IZZO SWAMI 1500

OVERALL RATING: 72. GRADE: C-. Overall we were extremely disappointed in the IZZO SWAMI 1500. The concept behind the device (a bare bones device that comes at a low price point) is appealing, but the execution isn’t quite up to the task, nor is the overall price so low that we were able to overlook the lack of features. We also encountered some severe mapping inaccuracy problems that really altered our perception of the device. In some ways, it’s like paying $5,000 for a new car that has no windshield or headlights and doesn’t turn left. Sure, it’s cheap, but will you ever want to use it?

All in all, we would have deep reservations about recommending the IZZO SWAMI 1500 to consumers. Here’s hoping the next version of the IZZO SWAMI fixes the current woes. And we really, really hope that SWAMI is an acronym of some sort (or IZZO is owned by some descendant of Owen Meany), because the repeated usage of all caps makes us feel like we are shouting at our readers…

SCORE
73
GRADE
C-
Setup/Syncing
68
Course Availability
96
Ease of Use
90
Course Details
70
Features
65
Accuracy
65
Cost/Value
80

Pros:

Cons:

Retail Price: $99.99 plus yearly fees
Three year total cost: $129.96
Amazon.com: Check price now


68 / D+

SETUP/SYNCING

The Good: A light on the device indicates when charging is complete. Unfortunately, that’s about the only good thing we really have to say about the setup process.

The Bad: Lots of snafus in the installation process, with cryptic error messages – we wound up having to solve the problem through trial and error. This is far from the first impression you want for a device.

Details:

Suggestion Box: There seems to be a known glitch if you power up the device before you sync courses (there’s a fair amount of troubleshooting text about that on the IZZO website). But seriously…perhaps IZZO can engineer around that limitation in future SWAMIs? Don’t they know that the first thing that gadget-heads want to do is turn on the device?

What’s in the Box: The IZZO SWAMI 1500 is packaged with:

Optional Downloads:


96 / A

COURSE AVAILABILITY

Critical Golf Test: The IZZO SWAMI 1500 finished in top half of the pack in our test of course coverage with 96% coverage. Competition in the field has definitely gotten tougher when 96% barely sneaks you into the top half!

Manufacturer’s Claims: IZZO claims to have 19,500 courses available in its database, putting it near the bottom among the GPS devices tested.


90 / A-

EASE OF USE

The Good: Extremely convenient size and weight. Distances appear in large easy-to-read text.

The Bad: We couldn’t figure out how to turn the device on. Honestly. We actually had to look at the manual. If you guessed that to power up the IZZO SWAMI 1500 you needed to hold down a button marked “ENT” for just over 4 seconds then you are smarter than we are.

Details:

Suggestion Box: The SWAMI 1500 would benefit from some type of course indicator (useful at resorts with multiple 9s). Also, we would like to see the hole number more prominently displayed and the IZZO auto-advance to the next hole (in case you are prone to forget manually advancing, and overlook the tiny print of the hole number). Given there is no scoring or context (bunkers, etc.) to tip users off that they have forgotten to advance the hole, these would be useful additions.

For details, check out the Critical Golf comparison ofgolf GPS ease of use across all devices tested.


70 / C-

COURSE DETAIL AND MAPPING

The Good: Um…perhaps since you are not saddled with pesky details about the golf course, like how far away that nasty bunker is, your mind can turn its attention to solving other problems, like whether to have a hot dog or hamburger at the turn, and whether the cute cart girl really thinks your jokes are funny, or is just angling for a big tip (our many years of playing golf tells us the answers are “hot dog” and “big tip”).

The Bad: There really is not much detail available – just distances to the front, middle and back of the green. The IZZO SWAMI 1500 does not provide distances to any other targets.

Details:


65 / D

FEATURES

We’ll keep this section brief. Features = none.

For details, check out the Critical Golf comparison of feature sets across all golf GPS devices tested.


65 / D

ACCURACY

We tested the IZZO SWAMI 1500 across multiple courses (both municipal and Top 100 resort courses) on clear days. Though the device does not indicate the satellites acquired, we assume that on each day there were enough satellites for accurate readings.

Unfortunately, distance readings were inaccurate throughout several rounds, ranging from 5-16 yards off on one municipal to 12-18 yards off on a Top 100 course (a popular resort course, no less). The distances weren’t inaccurate just some of the time, but rather on the vast majority of readings. As with all devices, we cross-checked the distance readings against other GPS devices, a laser rangefinder, and marked sprinklers on the course.

We presume this is a mapping problem. But it totally shattered our confidence in the device.


80 / B-

COST/VALUE

Retail Price: The first golf GPS tested retailing for under $100 at a fire-sale price of $69.99 (with the release of the new IZZO SWAMI 3000), the IZZO SWAMI 1500 has the lowest retail price by a wide margin.

Fees for Access to Course Database: IZZO charges $9.99 per year for access to their course database. Consumers should note that this $9.99 annual fee, which is the lowest annual fee among all devices, provides the least amount of actual data (only distances to the front, center and back of the green).

Three-Year Total Cost of Ownership: Coming in at $99.96, the IZZO SWAMI 1500’s three year cost of ownership is the lowest among devices tested, and actually is lower than the cost of any other GPS device alone.

Value: We applaud the concept of the IZZO SWAMI 1500 – a bare bones device that is impressively inexpensive. For those on a budget this may be the way to go, but our opinion is that users will want to consider spending more for a device with much greater utility, better accuracy, and ultimately better value.