The Expresso Satellite Navigation (ESN) WR62 is essentially a sister product to the Bushnell neo+ golf GPS watch, adding limited hazard information to the front/center/back information available on the Bushnell device. The guts of the watches look to be essentially the same (down to the same font type and almost identical menus), but the external styling and watch bands differ, and there are a few functional differences as well. Let’s call them fraternal twins. The WR62 features a stainless steel bezel and buttons, giving it more of a diving watch look, and has a lock clasp band that has to be sized to the wrist of the user (we took it to a local watch repair store, which did it in about 5 minutes at a cost of $10). The Expresso WR62 utilizes the same iGolf course database used by Bushnell, and comes preloaded with 25,000 courses.
The Expresso WR62 provides distances to the front, center and back of the green, and up to two hazards per hole. While the additional hazard data is great in concept, the execution befuddled us, as we often found that the hazards that Expresso chose to include weren’t always the most relevant ones. It is never enough to give us what we want – we will just want more of it! We aren’t software coders, and appreciate the challenge involved in creating an algorithm to select the most important hazards on any given hole. Where we quibble is wondering why Expresso chose to use dedicated screens to show the distances to the “front” and “back” when these distances are already on the primary display (where they are shown along with “center”) – it seems that the better use of those screens would be for additional hazard listings.
Like its fraternal twin, the Express WR62 provides the hole number, par, and distance information on the main screen. It does offer shot distance measurement, but there is no ability to record scores or statistics, and the only additional features are an odometer, an alarm, and a stopwatch (which the Bushnell neo+ watch does NOT have).
In an interesting twist, the Expresso WR62 retails for $179.95 ($20 less than the Bushnell neo+ watch).
We love the ease of use of golf GPS watches, and the Express WR62 is a nice option in this category. We didn’t love the styling, and getting the watch band sized was a minor hassle, but if you want a little more data than the Bushnell neo+ watch provides, at an even more attractive price (the neo+ watch is already one of the most affordable golf GPS watches), the Expresso WR62 is worth checking out.
- Extremely easy to use
- Exceptional course coverage
- No fees to update courses
- No current ability to sync to update course maps
- Distance information to fixed points at the front, center and back points on the green
- Limited hazard information
- No advanced features, such as scoring
The Good: Courses are already pre-loaded on the device.
The Bad: No wall charger is provided, so the only way to charge the device is by plugging the USB cable into your computer. The clip to attach the watch to the USB cable is a bit fickle. Despite the fact that the user manual states that the device can be synced with either a PC or a Mac for latest course updates, there is currently no driver available for the Mac. Oh, and syncing functionality isn’t available yet anyways, so you cannot update course maps (details, details!).
- Required Steps. The only thing you need to do before heading to the course is ensure that the battery is charged. Note that we purchased the U.S./Canada version of the product – the International version is available with preloaded courses from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the Republic of Ireland. The instruction manual states that course updates are available through the iGolf web site – you must first register the device through iGolf, and then download a device driver (which, as mentioned above, is only available for PCs, no matter what the user manual says, so Mac owners are out of luck). We were then taken through a process for downloading a firmware update. Oh joy! But to top it all off, after all of this, we wound up getting to a screen that informed us that “Full Sync functionality is not currently available.” What the *@#!??? The only thing that kept us from giving the WR62 an even lower rating in this category is the fact that you technically don’t NEED to sync the device…at least until something changes on one of the courses in the database…which has no doubt already happened.
- Time Required for Setup. Charging the battery takes approximately 3 hours, and uses a somewhat temperamental charging clip. The charging clip sometimes doesn’t completely latch on to the appropriate contact points on the watch, so don’t walk way until you see the charging/connected indicator on the face of the watch come on and stay on. The charging/connected indicator will read “FULL” and show a full charge meter when the watch is completely charged, but oddly enough, it won’t show the charge level before that. The setup process of downloading the drivers and updating the watch firmware took about 15 minutes, but we can’t tell you how long it takes to actually sync the device since, as indicated above, that functionality is not supported at the time of this review.
What’s in the Box: The Expresso WR62 golf GPS watch comes with:
- Cable (USB-to-charging clip)
- Quick Start Guide
- You must download a device driver to your PC (available on the iGolf web site). Of course at this moment, that won’t actually do anything, since syncing isn’t currently available. Grrrrr….
Critical Golf Test: Like the Bushnell neo+ (which has a different set of features than the Bushnell neo+ watch), which also provides hazard information, the Expresso WR62 watch leverages the course database from iGolf. Course coverage is 93%, which is what we expect from devices that provide fixed front-center-back of the green distance information and, in this case, only limited hazard information.
Manufacturer’s Claims: The WR62 comes with more than 25,000 worldwide courses pre-loaded on the device, which ranks it near the top of our course coverage comparison test .
EASE OF USE
The Good:The Expresso WR62 benefits from the watch form factor– just look at your wrist!
The Bad: More bulky than the standard watches we wear.
- Buttons. The Expresso WR62 golf GPS watch has five buttons: front (which doubles as the power button), back, hazard/select, shot, and menu.
- Screen. Though the screen viewing area is a mere 0.8 square inches, one of the smallest golf GPS screens available, the black and white screen is easy to read. There is no backlight for the screen, which is a difference from the Bushnell neo+ watch.
- Form Factor. The Expresso WR62 has a black rubber and plastic body and, unlike its sister device the Bushnell neo+ GPS watch, is accented with a textured stainless steel bezel and a stainless steel clasp and buttons. The stainless steel adds to the weight a bit, as the WR62 comes in at 2.6 ounces, 0.7 ounces heavier than the neo+ watch. While the WR62 has more pizzazz to its design, it’s still pretty bulky, and the texture of the bezel tends to get snagged on long sleeves. As with other golf GPS watches, there is the advantage of being able to access readings with the simple turn of a wrist. The watch band must be custom sized to fit your wrist – in our estimation, the hassle of getting the band fitted far outweighed any improvement in the aesthetics.
