uPro Golf GPS by Callaway Golf (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
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- Golf GPS system with sleek and unobtrusive design that fits in a pocket or belt holder
- Provides golfer with aerial and satellite photographs of your favorite golf courses
- Built-in GPS technology clearly locates the golf course hazards and flagsticks
- Connects to www.uprogps.com for golf course downloads; 2.2-inch high-resolution color screen
- Includes battery, wall adapter, USB cable, and free course download; 6-month warranty
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|Sold By||Amazon.com||GPS Nation||Hunting_Stuff||Electromax||EDWIN WATTS GOLF SHOPS||GPS Nation|
|Batteries are Included||No||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||No|
|Are Batteries Required||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Item Dimensions||5 x 6.9 x 3 in||0.8 x 3.7 x 2.1 in||2.1 x 0.6 x 4.4 in||1.4 x 2.3 x 4.5 in||1.5 x 0.4 x 1.9 in||1.8 x 0.56 x 1.8 in|
|Item Weight||0.9 lb||3.4 ounces||4 ounces||0.7 lb||1.6 ounces||1.6 ounces|
|Lithium Battery Packaging||Batteries packed with equipment||Batteries packed with equipment||Batteries contained in equipment||—||Batteries contained in equipment||Batteries contained in equipment|
|Sport Type||Golf||golf||golf||golf||running, golf||Golf|
Looking to improve your course management skills? Turn to the uPro golf GPS system, which employs state-of-the-art GPS, aerial, and satellite technology to accurately render the details of thousands of golf courses. The uPro starts by providing the avid golfer with aerial and satellite photographs of the golf course, so you can see what the hole looks like before you play it. At the same time, the unit's built-in GPS system clearly locates the golf course hazards and flagstick, so you know what you're up against at any moment. With each glance at the 2.2-inch, high-resolution color screen, you can see a different view of the fairway, check out the upcoming sand traps and water hazards, or receive a distance marker that helps you select the correct club length. Even more impressive, the uPro's SmartView technology anticipates the hazards that you'll face on your next shot, so you can plan accordingly based on the strengths of your game. Don't want to carry water on your second shot? The SmartView technology's dynamically generated "viewports" will tell you which area of the fairway or rough will provide a water-free path.
The uPro offers aerial and satellite photographs of thousands of golf courses.
The easy-to-comprehend user-interface is crisp and intuitive.
The uPro offers two basic modes for golf course downloads. In Basic mode, the uPro shows the distance to the front and back of all hazards and differentiates the type of hazards. Each hazard is automatically displayed in sequential order based on the current user position, and then is updated as the user moves throughout the hole. Basic mode also provides a green view, with large, easy-to-read numbers that depict the distance to the front, center, and back of the green. In Pro mode, meanwhile, the device offers a video flyover that lets the user see the layout of the hole from an aerial perspective. From the center of the green, users can see the 100-, 150-, and 200-yard markers. The Pro mode also offers scale-accurate measurements that are used to measure to and from any point on the golf course, even from the outskirts of the rough.
The uPro is compatible with Windows XP, Vista, and Mac OS X v10.4 or later (Windows 2000 is the oldest version of Windows that is compatible with the uPro). However, note that the uPro does not require any additional software to connect with the uPro servers. Instead, users can easily download golf courses at uPro's web site. Once you're online, the web site gives the user a list of all golf courses in the U.S.--in your choice of Basic or Pro mode--on a click-and-buy basis. The unit's GPS technology also automatically determines which courses are nearby. And as an add-on software download, the device can accept voice commands to make menu navigation virtually hands-free.
The uPro comes with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, a wall adapter, a USB cable, and a single free Pro mode download of any golf course. The device comes with a six-month warranty.
Amazon.com Golf GPS Guide
Staying Linked in on the Links
Having a golf GPS unit in your bag is a bit like playing with your very own PGA-quality caddie. These little electronic wonders have evolved a great deal since the USGA deemed them legal for tournament play in 2005. Most models these days can provide you with quick and accurate information regarding distance to the hole and other targets and hazards; length of prior shots (often storable for future reference); course layout; distance to the front, middle, and back of the green; and more.
