The Good: Provides quick, easy and accurate yardages to font, middle & back of green at a glance. Easy to use navigation and initial setup. Nice design of band/strap which is comfortable to wear while on the course.
The Bad: No on/off switch makes difficult to preserve battery life between rounds. Additional stats and back end system a little awkward
The Bottom Line: Sleek design, easy to use while on course, comfortable to wear. All in all, the TomTom Golfer is one of the better GPS golf watches we've seen.
Having relied on TomTom for years as my go-to GPS navigation system while on the road, I was pumped to hear about their entry into the golf realm. As a staple brand in the GPS world, TomTom is in a great position to repackage their GPS expertise and shine in the golf industry. Once I got my hands on the TomTom Golfer watch, I couldn't wait to get out on the course and test it.
Even more so than a typical golf product, with wearable technology, there's an increased importance of some factors including: Comfort & Design, Functionality & Ease of Use. Lets take a look at how the TomTom Golfer held up...
Ease of Use
Out of the box, onto the charger and off to the course. The initial setup was relatively easy and straightforward. As with most tech products, downloading and installing the software is required, in this case the TomTom MySports Connect, which was a fairly pain-free process. With the initial setup complete and the course database updated, I was off to the course.
Once at the course, with a couple clicks of the navigation pad, the TomTom Golfer was able to located my desired golf course and I was off to the first tee. With a good sized screen (0.85 square inches), the watch clearly displays hole information and yardages at a glance. Providing distance to the front, middle and back of the green, I consistently found my desired yardages quickly and easily. Without even glancing at the instruction manual, I felt quite comfortable using the watch throughout my round.
My second time out using the watch, the golf course was starting groups off the back 9, which I was interested to see if this would confuse things... Without a hitch, the TomTom Golfer was able to automatically pick up on this fact and provide the accurate info. At one point during this round, the watch did get stalled on a previous hole, but with one click of the navigation pad, I was easily able to steer it back on track to the appropriate hole.
In terms of overall ease of use, I would give the TomTom Golfer a 9.5/10
Comfort & Design
With any wearable technology, comfort and design is obviously a huge consideration, especially in an active environment such as while golfing. The overal look and design of the TomTom Golfer is unique and probably the most visually appealing GPS golf watch I've seen.
Weighing about 1.85 ounces, the TomTom Golfer watch is among the lighter golf watches currently available, which is undoubtedly a good thing. The last thing a golf wants while golfing is a bulky, heavy watch disrupting their swing thoughts, which is not the case with the TomTom Golfer.
I really like the wide strap and clasp system utilized on the watch, which comfortably and securely holds it in place. I don't typically wear a watch on a daily basis, so I was concerned that wearing one while playing golf would be a distraction; with TomTom Golfer, I can confidently say you don't even realize you're wearing it.
The unique navigational pad is one of the obvious differentiating features when looking at the TomTom Golfer, which is located on the wrist strap. A little hesitant about this unique feature at first, after trying it out first hand, I actually quite like the functionality and ease of use the navigation pad provides.
Added to the other unique design features, the TomTom Golfer also utilizes a unique charging system. I have mixed feelings on this one... It's incorporated nicely into the design of the watch, is easy to attach charger and provides a secure connection. On the other hand, I always appreciate when tech devices use a mini-usb connection, which allows me to use the same charger from my phone or camera. Additionally, the TomTom Golfer does not include a wall charger, meaning it needs to be connected to a computer via USB in order to charge; a definite inconvenience if you're traveling without your computer.
Overall, in terms of comfort and design: 8/10
Functionality & Features
Course availability: Important for obvious reasons, the TomTom Golfer utilizes one of the most popular golf stats database available, iGolf. As such they are able to provide course information and yardages at 34,000 courses worldwide.
Yardage Accuracy: Based on our testing, we found the yardages provided by the TomTom Golfer to be spot on. During our test rounds, we compared the TomTom Golfer yardages to those of a laser rangefinder, and they were consistently within 1 yard of each other.
Distance to Hazards: Along with yardages to the green, the TomTom Golfer is also able to provide yardages to bunkers and other hazards that run alongside fairways and around greens, a useful feature when making club selections. In addition to hazards, there is also a 'layup' option, which provides yardages to the 100, 150 and 200 yard markers.
Battery Life: Boasting up to 10 hours of battery life while actively in use, this is more than adequate even on those painfully slow weekend rounds. Where I was disappointed, was in the fact that there is no 'on/off' feature of the watch. As such, charging the device and leaving it in your bag ready for your next round is unfortunately not an option.
Calories Burned: Although not of particual interest to me, some may appreciate this feature, where the device is able to calculate the number of calories you've burned throughout your round.
Scoring: The TomTom Golfer allows you to record your score throughout your round (although not those of playing partners), which can then be synced with the TomTom MySport mobile app for later viewing and analysis. I would identify this as the biggest area of improvement for future releases and updates, where hopefully TomTom will allow for an easier to use and more in depth back end analysis.
Overall, in terms of functionality and features: 8/10
When all was said and done, I was very satisfied with the look, feel and performance of the TomTom Golfer watch. My primary reason for using this type of device is for accurate yardages to the green, which the Golfer provides flawlessly. The ease of use and the efficiency of getting my yardages quickly and accurately without fumbling with manual laser devices, make this a valuable tool for any golfer.
At TomTom our mission is to make technology so easy to use, that everyone can benefit from it.
We invented the easy to use navigation device, helping millions of people to get where they want to be. Today, we continue to simplify the complex, making technology more accessible for everyone.
We have four customer facing business units: Consumer, Telematics, Automotive and Licensing.
We make easy to use navigation devices, sport watches and action cameras for consumers. We enable businesses to easily improve vehicle performance and increase overall fleet efficiency with our Telematics solutions. And our world leading real-time map platform is powering innovative location based services and making automated driving a reality for the Automotive industry.
Founded in 1991 and headquartered in Amsterdam, we have 4,200 employees worldwide and sell our products in over 46 countries.
For more information visit: www.tomtom.com