One of the things about electric trolleys that I have found annoying over the past few years is that the interface can be a little clunky to use. Having to use buttons on the side of the screen never seemed to work as well as I'd hope, meaning that you end up disregarding some features of a trolley because it seems too much hassle whilst midway through a round.
So when I heard at the start of the year that both Motocaddy and PowaKaddy, the two biggest trolley brands on the UK market, were introducing touchscreen GPS devices to their electric trolleys, I was very intrigued.
Had they finally cracked the code to produce trolleys which could do everything that a trolley should, whilst also providing extra features and technologies that are easy to use?
What's It All About?
Golf equipment brands love to say that their products are packed with technology. The Motocaddy M5 GPS really is packed, and this is only going to make life easier for golfers out on the course.
The key talking point is the crystal clear 3.5" LCD touchscreen which is a world-first for electric trolleys, and is designed to be easily usable with or without a glove and in a variety of different weather conditions.
The GPS comes preloaded with over 40,000 courses and displays front, middle and back yardages, hazard locations and moveable flag positions. There is also utilise a clock, round timer and score tracker right at your fingertip, along with shot measurement, bluetooth and WIFI connectivity allowing you to receive messages and notifications straight to your trolley whilst you are playing.
Motocaddy also offer a DHC version of the trolley which is useful when playing on sloping courses as it controls your speed, so you don't end up having to go running after it as it hurtles down a hill towards a lake.
The M5 GPS is powered by the same 28.8V drive system as found in the rest of the M-Series range, along with a whisper-quiet 230W battery which is said to be 33% smaller than the nearest competitor.
The trolley is said to have an 11% smaller folded footprint than other similar models in the market, and comes with Adjustable Distance Control, USB charging, handle height adjustment and Easilock bag connection to add to the practicality.
"The M5 GPS Trolley is the culmination of several years of R&D investment and extensive testing and we're thrilled to bring another model to the market that features pioneering and innovative technology."
"The touch screen is so clear and easy to use that it delivers everything a modern-day golfer needs to get around the course while playing their best."
John Helas, Motocaddy CEO
I took the M5 GPS down to Houldsworth Golf Club where there was sun, wind, rain and everything in between - the perfect chance to put a trolley through its paces.
On the same day my colleague George was testing Powakaddy's FX7 GPS. So it was a great chance to put the new touchscreen GPS models from golf's two biggest trolley brands to the test.
Could the M5 GPS live up to the £749.99 price tag and perform well as a trolley in addition to the new touchscreen GPS functionality?
Motocaddy M5 GPS Trolley Review
First off, I was surprised at the size and weight of the trolley when unpacking it and setting it up for the first time. It really is quite heavy to move around, even without the wheels on, and there are no easy handles or gaps in the trolley which make it easy to grip and lift, which was a bit disappointing.
In some ways it does at least give you the impression that it's a sturdy, well-built product and on the course it isn't much of an issue as the trolley is easy to manoeuvre.
In comparison, the new Powakaddy FX7 GPS is around a kilogram lighter and a little smaller, making it easier to lift and move around. If you take your trolley out of your car after every round, or have to move it in and out of a locker or trolley store then this may be worth bearing in mind as the Motocaddy will require both hands.
Getting the trolley set up, however, is extremely easy. Trolleys have become more and more simple to assemble and fold down in recent years, and the M5 GPS follows suit as you just need to use the grey latches to pop out the main frame and handle before you're pretty much ready to go.
It also folds all the way down with the battery still enclosed, which saves a bit of faffing in the car park if it's raining, and you can invert the wheels in order to save more space so that you can easily fit it into your car boot even if it isn't particularly big.
The black and blue colourway is smart and should have a wide appeal for all golfers, whilst touches such as the comfortable handle really go towards justifying the price tag too.
The whisper-quiet motor was extremely impressive, and when compared to the latest Powakaddy FX7 GPS trolley it was clearly better in this department, so if that is something which is important to you then it may help sway your decision.
During my round the trolley felt very solid but was still easy enough to move around and navigate tighter turns and slopes. The elasticated strap which wraps around the top of the bag was a little loose on the Motocaddy HydroFlex stand bag I used for this test, but as most people do use a bigger bag on these trolleys it shouldn't be an issue.
The Automatic Distance Control, which has been a feature on electric trolleys for a number of years, is handy because it allows you to leave the trolley to head off towards the next tee or down the fairway ahead of you without having to push it the whole way.
