Bushnell Golf Neo-X GPS Watch Review

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Last summer, THP reviewed Bushnell’s Neo+ GPS Watch and found that it delivered on its promise of simplicity, accuracy, and long battery life.

A year later, Bushnell is introducing its most recent version of this easy-to-use device, the Neo-X GPS Watch. They have added some new features and streamlined the look. THP was asked to try it out and I’ll be sharing my thoughts on it today.

Neo-X GPS Watch Product Information from Bushnell

  • The next generation of Distance Made Simple™golf products.
  • This is the lightest and thinnest Golf GPS Watch in the world.
  • Long battery life – 50% better than the nearest competitor.
  • Preloaded with over 30,000 courses. No downloads or membership fees ever.

SmartRound Score Improving Features

  • Auto Hole Advance
  • Auto Course Recogition
  • Preloaded Hazards
  • Shot Distance Calculator
  • Round Odometer

Additional Features

  • Thin, lightweight with simple to use operation
  • Stopwatch, Timer, Odometer
  • Long Battery Life – over 3 rounds between charges
  • Tee Time Start & Auto GPS Off
  • Posi-Lock Clip for easy charge or course updates
  • Legal for tournament play

What’s New?

As mentioned above, Bushnell added a few more features to the Neo-X. Here’s a brief description of some of them and how they work.

  • Preloaded Hazards
    • The addition of distances to hazards and lay-up points is an extremely valuable addition to the Neo Watch series, calling on the vast iGolf library. While simplicity is invaluable, having basic information to avoid hazards is a great help to many people.
    •  Lighter and Thinner
      • While I found the Neo+ quite comfortable and inconspicuous during the golf swing, the Nex-X is thinner and even less obtrusive.
      • Tee Time Start
        • This is a pretty cool little feature, which may help you save time on the first tee. You can program the day and time of your future tee time into the Neo-X and it will fire up the GPS seven minutes prior to the start of your round. If you are anything like me, you’ve probably spent a few feverish minutes trying to get your GPS set up in the morning when you could have been working on the practice green.
        • Auto-Off
          • This feature enables you to program the amount of time your round of golf should take, with the GPS deactivating at that time to preserve battery life. In the event your round is taking longer than expected, there is an option to ‘snooze’ the auto-off feature for 1.5 hours.
          • Longer Battery Life
            • One of the best features of the Neo+ was its excellent battery life. The Neo-X adds to that, with an astounding 15+ hours of playing time, surely enough for three rounds of golf, if not more.

Aesthetics and Set Up

The Neo-X has a slightly smaller profile than the first generation Neo+, but for the most part they are very similar in size. The best way I could describe the size is to say that it is slightly larger than a normal wrist watch. The Neo-X is a little thinner than its predecessor and the ends have been tapered more, taking away some surface area, both being improvements that were appreciated. Another change to the Neo-X is a redesigned wristband. There are a number of holes added that will promote a little more airflow, something that came in handy during a recent round in hot, muggy weather.

I know that there are people out there that balk at the idea of wearing a watch on the golf course, but I can say that I was never distracted or uncomfortable while wearing the Neo-X. The rubber casing and wristband provide both comfort and a secure fit, while the light weight of the watch made it unnoticeable to me until I needed a yardage. Obviously, we will all be different in that regard, but I never thought of the watch while taking a golf swing.

Bushnell has made setup even easier with the Neo-X. It’s truly an item that you can take from the box to the course, involving no fees or registration, though charging completely before the first use is recommended. Charging is very simple, and involves hooking up an included cord to the watch and plugging it in, either into a USB port or a cell phone charger wall adapter. I think it took around 30 minutes to top off the battery before my first use. Regardless, the only set up that needs to be done is putting the watch on your wrist and possibly adjusting the time, which can be done automatically via GPS. For updates, there is an easy to follow set of instructions that involves hooking the Neo-X up to your computer with the included cord and accessing iGolf.

Performance and Convenience

Convenience really is the key selling point of the Neo-X and it exhibits that from the moment you begin using it. When at the course, you simply press the “Golf” button to access the menu that allows you to start a round. From there, the GPS will search for nearby courses and allow you to make the proper selection. An item to note is that the GPS will take longer to lock on the first time you use the Neo-X (and if it’s been a long time since you’ve used it), but after that it works quite fast. As an added convenience, you can set the Tee Time feature in advance, so you don’t have to do anything other than strap it on and play.

From that point on, user interaction with the Neo-X is minimal. A quick look shows distances to the center of the green, along with front and back locations. As noted before, distances to and over hazards are also available now and accessed with one click of a button. Bushnell’s user manual has a full list of all the different types of hazards that can be displayed and their corresponding abbreviations. This may be the best new feature of the Neo-X and I found it quite useful on the golf course. The shot distance measuring feature also appeared to work flawlessly and is easily accessed by one push of a button.  While riding in a golf cart I saw the correct distance display within seconds of stopping and didn’t find any issues with inaccurate numbers, which I verified with a laser range finder. The Neo-X is backed by iGolf, which THP has found to provide accurate distances in the past.

