Description & Review
We take a look at this Bushnell Hybrid that offers both laser and GPS rangefinder capabilities. Are there benefits to having both? We find out.
- Design 84% 84%
- Technology 80% 80%
- Performance 88% 88%
- Battery Life 80% 80%
- Weight 84% 84%
- Price 84% 84%
Is Two Better Than One With Rangefinding?
We wanted to answer whether a combination of both laser and GPS rangefinder facilities offered more than a unit offering one or the other. So we put this unit through its paces.
- Bluetooth Connectivity
- Hybrid Laser+GPS
- Easy to use
- Tournament legal (check your course rules for exceptions)
- Comes pre-loaded with more than 36000 courses database
- Jolt & Pinseeker technology
- Does not incorporate Slope calculation for uphill and downhill shots.
- Quite pricey but deals can be found
- May not perform well in foggy conditions (we didn’t test repetitively)
- The Bluetooth connection process could be simpler
A New Laser Rangefinder Idea – Include GPS!
Nowadays, choosing the best golf rangefinder for you is not an easy task. There are a great many options in the market. These rangefinders have different features and price tags. Plus, technology is growing rapidly due to competition. I personally have spotted several new features in laser rangefinders almost every year. One of the latest is the inclusion of GPS.
There have been numerous comparisons between laser rangefinders and GPS rangefinders and most of them conclude that each has its pros and cons. The lack of a rangefinder that perfectly combines both technologies means golfers have until now needed to buy both rangefinder types if they want to enjoy the benefits. For example, a GPS rangefinder is good for tracking the yardage on your shots and getting other general distances as it comes loaded with tens of thousands of golf courses. That said, it’s arguable that a laser rangefinder offers more accurate measurements for distances. In principle, a hybrid rangefinder enables golfers to enjoy the advantages of both GPS and Laser in one unit.
Now, thanks to Bushnell, it’s possible to use both laser and GPS in a single unit. They have produced a hybrid rangefinder that perfectly blends the two technologies. However, are two really needed? Let’s find out.
Introducing The Bushnell Laser + GPS Rangefinder
Bushnell’s Hybrid Laser GPS is a combination of a laser rangefinder and a basic GPS functionality. The rangefinder has a shape similar to that of a laser rangefinder, but the size is slightly larger. Unlike their first hybrid, this rangefinder can nicely fit in your hand despite the combination of two technologies. The surface is covered with textured body armour, which protects the rangefinder from shock if it falls.
The GPS display on the side of the rangefinder shows distances to the front, centre and back of the green and the distances of up to four hazards. The surrounding five controls help the user to turn the GPS on and select the Course. The Golf button on the side power up the unit immediately and then takes a few minutes to connect to the satellite. Once you are connected to the satellite, you can select your course from the pre-loaded courses using the “Up” and “Down” buttons.
The GPS comes pre-loaded with over 36000 courses, which can be updated by pairing the rangefinder with the Bushnell app on your phone. What’s best is that users can see the front and back yardages together with the hole number when looking through the eyepiece.
We were disappointed to see the device doesn’t incorporate Slope technology which, in a modern rangefinder, is a substantial omission. At the time of writing, there is no ‘premium’ version with Slope.
Features & Benefits
This Bushnell Hybrid Golf Laser Rangefinder has some of the latest features from both GPS and laser technology.
Appearance and Feel
The first thing I noted with Bushnell Hybrid Rangefinder is its compact and attractive design. It has a design similar to that of Tour V4 laser rangefinder, but it is slightly chubbier than the Tour V4. The compact design makes it easier to handle the device when in use as it can perfectly fit on your hand or you can place it in your pocket when moving to the next shot. Its black outer surface has a rubber cushioning material to protect it from shock in case it accidentally drops.
Set Up & Ease of Use
Since the rangefinder has a dual battery system, the first thing to do before heading to the course is charging up the GPS using the USB cable. The rangefinder has four easy to use buttons next to the GPS display screen to help you turn on GPS and select your course with ease. The Golf button powers up the unit, then you can select “Play Golf” to connect to the satellite. After you are connected to the satellite, you can select your course, and the display will show the distances.
