Bushnell Neo+ GPS Watch Review

Bushnell Golf recently released the newest addition to their Distance Made Simple™ golf line and named it the Neo+ GPS Watch. Some of you may recognize the Neo name from another Bushnell product that featured a bare-bones and simple approach to distance measurement. The Neo+ watch is a unique, but logical progression to this line.

Click on each picture for a larger image

Technical Info from Bushnell

  • Ready to play right out of the box
  • 25,000 pre loaded courses with front/center/back distances
  • No membership fees, no downloads
  • Auto course/auto hole recognition
  • Short distance calculator
  • Non-golf features: Standard watch functions, odometer and alarm
  • Waterproof to 30m
  • Legal for tournament play
  • Long battery life – 50% better than the nearest competitor. Over 1 year battery life when used in watch mode.

Features and Performance

As you can see, this is a very basic GPS unit. It truly is ready to be used as soon as you open the box if you choose. In addition, there are no pictures, maps, or distances to hazards to look at. While some folks will definitely miss having all that extra information, I know some others will find the simplicity of the Neo+ watch refreshing. One additional feature that is included is a simple shot-distance measurement button. This worked quickly and as advertised. I never really liked what it had to tell me, but I can’t blame a GPS unit for my lack of driver distance.

As for simplicity, the Neo+ really is packed with it. When you are ready to play golf you only need to push a button twice and you’ll see a list of courses in the immediate area. After selecting the one you are at, you are ready to play. The Neo+ has an automatic hole-recognition function, so in theory you shouldn’t have to push any more buttons as you progress through your round. I did find that it failed to move on to the next hole occasionally, but it was pretty simple to manually switch to the hole of my choosing by pressing a couple buttons.

Bushnell claims a battery life of around 12 hours while in GPS mode, which should come in handy for those of you that tend to forget to charge your units after every round. I didn’t expect to end up needing that much battery life in a day, but a recent all-day golf event left me appreciating it. I used the Neo+ for right around 12 hours that day and it still had some life left in it. I certainly think it would be easy to play two rounds between charges, if not more. Charging the unit is pretty quick and easy. There is a clip that attaches to the watch and then into a USB outlet.

I found the Neo+ accurate with the distance it displayed when compared to other GPS units and a laser rangefinder. The partnership that Bushnell has with iGolf leaves me confident that the information presented is going to be as up-to-date and accurate as possible. It also seemed to lock onto a distance in an acceptable timeframe when I used it.

Comfort and Convenience
I will admit to being a little skeptical about wearing a watch as a GPS device on the course, at least prior to this review. The natural questions that I’m sure come to most of your minds came to mine. Would it slip down my wrist? Would it be bulky and distracting? Would it interfere with my swing? I came to find that not only did the Neo+ watch stay in place, but I also never noticed it on my arm unless I needed to check a distance. It is a little larger than your typical wristwatch, but that slightly larger size didn’t bother me. Obviously, we may all have different levels of sensitivity to these types of things, but my personal experience was that it was in no way too bulky or distracting.

The strap on the Neo+ seemed soft enough that it didn’t irritate my arms while allowing the watch to remain absolutely still during my rounds. I wore it for 54 holes in the extremely humid weather of mid-summer South Carolina and it didn’t budge once. That was about as extreme of a test as I could think up and I was impressed. Unfortunately, you still will be victim to a watch shaped tan line, but convenience always comes at some sort of price.

Speaking of convenience, I think that’s where the Neo+ watch really shines. I found it to be extremely easy to use. Whether I was walking with a push cart, riding in a cart, or abiding by the dreaded ‘cart path only’ rules, the watch was always exactly where I needed it. No reaching down to pull it off a belt clip or fishing for it in my pocket was necessary. Instead, I just took a quick glance at my wrist. While I do think that the walking golfer will find it more useful than anybody else, I was pleasantly surprised at just how nice it was to have a GPS unit in such an easily accessible location.

A Customer Service Story
This is just a little side note that I found worth mentioning.

The Neo+ watch comes with over 25,000 pre-loaded courses and doesn’t require any fee-based subscriptions or memberships, but you are asked to set up a free account with iGolf.com within 180 days of activating the device. However, there is recently released firmware update that is supposed to eliminate any iGolf registration requirements. I was unaware of this update at the beginning of this review. While attempting to tie the Neo+ to my existing iGolf account I ran into a couple questions that I needed answered. I called and was connected with a representative named Jeremy in a matter of moments. I really can’t say enough just how helpful and knowledgeable he was. He informed me of the firmware update and actually emailed me detailed instructions, as well as some other information I expressed interest in. I was very impressed with the experience. Good customer service always deserves a pat on the back, so thank you, Jeremy!

