Garmin S10 Vs. S40 Review – Which One Should I Buy?

Garmin s40

Are you in the market for a golf GPS watch but aren’t sure what features you need and don’t need? This was an issue for many of us as well because sorting through the features you can’t do without could make a significant impact on the price you ultimately pay.

You don’t want to pay a bunch of money for features that you will never use. On the other hand, you don’t want to skimp only to find that your watch doesn’t meet your needs. The decision can be tough and the only way to make a sound purchasing choice is to arm yourself with knowledge.

In today’s review, we will be tackling the issue of what you need and what you really don’t need on the golf course and off of it. We will be taking a look at 2 golf GPS watches from Garmin that are almost at opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of features.

One represents a basic, bare bones approach to golf watches and the other is considerably more technologically advanced. Your preferences will ultimately be your guide, but again, knowledge is key to inform your preferences in the first places. Let’s get into it.

The Garmin Approach S10

Garmin Approach S10 2

As far as golf GPS watches go, it doesn’t get much more basic than the Approach S10. In fact, to get a device with less features, you would have to get out of the GPS watch market altogether and find a handheld unit.

That being said, the S10 has all the basics covered. There are 41,000 courses loaded in this watch and information on each is pulled up via a GPS connection.

It automatically tells you which course you are on, par info, your distance to hazards and traps and your distance to the back, front and center of the green.

We fired this watch up once we got to the parking lot of our course (we wanted to save battery) and it took about 5 seconds to find our course. We proceeded to use the hazard distance feature heavily which we found to be very accurate.

We also used the digital scorecard but found ourselves less inclined to use the manual shot distance tracker. It seemed less intuitive. The “Round Summary” feature was kind of neat too. It let us know how long our round was and what pace we played at (odometer).

The Garmin Approach S40

Garmin s40 Watch

The S40 is definitely a “stepped up” model. It has all the same features of the S10 but it comes with a full color touchscreen display that you can sync with your phone. In this sense, it functions as a smart watch as well.

So, speaking in strictly golf terms, what does the S40 have that the S10 doesn’t? For starters, automatic shot detection. The S40 will pick up certain types of shots and automatically detect their distances. The touchscreen allows for more accurate green pin placement as well.

You can also see your distance from any point on the course which we found particularly useful when strategizing shots that weren’t near any layups.

The S40 also has a fast band release feature which makes it easy to switch the actual wristband and change up the style.

The S40 also comes with some fitness tracking features including a sleep monitor, step counter, calories burned metric and even an activity alert that vibrates when you have been idle for too long.

There are also multiple sports profiles that are convenient for keeping track of pertinent data when you are running, cycling or swimming.

Price Point Comparison

Garmin Approach S10 1

The difference in price between these two watches is understandably vast. The minimalist S10 will be about $96 while the loaded touchscreen S40 is about $250.

Performance Comparison

We liked the fact that the S40 functions more as a smart watch and we could get text and call notifications through it. We also liked being able to swipe between menu screens.

Both watches gave accurate distances and course information so there is no discrepancy in that department. The batteries are advertised to last for 12 (S10) and 15 (S40) hours but we found that the battery life of the S10 was actually better.

One of the key features that the S40 has and the S10 doesn’t is the shot detection feature. But we found this feature to be spotty at best. It pretty much only detected our drives and sometimes it would pick up practice swings.

We liked the touchscreen interface of the S40 more when compared to the S10 too. It’s just easier than having to press buttons multiple times to input the information you need.

S10 Pros & Cons

Garmin Approach S10 3


  • No complicated features
  • Easy to use
  • All features work well
  • Very affordable
  • Weighs only 1.2 ounces
  • You can read the display in direct sunlight


  • Rests awkwardly on the wrist
  • No touchscreen
  • GPS can be spotty on cloudy days
  • Low screen resolution (128×128)

S40 Pros & Cons

Garmin s40 GPS Watch


  • Color display
  • Touchscreen
  • Good display resolution (240×240)
  • Fitness tracking features
  • Can sync with phone (Bluetooth)
  • Larger display (1.2”)


  • Shot detection doesn’t work too well
  • Screen freezes sometimes
  • No Gorilla Glass
  • The sleep monitor is spotty

Which One to Buy

An important thing to keep in mind is that the S40 was designed to function as a smart and fitness watch in addition to being a golf GPS watch. So again, you will have to ask yourself if you could get good use out of a fitness and smart watch to justify the price.

But for us, the sleek touchscreen design was enough to sway us in the direction of the S40. It costs more and some functions don’t work reliably but it is a modern watch that has value off the links as well. For these reasons we would suggest choosing the S40.

The S10 is really more of a starter golf watch at the end of the day. While it would also be great for the minimalist golfer in your life, we still recommend taking a good look at the S40.

Garmin s40 Golf Gps Watch Review

Get The Best Price On The S40 Here:

Check Best Price Amazon

Garmin S10 2

Get The Best Price On The S10 Here:

Check Best Price Amazon