Due to auto-hole-advance capability, going to the next tee box doesn’t normally require any intervention. However, if the Neo-X doesn’t switch to the next hole for some reason, there is an improved manual-advance process. Rather than accessing a menu, which was the Neo+’s method, the Neo-X only requires a quick push of the arrow button on the right side of the watch to advance to the next hole. Again, a small improvement that was greatly appreciated during a round in which I skipped around the course due to some weather related hole closures.

One of my favorite things about the Neo+ was its outstanding battery life and the Neo-X follows in its footsteps. Bushnell actually says that it’s slightly longer-lasting at 15 hours and I can’t dispute that from my testing. I was able to play multiple rounds between charges and never once came close to draining it completely.

Final Thoughts

I think one has to experience it to believe it, but I haven’t found a more convenient distance measuring device than a GPS watch, and the Neo-X is a very good one. As a golfer that walks 90%+ of my rounds, having quick, convenient and portable access to a GPS is something I greatly appreciate. While the Neo-X lacks things like a graphical interface, scorekeeping, and a touch screen, my primary need has always been a fast, accessible distance to the green. The addition of hazards, without sacrificing simplicity, really completes the package as far as providing enough information for me.

While some people may presume that a watch like the Neo-X is cumbersome for golfing purposes, I do think the majority of users would find that it’s almost unnoticeable after a few moments. The comfortable materials and light weight really made it melt in the background until I needed a number.  The new features, in addition to the remarkable battery life make it a product that I could safely recommend to any of my golfing friends.

The Neo-X GPS Watch comes with a MSRP of $199.99, though it can be found for substantially less at certain retailers. For more information, you can go to www.bushnellgolf.com.

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  • Good stuff Ryan, I am still not sure that a GPS watch is for me as I hardly ever wear a watch but your review has certainly given me food for thought. I am more than impressed with the battery life, wow.

  • Great review Ryan. I like the no download, no membership part of this equation. Something to think about. Thank

  • Big fan of the no download or membership part. The battery life seems really good. I wish it had the score keeping ability too, but that’s not a huge deal. I also like that it automatically changes the hole you are on.

  • Outstanding review Hawk that I think many were really looking forward to reading!

    Thin, light, best battery life, no fees, auto hole recognition, HAZARDS, shot calculator, and the list goes on. Obviously, these are only good if they actually work.

    The tee time start feature sounds incredible….what a cool option and something I never would have thought of. Even things like more holes in the band for airflow are just neat small ideas that really can help in certain climates.

    It sounds like this watch worked like a champ for you and reading this has me even more excited to get mine on the course this weekend. Curious to see if I still have a desire to carry a laser with this on my wrist. I think the distance to hazards is a serious upgraded feature that will have me reaching for the laser even less and less.

    Thanks for the great review!

  • Thanks Ryan! I have been intrigued by these since your review last year, and this one certainly raises that level of intrigue. I have long thought I would have issue with wearing a watch while I play, but this one being more light weight and a bit thinner has me thinking it would be a non-factor.

    I am actually quite surprised at the amount of features this has packed in it. Expecting the typical “Front/Middle/Back” seeing stuff like the end of fairway, hazard carry, etc impresses me a ton.

    Tough decision on this vs other GPS options, but this does seem very convenient.

  • My buddy plays with this and he loves it. He also had a rangefinder that he no longer uses because of it. I just can’t wear a watch when I play or I would be all over this. Great stuff as always Jman. Love the product!

  • Sorry….ment Hawk not Jman….LOL!

  • Great review Ryan! Problem is I never wear a watch and wouldn’t even consider wearing one while golfing. I can’t be alone. GPS watches may fill a niche but I would rather have more features on a bigger GPS.

  • Great write up Hawk! I’m been looking at possibly getting a GPS watch, but was having doubts to a degree. This really helps me with my decision making. I like that it’s easy to switch from normal wrist watch to GPS golf mode. To be honest, the look reminds me a bit of a plastic watch you might get out of a Capt’n Crunch box or kids meal at McDonald’s. So I’m not sure I would wear it on a normal basis at work or social outing, but to the course would be fine. The pricing for most of these type of GPS watches are starting to come down, and that’s nice. This would be a go to item, rather than having to grab my phone, hitting my GPS app and watching my battery almost die before the end of my round.

    Time to start saving up my brownie points with the wife, I think I’ve found my next golf tech purchase.

  • Nice job Ryan…very intersting…I have thought about going to a simple GPS to compliment my V2 and this could just be it.

