2020 has brought with it a lot of surprises. A great looking new electric trolley from market-leaders PowaKaddy, however, is not one of them. For the past 20 years, fantastic new products with style, reliability and a guarantee of the finest technology available is something we have come to expect year-on-year from the British golf trolley pioneers.
As any market-leading brand will know, that kind of reputation brings with it a large amount of expectation and pressure, especially when there are other brands breathing down your neck waiting in the wings to steal the limelight.
The PowaKaddy FX7 GPS trolley is PowaKaddy's flagship model for 2020 from PowaKaddy's CT and FX ranges in what it refers to as "PowaKaddy’s most technologically advanced range to date."
What's It All About?
I first got a glimpse of the FX7 GPS trolley as well as the rest of the 2020 PowaKaddy range back in January at the 2020 PGA Merchandise Show, and I was immediately struck by the new design. PowaKaddy have entered the new decade with a couple of changes to make a statement, in an attempt to standout from the crowd a little and freshen things up.
Firstly they have undergone a rebranding exercise with a contemporary new logo (the famous yellow and black colour-scheme remains the same). Secondly they have given the chassis of their trolleys a major redesign too. At first glance PowaKaddy have cleaned things up a little from top to bottom for 2020, and I have to say on first impressions it pays off.
The new range along with new branding looks brilliant and will certainly attract both new golfers as well as retaining current ones.
The FX7 GPS is all about giving the keenest of golfers everything they could ever wish for on a golf course, and more.
The fully integrated, high performance GPS technology comes pre-loaded with over 40,000 golf courses worldwide with no annual fees or subscriptions to pay on top.
It boasts a new 3.5" OCA high visibility, full colour LCD touchscreen that is said to deliver fast and accurate distances to the front, middle and back of the green as well as hazards whilst working as a digital scorecard - something that has become even more helpful in 2020 due to the restrictions of COVID-19.
The aforementioned chassis redesign across the whole 2020 range is shown off most in the FX7 GPS model, featuring PowaKaddy's 1-click folding system whilst managing to fold 20% smaller than the previous Freeway model.
There isn't a feature I could really think of that PowaKaddy haven't covered with this trolley, apart from actually hitting your ball for you, it seems to do everything. So, I believe the main questions in this review are not about what it does, but how well it does it and are they really necessary to making life easier out on the course?
As usual there is only one way to test an electric golf trolley, and it goes like this: unpack it, charge the battery, head to the golf course, set it up, turn it on, pray you've charged the battery correctly, head to the 1st tee, play golf, wack it in the boot, see if it fits, then head into the clubhouse for a well deserved pint.
This is exactly what I did (minus the pint bit), in some testing Autumnal conditions experiencing wind, rain, sunshine and everything in between. I played 18 holes of golf testing each of the FX7 GPS's features at Houldsworth Golf Club in Manchester.
PowaKaddy FX7 GPS Electric Trolley Review
In my humble opinion, this is the best looking golf trolley on the global golf trolley market. I don't really think anything else comes close. I thought the more compact C2i GPS trolley I tested last year looked great, but the new 'less is more' design approach to the FX7 has taken things to a new level.
PowaKaddy has simply taken away the central bar in the main frame and added stability elsewhere. There is nothing there that shouldn't be, it's smart, modern, contemporary but looks sturdy and shouts quality from the moment you pull it out of the box.
It's just been tidied up a little for 2020: there is no branding on the side of the chassis, there's no big clips to get in the way, they have lost the drops of yellow that we're used to seeing on PowaKaddy's trolleys but kept the brilliant looking wheels and the gunmetal metallic colourway as well as carbon effect trims to give it that extra premium look.
Couple this trolley with any half decent looking golf bag and your bound to look the business on the course. Pat on the back for the PowaKaddy design team.
For me, the ease of setup with an electric trolley is a huge factor in whether I would choose to use it regularly or not. As a carrier primarily, when I do use trolleys there is nothing worse than faffing about in the car park before and after a round. Luckily, most golf trolleys on the market these days have been so well designed, you'll do well to find one where setup becomes a problem.
