Garmin S20 vs Garmin S10 – Which One Should I Buy?
The GPS golf watch market is flooded with products that are so similar to one another that it has become a chore to choose one that stands out from the crowd. You want features that give you an edge on the course and that make a full round of golf easy and enjoyable.
And in the golf GPS arena, one name still stands out as a leader and innovator: Garmin. Garmin still makes some of the best GPS watches on the market but even their products can be difficult to distinguish between.
But that’s why we composed today’s review. We wanted to untangle the mess of nearly identical golf GPS watches for those of you who are in the market for one. Today we will be taking a look at two entries from Garmin to help you make a sound purchasing decision. Let’s take a comparative look.
The Garmin Approach S20
The Garmin Approach series of golf GPS watches has been the standard-bearer for quite some time now, and for good reason. The Garmin Approach S20 is the epitome of simplicity and functionality. Even though it came out 4 years ago it still has the features that many golfers look for.
First of all it comes pre-loaded with over 41,000 golf courses from around the world. It also features fitness tracking including a pedometer and calorie burning counter. The display screen is 0.9” x 0.9” diagonally and is operated by 4 control buttons mounted on the side of the watch face.
The screen has a 128 x 128 pixel resolution and can easily be read even in direct sunlight. You can sync it to your iPhone or Android and receive push notifications such as calls and texts. The S20 also features Garmin’s Green View which shows you the distance to the back, front and center of the green.
The Garmin Approach S20 also gives you distances to layups, hazards and dog legs. It has shot distance detection (both manual and automatic) and a digital scorecard.
- Has fitness tracking features
- It keeps track of how long you sleep
- Bluetooth connectivity
- The strap is made of comfortable silicone
- You can track club data with it (manually)
- You get free lifetime course updates
- The display is not in color
- It doesn’t give an aerial view of holes
- Does not feature slope compensation
- No touchscreen
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The Garmin Approach S10
The Garmin Approach S10 was released in 2018 as a stripped down, sleeker version of the Garmin Approach S20. But they are still very similar in most respects. The Approach S10 still has the 41,000 preloaded courses, Greenview and provides distances to hazards, layups and dog legs.
But it does lack some of the superfluous features of the Garmin Approach S20. For instance, there is no fitness tracking feature. There are also no automatic tracking features like distance tracking and club tracking.
But you do get everything you really need from the S10. For example, there is a manual pin positioning feature that allows you to set the pin to wherever it may be on any given day. You also get the manual shot distance tracker.
The S10 is also rechargeable via USB cable and you get the same screen size and resolution as you do from the Garmin Approach S20.
- Slimmer design than the Garmin Approach S20
- More affordable than the Garmin Approach S20
- Automatic GPS course and hole recognition feature
- The battery lasts for up to 12 hours in GPS mode
- Hole information
- You get green layouts for each green
- Does not have some of the automatic data tracking features that the Garmin Approach S20 has
- Does not give smartphone notifications
- No fitness tracking
- Monochrome display
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On the course, both of these watches are exceptionally easy to use. The S10 actually picked up our course location a little faster than the Garmin Approach S20 but the difference was just about 25 seconds.
In the Garmin Approach S20’s favor, it did have a longer battery life. We were able to play about 4 full rounds of golf on a single charge whereas the S10 lasted for about 3 full rounds.
One of the major differences between these two watches is the automatic data tracking (the S20 has it while the S10 does not). But, this feature requires extra hardware that makes playing a round a bit more cumbersome so we didn’t even use it all that much.
It was nice that the Garmin Approach S20 was able to sync to our phones and provide notifications but in all honesty, that can be a distraction. The green view and the pin setting features worked the same on both watches so it was a wash on that front.
One last performance comparison note: the Garmin Approach S20 is TruSwing compatible while the S10 is not. TruSwing sensors allow for more robust data tracking so if you are looking for more in-depth data to improve your swing the Garmin Approach S20 may be a better choice for you.
Otherwise, we actually think the Garmin Approach S10 performed better overall. It doesn’t have all the features that some (like us) consider unnecessary so we liked its simplistic functionality.
Which is the Better Buy?
The answer to this question basically comes down to two considerations. One, do you want a basic fitness watch as well as a golf GPS watch? And two, do you want more advanced data tracking capabilities?
If so then the Garmin Approach S20 would definitely be a better buy. But if you don’t need those features and don’t want to pay extra for them, the Garmin Approach S10 would be better for you. Both of these watches have a ton of feature overlap and many of the features work the same for both.
So it really depends on what features you deem necessary. But we think the S20 has everything a golfer needs so it is our choice. Check it out today!
The Garmin S20
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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!