With a wide range of golf GPS device, feature, and subscription choices available on the market today, finding one that's right for you can be like finding the middle of the fairway when the winds are swirling. Amazon.com has put together a list of the top GPS units and their key specifications, below, to help you select your ideal model.
|Navigating Your Options|
|Unit||Available Courses/Capacity||Membership Fees||Screen||Battery Type/Life|
|Bushnell Golf GPS 368100 Yardage Pro||12,000 (download up to 100 annually)/10||$34.99 annually||Black and white backlit LCD||Rechargeable lithium ion/16 hours|
|Bushnell Neo Golf GPS||12,000 (download up to 100 annually)/10||$34.99 annually||2.1-inch, black and white backlit LCD||Rechargeable lithium ion/16 hours|
|Bushnell Yardage Pro Golf GPS||12,000 (download up to 100 annually)/10||$34.99 annually||Black and white backlit LCD||Rechargeable lithium ion/16 hours|
|Bushnell Yardage Pro XG Golf GPS||12,000 (download up to 100 annually)/20||$34.99 annually||2.2-inch, high-contrast black and white LCD||Rechargeable lithium ion/16 hours|
|Bushnell Yardage Pro XGC Golf GPS||12,000 (download up to 100 annually)||$34.99 annually||2.2-inch, high-resolution backlit color LCD||Rechargeable lithium ion/16 hours|
|Callaway Golf uPro Golf GPS||18,000/50||None||320x240 high-resolution color LCD||Rechargeable lithium ion/12 hours|
|Callaway Golf uPro Go GPS||18,000 pre-loaded||One-time $49.99 activation fee||240x320 high-resolution color LCD||Rechargeable lithium ion/10-12 hours|
|Garmin Approach G3 GPS-Enabled Golf Handheld||12,000/unlimited||None||160x240 transflective color TFT touchscreen||Two AA batteries/up to 15 hours using NiMH or lithium|
|Garmin Approach G5 GPS-Enabled Golf Handheld||12,000/unlimited||None||240x400 transflective color TFT touchscreen||Two AA batteries/up to 15 hours using NiMH or lithium|
|GolfBuddy Plus GPS Rangefinder||Over 14,000/1,000||None||High-resolution black/white LCD||Rechargeable lithium-polymer|
|Golf Buddy Pro GPS Range Finder||All available courses in North America/20,000||None||High-resolution black/white LCD||Rechargeable lithium-polymer with AAA backup|
|Golf Buddy Tour GPS Range Finder||All available courses in North America/20,000||None||Backlit color LCD||Rechargeable lithium-polymer with AAA backup/14 hours|
|GolfLogix GPS by Garmin (2008 Model)||15,000/20||$39.95 annually||1.25-by-2.25-inch backlit black and white LCD||Two AA/22 hours|
|GolfLogix GPS Smart Phone Membership and Ultimate Retail Accessory Kit||24,000/varies by smartphone||$39.95 annually||N/A||N/A|
|GPS Golf Guru 4 Precise GPS/PDA Golf Rangefinder with Multi-application capabilities||20,000/200||None||3.5-inch full color touchscreen||Rechargeable/14 hours|
|IZZO Swami 1500 Golf GPS Unit||12,000/10||$9.99 annually||Black and white LCD||Rechargeable lithium ion/12 hours|
|OnPar Golf Touchscreen GPS||13,000/300||None||Full color backlit touchscreen||Rechargeable lithium ion|
|SkyCaddie SG2.5 Golf GPS (Black)||16,000/varies based on membership plan||$29.95-129.95 annually, depending on plan||120x80 backlit black and white LCD||Rechargeable lithium ion/14 hours|
|Sky Caddie SG3.5V GPS Unit||16,000/20||$29.95-129.95 annually, depending on plan||High-resolution 2.2-inch backlit color LCD||Three AAA|
|SkyCaddie SG5 Golf GPS (Black)||16,000/10||$29.95-129.95 annually, depending on plan||220x176 high-resolution backlit color LCD||Rechargeable lithium ion/14 hours|
|SkyCaddie SGX Golf GPS||30,000 pre-loaded||$29.95-129.95 annually, depending on plan||Three-inch, high-resolution transflective TFT-LCD screen||Rechargeable lithium ion/14 hours|
|Sonocaddie Auto Play Golf GPS||Pre-loaded with 18,000/30,000||None||220x176 high-resolution backlit color LCD||Rechargeable lithium ion/12 hours|
|Sonocaddie V300 Color GPS Unit||22,000/30||One-time $29.95 or $49.95 fee, depending on plan, or $5 per course after first five free downloads||2.2-inch high-resolution backlit color LCD||Rechargeable lithium ion/15 hours|
|Sonocaddie XV2 Personal Golf GPS||22,000/20||One-time $29.95 or $49.95 fee, depending on plan, or $5 per course after first five free downloads||Black and white LCD||Three AAA/10 hours|
|Sureshot GPS Golf System||14,000/10||$29.95-199.95 annually, depending on plan||Full color backlit LCD||Rechargeable lithium ion/typically lasts for 36 holes|
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Top customer reviews
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Build quality: All three units are rugged, with great fit-and-finish. The Garmin gets the nod, because it's waterproof. The Callaway is water-resistant, and you can purchase a watertight skin for an outrageous $24.99 to protect it further. The SkyCaddie is not recommended for use in the rain.
