Bushnell are known across the golfing world for being one of the biggest names on the market when it comes to Distance Measuring Devices (DMDs), so every time they announce a new product we know it’s going to be worth a closer look.
Their new ION Edge GPS Watch is Bushnell’s answer to golfers wanting high-quality wearable DMDs which are easy to use. We’ve taken it out on to the golf course to find out how it performs…
- Touchscreen display
- Greenview with moveable pin placement
- Dynamic green mapping
- Auto course recognition
- Auto hole advance
- Score keeping
- Easy read front/centre/back distances
- Hazard/layup distances (up to six per hole)
- Shot distance calculator
- Over 38,000 worldwide courses preloaded
- 15hrs+ battery life
- Pairs with Bushnell Golf app
- Two colours available - black or grey
Bushnell ION Edge GPS Watch Review
The watch is relatively straightforward to set up by pairing with the companion Bushnell Golf app, which also doubles as a GPS app and can be used to manage settings on the watch including date and time and course updates.
If you’ve used devices like this before then you should be able to work out how to configure things quite quickly. If it’s your first time using a watch like this, you may want to consult the product manual which will give you a better idea of the setup process.
I charged the watch up before I went out to test it and immediately found that the charging cable was poorly designed. The actual port that plugs into the back of the watch falls out extremely easily, so make sure that you’ve double checked it and you've definitely got it charging before you leave it to avoid being disappointed when you arrive at the course. We've all been there - there really is nothing worse.
Once the satellites have located your golf course you get a very clear yardage screen showing distance to the front, middle and back of the green, which reacts as you move along the hole.
It also works even if your angle changes thanks to Dynamic Green Mapping, for example if you happen to end up on another fairway, it tells you the same yardages from the angle that you are approaching.
You can swipe up and down to change holes and swipe sideways to enjoy features such as hazard distances, GreenView as well as viewing the time to check whether you are keeping up with play.
The GreenView technology is a clever addition, allowing you to pinpoint exactly where the flag is on the green so that you can get a more precise distance. This could be useful on new golf courses where you aren’t as familiar with the greens, or on big greens where you really want to be specific with your yardages.
I found the touchscreen itself to be quite difficult to use. It was not very responsive which made it quite hard work to navigate between the screens and input scores or use the GreenView.
The battery life is excellent, with three full rounds played so far during my testing without the need to recharge.
The watch itself is also lightweight and compact, a big improvement on previous Bushnell GPS watches which have been a little chunky, which means that it is unobtrusive on the course whilst playing.
Overall, the ION Edge just doesn’t quite live up to the usual standards I’d expect from Bushnell with the likes of their Tour V5 Shift laser, with the brand even branching into launch monitors in the US in the near future.
Bushnell are known for their quality products and as a result, their products are often towards the top end of the price bracket in the watch or laser market.
At £169 this watch is more of a 'middle of the road' product, rather than a premium one, but I still feel that the quality is lacking a little.
Bushnell ION Edge GPS Watch Verdict
The ION Edge is a straightforward, easy to digest watch which does everything you’d need it to do out on the golf course as well as a couple of handy extra features such as the pin mapping and scorecard.
But it falls down in a couple of key areas, including the clunky touchscreen and slightly awkward setup process.
Perhaps my expectations were extra-high because Bushnell are usually so reliable with the quality of their products, but at least they have gone out and tried something new with the touchscreen controls and I’m sure that it’ll be improved next time.
Would I Use It?
The £169 price tag is marginally less than what you’d expect to pay for a Shot Scope V3 watch these days and to be honest, I think that would be a better product to spend your money on.
If you want to stick with Bushnell, then the Phantom 2 GPS will be just as quick and accurate, without the fiddly touchscreen, and is £30 cheaper too. You can’t wear it on your wrist but it’s pretty easy to attach to your bag or trolley, or even carry in your pocket, if you want convenience out on the course.
- Relatively easy to set up and pairs well with Bushnell app
- Very clear yardages on the green
- GreenView and Dynamic Green Mapping are great additions
- Looks are a little basic considering the £169 price tag
- Charger and USB port poorly designed
- Touchscreen was unresponsive at times
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Bushnell Tour V5 Shift Laser Rangefinder Review
Shot Scope V3 GPS Watch Review