There isn’t anything better when a nice price ware breaks out. I sure love them. Plane fares to Vegas, cars, mattresses, or electronics. As consumers, we all win.
So those who have been holding off purchase of a dedicated golf GPS unit, cringing at the prices, will be happy to hear that the competition is heating up and prices are coming down. The combination of the economy, end of the season, and increased competition in the market has dropped both list and street prices of a number of devices considerably.
Take the following examples:
- The Callaway uPro, our top rated golf GPS device, retailed for $399 at initial launch and now lists for a mere $279. You can even find the uPro on Amazon.com for under $230.
- The OnPar Touchscreen GPS, which originally had a retail price of $479, now stands at a list price of $349. Those searching for the OnPar on Amazon.com can find it for a bit lower.
- And players can find the Garmin Approach G5, which once topped our list as the most expensive device at a blistering $499, now lists for $449 (still the most expensive device tested), and can currently be found on Amazon.com for under $350, within shouting distance of most high-end units.
Mind you, these devices still aren’t cheap, but they are certainly more attractively priced. Don’t forget that on top of these device fees some manufacturers, such as Callaway and SkyCaddie, charge per-course or yearly fees to access the course database and receive updates. Manufacturers haven’t started to drop these recurring fees…yet. But with an ever-increasing number of golf GPS devices including course data as well as future updates at no additional cost, even these recurring fees will be difficult for manufacturers to maintain over time. Fortunately for those such as Bushnell and SkyGolf, most consumers don’t have the ability to calculate total costs of purchases over time and seemingly “ignore” the additional $100 and more in fees over 3 years (though Critical Golf calculates the total cost of GPS devices for you). We would love to say that these recurring fees guarantee a higher level of course detail and more frequent updates of data, but these devices miss key course updates that we expect them to have as often as the competition, a serious disappointment when the manufacturers are marketing their close relationships with course managers or their on-course surveys as key advantages.
The competition has even driven some manufacturers, such as GolfLogix, to focus their efforts on the smartphone app market and turn away from the sale of dedicated units (in GolfLogix’s case, the GPS-8). Others such as Sonocaddie are testing the waters by releasing smartphone apps and continuing to sell dedicated devices at the same time.
So if you have been considering the purchase of a golf GPS device but have shied away due to cost, it’s time to take another look. You might find just the right device for your budget.