OK, I am not all that enamored with Smartwatches. I carry my phone and love my iPad, but I don’t see where I really need to see who is calling or texting by glancing at my wrist. And I am plenty active, I don’t need a fitness monitor either, so that functionality does not excite me either. But I am also a golfer, albeit a terrible one, and the Garmin Approach S6 may finally be the smartwatch that I want to own.
For those of you non-golfers out there, this watch is not for you, unless you have a golfer in your life and want to give a nice gift or pass along the idea. GPS technology has really gone a long way in helping out with course management, and I am among the many folks out there with an app on my phone to help me figure distances on the course and track my score and statistics. In fact, one of the key features I needed in a phone was battery life for a round of golf using the GPS and screen a lot during the round.
That said, it is still a pain to pull out the phone, check what I need, put it back, then line up the shot. The Gamin Approach S6 puts all the features I need from my phone on my wrist. Distance to the pin, layup distances, shot tracking, score, shot statistics, it is all there in the watch, and all there on my wrist. Plus is it water resistant to 5ATM, just in case I need to feel around for my ball in the lake (or go swimming after a club I tossed in…).
Size-wise, it is typical for a modern wristwatch, 45mm in diameter, so it should not feel ungainly on the wrist. Garmin is a leader in GPS and mapping technology, and I know from a lot of friends that use their cycling computers that the stuff works well, better than most phone GPS systems. If you have an iPhone, it even pairs with that for more typical smartphone features like email and text notifications (no mention on if it works with Android devices, so I may be out of luck there).
It does not have all the functionality of the larger hand-held S8 GPS unit, so it will not give you club suggestions based on your actual game and it will not take into account elevation changes to give corrected distances, but it does do swing speed and swing tempo, plus a lot of basic golf statistics so you can figure out how many puts you took and how many fairways and greens you hit. It also come pre-loaded with over 38,000 course maps, so hopefully your local track is in there. At a $100 premium over the more basic S4 GPS golf watch, I think this is a good middle road. garmin.com
- Brand & Model:Garmin S6
- Price: $399.99
- Who we think it might be for: Golfers looking for a discrete GPS solution.
- Would I buy or recommend it just on the photos?: Yes, I like it.
- If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: Add in the functionality of the G8 hand-held GPS.
- What spoke to me the most about this watch: It will let me leave my cell phone in my pocket when I play golf.