  • I cannot recommend the NEO-X GPS. On the courses I play regularly, the ranges are very inaccurate. On one course, the 1st hole plays 379 yds from the blue tees to the center of the green. I was reading 340 yds. Other players using GPS were reading the correct yardage. I also learned that other players using Bushnell units are experiencing the same problem and are reading the same incorrect yardage as I was.

    On other courses, I am experiencing the same problem. My yardages are always inaccurate, especially inside 200 yds, which is exactly where I need GPS accuracy. I was 146 yds from the center of the greeen yesterday, the neo-X was reading 226 yds

    I don’t know if the issue is with the GPS unit or the course maps. I checked the course maps and scorecards online against my own scorecard, and they appear accurate. Regardless of the issue, I cannot recommend the neo-X Golf GPS Watch.

  • Gil, there is an email address for reporting any issues with yardages . I’ve not experienced that problem with over three years of using products backed by the iGolf library, but I’m sure there are exceptions.

  • Gil, there is an email address for reporting issues with yardages. I’ve not experieneced anything close to that in over three years of using devices backed by the iGolf library, but I’m sure there are some exceptions.

  • Nice review of the new Bushnell GPS Watch. My trouble is I can’t decide on a watch, a Range Fiinder, a swing analyzer, a GPS unit! With all the new technology it almost feels like we’ll soon own more gadgets than clubs! Please step in USGA and save us from our own wallets! Steve

  • Gil – there is an email address in the user manual that you request corrections in the event of distance issues.

    For what it’s worth, I’ve used products based on the iGolf database for three years now and never seen anything like that. I suppose there are exceptions.

  • What a great sounding product Hawk. Nice review here. 15+ hours of battery life is fantastic sounding.

  • Gil. I have the same problem with a few of the holes I play at my regular course. For ex. On hole 9 it’s 153 yards and the GPS neo+ says 227yards. There are a bunch of places that are off. And a few that are right on. Very frustrating.

  • I just purchased one from eBay. The seller said he only had it for 1 month. If in fact this has the same symptoms as Gil’s, can Bushnell issue a firmware update? Or are these watches firmware upgradeable at all.

  • I have had no yardage problems with this watch it has preformed flawlessly. I have a lazer finder I used prior to getting this and the only yardage difference is because of flag placement.

  • Received my Neo-X the other day, put it on and drove to the nearest course. Walked around to a few tee boxes and yardage was withing 3-4yards. Will be going on a 4day golf trip in September and report back.

  • Hello again. Just got back from our 4-day golf trip and did 3 different courses (4 rounds). The Neo-X was either bang-on or within 3 yards of each hole! Only exception was on a 167-yard Par 3 from an elevated tee (53′ higher). Watch said 179, then after I hit, it then read 167 🙁

    I once owned and later sold a Bushnell Pro 1600 Slope Edition w/Pinseeker Laser Rangefinder. I just found it too bulky and just too much of a hassle to take in and out of my golf bag.

    I wear a watch all the time when playing golf, so this felt so light that after a while it didn’t feel like I was wearing one.

    Overall……..SUPER PLEASED!!!

  • I have to add that while playing each round I had at least 1 other person in our foursome that had a GPS golf rangefinder.

  • I have the same problem as gill my watch was fine for a year now it shows wrong distances on every hole can you tell me a solution .

  • Carol, in my experience Bushnell customer service has always been helpful.

  • I have had the Neo X now for 2 weeks and generally agree with the review. However, I just played a Hilton Head course and not one single hazard showed from ANY tee box or fairway Yardage from the tee and fairway were generally fine with the exception below, but the lack of ANY hazard was baffling. I have to believe it was a programming oversight. Also, the final hole was a 500 yard+ dogleg right that read 380 yards from the tee. Was that the way the crow flies? Lots of potential, but Bushnell needs to fix a few issues — see my other review at Amazon.

  • Chili, you might try contacting iGolf about the missing hazards. As for distance, yes it is generally as the crow flies.

  • When I use the shot tracking feature the watch changes modes when I get close to the green or into another fairway, making that feature almost worthless. Is there a way to correct for this problem?

  • I highly recommend this watch. Much better than Garmin for the price!

  • In circumstances once you want to change your watch with every outfit, attempt considering an interchangeable beaded watch band.

  • I’ve had this watch for just over a year. It worked fine until recently when the gps has stopped working and will not pick up any satellite. I’ve tried with no success with getting any help with this problem form Bushnell. It now only works as a watch. I’m thinking of getting another unit but it definitely won;t be from Bushnell.

  • I have same problem as Hubert Chin,i have had this watch about 3 years and it has never worked the way it should, now it cannot find GPS signal most of the time and when it does find course it gives wrong distances and freezes,frustrating is an understatement,i have been in contact with customer service but I think will need to go back to them.

  • The black didgits on my displsy are faded. They wer fine until i reset the watch withing the menu. Can i maje them darker and more clear to see

  • Bushnell neo x gps watch.

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