There’s a lot of cool equipment in the world of golf equipment that doesn’t always fit perfectly Most Wanted Tests Or Buyer’s Guides. Still want to know how it works. In our We Tried It series, we test equipment and let you know if it works as advertised.
What we tried:
Connor. Soft product testing director and sneakerhead resident. I think golf is better with a pair of cool shoes and comfy joggers.
I’m updating from S40 approach and ready to find the “everyday driver” golf watch.
Years of creation
Good things come to those who wait. And boy did Garmin have us waiting for the brand new Garmin Approach S70 golf GPS watch. As the successor to the longtime champion, the Garmin Approach S62The Approach S70 has big shoes to fill.
Can it live up to the hype? I tested it and I have insider information on the latest and greatest things Garmin has to offer.
Garmin Approach S70: a few cosmetic changes
Was it worth the wait? A firm “yes!”
The Approach S70 has to be a significant improvement over the S62 to be considered a success. That said, I’m happy to report that pretty much every single thing I wanted to see in the Garmin S70 came true.
Seriously. It’s like Garmin actually listens to user feedback!
The biggest (and most notable) difference between the new S70 and the old S62 is the introduction of the AMOLED display. If you’re a tech buff like me, you know that AMOLED displays are known for their stark contrast. On the AMOLED panel, black looks more like, well, black. Colors are more vibrant and course maps look amazing on the large 1.4-inch display.
Size does matter
Speaking of displays, now is a good time to mention another big change to Garmin’s latest golf GPS watch: Size.
The Garmin Approach S70 golf GPS comes in two different sizes, a solid 47mm and a slightly smaller 42mm. This is great for those of you with delicate wrists. Don’t leave anymore! On the other hand (no pun intended) the 47mm version is perfect for my wrists.
With all the screen space, it would be better to increase the functionality, right? Fortunately, Garmin has updated the course maps with better graphics to include things like trees, penalty areas, etc. This seems like a small thing, but it adds realism to course navigation.
Garmin Approach S70: user experience
A good golf GPS should be easy and intuitive to use. With a new, larger display and great software features, the Garmin Approach S70 delivers great user experience.
Here are a few things I noticed while playing around with the Approach S70:
- Plays Like” distances are very helpful on a windy day or when there are differences in the slope of the terrain. Let your watch do the hard calculations for you
- The on-board barometer adds one more data point from which the actual distance to the flag can be calculated
- The ability to point anywhere on the route is convenient. This made setting up or finding distances to penalty areas a seamless experience
- Automatic hole detection worked perfectly. The Approach S70 had no problems transitioning to each new hole.
Beyond the excellent on-course experience I had with the Garmin Approach S70, I really wanted to know if it was also a capable smartwatch. For comparison, most of us cite the gold standard, the Apple Watch. I found the Garmin S70 to be a worthy competitor off course.
Some of its admirable health and fitness options:
- Body battery. The higher the number, the higher the energy. After my round of golf, I was down to 8 out of 100. Yikes!
- Stress tracking. I loved checking my stress levels, especially at night when I’m trying to unwind after a long day of writing stuff to read.
- Sleep tracking. This GPS watch works as a full-fledged sleep tracker. It also works damn good.
How accurate is the Garmin Approach S70? Certainly not as accurate as a laser rangefinder. This is given. But the S70 was within a few yards (of the rangefinder reading.
It doesn’t concern me that much. You buy a golf GPS watch for ease of use, not for 100 percent accuracy. If you want to improve accuracy, you can manually enter the pin location on your watch instead of relying on the classic front, center and back data.
Battery life in place
My biggest concern with the move to a full AMOLED display was potential battery issues. With an advertised 16-day battery life in smartwatch mode (20 hours in GPS/golf mode), those concerns were quickly dispelled.
I’ve had the S70 on my wrist every day for a week and it hasn’t charged it once, not even after a five-hour round at Payne’s Valley, Missouri’s Payne Stewart tribute field (yes, I’m bragging a bit).
One or two Grips
Everything can’t be good, right? If I had one caveat (minor, in this case), it would be with the overall setup process. The process of setting up and pairing with my phone via Bluetooth took several tries. But after a good old IT trick of turning it off and on again, I was able to connect my Garmin Approach S70 to my phone.
From the first setup I had no connection problems.
Another minor annoyance is the need for a paid Garmin Golf membership to access green maps and wave data. This pay-to-play model with added features isn’t unique to Garmin, so it’s hard to beat them here. That said, some golf GPS units I’ve used give green maps for free rather than making them a paid feature.
Garmin S70: Raising the bar
While S70 approach it was a bit late to enter our “Best Golf GPS 2023” tests, not sure if it wouldn’t blow away the competition. That said, I won’t know until we test again in 2024.
Still, the Garmin Approach S70 is the best golf GPS watch I’ve used. This one “catch” if you prefer? Price. The S70 is in its own $700 price range. Remember, however, that you are getting a device that can be used every day, not just for playing golf.
In my opinion, this makes the Garmin Approach S70 worth the asking price.