With the FX7 GPS, it's quick and easy. Charging the battery is easier than ever, thanks to the simple 'innovation' of a green light on top of the new lithium battery which may not seem like much, but really makes the difference.
Simply plug in the charger, press the button on top of the trolley until it is green, and wait until it's charged. Slip the battery into the slot with ease and you're good to go. All you then have to do is make the most of the Plug 'n' Play battery system by hitting the button again at the course - the green light appears and you're off.
When assembling the frame one thing I was a little disappointed by was the fact that the front wheel is not actually part of the main chassis. Instead you have to attach the front wheel and bar to the trolley yourself. Don't get me wrong, this is no tough task and took me no longer than two minutes with the Allen key and washers provided with the trolley, however I just didn't expect to do it. For the price tag you'd expect PowaKaddy to have done this for you.
Still, once attached and screwed in place it will be up to the golfer whether they choose to dismantle this section of the trolley after each use or not. Personally, if you have the boot size, once screwing it on once, I'd leave it on so this isn't a reoccurring faff.
Like all modern PowaKaddy trolleys, there was no issue attaching the two main wheels on the right and left of the frame. Simply hold the button down on the centre of the wheel and click them on. This process is simple, stress free and quick, but most impressively once the wheels are in place they couldn't feel more sturdy.
When carrying from boot to course, even with the battery in, I found the trolley lightweight and easy to manoeuvre. Weighing just 9.6kg without a battery, older golfers will have no problem carrying the trolley. However I did think that this could have been made slightly easier with an obvious handle on the trolley, like the C2i GPS trolley had.
The simple 1-click fold system is where the PowaKaddy really comes into its own. You simply pull the folded trolley up, then pull out the handle and it clicks straight into place.
Again however, I would have to refer back to the 2019 C2i GPS, which I believe made the setup even simpler thanks to the help of simple, bright yellow buttons to highlight exactly which areas needed pressing in to move the frame. This is a style over substance debate for me, as the FX7 looks better, but may be slightly less functional. To be honest once you have the hang of things with the FX7, I can't imagine any golfers missing the yellow buttons...
From there, there is really nothing more to do than hit the power button below the main screen and the home menu screen quickly appears.
Within seconds I hit the 'Play Golf' button, selected the course I was playing which was at the top of a list of local courses, then headed to the first tee.
Once you've screwed on the front wheel, you're away in seconds with the FX7 GPS trolley. Just make sure you don't loose that Allen key...!
As I have already mentioned, the FX7 GPS trolley felt light to carry - arguably more impressive however was how light it felt to push too. I suppose this can depend on how heavy your golf bag is but still, given the build quality and the amount of features this trolley has, it's light. On many of the flat holes I found myself pushing the trolley with ease around the fairways, sometimes forgetting to even use the motor. I actually found it more nimble than the C2i GPS, which was a big surprise.
The new 3.5” PCAP OCA full colour widescreen display is stunning. It looks great and sits centrally on the main handle very well, again following the neat and tidy design of the whole trolley. It is brighter than ever, and clearly visible. I actually should point out at this point that the image in this review don't quite do the screen's clarity justice. The contrast, colours and brightness are great. Plus when you're in 'power save mode' the back light goes off after 20 minutes of non-use which will stop the battery draining too heavily.
In the past I have tested trolleys using a bag from the same manufacturer so it all fits perfectly. This time I decided to use my own Jones Sports carry bag to see how versatile the trolley was in this area. I was disappointed to find that although the bottom of my carry bag fitted on the trolley perfectly, the top elasticated bungee strap was just too big for a my standard sized carry bag. The Key-Lock bag system only works if you have a PowaKaddy bag. Therefore it moved around a lot during the review - one to bear in mind if you use a carry bag on your trolley.
