Garmin Approach G30 Review
Currently retailing in the UK for £179.99.
I’ve been using this small golf GPS unit for several months now at various courses across the UK, so I’ve got a god understanding of all the positives and negatives this unit has to offer.
Look and feel
As you can see in the video, the unit is nice and small. It has a slightly rounded back, and has curved rubberised edges, so it sits nicely within the palm of you hand. The unit feels nice and solid, both in your hand and when you press the colour touch screen.
While on the subject of the touch screen, it is quite small, 2.3 inches, but it’s a small unit so that’s to be expected. The colours are nice and bright so I’ve never had an issue using it in the bright sunlight. However, some may be a little disappointed with the responsiveness of the touch screen; it can on occasions be fractionally slow to respond. However, the G30 isn’t designed to be a top of the range unit, so the slight delay when using the unit doesn’t bother me.
The Garmin G30 comes with a small strap that fits through a gap on the rear of the unit and connect to a carabiner (which is included in the box). The strap is quite short, which is a good thing, as it doesn’t move about too much when you connect it to your bag (or belt loop on your trousers if you’re that way inclined….you know who you are!). Alternatively you can leave the clip off and just keep it in your pocket.
So what’s the Garmin Approach G30 like to use on the course? Garmin have put a lot of effort into making the G30 as simple to use as possible. When you initially turn it on, you press the large ‘play’ button, select the course you’re on (with over 40,000 to choose from), and away you go.
You’re initially presented with a course map showing the distance to some of the hazards, as well as the front of the green. The overlay also shows three different distances in order to leave pre-determined lengths to lay up.
You can also use the touch screen to select any point on the course map to check the distance between your location and that point, as well as between the point selected and the flag. This is great if you want to know how far it is to carry a hazard instead of just the distance to the front of it. However, those of you with fingers on the larger side may struggle to use the touchscreen as precisely as you’d like. However, my skinny little fingers are build for precision so I don’t have a problem.
You have the functionality to zoom in on each hole, and even view the shape of each green. Furthermore, if you feel like you need to, you can move the position of the pin to give you an even more accurate distance. However, I have to admit this is a feature I’ve never used. Generally I just want to know the distance to the front and back of the green, and I can eyeball where the pin is for myself.
Big Numbers Mode
With that in mind, you can press the hole info in the top right corner to activate ‘big numbers mode’. This changes the display to just show the distances to the front, back and flag. This is a great option for those who play the same course regularly and the mode I leave it in for the majority of use. Personally, I’d prefer the middle number to show the centre of the green, rather than what the unit thinks is the flag position – perhaps this is something that might change in future models.
I’ve been very impressed with the battery life of the Approach G30. While it does seem to take quite a while to charge, I’ve used the unit for two 18 hole rounds over 2 separate weekends on a single charge. I generally just try to remember sticking it on charge the night before I play
The G30 has the ability to record the scores of up to 4 players, but personally I prefer just to use a scorecard. But if you do choose to track your scores on the unit, you can connect the G30 to your phone via the Garmin Connect app and keep all your scores in one place.
You can also track the distance of a shot using the unit, by pressing ‘begin measure’ when you set off, and then ‘at my ball’ once you’re there. However, it doesn’t record this information, which is a shame.
You can also link your phone to show alerts for text messages and emails, although I’ve never seen the need to use this feature.
For a small unit, the Garmin Approach G30 packs a punch. If you’re looking for a small, quality colour GPS unit with the ability to show hole layouts, this could be the unit for you.
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