The GolfBuddy BB5 marks a new style of wearable GPS for golf in the form of a band.
The 35g device is just over 3cm wide and is therefore much smaller and lighter than any of the other GPS watches that GolfBuddy currently has.
Style is the name of the game with the BB5 as the black strap, that comes with the unit in two different sizes, can be swapped out for one of six brighter colours by going to the GolfBuddy website.
So what about the function?
Turn on the BB5 for the first time and once it locates a satellilte it will pick up the correct time. Presumably to conserve energy it will only show this when you click one of the buttons, so that may not appeal to all.
Select Golf mode and the BB5 automatically finds the course and hole you are on. If you are on the wrong hole it is possible to change this, as the excellent GolfBuddy video manual at the end of this review shows. When you step on to each tee the GolfBuddy automatically shows the yardage to the centre of the green, which was a real time saver on par-3s.
Anywhere else and you have click the OK button to bring up the centre yardage for the green and if you then click OK again you get the front, and click OK again and you get the rear. The device remembers which yardage you saw last on that hole and defaults to that the next time you click OK to bring up a number.
Having all three yardages is good, but I feel this is a step backward in GPS evolution not being able to see them all on the screen at the same time, as I usually like front and back which means at least 3 clicks every time. I know it is a different screen set up using the LED dots, but maybe that is the issue. To be fair the 20x5 dot LED screen is clear and works well in very bright light.
The shot measurement option is good, once you get the hang of which buttons do what and this is similar to the Step counter that automatically counts the steps you have taken that day, displaying that as a number and as coloured dots for each 1000 steps along the bottom left.
Being a band, the screen lies across your wrist so you have to get used to a different viewing angle compared to looking at a watch. Some have suggested rotating the comfortable BB5 strap so the device is on the inside of the wrist and that is a good alternative.
In the box with the BB5 is a second larger strap and a small clip-on cradle for charging the BB5 using the supplied micro USB cable.
GolfBuddy say the BB5 should last 10 hours on a charge and it should certainly manage two rounds of golf in a day.
Overall I think the concept of the GolfBuddy BB5 is a good one. It is one of the most stylish and lightest GPS devices to wear on your wrist, without it looking like some bad 1980's digital watch.
The optional interchangeable bands give it some color and if all you want is front/middle/back yardages and don't mind some button clicking for that, or even just the time, then you won't go wrong.
From a functional point of view, I thought the scrolling front/middle/back thing had thankfully gone to the great golf course in the sky, but no. If the screen display was different in the same size with all three yardages on show vertically rather than horizontally, then that would start to justify a price that is above what some more feature laden GPS watches are available for.
However I understand that sometimes form leads function, so I hope they do continue to develop the band idea, as the BB5 is different, light to wear, good fun and shows that GolfBuddy are thinking outside the box and that is always welcome.