Garmin S20 Vs. Bushnell Neo Ion Review

Garmin s20 Watch Review

Playing a round of golf has never been more technologically interactive than it is today. With all the gadgets and apps out there, the game is becoming inexorably tied to new technology. In fact, if you are not using some kind of GPS device or yardage finder for your round, you are already at a disadvantage.

Ask yourself this question, ‘Has my game been stagnating?’ Have you found yourself with the same handicap for months or even years? If you’re game isn’t improving, it’s time to start using a modern golf device to usher you into the new era.

When I made the switch to using a gps watch (S20), I started playing much better. Because I didn’t know the distances I was hitting, it was hindering my progress. As soon as I started to see how far I was hitting with each club and choosing the right one every time, my game and round totals improved immediately.

In today’s review, we are going to be comparing 2 different golf GPS watches: the Garmin Approach S20 and the Bushnell Neo Ion. They are similar watches that deserve a close comparison and that’s what we’ll be doing here.

The Basics

Neo Ion Banner

The purpose of any GPS watch is to help the golfer map out the course, measure distance to holes and help him/her avoid costly traps and hazards. In the past decade, GPS golf watches have come a long way and manufacturers have incorporated features that really allow insight into your game that you probably wouldn’t have otherwise.

The Garmin Approach S20 and the Bushnell Neo Ion are both quality watches that would be perfect as anyone’s first golf GPS watch. We have used a few other watches but have omitted them in this review because we feel that the Garmin Approach S20 and Neo Ion are perfect for golfers looking to improve their game but have never used a GPS device before.

Golf GPS devices used to be handheld (some still are) and cumbersome. Have you ever tried juggling bags, scorecards, your phone, a drink and a GPS device? We have and it isn’t fun. This is why we have focused on GPS watches in this review. They are much more convenient, modern and stylish.

The Garmin Approach S20

Garmin S20 3

Garmin has been a trusted name in GPS for many years and they have come through with a reliable golf GPS watch. Right off the bat, the Garmin Approach S20 comes preloaded with 41,000 course maps from around the globe.

We used the Garmin Approach S20 at a few local courses and took it on the road with us and it performed well locally and abroad. One of the things we hate about shoddy GPS watches is when they take a long time to load and identify what course you are on.

Garmin S20

This was not the case with the Garmin Approach S20. It loads quickly and pulls up your course right away.

The green view display was one of our favorite features of the Garmin Approach S20. It shows you the shape and lay of the green and where the pin is at for the day. Very helpful for when you find yourself behind the green.

The screen itself has a 0.9×0.9 display and a 12×128 pixel resolution. It is pretty easy to read and is navigable via 4 control buttons: up, down, OK and back. It displays information like yardage of shots, yardage distance to greens, distance to hazards, a digital scorecard, a round timer and more.

So how else can it improve your game? There is a stat tracking feature that keeps track of your strokes, how many putts you take and other useful information. Then, at the end of your round you can use the AutoShot round analyzer to see exactly how your performed on the course and where you can improve.

The Bushnell Neo Ion

Neo Ion 2

The Neo Ion comes preloaded with 35,000 courses around the world. It will also automatically track which course you are on and pull up information on it. One of the things we really liked about this watch is that it automatically updates information in case any changes were made to the course.

It also has a distance calculator that lets you know how far you are from the middle, back and front of the green as well as distances for up to 4 hazards and dog legs.

The battery life is ample. It lasted for nearly three full rounds before it needed a charge. You can also connect it to your smart phone via an interactive app designed by Bushnell.

The Bushnell Neo Ion also comes with a pedometer for counting your steps, tells you which hole you are on, par information, date and time. The watch itself is very comfortable and features a rounded display operated by 5 control buttons.

Price Point Comparison

The Garmin Approach S20 is a cheaper watch. It comes in at about $130 while the Neo Ion runs for about $200.

Performance Comparison

This was a tough one for us. We like the Garmin Approach S20 technological performance more – it had better functionality, display and app. But the Neo Ion actually felt better on the wrist.

Garmin Approach S20 Pros & Cons

Garmin S20


  • Automatic functions
  • Easy to read display
  • Looks like your typical smart watch
  • Shows distances to layups
  • Good shot analytics features
  • Good battery life


  • Not the most comfortable watch
  • Syncing to your computer is a bit tricky
  • Garmin tech support is not so great
  • Limited colors

Bushnell Neo Ion Pros & Cons

Bushnell Neo Ion 2


  • Very comfortable
  • User friendly
  • Easy to set up
  • Accurate yardage
  • Looks like a normal watch
  • Includes pedometer


  • More expensive
  • Holds info for a max of 4 hazards
  • Mobile app is buggy
  • Charger clip is flimsy

And the Winner is…

While these watches are comparable on many fronts, we feel that the Garmin Approach S20 is the superior watch in terms of price point and functionality. While it is not as comfortable as the Neo Ion, it performs better where it matters most.

We would definitely recommend it as a first GPS watch for any golfer as it is loaded with the features you need while cutting out the ones you don’t need. If you are in the market for a golf GPS watch, definitely check out the Garmin Approach S20.

Buy The S20

Garmin Approach S20 5

Get The Best Price On The S20 Here:

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Buy The Bushnell Neo Ion

Bushnell Neo 2

Get The Best Price On The Neo Ion Here:

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