Affordable rangefinders are becoming more and more prevalent in the golf equipment world. The introduction of top-quality GPS apps and devices, which are reasonably priced, has led to golfers realising they don't have to spend hundreds of pounds on lasers which are very useful in some aspects, whilst also being limited in others.
Over the last twelve months, we at Golfalot have seen the likes of GolfBuddy and Volvik demonstrate exactly that - by producing lasers which perform brilliantly without breaking the bank.
The next brand to come onto our radar is Zoom, who are owned by the same company as Big Max, and have marked their foray into the European golf technology market with their first model - the Focus X.
We love trying out new or previously unheard of brands, particularly when they enter into a competitive and growing market, such as mid-level lasers, and threaten to try and knock some of the bigger names off their perch.
Let's find out more about the new Focus X....
What's It All About?
The Focus X has 6x magnification, a 600m range and flagpole scanning so that you can pick up your desired target. A flagpole icon then appears and the device vibrates, giving you extra confidence of the yardage you're seeing.
Distances are available in both metres and yards, are accurate to 0.5m and shown in an easy-to-read format. There's an adjustable eyepiece so that you can properly focus on the target regardless of whether you are wearing glasses, and allows for adjustment to individual preference.
There's also a Slope adjustment feature, a must-have for premium rangefinders these days, which shows compensated yardages depending on the elevation to the target. As with most rangefinders, this feature can be turned on and off, so that it is suitable for tournament use.
The Focus X features a rechargeable lithium battery that has an automatic cut off after 8 seconds of non-use. There's also a low battery indicator which lets you know when it's time to recharge.
It's very simple stuff but how did it perform out on the golf course?
Zoom Focus X Rangefinder Review
The Focus X looks and feels like a premium product straight out of the box, with the smart protective carry case, sleek design and simple, intuitive setup.
When you first use the laser you will notice that the default setting is in metres, so if you play in the UK or USA, for example, you'll have to make sure you switch over to yards to avoid flying the green with every iron approach. This can be done by holding down the Slope button for about a second. It's switches over seamlessly with no fuss.
You will probably need to adjust the lens focus too as it does seem to vary quite a bit between different people, so make sure that you get it set to your preference. It also seemed a little sensitive too so it may just take a little bit of fiddling to find the right setting for you.
Once that is sorted though, you get a pretty good-looking display through the viewfinder, which features an aiming sight, true yardage and playing yardage. I tested the laser early in the morning when the sun was quite low and so there was a little bit of glare, but on the whole I was pretty impressed with how easy it was to read considering that the font was quite small and narrow.
One feature that I did like was that when Slope mode was on, the laser actually showed you at the bottom of the screen how many degrees uphill or downhill the shot was playing. This could be a useful feature for those of you who are serious about your preparation and pay close attention to detail, as you could start to work out for yourself what kind of gradient levels you are seeing so that when you have slope mode turned off in competitions, your guesswork should be a little more accurate.
The slope mode is toggled on or off by simply pressing the button on top of the device, which is easy enough to use but isn't exactly visible to your playing partners. The likes of Bushnell and GolfBuddy have switches on the side of the device so that everyone can see you're not bending the rules during your competition rounds, so with the Zoom you'll just have to be honest!
Overall the Focus X is quick and easy to use. You get a nice little buzz when the device finds a target, and the Pin finder function seemed to work on most flags despite the fact that the lighting I was testing in made things a little tricky.
After your round you can put the Focus X back on charge to save having to replace batteries and avoid that nightmare scenario where you arrive at the first tee only to realise your laser has died.
There's a handy battery indicator which will display when the charge is beginning to get low, so that you can top it back up before your next round.
Zoom Focus X Rangefinder Verdict
The overall quality of rangefinders is so good these days that it really becomes evident when you are using one which isn't great. However I was really impressed with the Zoom Focus X as it looked, felt and performed just like any of the other more established names in this market.
In previous years, golfers would naturally gravitate towards brands such as Bushnell, Nikon and perhaps Garmin because they were market leaders and wanted to make sure that they got a product that they could rely upon. But the Focus X is coming it at around half the price of these top-level models, and it does everything you would really need from a laser.
If you like to go with the big brands and want a little more premium finish with all the bells and whistles, then you can still go for the likes of a Bushnell and you won't be disappointed.
But if all you after looking for is a simple, easy and strong-performing option that doesn't break the bank then more and more of these are becoming available, and the Zoom Focus X is definitely one is worth considering.
Would I Use It?
Definitely. I think all golfers should use some sort of laser or GPS device on the course as it is proven to save you shots every round, and the Zoom Focus X is an excellent affordable option. There is new kid on the block and I can imagine it sticking around for a little while.
Smart-looking - easy to hold and use
Slope mode is a must-have
Pin vibrate a handy tool
Rechargeable which is a great bonus feature
Feels like good quality including carry case
If you enjoyed this, you may also like:
Bushnell Tour V5 Shift Laser Review
Volvik V1 Laser Review