Garmin Approach S1

The Garmin Approach S1 has a very solid design that resembles a sports watch. It is completely digital and its rugged exterior makes it waterproof. Made exclusively for golfers, the S1 stays comfortable and flexible so you will not feel restricted while golfing or doing other activities outside of the golf course. It is also lightweight weighing just 1.8 ounces.

The screen is also sunlight viewable so you won't have problems playing under direct sunlight. Then when the sun goes down, you can use the backlight to see the data just as clearly.

Approach S1 Highlights

Garmin manages to cram some essential golfing features along with other nifty features normally found in a sports watch. It makes good use of the screen real estate by showing the yardages to the middle, front, and back of the greens. These numbers look large on the monochrome display and are conveniently laid out vertically right next to the hole number for easy viewing. This is the optimal view that you should see as soon as you set a course. The data continuously updates in real time so you can play without worrying about making adjustments.

As soon as you switch the mode from the standard watch mode to golf mode, the Garmin Approach S1 quickly goes to work in acquiring the satellites so it can list all of the courses that are nearby.  The Approach S1 also features an odometer which has its uses both on and off the golf course. All you need to do is switch it on and start walking while the S1 keeps track of the distance covered.

Perhaps the most striking feature of this seemingly basic watch is the amount of data it stores. The S1 has accurate data of over 14,000 golf courses found not only in the United States but in Canada as well. All of these courses are preloaded so the Approach S1 is fully ready to go as soon as you take it out of the box. Using the data is also frustration free because Garmin does not require you to sign up for any subscriptions or pay any additional fees. Garmin continues to add data to stay accurate and there is no worrying about manually downloading the latest info. Because the data for each course is so basic, the Garmin Approach S1 can virtually hold an unlimited number of courses. Even the setup is hassle free so any golfer that has never used a GPS device before can immediately enjoy the statistics and play on.

To make the watch more useful for everyday usage, Garmin implemented a few extra features. There is the standard alarm feature which is fairly easy to set up. The Garmin Approach S1 also has time zone support where it uses GPS technologies to automatically detect your location and set the appropriate time zone.

When using it as a watch, the battery should last for about 3 weeks. Once you use the GPS mode, the battery life is reduced to roughly 8 hours. But the lithium ion battery is also rechargeable making this a decent gadget for golfing for the long term. The S1 is charged via a USB connection to your wall or computer.

The Garmin Approach S1 costs around $250 which is a bit more than a fully featured sports watch and quite equal to the price of an entry-level GPS device. It would have been nice if the watch can display more data like the distance to hazards, but all of the features present are executed nicely. This is a very simple but reliable GPS watch for golfing and the waterproof and odometer extras make it a good everyday watch too.

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