If you’re looking for a cheap, basic golf GPS, the IZZO SWAMI 3000 GPS is one of your options. Read this review to learn whether this entry-level model might be worth looking at if you’re on a limited budget or you just want the basics.
The IZZO SWAMI 3000 GPS has an MSRP of only $100, making it a lot less expensive than most GPS units. I really like the idea of companies making models that don’t offer all the bells and whistles. For one thing, a lot of people just want basic yardage information – they don’t want a GPS in order to track their shot statistics, keep score or do any of that other fancy stuff. And some golfers can’t (or don’t want to) spend $300-400 on a GPS. A cheap, entry-level model like the IZZO SWAMI 3000 GPS could be good for people who want to save money but still get the basics.
Naturally, when you’re only spending a third or a quarter as much as you would for some of the pricier units, you need to expect some compromises. Some of those compromises will come in the form of a reduced number of features, but there might also be a reduced level of performance in the features a basic unit does offer.
For example, when I tested an IZZO SWAMI 3000 GPS, I noticed that it seemed slow to acquire the GPS satellites at the beginning of my round. It also seemed slow to lock onto the distances while I was playing. I don’t know whether this was caused by a weak satellite antenna on the unit or by something else. I just know it was noticeable.
I also felt that the yardages the GPS displayed (limited to the distance to the front, back and center of the green – you won’t see any distances to bunkers, ponds or other features on the hole) seemed “off” a little more often than I’ve experienced with the other GPS units I’ve tested. A three- or four-yard discrepancy falls within the normal margin of error for any golf GPS, but the device sometimes displayed distances that were off by five, six, or even more yards. I know, because I always have a proven-to-be-accurate GPS running at the same time I’m testing a new unit, and I constantly compare their readings (I also compare the test unit’s display with the yardages marked on sprinkler heads). Again, I don’t know what caused the discrepancies, but they were noticeable. On the other hand, depending on your skill level, a five- or-six-yard error might not matter much anyway.
The fact that this GPS is not compatible with a Mac might be a problem for some people. Although the device is pre-loaded with information for plenty of courses, you’ll need to use a PC (not a Mac) if you want to update your course maps. And, even if you have a PC, you’ll only be able to update if you pay a subscription fee ($20 per year or $40 for the life of the unit). However, if you’re satisfied with the course information that comes with the unit, you can start using the GPS as soon as you charge its battery.
The IZZO SWAMI 3000 GPS doesn’t auto-advance to the next hole, allow you to custom-map the course information by adding additional targets, track your statistics, or measure the length of your shots. It just displays your current distance to the front, back or center of the hole (I said it was basic!).
On the plus side, the IZZO SWAMI 3000 GPS is an uncomplicated device that’s easy to learn and easy to use, making it a good option for beginners and golfers who are “technologically challenged.” And, it’s one of the cheapest golf GPS units on the market.
The IZZO SWAMI 3000 GPS is also one of the smallest, lightest golf GPS units I’ve tested (the Golf Buddy Voice GPS I review elsewhere on this site takes top prize for the smallest, lightest unit). Its display is monochromatic, but the large numbers make it very easy to read. There’s only one view, which displays the course name, the number of the hole you’re playing, the status of your battery charge and, of course, the distance to the front, back or center of the green. You toggle between displaying the front, back and center yardage by pressing the button labeled “FCB.” Other buttons let you cycle through holes, pick a different course, or turn the unit on and off.
The Bottom Line: If you want something fancy, look at other units - you won’t be happy with the IZZO SWAMI 3000 GPS. But if you’re looking for a simple, inexpensive golf GPS and your distance to the green is all you need, you might decide that this one is just right.