Going back to January I had the pleasure of being introduced to ShotNavi USA representative Nate Iida who is the Director of Sales for the brand. Irlianna Samsara and Holly Geoghegan of Golf Marketing Services made the introduction and out of it came the opportunity to test and review two devices from ShotNavi which is touted as Japan’s #1 golf GPS device. Special thanks go out to Irlianna, Holly G and Nate.
Through my conversations with Mr. Iida at the 2017 PGA Merchandise Show and a few e-mails along the way I was given a chance to test and review two of their devices. The devices that I chose to test were the W1-GL which is a wearable Golf GPS Rangefinder and the HuG which doubles as a Golf and Activity Tracker. The season up here and in particular for me got off to a very slow, soggy and disappointing start. It would be a little while before I got to put both devices through their respective paces. Before jumping right into the review and my observations please allow me to give a little bit of background information on both devices.
W1-GL – The W1-GL wearable Golf GPS Rangefinder offers many features in a very compact package. The device comes with 30,000 pre-loaded golf courses worldwide. The battery life is very efficient as it offers up to 4 weeks of life without using the GPS features and 8 hours using the GPS. The battery life is plenty to get you through to rounds of golf. Meanwhile other important features of the W1-GL include a score counter, shot distance measurement, hazards view and last but not least the green view. Other features include the use of the device as a standard watch, reversing display and a suspended alarm. The device itself weighs 75 grams and is offered in Navy, Black and White.
HuG – The HuG Golf and Activity Tracker is another device from ShotNavi that offers a lot in a small package. While the device is also loaded with 30,000 golf courses worldwide ShotNavi touts that the HuG is “the finest golf GPS with wrist-based heart rate and activity tracking”. The battery life of the HuG is 10 hours of play with GPS and 90 days without. The heart rate monitor and activity tracker also keeps track of calories burned. The HuG also has digital scorecard, Green View, distance to hazard, Smart Connectivity and is offered in black or white.
I was excited to pick-up my package of the samples from Mr. Iida and get the testing underway. Because of the weather and other circumstances the first product that I tested out of the two was the HuG. Upon opening I was impressed with the product. Neatly packaged and very well done the appeal of the product was obvious. I was quick to commence the charging of the HuG so I could start putting it through its paces. After the charge was fully completed I placed the device onto my wrist. The strap is very malleable and securing the strap is easy (stay with me for a bit). I noticed that the weight is such that you don’t even notice that you are wearing the device. I would wear the HuG while engaging in many activities like walking my Black Lab, working out at the gym and making swings at the dome. I loved the activity trackers functionality and watching my calories burn off. However, more importantly what I really liked was the heart rate monitor. My health issues are documented in these pages and I’m not too shy about them. But because of the HuG’s monitor I was able to observe some anomalies as it pertained to my heart. My usual heart rate is around 105 BPM and one day I was feeling a little funny (light-headed, palpitations, short of breath) and I looked at the monitor and it said my heart rate was 38 BPM. This is something that was unprecedented and it led to me going for a doctor’s visit. After going for tests it was revealed that I have a faulty heart valve. The fact that the HuG picked this up is impressive and it has led to many unanswered questions finally get answers. On other occasions I observed that apparently I’m relaxed on a golf course. Even with exertion my heart rate while walking the course and playing was 54 BPM
I was able to commence on-course testing and I was equally impressed with the operation of the HuG on the course. I really liked the speed of the course uploading to the device. However, on a course where I usually have no cell phone signal the HuG failed to pick up the course. I wasn’t surprised by this nor did I hold the device accountable. When I played other courses however I absolutely loved the data that was given by the HuG. As handy as the scorecard function is what I really loved was the hazard and green view functions. Knowing the distances to these obstructions or knowing distances to front, center or back of the green is invaluable. Not to mention that it made for easy and quick club selection. Potentially contributing to improved pace of play. However, the sample of the HuG sent to me did not live up to its described battery life. Perhaps this particular device had a long shelf life or I had too many features running. But the battery barely made it through 4 hour rounds of golf or as just the Activity Tracker it would last about 24 hours. I dismissed this as an anomaly. With that said I was very impressed by the HuG.
Testing of the W1-GL commenced at a course that I had not previously played. This device wasted no time finding the golf course that I was about to play. The load time was quick. The W1-GL is definitely a tool geared for golf and its various functions are the reason for me saying. I love the hazard and green views as mentioned above but what I really like is the shot distance measurement feature. I have recently experimented with Matrix Program 130 7.0 flex graphite shafts in my irons and this feature has been instrumental in showing me that I am getting better numbers than with the shafts currently in my irons. The score counter is handy and very serviceable. Reading the device is easy and the display is clear. I like the option of changing the face colour which further adds to the clarity and reading the screen. I would suggest that the battery life of the W1-GL is better than its counterpart but the battery failed to live up to the 4 week duration when not using the GPS feature. That said, the W1-GL was able to get close to the 8 hours that ShotNavi claims it does when in GPS mode. Another issue was the clasp. It definitely secures but I found the strap to be a little too “stiff” and the hook-like design was for some reason or another hard for me to get into place. My suggestion for ShotNavi and the W1-GL would be to simply employ a similar strap that is used in the HuG.
Even with the remarks that could be construed as being negative both devices are exceptionally good. The functionality of both devices outweighs the perceived cons. Frankly, there are too many good Pros about both devices that outweigh the Cons. If you’re in the market for golf GPS technology then give ShotNavi a look. A lot of features in a small package and I can see why it’s the #1 golf GPS in Japan. For further information please visit their website. www.shotnavi.net
Until The Next Tee!!