Bushnell Neo

The Bushnell Neo provides an excellent blend of basic golf GPS functionality and an extremely attractive price point (it is the least expensive device we tested). In an environment in which manufacturers seem to be competing solely on the number of fancy bells and whistles, the Neo is a throwback, providing basic distances to the front, middle and back of the green, and to up to four hazards/targets, and doing it for 1/3 of the price of the more sophisticated units.

It has a basic appeal, particularly for those who don’t want to have to read a manual to figure out how to use their golf GPS device. If you’re looking for a straightforward, easy-to-use GPS device, this is the one for you.

You are the One, Neo. You see, you may have spent the last few years looking for me, but I have spent my entire life looking for you.
Yes, there will be quotes from “The Matrix” throughout the review. What did you expect when the device is named “Neo”?

SCORE
91
GRADE
A-
Setup
92
Course Availability
93
Ease of Use
92
Course Details
80
Features
72
Accuracy
84
Cost/Value
95

Pros:

Cons:

Retail price: $149.99


92 / A-

Setup
The Good: Quick and easy process, and everything you need is included in the box – no external downloads necessary. You can get the Neo up and running in no time.

Agent Brown: The name is Neo.
Agent Smith: We’ll need a search running.
Agent Jones: It has already begun.

The Bad: Nothing we can think of!
Details:

What’s in the Box: The Bushnell Neo comes with:

Required Downloads: None! It was nice to have the software installation CD and a printed owner’s manual, saving us from the web downloads that many manufacturers require.


93 / A-

Course Availability
Critical Golf Test: iGolf (the company that provides maps to Bushnell) has been hard at work, and the Bushnell Neo now comes in with 93% coverage in our test of course availability across a representative group of 100 courses, which put it average among devices tested. Note that we only count a course as “covered” if mapping of hazards/targets is available along with custom points – which excluded a few courses where only distances to the front/middle/back of the green were plotted. For $150 plus the annual subscription fee, you ought to know how far it is to the fairway bunker! The Neo’s overall ranking was slightly lower for new courses (only 16 out of 20).
Manufacturer’s Claims: Bushnell’s course database is provided by its partner, iGolf, and iGolf claims to have more than 22,000 courses in the database. This places it in the middle of the pack.
Our conclusion? Course coverage will be critical for the more basic units, and that staying in the middle of the pack would ultimately be crippling to the success of the Neo (or any similar device).
Trinity: Please Neo, you have to trust me.
Neo: Why?
Trinity: Because you have been down there Neo, you know that road, you know exactly where it ends. And I know that’s not where you want to be.


92 / A-

Ease of Use
The Good: There’s a lot to love. The Neo is as intuitive as it gets – the buttons are clearly labeled and the menus are easy to navigate. The device is so small and lightweight that you barely notice it’s in your pocket. Tremendously long battery life means you can go multiple rounds without needing to recharge.
Neo: Am I dead?
Morpheus: Far from it

The Bad: Smallest screen among the devices we tested. And deciphering the three-to-four letter abbreviations for the marked targets can sometimes be akin to cracking the Enigma Code of the Nazis in World War II (you get doozies like “MFW” for “Middle Fairway Water Lay Up” and “MFWC” for “Middle Fairway Water Carry”).
Details:

Check out the Critical Golf comparison of ease of use.


80 / B-

Course Detail and Mapping
The Good: The Neo one-ups simpler devices (like the IZZO SWAMI 1500) that only show distances to the front, middle and back of the green by also providing distances to up to 4 hazards/targets.
The Bad: The number of hazards and targets actually mapped was usually less than four, leaving our information junkie reviewers craving more data, particularly when we were playing an unfamiliar course.
Morpheus: Neo, sooner or later you’re going to realize just as I did that there’s a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.

Or knowing the distance to clear the bunker and hitting into the bunker.

Details:


72 / C-

Features
The Good: Users can track how far they hit their shots – can you really carry your driver 225 yards? Might be good to find out BEFORE you try to carry the creek 225 yards away.
The Bad: Alas, shot-tracking is about all that the Neo does. A skimpy feature set is the price you pay for not paying much of a price. Perhaps we’ll see more in the next version of the Neo?
Oracle: Sorry, kid. You got the gift, but it looks like you’re waiting for something.
Neo: What?
Oracle: Your next life, maybe. Who knows? That’s the way these things go.

Details:

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


84 / B

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

Mapping Accuracy: When we took the device out for some real-world rounds on a variety of different golf courses, we found readings were generally within the acceptable margin of 3-4 yards from marked sprinkler heads and our laser rangefinder readings, but saw a couple of glitches where the device was approximately 10 yards off. These came on a higher-end course (Chambers Bay, site of the 2010 U.S. Amateur and 2015 U.S. Open). Our unscientific conclusion is that mapping tends to be best on municipal courses, because users will complain if there are inaccuracies on courses that they play on a regular basis. Higher-end courses tend to have fewer errors because there’s little incentive for a user to follow-up with the manufacturer about incorrect data. Inaccuracies are also often found on courses with significant topography – the satellite images that course mappers use flatten everything out into a 2D map. Unfortunately, we live in a 3D world.
Morpheus: Welcome to the real world.


95 / A
Cost/Value

Retail Price: The retail price of the Bushnell Neo is $149.99, one of the least expensive devices tested.
Fees for Access to Course Database: Bushnell charges an annual subscription of $34.99, which pays for unlimited access to its course database over the course of the year.
Three-Year Total Cost of Ownership: The Bushnell Neo comes in at an attractive three-year total cost of ownership of $254.96, which makes it the least expensive device we tested.
Value: Our conclusion is that the Bushnell Neo provides an unprecedented combination of simple user-friendly functionality with a great price point. Bargain-loving users with simple needs will gravitate toward this device.
Trinity: Neo… nobody has ever done this before.
Neo: That’s why it’s going to work.


6 comments

  1. I own a Neo. False advertisement at its best. 16,000 courses loaded. Free!!! Not a chance. You have too join I-golf at a cost of $ 34.99 The courses are loaded at I-golf not on the Neo. Such as, I brought mine too the course right out of the box, and it said course not found. Unless of course I wanted too map my own course.

  2. I own a Neo. False advertisement at its best. 16,000 courses loaded. Free!!! Not a chance. You have too join I-golf at a cost of $ 34.99 The courses are loaded at I-golf not on the Neo. Such as, I brought mine too the course right out of the box, and it said course not found. Unless of course I wanted too map my own course.

    1. dumbleberry…way to mislead people due to your ignorance…nowhere anywhere on the internet or on tv or in print advertising does the neo come advertised with the 16k of preloaded courses…it only holds 10 at a time and only once you subscribe annually…the + (or plus version as its called) does have them preloaded………………………duh

  3. The lithium battery cannot be replaced by the owner/user.  The unit needs to go back to Bushnell (or their service tech) for replacement.   Lithium battery’s do not last forever.  Cost… I haven’t checked it out.

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