Size: The Callaway uPro is the smallest and thinnest, about the size of an LG Chocolate phone. The SG3 is similar height and width to the uPro, but much thicker and heavier. The biggest of all is the Garmin, the size of an iPhone and four times as thick. It's wide, heavy, and not good for the pocket.
Accuracy: The three units properly mapped my home course, agreeing on nearly all distances (within 6 yards of each other) and hazards.
GPS acquisition: The old-technology SG3 takes forever to acquire GPS, sometimes more than five minutes. Both the Garmin and the uPro acquire satellites almost instantly. The uPro has technology that, once it locks onto satellites, it really keeps them. After locking on, I took the unit indoors, and even put it in my pants pocket. It never had to re-acquire. Advantage: uPro.
Getting courses: The Garmin wins handily. All 10,000+ available courses come preloaded in its 1GB memory. No annual fees, no paid memberships. The Garmin Approach G5 offered every course I cared to search. Of course, your mileage may vary.
To make the most of your SkyCaddie, you need to pay for an annual membership on their website, and download courses individually. Some SkyCaddie memberships allow you to download as many courses as you want from all over the world...however, the unit's paltry memory will only hold a few at a time. The uPro also requires that you sign up on their website (no annual memberships, though). With the uPro, Basic Mode (an alphanumeric color screen that resembles that of a SkyCaddie) is free for unlimited courses. For Pro Mode (the nifty aerial photography view of each course) you pay for only the courses you wish to play, a la carte. Your first Pro Mode course is free.
Information: All units show distances to the front/middle/back of greens. The SG3 also shows hazards on the same screen, but it doesn't give you hazard carry distances, like the uPro does. The Garmin shows the entire hole, including hazards. But showing the entire hole means that the illustrations of hazards are tiny, as is the accompanying yardage text. Coupled with the Garmin's dim display, it's pretty useless. Curiously, the Garmin apparently doesn't consider trees to be obstacles, so they're not represented at all on the graphical display. The uPro (in Pro Mode) shows every tree and hazard - in fact, the entire hole, as photographed from satellite. It's like viewing my actual course (including my house!) from above. There's absolutely nothing like it.
On the home screen, both the SG3 and the uPro also give you the time of day, battery strength, and GPS signal strength. The Garmin gives you none of the above. You need to briefly press the power button to see the time. It also shows a battery icon, but that never moved during my round.
Battery: The Garmin and SG3 both take AA batteries, whether alkaline, NiMh rechargeable, or lithium ion. With any AA type, both units easily complete at least two rounds. The uPro uses a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Unlike SkyCaddie models that use internal lithium ion batteries, which are a real horror show to replace (SkyCaddie recommends you send the unit back), the Callaway uPro battery easily drops in. Callaway says it takes three hours to charge, but it didn't take me anywhere near that long. UPro battery life is 6-12 hours, depending on how bright you set the display's backlight. With my display settings (see Display, below), I easily completed a round with plenty to spare. As far as battery preferences go: For some, constantly recharging and changing out AAs is a grind. For others, recharging (and eventually, re-purchasing) internal lithium-ion batteries ($27 for the uPro) is just as bad, especially considering that the battery can leave you high and dry mid-round if you forget to charge it the night before. To each his own.
Display: The SG3 is monochrome, so it doesn't stand a chance. Its display is dim and boring, but it does give you a button on the side for a backlight. The screen sizes on the SG3 and uPro are nearly identical. The Garmin's touchscreen display is nearly iPhone-big, and drop-dead gorgeous...when you're at home. Take it outside, and it washes out to the point of uselessness. Worse yet, to save power, the display times out a few seconds after you touch it, making it even dimmer. You touch the screen to wake it up, but when you touch the screen, the unit thinks you want to measure a distance, so the measurement feature pops up. You need to hit the "Done" button to exit that. There's no way to increase the screen timeout or disable the screen dimming feature. Also, since the Garmin is a touchscreen, it's a massive fingerprint magnet, so it only looks pretty for the first hole. The uPro wins the display contest handily, with a bright and functional screen. You can play two ways: graphically (Pro Mode), showing the course via aerial photography, or with big, bright alphanumeric text (Basic Mode). Since golf courses have very low contrast (lots of green color and not much else), I defaulted to the Basic Mode for easy readability. For the aerial view, you can always hit the Pro Mode button on the side of the unit, as it's much more useful around the green. The uPro's default setting is to power-save the display after (I think) 45 seconds. Unlike the Garmin, which dims its display, the uPro goes blank until you hit a button, which is an enormous buzzkill. Fortunately, you can get around this. You can change to a longer timeout, or disable standby altogether. As the uPro has a very bright display, what I did was take the backlight down to 25% (from a default 70%), and disabled standby completely. I easily completed a round with plenty of battery life to spare this way. The uPro and the Garmin use a reflective LCD technology that actually makes the display brighter in direct sunlight. The uPro's version of this technology worked far better than the Garmin's. The only time the Garmin display looked remotely readable was when you aimed it directly at the sun.