Final Thoughts
I certainly recognize that the Neo+ watch isn’t going to be for everybody, but I found it a surprisingly convenient GPS unit. As mentioned before, I think walking golfers will get the most out of it, but it proved to be handy even when I played a riding round of golf. The battery life was excellent and the accuracy proved to be reliable. I always like good surprises and the Neo+ watch definitely falls into that category. For more information, you can head to Bushnells’ website. Also, you can head to www.igolf.com if you would like to know whether your course is included in the 25,000+ that are pre-loaded into the unit. As always, thanks for reading and best of luck on the course this year.

Ryan H.

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26 Comments

  • Nice review Hawk. I know that you have really been liking this watch. I also think it looks pretty sharp in person.

  • This has been top on my list of golf gadgets. The ease and convenience of having yardages on my wrist is great. The less stuff I have to fumble with the better. It this this could come in handing if dialing in your distances while playing.
    Good stuff Hawk, thanks for sharing.

  • Very solid review Hawk, you touched on everything that was on my mind going into reading about this device.

    No idea how comfortable I would personally feel wearing a watch while playing, but I sure do love the convenience factor of this. I don’t have too many issues while walking but I know that when I occasionally ride I always find myself looking in that cup holder, etc where I left the handheld GPS unit.

    Great job on this one!!

  • Excellent review. That is what I need. Just basic info on distance! I will check it out.

  • Great review, Hawk! I like it, it’s simple, has easy to use features, and isn’t a hassle to use. Have read some people strapping it to their bag and have liked the way it works there too. Still not sure about wearing a watch while I play golf, but from the sounds of it, it doesn’t seem like it’s intrusive at all.

  • Great review hawk. I don’t know I I could play with a watch on but it sounds like that really isn’t an issue. I really like the simplicity of the product though.

  • Awesome review Hawk. It does look a little large and I personally think it would drive me nuts to have on my wrist while I played golf, but you say it didn’t bother you so maybe it wouldn’t be so bad after all. I love the fact that there are no subscription fees or course downloads required, that is a huge plus. I didn’t see a price, how much are they?

  • Nice job hawk, I think these look like just the ticket for my game. Easy to use, long battery life and accurate is all I’m looking for. Thanks for the info.

  • I am one of those who do not wear a watch anymore and when I did, I always removed it during golf. This would never work for me. It looks bigger than the watches I used to wear. But would it fit on the steering wheel of the cart? I would put my watch where the part that holds the scorecard, T’s into the steering wheel. Someone who wants a smaller GPS might find that would work well,

  • Nice review buddy. I remember you using it and comparing it to other devices down in SC, and it seemed to be pretty darn accurate which is all you could ask.

  • Great write up and review Hawk!! I love this device. It is perfect for me. Not extra info to clutter my mind. Just simple accurate distances. Great job man!

  • Great review Hawk. I just can’t get comfortable with a watch on my wrist while playing, but thanks for the review.

  • Good Review Ryan, I cant imagine wearing a watch to play, but this may be one of those cases where I would change my mind once I tried it. Glad the accuracy is not an issue, that would be my #1 worry about switching to GPS from laser.

  • It looks like this watch is on the larger end of band style GPS units so it’s nice to hear that it didn’t affect you at all. Also love hearing the customer service stories as that is huge.

    Thanks for the review Ryan!

  • Great review Ryan.
    You know I didn’t notice on your arm at the Morgan cup that def says something about the size.
    Good info about the firmware update.

  • Good review Hawk! I’m not a walker or a watch wearer on th ecourse but this looks ans sounds like a cool little device that should appeal to a lot of people.

  • I have been seriously considering this unit. Thanks for a great review…

  • Bought GPS watch 3 months ago. Until it stopped recharging, fabulous. Now it’s battery is flat. Con not recharge it. Bushnell technical support in Australia lost for solution. Taking legal action to get my money back!
    My advice: look at other products.

  • I have used my Bushnell watch twice so far, and I am starting to question it’s accuracy for yardage. It does not seem consistent with the actual course yardage markers, or the yardage from other distance rangefinder devices used in our group. It seems to be at least 10 yards off on 2nd and 3rd shot distances.

  • HI does this have a scorecard on it?

    I would like to record my score during the round on it.

    cheers

  • This one doesn’t have a scorecard feature.

  • […] summer, THP reviewed Bushnell’s Neo+ GPS Watch and found that it delivered on its promise of simplicity, accuracy, and long battery […]

  • Many thanks, excellent review and the only one I came across that provided info where I could check to see if my courses were covered. .i’m off to the shops now

  • […] the watch-based golf GPS market and THP has had reviews on both of their previous devices, the Bushnell NEO+ GPS Watch and Bushnell NEO-X GPS Watch. With each version, the company has continued to push the boundaries […]

  • I have had mine for a few years. It is very functional in almost every way. I is now so hard to get the charger to connect, It sometimes takes me 20 or 30 minutes to get it in the right position to keep the charging icon to stay on. I clean the connectors and pins but it does nothing.

  • Batterij to qwic amtie niet New batterij ware to bay

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