Garmin G80 v SkyCaddie SX500 Review
Any golf aficionado knows that golf is much more than simply hitting the ball. It’s about strategy—and information is key to creating the right strategy and getting your shots right at all 18 holes.
With wind and many other factors playing a role in the outcome of your game, there is a big need with golfers to obtain information about their own play. Only if you have enough information can you plan on improving something.
This is, in part, why the market for GPS devices and launch monitors is growing. With enough information at your disposal you can make more informed decisions on the course.
But now the question is, where should you spend your money? We looked at two popular models on the 2020 market, the Garmin G80, which is a GPS AND a launch monitor, and the GPS called the SkyCaddie SX500. Which one should you invest in to help you improve your game?
Key Features of The Garmin G80
With the Garmin G80 you get a two-in-one gadget:
- A quality GPS
- An innovative launch monitor
With these two functions you can view the course you’re playing on and various of its details. You can also position the G80 across from you on the ground when you take a swing to get feedback on details. The data you get includes head and ball speed, your smash factor, the tempo of your swing & even an estimated distance the ball will travel.
We appreciate the innovative design of the casing; the indent on the back makes it easy to position it by leaning it against a golf ball on the ground.
The screen is readable, even in sunlight. The device allows for game or practice modes, making it a practical device for those who want to improve their playing. With 41 000 courses’ information preloaded, it’s a good buy no matter where you plan on playing.
Key Features of The Sky Caddie SX500
The SkyCaddie is specifically a handheld GPS designed for golfers. This gadget will provide course information and tell you the distances to features on the course, such as layups, a certain hazard or carries. Use this to determine the best course of action.
You receive your SX500 with 35 000 courses’ information and you can get updated data by simply connecting via Wi-Fi. You don’t need your computer to stay up to date!
The first year’s course information is included in your purchase, but you have to pay from year two going forward.
You view all information on a large screen and by tapping you can access various features, such as zooming. The device also automates certain functions, for example advancing to the next hole or selecting a course. That makes for exceptional user-friendliness.
Performance Comparison: Garmin G80 vs SkyCaddie SX500 Review
At first glance you’ll be impressed by the SkyCaddie’s large screen. At 3.5” the Garmin’s screen is sufficient, but the 5” display of the SkyCaddie deserves real respect. It also produces vivid colors, so if the display is important to you, you may prefer this model to the G80.
A larger screen makes it easier to gain information even at a quick glance and the brands take it one step further: their big number modes provide back, front or center distances in large font. You don’t need your glasses to enjoy your gadget thoroughly—attach it to your bag or cart and you can view data from any angle. Both impress in this category!
The amount of information you gain from each device differs: with the G80 you get over 40 000 courses’ details, but the SkyCaddie only has much less. What is impressive about the latter is that the brand provides ground-verified maps of each course, so you have more accuracy compared to Garmin’s.
The drawback with the SkyCaddie model is that you have to pay a subscription to keep getting the updated information from them. No need for this with the Garmin.
The SkyCaddie of course doesn’t provide you with a launch monitor but it CAN help you make decisions by keeping track of the distances you hit and making certain recommendations.
While the Garmin’s launch monitor is an impressive extra to a GPS and it does its job, note that this isn’t the best, most accurate launch monitor on the market. There are other brands to consider too if this is your first priority.
Using the two devices is fairly simple. The SkyCaddie provides excellent zoom features so you can look at a course in detail.
The battery life of the two is similar, but the Garmin does win in this department, with an impressive 15 hours timeline. When using the SX500 you’ll enjoy a maximum of 14 hours before you need a recharge and a bit less if you use certain features.
On face value the SkyCaddie SX500 is the cheaper option, because you can own an impressive GPS for less than $500. The Garmin G80 is more expensive and if you don’t really need the launcher feature, this may seem like an unnecessary expense.
With the Garmin G80, since you’re getting two devices in one, the expense may be justified. But that value only applies if you need both of them. If you’re just after the one or the other, it’s a high price tag for most players.
Also, take note of the additional expense of the SkyCaddie. You’ll need to pay a yearly subscription to get access to updated course information.
Pros and Cons
Garmin G80 Pros
- Two devices in one
- Trusted brand
- No subscription necessary
- 15 hour battery life
- Practice and game modes available
- Slim, smart design
Garmin G80 Cons
- Pricier model
- Less accurate course information than the SX500
SkyCaddie SX500 Pros
- Large screen
- Accurate course mapping
- Large number mode
- Good battery life (though not as good as the G80’s)
- Tracks your stats
- Good price
SkyCaddie SX500 Cons
- Requires a subscription
- No launch monitor
We do believe that your ideal buy depends on the device you’re looking for. With the large screen size and detailed maps, the SkyCaddie SX500 is an impressive model for those shopping for only a GPS.
We were most impressed with the GARMIN G80, and since it’s both a GPS and a launch monitor, it provides ample information to those who work at their game.
Decide what your golf game needs most at the moment and shop accordingly!
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Hi, I am Matthew, a mid handicap golfer who likes to play as much as possible. I love trying out new gear and this blog is where you can find all the gear I have tested over the years!