The GPS function is also easy to use when playing. You will have the yardages to the front, middle and back constantly displayed on the screen. You can also get the distance to hazards by simply pushing the select button. The rangefinder will change holes automatically, but you can also adjust them manually using the Up and Down buttons.
Accuracy & Performance
Just as you would expect from a Bushnell, this hybrid rangefinder has a fast and accurate rangefinder and its pin seeker works perfectly. The Jolt vibration also makes it easier to use by notifying you when the laser locks on to the flag so you can know when you are aiming at the right target. The only shortcoming is that it lacks slope mode.
Bushnell hybrid’s GPS also proves its importance in the hybrid. It is also fast and accurate, plus its side display is easy to read. The hybrid also displays the front and back yardages inside the eyepiece to help you make a better decision about the club to use. With a battery that lasts up to nine hours when fully charged, you can enjoy using the GPS for two rounds without recharging.
You can connect your hybrid rangefinder to the Bushnell app in your phone via Bluetooth. This connection improves convenience as you can use the information on the app to view a blind hole and understand the hazards in the course.
Value for Money
This rangefinder may be more expensive than some of the laser finders, but its additional GPS function is worth the price. Having both rangefinders combined in one device is cheaper than buying them separately. The hybrid rangefinder is only slightly expensive than the basic Tour V4 and cost less than the Pro X2 due to lack of slope mode.
As well as our own tests we also looked through user comments on the internet. We noted that a lot of users are satisfied with the functionalities of the Bushnell Hybrid Golf laser rangefinder. This is encouraging.
Most individuals are fascinated by the fact that they can read the measurements for the front and back yardages inside the eyepiece. Some users have also praised the rangefinder’s ease of use and the accuracy of both laser and GPS technologies.
The few who complained expressed the need for an off button for the GPS and a better GPS display. Comments also said that they expected the rangefinder to have a slope mode.
At the time of writing there are no other hybrid options on the market. We, therefore, concentrated on the laser features alone and compared with some similar rangefinders.
Bushnell Pro X2 Laser
This range finder is a front-runner in laser range finders, thanks to its industry-leading features. Its 6x magnification enables users to get a better view of objects than the Hybrid and it provides accurate measurements up to 1000 yards away. However, you will be required to dig deeper into your pockets if you want to enjoy the excellent features.
- Has slope mode for truer hitting distance
- Has a long-lasting and easy to replace battery which looks a superior performer to the Hybrid.
Bushnell Tour V4 Shift (Slope)
The Bushnell hybrid shares a similar design with this light and compact rangefinder, but the V4 is slightly slimmer. It also has a slope mode, which you can disable during tournaments. When it comes to accuracy and ease of use, this laser rangefinder shares the same capability with the Bushnell hybrid laser functions. Laser capabilities are, overall, better we would say.
- The Hybrid is less pricey but most of the V4 laser functions are similar to those of the hybrid version
- Comes with a Fast Focus system that allows the user to adjust the focus with the same finger used to fire the laser
Callaway Unisex-Adult EZ laser Rangefinder
Unlike the Bushnell hybrid’s laser functions, this rangefinder has Slope technology to help users adjust the actual distance based on the slope of the green. It also has other competitive modern features like the E mode and pin acquisition technology for more accurate measurements.
- It is cheaper (much ) than the Coolshot PRO and has less capable facilities. For those on a budget.
- Fast Focus system
- Good range of case and accessories included.
Both amateur and experienced golfers find a rangefinder useful for help in making better shots. Instead of relying on guesswork when making a shot, you can improve your game by simply using a rangefinder to get accurate distances to the target. Accurate measurements will help you understand what club to hit and how far you should hit each club.
I have been using laser rangefinders for a long time but testing a hybrid rangefinder has helped me realise how useful they are. I tried nearly all features for this review and this rangefinder ended up being one of my favourites. Not least, with pre-loaded courses, when I’m playing a new course.
This rangefinder has most of the latest features, but it would be better still if they could add a slope mode and improve the GPS battery. it would be nice to have a GPS battery that lasts a similar period to the laser one before charging is needed.