Golf GPS watch review: Garmin Approach X40

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We’ve been testing out Garmin’s slick new golf GPS watch; the Approach X40.

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Golf watches are usually the accessory you keep in your golf bag, take it out to play a round (if you’ve remembered to charge it) and then put it back in once you’ve finished. But the Garmin Approach X40 is a golf watch that does more than just give yardages.

The Approach X40 is a very different design from earlier Garmin golf releases, aligning it more with the fitness range of watches on the market. It has a slim design with a narrower touch-screen face than other golf watches and comes in three different colour designs.

It’s simple to use on the golf course. Before you start your round you simply search for golf courses nearby and select the one you’re playing. Once on the first tee three distances to the green will appear; front, middle and back, and by hitting the menu button you get a list of all the other information you need to know such as distance to bunkers, hazards and lay-up’s.x40three

The Approach X40 can be connected to Garmin’s fantastic Autoshot feature that automatically measures and maps the distances you’ve hit by sensing wrist movement when you play a shot. The watch will automatically prompt you to enter a club after each shot and ask how many putts you had as you walk off the green. Syncing the watch to the Garmin Connect app was simple enough and allowed us to upload details from the round including score, stats and club choices for post-round analysis.

coursemapgarminWe found the Autoshot feature didn’t work perfectly all the time (particularly when you have to hit another off the tee, or after going out-of-bounds!) but found it easy to edit information via the Garmin Connect website after the round. We think this feature is going to impress many golfers and it would be interesting to use over multiple rounds on the same golf course for future on-course strategy.

And we got a huge kick out of wearing the Approach X40 off the golf course as well, and not just to tell the time.

We used it to track heart rate, monitor sleep and step count across a few weeks. It told us to “Move!” when we’d been inactive for too long in front of the computer and notified us (with a vibration on the wrist) of incoming SMS notifications when connected to our phone via bluetooth. All these things are standard on most fitness watches these days, but this is a new feature for a golf watch and one that distinguishes the X40 from the rest.

We didn’t get a chance to play golf under any sort of pressure while we tried the X40, but we’d love to take a look at the heart rate data for a particularly testing round of golf. It might be a nice way to track and keep your composure on the golf course. We know a few people who could benefit greatly from this sort of training.

Battery life was excellent and we played a full round of golf and wore it for a further four or five days before it needed recharging. We’re guessing you’ll easily get a couple of rounds across a few days out of it.

If we had to pick out a few issues with the X40 we’d say that the small touch screen could be a bit fiddly for some people, particularly when swiping sideways to access different screens. And while the sleep monitor function is interesting, we lost interest after a couple of nights and found it a little bulky to be wearing to bed anyway.

While the X40 doesn’t have the colour touch screen options of the S6, this is a more well-rounded golf watch. Just like the way golf shoe manufacturers have caught up to ensure they look fashionable on-and-off the golf course, Garmin have come up with a sporty-looking golf watch that will see the Approach X40 worn as much off the golf course as on it.

The Garmin Approach X40 is priced at $389 and available now.

The Garmin Approach X40 was provided for review purposes only. We voluntarily reviewed this product in accordance with Aussie Golfer’s review policies.

2 thoughts on “Golf GPS watch review: Garmin Approach X40

  • September 5, 2016 at 6:17 pm
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    I would be interested to know the accuracy of the GPS signal. Most GPS devices have a degree of error and 10 or 15 meters here or there can make a massive difference on the golf course. Also how well does the device sync with Garmin Connect App?

    • September 6, 2016 at 9:38 am
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      I think I’ve heard that the error is more like 6-7 metres but agree, that can be a huge difference on the golf course.
      I tested it against a laser rangefinder and found it within a metre each time.
      Syncing with the Connect App was a breeze, very easy.

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