Equipment: Bushnell Neo iON GPS watch reviewSeptember 9, 2016 Golf Equipment
One of the best entry-level GPS watches with a very impressive battery life, writes NCG equipment editor James Savage
We carried out our Bushnell Neo iON GPS watch review on the course at Moor Allerton in Leeds.
The watch had also been tested on the Brabazon Course at the Belfry as part of our annual DMD’s test.
Bushnell Neo iON GPS watch review – First impressions
This watch follows on from the Bushnell Neo XS GPS watch, which for me was the best watch that I tested in the 2015 DMDs test.
The Neo iON comes in a really smart solid box which makes it ideal for a gift and for safe storage. I hate it when boxes have pieces of plastic packaging all over the place that you can’t get in the bin quick enough.
This is a box which you’d keep so are getting a bit of added value for a product already at a reasonable price point.
The face and the strap both appear to be little bit thicker than the Neo XS and to the eye it looks a little bulkier.
However, once you’ve put it on I’d say it’s pretty much the same size and weight of the Neo XS. The strap is soft and comfortable with an excellent range of size options.
The charging clip is very user friendly and there’s a handy meter to let you know how close to being fully charged it is.
Bushnell Neo iON GPS watch review – The technology
Bushnell say the Neo iON is their lightest and thinnest watch to date.
It has an incredibly long-lasting battery that can manage three rounds before needing to be recharged.
The new device has no membership fees, and comes pre-loaded with more than 35,000 courses in over 30 countries.
There’s also instant course recognition and auto hole advance making the iON GPS watch ready to use straight out of the box.
The Neo iON also features a new integrated step counter which allows golfers to monitor their distance travelled, speed and total activity time throughout their round of golf and wider daily life.
The watch has all the features you’d expect like yardages to the front, middle and back of the green along with distances to hazards.
It also has a function which allows golfers to measure how far they have hit their drives.
Bushnell Neo iON GPS watch review – Performance
After charging the watch, I drove over the road to Moor Allerton to test it out on the course.
I arrived in the car park and headed for the tee. As I walked I selected the play golf mode and it had picked up my course by the time I reached the tee.
I’ve tested dozens of watches out at Moor Allerton which is a 27-hole course split into 3 different combinations.
I’m often only playing 9 holes and most watches will ask me if I’m playing the Lakes, High, or Blackmoor Course. Invariably select the wrong course.
What was great about the Neo iON was it asked me if I was playing holes 1-9, 10-18 or 19-27. I almost wept with joy.
The front-middle-back of the green numbers are clear and easy to read and a simple press of one button will give you the yards to relevant hazards.
I’m a laser user and always have my laser with me but never felt compelled to get it out and zap the pin or a bunker at any point.
After a hitting a good drive I was keen to used the shot measurement (long-drive) feature. You press a button then walk after your ball.
I’m not sure this is necessary as you could just make a note of the yardage while on the tee, walk to your ball and then do a simple mathematics sum to work it out.
For those who want to save a bit of brain power, just press the button then walk to your ball.
The hazard feature works well and it gives you up to four per hole. Features like this speed things up quite a lot as it can take a while with a laser to zap the pin and then all the greenside bunkers.
I stumbled across a few other excellent features like a tee-time alarm and a battery life meter.
Another good little feature is the round timer and distance travelled. This is another thing which can help people monitor how quickly they are getting round.
After playing 9 holes I still had four bars of battery. Bushnell say it will last three rounds between charges but I always feel much better going out on to the course knowing it is fully charged.
It’s a bit like putting your phone on charge overnight even if you’ve got 88 percent battery. Maybe that’s just me.
Bushnell Neo iON GPS watch review – NCG verdict
There isn’t anything not to like about this watch. It’s light, very easy to charge and use. There’s literally no set-up time so you are good to go straight away.
The buttons are nice and easy to press and it never seems like a hassle to navigate through the menus mid-round.
There are thinner and sleeker GPS watches on the market but pound-for-pound this watch is as good as it gets at this particular price point.
It’s light and unobtrusive on the course but I’m not sure I’d wear it off the course. Although its time and date displays are nice and clear. Another bonus it the fact it has an off-button. If I’m not going to wear it constantly as a watch, I want to turn it off when I’m not playing golf.
As with all Bushnell products, the Neo iON has a premium look and feel. It has the performance to match making this an excellent purchase if you’re looking for a clean, simple, stylish GPS watch.
For more information visit the Bushnell website HERE