The Garmin S3 Approach is a wonderful piece of kit. Easy to use, immediate feedback, tonnes of different features, no fees or subscriptions required and slick looks.
An upgrade from the previous, and successful Approach S1 watch, the S3 now features a glove-friendly touchscreen, a higher resolution display and a host of additional upgrades. As with many new technologies, it often takes one model to figure out functionality and user-feedback, making the second generation a product to behold. That is what Garmin have in the S3 Approach.
Arrive at your course, use the touchscreen to find nearby courses and once found, simply enjoy your round. The S3 displays an active home screen display showing yardages to the front, middle and back. Some GPS products tend to just show the middle and require some navigation to get front and back distances, we think having all three visible makes choosing the right shot and yardage much easier. Deeper still, the S3 now offers a touch and move Green View showing you the true shape and layout of the green you are playing. Simply touch and move the pin, and you can more accurately discover the distance you face.
Another cool feature continued from the S1, is the shot-measurement feature. Click "measure", walk to your ball and discover how far you have hit your shot. Great for improving your game and distance control, as well as discovering you really don't hit your drives 300 yards!
A new feature that we really liked on the S3 is the ability to add your own yardage points. If there is a ridge on a green, a layup area, or a carry over trees, simply mark that spot and it will be saved for future rounds. A fanastic feature for playing around your home course and a wonderful addition on the S3. Further within the touchscreen menu is a scorecard, round timer and odometer.
Now you may be thinking this all sounds to good to be true. It may well be, but there are some things about the S3 that people may not like. The watch is relatively large and if you are not a watch-wearer it may get some getting used to. Also, whilst the touchscreen functionality is a nice touch, it is sometimes hard to see what you are selecting, especially in the Green View, as your finger tends to block your view. As with many GPS products, the battery life can be rather limiting. The Garmin S3's battery will last approximately 4 weeks when used simply as a watch, but only 8 hours in GPS mode. This is fine, but means it will require regular recharging which can be a hassle to remember. Overall, very small criticisms for what is a wonderful product.
The price is a little on the high side so it won't be in everyone's budget. However, compare it with other GPS devices and rangefinders and it is fairly priced and we are sure you will not be disappointed. If you like gadgets, or just showing off in your weekly game, this is must have. Well played Garmin!