- Starting a Round. Click on “play golf” from the main menu, then, once the satellite signal has been acquired, select a course from a list of options within a 20-25 mile radius. If you don’t start on the 1st hole, the watch won’t automatically find the hole on which you begin, but advancing to the appropriate hole is a relatively painless process.
- Battery Life. Expresso claims a battery life of about 12 hours on the course. During our testing the Expresso WR62 performed even better than that, as the battery meter showed half of the charge remaining after we had played two full rounds (we’re not sure whether to really believe it or not, but two rounds of battery power is pretty good in any event). On top of that, Expresso claims up to 1 year of battery life when the device is used exclusively as a watch. Note that we had one round where the battery only lasted 9 holes, but this was part of a session in which the device crashed twice, so it may have been a result of some bugginess in the firmware.
For more details, check out the Critical Golf comparison of golf GPS device features.
COURSE DETAIL AND MAPPING
The Good: The Expresso WR62 provides distances to hazards.
The Bad: The number of listed hazards is limited to two.
- Views. The Expresso WR62 provides “hole view” screens for “front”, “back” and “center”, and secondary screens for hazards, shot distance measurement, battery level, and time.
- Hole View – The primary Hole View screen displays the hole number, par, distances to center of the green (in largest text in the center of the screen), and front and back green points (in slightly smaller text at the bottom of the screen) points. The Back and Front buttons switch to displaying only the distance to the front or back of the green for approximately 10 seconds before returning to the main Hole View screen. These two additional screens seem superfluous, as all three distances are already provided on the main Hole View.
- Hazard View – Pushing the Hazard button will bring up a screen showing distances to up to two hazards on the course. The hazards are identified with three-letter abbreviations, such as EOF for End of Fairway and RFB for Right Fairway Bunker. After approximately 10 seconds, the display will return to the main Hole View.
- Shot Distance– Activated when the user presses the Shot button, this view displays the measurement of a particular shot. Users can’t toggle between views while continuing to measure shot distance.
- Battery Level– To see the battery charge level you will need to toggle to exit your current round. This doesn’t result in the loss of any data since the WR62 doesn’t keep score anyway, but it’s a bit of a hassle to have to reacquire satellites when you want to get back to displaying distances.
- Date/Time– Before you begin a round, this is the default view, showing the date and time (including seconds). You must exit your current round to get back to the full date/time view, but the time is still accessible during a round if you just push “Menu.”
- Hole Information. The hole number and par are always shown on the main Hole view screen. Hole handicap is not available.
- Custom Mapping. Users cannot add custom points to the course data, nor can they modify any existing map information.
The Good: Shot distance measuring, auto hole advance, and an odometer that will measure how far you have walked and how quickly. And it’s also waterproof to 30 meters! Go ahead, take a victory dive into the pond by the 18th green!
The Bad: No ability to track scores or statistics.
- Shot Tracking. The Expresso WR62 watch can measure shot distances, though it does not have the ability to save this information nor link a measurement to a club to calculate average shot distances.
- Score and Statistics. Not available.
- Auto-advance. The Expresso WR62 automatically advances to the next hole during play (there’s no option to turn this off). On those occasions where the auto advance gets a little squirrely, manually changing holes is easily done through the use of the Menu button.
- Miscellaneous. Expresso has included a few bonus features, including a stopwatch, a countdown timer, an alarm, an odometer, and (should you ever wander into uncharted lands in your search for a ball that you launched wildly out of bounds and need to identify your location to the Search and Rescue team) the ability to display your precise latitude/longitude coordinates.
- Preferences. A limited number of adjustable settings are available on the Expresso WR62, including how the time is obtained (automatically by GPS or just manually set and whether or not there is an adjustment for daylight savings) and displayed (12 hour or 24 hour), sound (whether or not a tone sounds every time you press a button), and unit of measure (yards or meters). By default the time is determined by your longitude. Since time zones aren’t based on longitude, you may find cases where the incorrect time is shown and need to manually set the time or time zone.
During play, there is the option to select whether you are playing from the men’s or women’s tee boxes. Befuddled about this, we made a trip to the user manual to learn that this affects the par that is displayed if there is a difference between the men’s and women’s par on a given hole. Interestingly, we’ve not seen this on any other GPS device – kudos to Expresso for sticking up for the ladies!
For more details, check out the Critical Golf comparison of golf GPS device features.
In our on-course testing the Expresso WR62 watch generally provided readings within five yards of course marked distances. The distances to points continue to be shown throughout the hole, regardless of how far away you are from those points.
We did experience completely inaccurate mapping at one of our tested courses, where the device was rendered unusable. This is presumably an error by someone at iGolf who was mapping based on a satellite image, as not only were hole numbers incorrect, but tee boxes were paired with the wrong greens on certain holes.
Retail Price: The Expresso WR62 watch retails for $179.95, making it one of the least expensive golf watches.
Fees for Access to Course Database: There are no additional fees for access to the course database through their partner, iGolf. Of course there is also currently no ability to sync to iGolf and update the course maps on your Expresso WR62…so you get what you pay for!
Three-Year Total Cost of Ownership: With no cost for access to the iGolf course database, the three-year total cost for the Express WR62 golf GPS watch remains $179.95, keeping it as one of the lowest-priced golf GPS devices in terms of overall cost over three years.
Value: The Expresso WR62 is affordable and by offering limited hazard information, offers a slight upgrade on other entry level devices. We aren’t enamored of the styling and the lack of syncing capability is a concern, but there’s no doubt that it’s one of the best values among available golf GPS watches.