The Bushnell Pro 1M joins the lineup of the “#1 Rangefinder on Tour” with minor enhancements to the prior generation Bushnell 1600 Tournament Edition. Like the 1600 Tournament Edition, the Pro 1M is legal for tournament play, as it does not provide slope-adjusted distances. The biggest change from the prior product is the introduction of Bushnell’s “Vivid Display Technology,” which displays distances and other information in the viewfinder in red, as opposed to the previous black LCD display. The improved display, the 7x magnification and the large field of view are the device’s strengths. The Pro 1M is horizontally-held, like a pair of binoculars.
We were disappointed to see that the Pro 1M only has a limited ability to pan across objects to receive multiple distance readings instantly. The Bushnell Pro 1M comes with “PinSeeker” mode (which assists in locking in on targets) always activated, and users can pan for a short period of time and receive updated readings, but only if they continue to pan to targets closer to them. One additional downside is that the Pro 1M is the largest and heaviest device in our tests.
The Pro 1M is a well-made product (it’s even waterproof!), but the steep price tag (a suggested retail price of $499.99) is enough to make you think twice.
- 7X magnification is the highest available
- Readily locks onto flagsticks from approach distances
- Large and heavy
- One of the highest price points in the category
- Limited ability to pan across targets and receive updated distances
Editor’s note: Consumers looking for a laser rangefinder that additionally provides slope-adjusted distance information may want to consider the Bushnell Pro 1M Slope.
EASE OF USE
Our sometimes unsteady hands always prefer the ease of using horizontally-held laser rangefinders, which are becoming increasingly rare. The Bushnell Pro 1M is styled primarily in black and white – the black sections are rubber and the white sections are a harder plastic, and both are textured to provide better grip. The downside is the weight of the device, which comes in at more than 20 ounces (yup, that’s 1 1/4 pounds). The carry pouch alone weighs more than some competing rangefinders! Bushnell provides a fanny-pack like carry pouch (the two ends of the strap are wrapped around the top of your bag and then buckled together) that features both a zipper to close the bag and a magnetic latch for faster access to the device. While the strap secures the carry pouch reasonably well, we still favor the good old-fashioned simplicity of attaching a rangefinder to the bag with a clip. That’s right – we roll old school!
The display of the Bushnell Pro 1M is exceptionally clear and easy to read, with a slight tint to help reduce glare. The 7x magnification is the highest among all rangefinders tested, and makes a noticeable difference in aligning targets. Tapping the power/laser button wakes up the device, and pressing the button again will fire the laser to generate a distance reading. The Pro 1M displays the distance to the target below the aiming circle (which has cross-hairs surrounding it when the laser is being fired), with the battery level indicated to its left. To the right of the distance is a flagstick icon that is part of the PinSeeker indicator – when the device has locked on to a target, a circle will surround the flagstick.
PinSeeker mode is always on in this latest generation of rangefinder, which we find unfortunate. While we like the assistance of PinSeeker, the fact that you can’t turn it off means that there is no longer the “automatic scanning” mode found in prior Bushnell devices, which allowed you to pan across whatever targets you wanted and receive continually updated distances. Once the Pro 1M locates the closest target, you can’t pan to receive a distance to a target that is farther away. The Pro 1M gives a fair amount of leeway when it picks up a target (the object doesn’t need to be within the crosshairs on the display), and the result is that you can lock onto the object closer to you fairly easily. We much prefer rangefinders that can freely provide any distance while panning, such as when you want to target not only target the flagstick, but also the face of the bunker in front of and certain points behind the green, or alternately to target multiple bunkers on a fairway to determine the safest shot distance.
The Pro 1M has an adjustable eyepiece (+/- 2 diopters) that is smooth and easy to focus. It is the only golf laser rangefinder tested that has a twist-up eyepiece, which improves the usability of the device by shielding off extraneous light while targeting objects. For those without glasses, it is best used in the fully extended position, and for those with glasses, the eyepiece should be left down to be able to see a full field of view. A lens cap (the Pro 1M is the only laser rangefinder to provide one) is attached to the device through a short string – the trade off for the extra protection is that it’s an extra step to remove the lens cap (of course you can always just leave it off).
There are only two buttons on the Bushnell Pro 1M. The power/laser button, located on the top of the device, is used to turn the device on, as well as to fire the laser. The mode button, on the front left side of the device, can be held down for a few seconds to pull up a setup menu, from which settings for brightness and unit of distance (yards or meters) can be adjusted. There is no ability to change crosshair style.
The Bushnell Pro 1M uses a single CR123 3-volt battery that inserts through a twist cap at the front of the device. Bushnell recommends replacing the battery once every six months.
For more details, check out the Critical Golf comparison of laser rangefinder ease of use.
The Pro 1M features Bushnell’s new Vivid Display Technology, which displays data in red, making it easier to read against dark backgrounds. While there are four different level of brightness of the display, we found ourselves only using the two brightest levels regardless of lighting conditions.
The Bushnell Pro 1M has just one mode: PinSeeker only. Despite its name, PinSeeker mode will lock on to any target, not just flagsticks. PinSeeker mode is designed to identify the closest object within the aiming circle and to ignore the background targets, such as trees, even though they may be larger and have stronger reflective signal strength. PinSeeker worked well at picking up targets, and in the cases where it did “miss” the target initially, continuing to fire the laser would quickly result in locking on to the appropriate object. Our sense was that the Pro 1M was better overall than the prior generation Bushnell 1600 Tournament Edition at locking on to the relevant target.
The maximum amount of time the laser can be fired is in the range of 5 to 10 seconds. To conserve batteries, the display will only show the last distance measurement for 10 seconds after the laser is done firing. The distance smoothly updates in 1-yard increments, unlike competing devices, which either blink distance updates, and/or provide ½ yard increments. The 7x magnification and large field of view are what help set the Bushnell Pro 1M apart from other devices.
Additionally, the device is waterproof and has a rain-guard coating on the lens to help shed the drops (we’ll let you all test the efficacy of that feature – we are fair-weather players!).
For more details, check out the Critical Golf comparison of laser rangefinder features.
OBTAINING DISTANCE READINGS
Bushnell claims a range of 5 to 1,760 yards for the Bushnell Pro 1M under optimal conditions.
Ease of Locking on a Target:
The Pro 1M is quick to lock onto pins at approach distances of up to 200 yards. After 200 yards, it starts to become gradually more difficult to pick out pins, though it still does so reasonably well through 300 yards (we were successful more than 50% of the time on the first fire).
Given how readily the Pro 1M locks onto the closest target (even if it is not within the aiming circle), you are best served by aiming high at your targets so you don’t pick up points that are closer to you. And if you want to try panning, which the Pro 1M allows for a very short amount of time while across points closer to you, start on the farthest target and then move down to the ground.
Distances displayed generally update at the same rate regardless of distance from the target. The only slight (and we mean very slight) delay seems to occur at extreme distances.
In its PinSeeker-Only Mode, which is always on, the Bushnell Pro 1M was one of the faster devices in our speed test, stacked up against the competition in their panning mode, pin-seeking mode, or toggling between modes.
Check out our laser rangefinder speed test to see how the full details on Pro 1M stacks up against the competition.
The Bushnell Pro 1M will take a sizable $499.99 chunk out of your bank account, which makes it one of the higher priced laser rangefinders we’ve tested. Though it doesn’t have all the functions found on some rangefinders, it has most of what users need. With the Pro 1M you are paying for 7x magnification, an excellent ability to pick out flagsticks, a large field of view, and a crisp display. It’s a close call on whether those benefits are enough to balance out the always-on PinSeeker mode and hefty weight – reasonable minds can differ.