In terms of power the FX7 GPS has powerful 30V 230-Watt motor, which is plenty for a golf course. I found the motor to be exceptional actually, taking on inclines and thick rough with ease. You can go from 1 to 9 in levels of speed and really find a speed that suits the terrain and you speed of play.
The motor was quiet, but I wouldn't say 'whisper quiet' as PowaKaddy state. There is a slight 'hum' there definitely when using the trolley, but nowhere near enough to put your playing partner off.
I found the GPS screen easy to navigate too, the interface is simple and accessible. After a few seconds of flicking through the menu I was discovering new features left right and centre and never getting lost, which can sometimes be the case for the less tech-savvy golf among us.
The touchscreen itself was responsive and quicker than I thought it would be. Sometimes touchscreens on devices such as like this aren't anywhere near the quality that we're used to on our phones and it can be frustrating. Don't get me wrong, this trolley is hardly the latest iPhone, but still - the touchscreen responsiveness is no issue and that's all you can ask for. Plus it does work whilst wearing a glove which is always handy.
One thing I did find a little annoying is the fact you have to 'double tap' when choosing an option on the screen. For example you press 'hazards' or 'shot measure' and you then have to press 'enter' for the screen to change. Throughout 18 holes I found this a little frustrating but I'm sure it's something you'd get used to.
Not much has changed from last year's models in terms of the on-screen layout when making use of the GPS, apart from things being that little bit clearer thanks to the larger screen.
When comparing the front, middle and back yardages as well as yardages to hazards with a laser rangefinder you're always going to get a little bit difference as the pin is not always bang smack in the middle of the green. From my testing, PowaKaddy's yardages seemed very accurate throughout the course.
I put the shot measure to the test at the par 3 16th at Houldsworth which measures 160 yards off the yellow tees. I hit 7 iron to the front right of the green and then walked from the tee in a straight line, directly in line with the flag which was in the centre of the green. The trolley displayed 157 yards, which is also pretty accurate.
This is a great tool to help when pacing out yardages and really getting to grips with how far you hit the ball - especially off the tee.
The scorecard functionality again is simple and handy, especially given the current COVID restrictions many golfers are faced with when dealing with physical scorecards. However, I was expecting the design to have been updated a little more from last year. Personally I think the scorecard could be a little clearer and look less old fashioned.
Other Useful Features
This trolley is packed full of features, a lot of them I loved, a lot of them I didn't even use during 18 holes, but are still cool enough to be worth a mention:
- Bluetooth connected app for iOS and Android which means you can update golf courses quickly.
- Smartphone/GPS device USB charging port for charging your smartphone or GPS device
- Built-in calorie counter
- Competition mode which removes features banned in a competition environment (how your partners can check this however, I will never know...)
- Speed display which switch between mph and kph - this is great fun if nothing else!
- New hall effect transducer (HET) for greater downhill control (applies to optional EBS model)
PowaKaddy FX7 GPS Electric Trolley Verdict
As you can probably tell, I think this is a great bit of golf kit. I managed to find a couple of little flaws and areas for improvement but on the whole, you'll do well to find a GPS electric golf trolley that performs as well, looks as good, and lasts as long as the PowaKaddy FX7 GPS.
Would I Use It?
Yes. This is a futuristic-style trolley that has covered everything so all you have to do is worry about your golf game. It removes the need for an additional GPS device (which in today's market is something I love) and is therefore undoubtedly one of the most impressive, cutting-edge trolleys available in 2020.
Whilst offering so much, the new redesign has made this trolley seem less complicated than ever, which is what we're all looking for on golf course, right?
- Looks are brilliant thanks to new design
- New LCD widescreen makes features more clear than ever
- Powerful motor and impressive battery life
- Accurate yardages update in real-time
- More compact when folded than I expected
- Impressive touchscreen interface
- Handle arm could have been slightly more robust
- Bungee straps don't fit smaller carry bags
- Double tap on touchscreen can get annoying
- Handle for transporting from car to course would have been handy.
- Adjusting handle height is a little bit of a faff and could be easier
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