,000 courses worldwide, putting it on par with other golf GPS devices tested.
EASE OF USE
The Good: Very light. Text distances are large and easy-to-read. Straightforward to use.
The Bad: Drops satellite lock faster and doesn’t lock on distances as quickly as other devices.
- Buttons. The IZZO Swami has four buttons: power/enter, up and down (to cycle through different holes or courses), and page (to toggle screens). Buttons are easy to depress.
- Screen. The device has a basic color screen. Distances are large and easy to read.
- Form Factor. The IZZO Swami 4000 is about average in size (though thicker than we would like), but is one of the lightest GPS devices on the market.
- Starting a Round. After powering on, the Swami 4000 will take a few minutes to acquire satellites before displaying a list of nearby courses. Just select your course (though you may see some bizarre text errors such as those in the image at right) and tee it up.
For details, check out the Critical Golf comparison of golf GPS ease of use across all devices tested.
COURSE DETAIL AND MAPPING
The Good: The IZZO Swami 4000 lets users focus on the distance to the green – no getting distracted by graphics or additional distance information to hole targets.
The Bad: We appreciate such a basic device, but it would be great to be able to flip through even a minimal amount of additional hole information, such as hazards.
- Views. The Swami 4000’s single distance screen provides the distance to the center of the green in large text, with distances to fixed front and back points of the green positioned just above. The hole number and time are displayed at the bottom of the screen.
- Hole Information. Par is included, though curiously (and unfortunately) not on the distance screen but rather on a separate screen that shows course name, hole, par and round time. No hole handicap is available.
- Custom Mapping. The IZZO Swami 4000 allows users to edit existing front, center and back green points.
The IZZO Swami 4000 isn’t exactly feature-rich, but it includes auto-advance to the next hole, shot distance measurement, and a round timer. You can also adjust the settings for language (ten choices), unit of measurement, time adjustment, and power controls such as backlighting and power off settings.
Unfortunately, if you want to change settings during a round, you need to exit the round, make any modifications, then select to play again. This will then force the device to go through the process of re-acquiring satellites (though this will be faster than initial acquisition), you’ll have to select your course again, then forward to your current hole. Phew. Where is the “resume round” button?
For details, check out the Critical Golf comparison of feature sets across golf GPS devices.
The IZZO Swami 4000 was fairly accurate, with distance readings within 5-6 yards of on-course markings, though we did occassonally find holes with greater discrepancies.
Aside from occasional smaller distance inaccuracies, we did have an extremely poor experience with one of our test rounds on a well-regarded course in the San Francisco Bay Area. The round started well enough through the first two holes, but when we arrived at the 3rd hole we found that the Swami 4000 provided no distance reading at all. When we got to the 4th hole, we encountered the same problem. This may be explained by the fact that the 3rd and 4th holes were recently renovated, and sure enough when we advanced to the 5th tee we found that hole information suddenly existed once again. But what sent us over the edge was when we rounded the turn and came to the 10th hole, we found that that the rest of the course wasn’t mapped at all. We couldn’t even advance to the holes – they simply didn’t exist. Given this course is listed as “mapped” in the IZZO course database, this spells trouble for IZZO quality control in a big way. And consumers are going to be none too happy if they go to the trouble to confirm that a particular course(s) is available before purchasing the Swami 4000, only to find that it actually isn’t fully (or correctly) mapped. Learn from our mistakes: only purchase the IZZO Swami 4000 if you have a Windows machine at your disposal, and make sure to update the device for any updated course information before playing your first round.
Retail Price: IZZO retains their aggressive pricing with the IZZO 4000. And while it’s not quite as inexpensive as the prior generation SWAMI 3000, the retail price of $119.99 still makes the Swami 4000 one of the lowest priced golf GPS devices available.
Fees for Access to Course Database: Unlike earlier IZZO devices that had annual fees for course updates, the IZZO Swami 4000 has no annual fees. There’s a nice, and unexpected, change!
Three-Year Total Cost of Ownership: With no annual fees, the IZZO Swami 4000 keeps its low price of a mere $119.99, making it the least expensive device in our tests over a three-year period. Take THAT to the bank!
Value: There will always be a market for a simple device at a reasonable cost. And if you are looking for just the basics, this device is unmatched. If you do want to spend a bit more, you can move to the next level of GPS devices, which can provide more functionality and be even easier to use (including watches such as the IZZO Swami Watch).