Bushnell neo+

OVERALL RATING: 90. GRADE: A-. The Bushnell neo+ follows in the footsteps of the original Bushnell neo, providing text-based distance information to the front, center and back of the green, along with up to four other hazards/targets per hole. It blends basic GPS functionality with an extremely attractive price point. Battery life is strong, and the form factor of the neo+ is small enough to keep it in a pocket during play.

In a market full of GPS devices that provide more and more features (and frequently buggy software and higher prices), the neo+ goes the other way in offering just the basics – and therein lies the beauty of the neo+. For those who are looking for an easy-to-use device and can live with a limited set of distance information, the neo+ should be one of the top devices to consider.

SCORE
90
GRADE
A-
Setup/Syncing
96
Course Availability
93
Ease of Use
92
Course Details
80
Features
72
Accuracy
86
Cost/Value
95

Pros:

Cons:

Retail price: $149.99
Three year total cost: $149.99
Availability: Discontinued. Replaced by the Bushnell NEO XS Watch
Amazon.com: Check price now
Golfsmith: Check price now


96 / A

SETUP/SYNCING

The Good: With all of the courses already pre-loaded onto the neo+, all that is required is to charge up the device (the battery provides six to eight hours of use on a full charge) and head for the course.

The Bad: None. If only this was the case for all GPS devices!

Details:

What’s in the Box: The Bushnell neo+ comes packaged with:

Required Downloads: None for initial use. And just a small applet to sync latest course data (see below).

Syncing: Though no syncing is required to get started, you will need to get an iGolf account within 45 days of first powering on the device to make sure it continues to function. The iGolf account will also enable you to sync the neo+ to ensure you have the latest course data. At least it’s free!

Ensuring your neo+ has the latest information requires logging in to your iGolf.com account, going to the “Profile” tab (which was not intuitive), and then pressing “Sync Device”. You’ll need to allow an applet to access your computer and device, and thereafter the latest course data is loaded in a few minutes (if you have recently updated your courses, it takes only seconds).

This method of updating course information is much better than what many manufacturers offer. The web-based process is an evolution from the original neo, which required downloading course management software, selecting courses, and then using the software to initiate syncing of the device.


93 / A-

COURSE AVAILABILITY

Critical Golf Test: iGolf (the company that provides course maps to Bushnell) has been hard at work, and the Bushnell neo+ comes in with 93% coverage in our test of golf course availability across a representative group of 100 courses. Note that we only count a course as “covered” if mapping of hazards/targets is available – which excluded a few courses where only distances to the front/middle/back of the green were plotted, and custom targets are available. The neo+’s overall ranking was just a hair lower in the Best New course category than others.

Manufacturer’s Claims: iGolf claims to have more than 25,000 courses in the database worldwide, which puts it in the bottom half among the devices we’ve tested.

For greater detail, check out the Critical Golf comparison of golf GPS course availability.


92 / A-

EASE OF USE

The Good:

The Bad:

  • Smallest screen among the devices we tested.
  • Device will drop the satellite connection relatively quickly after it’s put in a pocket, so you’ll likely have a brief wait each time you pull it back out while it reacquires the satellites.
  • Deciphering the three-to-four letter abbreviations for the marked targets can sometimes be a bit tricky (try and guess what “MFWC” means). Also, marked points are still displayed after you pass them on the hole – this can result in confusion (where you may pass a hazard but there is another similar hazard on the hole and you are equidistant from each) and also means that users will always have to cycle through screens with irrelevant hazards when toggling between the green view and target view screens (see below).
  • Details:

    Check out the Critical Golf comparison of ease of use.


    80 / B-

    COURSE DETAIL AND MAPPING

    The Good: The neo+ one-ups the simplest devices in our tests by not only showing distances to the front, middle and back of the green, but also providing pre-mapped distances for up to 4 hazards/targets.

    The Bad: The number of hazards/targets provided on a given hole was usually less than four, often even omitting significant hazards on a hole, leaving us wishing Bushnell had included more target information. And in situations where there are a number of hazards on the hole, the ones that were mapped by Bushnell were often not the ones that we would have chosen (for example, fairway bunkers in landing areas were passed over in favor of providing multiple greenside bunker distances). Also, while distances “to” hazards were often included, more often than not we were disappointed that the “carry” distances were not. These concerns are mitigated to some extent by the ability of users to customize the hazards/targets that are mapped.

    Suggestion Box: We think that through better use of the screen layout, Bushnell could have created enough space to also display the par for the hole. An additional screen or two of more hazards/targets would also be useful.

    Details:


    72 / C-

    FEATURES

    The Good: Users can track how far they hit their shots.

    The Bad: Distance tracking for individual shots is about all that the neo+ does. We would love to see at least basic scoring ability in a future model.

    Details:

    Check out the Critical Golf comparison of golf GPS device features.


    86 / B

    ACCURACY
    We experienced no issues in our test of device accuracy, with all distances within the acceptable range of plus or minus 4 yards.

    Course maps were accurate with the exception of one course that was remodeled approximately 5 years ago (a popular resort course), where the neo+ displayed distances to bunkers that no longer exist, and lacked distances to new bunkers. One green that has been modified in the past year did not have updated distances.


    95 / A
    COST/VALUE

    Retail Price: The retail price of the Bushnell neo+ is $149.99, making it one of the least expensive devices tested.

    Fees for Access to Course Database: There are no annual or per course fees. Bushnell (via iGolf) provides course updates at no additional cost through the iGolf.com site (which requires a free registration).

    Three-Year Total Cost of Ownership: With no yearly fees, the Bushnell neo+ comes in at an attractive three-year total cost of ownership of $149.99, which makes it the second least expensive device tested (though by a $50 gap). Not a bad deal!

    Value: The Bushnell neo+ provides a great combination of a simple interface, great battery life, basic distance information, and an extremely attractive price point. For those looking to keep it simple, it’s hard to go wrong with the Bushnell neo+.

    For full cost details, check out the Critical Golf comparison of golf GPS device price and cost of ownership.