The Bushnell neo+ GPS is a fairly basic, inexpensive golf GPS, but it might hit the right spot for many golfers. It’s a little larger, a little heavier and a little more expensive than the $100 IZZO SWAMI 3000 GPS we review on another page of this site, but it also offers a few more features than the SWAMI.
As we mention in our review of the SWAMI, the only information it provides is the distance to the front, center and back of the green. The Bushnell neo+ GPS adds to that by letting you measure your shots and by displaying the distance to as many as four pre-mapped hazards or other targets per hole. The information is strictly text-based, but it does tell you how far you hit your shot or how far you need to carry the ball to clear a bunker or water hazard – and that information can be extremely handy. Although the information the Bushnell neo+ GPS delivers looks rudimentary next to what high-end (and expensive) units provide, it’s more than just your distance to the green, and its $149 price makes it appealing to many golfers.
The fact that it’s inexpensive but provides a little more than just the basics made me think a lot of our readers might be interested in learning about this GPS device. So, I borrowed one from a friend and tested it during two rounds.
The unit is small and light enough to slip into a pocket while you’re playing – it’s roughly the size and shape of a ¾”-thick credit card, and it weighs around 3 ounces. Just keep in mind that it could lose the satellite signal fairly quickly if it’s in your pocket. If that happens you might have to wait a few minutes after you take it out because the unit will need to re-acquire the satellite.
The GPS isn’t a touchscreen device, but its buttons are clearly labeled and it’s easy to navigate through the menu system. Setup is also easy, because there isn’t any! The device comes with all the courses pre-loaded, so all you need to do is charge the battery. You will, however, need to go to iGolf.com and set up a user account within 45 days after first turning on your new Bushnell neo+ GPS. Setting up the account will keep your unit active and enable you to download course updates onto your computer and then sync the GPS. It’s a little more aggravating than the pure “turn on and go” GPS models, but it’s free and it only takes a few minutes. No annual subscription fees or download charges are associated with this GPS.
The screen is pretty small, but it’s bright and readable in all types of light. Although both are text-only, there are two different types of hole views: the “Green View,” which displays your distance to the front, center and back of the green; and the “Target View,” which displays your distance to 2 hazards or other targets at a time (in addition to the distance to the center of the green).
I was a little disappointed in the Target View. In addition to only showing the distance to two points at a time (what happens if there are three bunkers between you and the green?), the Bushnell neo+ GPS uses some pretty obtuse abbreviations for mapped targets. It took me a long time to figure out that “RFB” meant the “right fairway bunker.”
Although some hazards and other targets are pre-mapped, the unit does let you map your own. Although the Bushnell neo+ GPS can only map and store four targets for each hole, you can delete some or all of the pre-mapped targets and replace them with custom points based on your needs.
Battery life is one of the strong points of the Bushnell neo+ GPS. In fact, Bushnell claims a charge will last up to 16 hours - that’s roughly 4 rounds of golf if you’re playing at a decent pace. I can’t verify that because I only used it for 2 rounds (which together took about 7 hours), but it still had a fair bit of juice left when I was finished.
The Bottom Line: The Bushnell neo+ GPS is an inexpensive, basic golf GPS that’s also pretty easy to use. The distances it displayed all fell within an acceptable margin of error. It’s small and lightweight, and there aren’t any annual subscription fees or download charges so it’s a pretty good long-term value. It comes pre-loaded with courses and there’s no long or confusing setup process. So, if you can live with its limited set of features, you might want to take a look. I think it one-ups the IZZO SWAMI 3000 GPS.