The battery can be charged without you having to remove it from the trolley, which I think is a great idea, and like the M-Tech trolley I was blown away with how long it lasts.
During a full day of testing which included 18 holes of golf as well as plenty of time before and after the round to collect images and conduct a thorough review of all of the trolley's features, the battery life had barely diminished from full.
There are 9 different speed settings and, as is the norm with electric trolleys, it takes a bit of trial and error to find that happy medium between it barely moving or pulling you along at breakneck speed. If you are someone who likes to get round the course quickly then you can crank the speed up to 7 or 8 and try to keep up!
First things first - this is the best looking screen I have seen on a trolley. It wouldn't look out of place on a top-of-the-range smartphone or Sat Nav device and in my opinion, was more impressive to the eye than PowaKaddy's version.
Things have moved on from the days of the S5 Connect where you got a basic black and white screen which uses data pulled in from a smartphone app to give you hole information and yardages.
The M5 GPS does it all itself and within 30 seconds of powering the trolley on and selecting 'Play Golf' it had found the golf course and I was looking at the details of the first hole.
It's extremely easy to see which hole you're on, switch forward and backwards and select the 'Hazards' section to see how far you need to hit it to avoid things like bunkers or the water.
When you're on the tee or fairway you can see a general overview of the hole, which is useful if you've not played the course before and want to be sure that you're heading in the right direction. It also shows your location on the whole too, which can be a little depressing if you're hacking your way down a long par 5!
By far my favourite feature on the trolley was the pin placement, whereby you can use your finger to point to a specific spot on the green and get yardages to that point. This is ideal when playing a course that you may not be that familiar with or if the greens are particularly large, as it allows you to work out exactly how far away you really are.
During my testing it did rain on and off, but the screen still performed very well and was extremely responsive even with a glove on, so Motocaddy are delivering on their promise there.
If you don't want the added fuss of using a scorecard then there's also a handy score tracker built in to the device, showing total strokes and score in relation to par.
As mentioned earlier the trolley comes with phone connectivity so that you can receive emails, texts and other info straight to your screen.
To be honest I'm never a huge fan of these - the whole point of having the GPS on the screen is so that you're not getting distracted by taking a phone or GPS device out for every shot, so I don't know how many golfers would want texts coming through whilst they're playing, particularly if it's a competition...
Similarly, the beauty of this trolley is that it saves you having to pair up with any apps as it's all there on the screen, so having to download the Motocaddy app and go through the process of trying to find and connect to the trolley - which is never as straightforward as it seems, as I'm sure many of you can attest to - seems to defeat the point a little.
Motocaddy M5 GPS Trolley Verdict
If you're in the market to buy an electric trolley then this is the one I would be recommending. I tested Motocaddy's ultra-premium M-Tech during the summer and whilst I did love the looks and smart extra touches in terms of design along with the fantastic performance, I was left wanting a little more in terms of technology.
The M5 GPS delivers, as the build quality is superb, performs brilliantly without any fuss, and comes with the added bonus of a built-in touchscreen GPS system which, if you'd paid for as a separate GPS device, would be excellent in itself.
Motocaddy have managed to provide all this at an RRP of £749, which in my opinion is pretty reasonable for the quality of product you're getting. Besides, you'll probably be able to get it a little cheaper than that at your local Pro Shop in a few months time.
In an ideal world, the trolley would be slightly smaller and a little lighter but I really am nit-picking here. Besides some of that size helps to give you the sense that this is a solid, dependable product and it easily (and quietly) rolls in right at the top of my favourite products of 2020.
Would I Use It?
Yes, absolutely. It's one of those products which, once you've used it for the first time, makes you feel like you can't live without it.
The only thing I would say is that, at a price tag of £749.99, it's likely that it is going to attract pretty serious golfers who are playing at least once a week, and so the chances are that these golfers already own a GPS device or laser which they use for their yardages, making the GPS function slightly less important.
But if you want to make your life even easier out on the golf course, or if you just really can't be bothered getting out your device for every shot, then the M5 GPS will give you everything you want in a classy, premium package.
- Fantastic battery life
- Whisper-quiet motor
- Excellent touch-screen quality
- Extremely easy to assemble and disassemble
- GPS itself is very accurate
- Pin placement feature is fantastic
- Solid, well built product
- Quite big even when folded down
- Trolley is quite heavy
- Plenty of golfers already own a GPS device
- £749.99 will always be off-putting for a lot of golfers
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