Just for fun, I took along my iPod Touch 2G, to compare all the displays outdoors. I figured that the iPod's conventional LCD wouldn't compete with the reflective technology of the Garmin and the uPro. Wrong. The iPod destroyed both of them. It wasn't even close. So, if you have an iPhone (the iPod Touch won't do GPS), you may want to look into the golf GPS apps at the App Store. If you do decide to use an iPhone, just remember, it won't stand up to being dropped, kicked, and tossed around like these three ruggedized units, and it for sure ain't the least bit water-resistant.
Hole-to-Hole: The simpler SkyCaddie wins here. It automatically advances to the next hole. If there's any confusion (you're playing past the current hole, for example), it'll ask you if you want to move to the next hole. If you're starting on Number 10, for example, the SkyCaddie makes that selection easier as well, with a grid from which you can select holes via cursor. The Callaway Auto Hole Advance is kind of a drag. If you're anywhere near the green, Auto-Advance jumps to the next hole. You can't measure your 40-yard pitch to the current green. And when they say Auto, they mean Auto. In Auto-Advance mode, there's no way to back up to the current hole, or any previous hole, for that matter. The only way out is to go to either Manual Advance, or Manual Advance With Prompt (it asks you to press the center button to advance). Hitting a button on each hole is tedious. The Garmin Auto-Advances sequentially, but if you jump around (skipping a couple of holes to get around slow play), you need to touch the screen arrows for each hole advance.
Settings: The Garmin gives you almost nothing to customize, as it is both very intelligently designed and extremely automated. It would have been nice to be able to crank the screen brightness, or at least extend the timeout. Both the SG3 and the uPro give you a host of settings to mess with, including screen brightness (contrast only with the SG3), hole advance preferences, and much more.
Cost of ownership: The Garmin and uPro are color, so they're not cheap. If you want to compare apples to apples, you could go to the color SkyCaddie SG5, but be advised that the SG3, SG4, and SG5 are virtually identical in functionality, screen size - basically, EVERYTHING - so you're paying almost $150 more for color alone, which is the cost of a whole 20-inch color TV. (My SG3 is discontinued, so now I'm quoting price from the replacement SG4.) Couple that with the amazing wow factor of both the Garmin and the uPro, and the top-of-the-line color SkyCaddie SG5 is a terrible deal. To the SkyCaddie's cost of ownership, add their totally outrageous annual membership fees. SkyCaddie also charges ridiculous sums of money for stuff like plastic cart mounts and batteries. The Garmin wins here, hands-down, with all available courses preloaded into memory. No fees whatsoever! For accessories, RAM Mounts makes a rock-solid, relatively reasonably-priced cart mount for the Garmin. The uPro, while not requiring you to pay for a membership, makes you download each course. They're all free, if you want to use only Basic Mode. But if you want what makes the unit famous and awesome, which is Pro Mode video previews and flyovers of each hole, you need to pay. If you go for a 20-course package, for example, that's $60. It's still cheaper for most people than SkyCaddie, because there's no annual fee. And the more courses you buy, the cheaper it gets per course. However, uPro accessories such as cart mounts are rarely discounted, and you'll pay more for their little plastic add-ons than you would pay for a complete multi-handset cordless phone system or a new DVD player.
Extras: Each unit has (or will soon have, in the uPro's case) the ability to track scores and aggregate player information. I don't use any of that stuff. No amount of button-pushing or touch-screening could beat the ease and speed of marking stuff down with a pencil.
Wow Factor: The SkyCaddie is deadly dull, with zero Wow Factor, but highly functional. One would think the Garmin, with its big, beautiful touchscreen, would win. However, the screen is just too dim to view the image-based interface in normal outdoor lighting. The Callaway uPro, with its unique video flyovers of every hole, is the winner. While the flyovers may not be great outdoors (golf courses are green-on-green-on-green, so there's little contrast), they're great for previewing new courses in your home before you travel. Beyond that, the uPro comes with several preloaded video tutorials to help you get the most from the unit, and an earbud is in the box, so you can listen to the video narration. Voice Recognition, to allow you to change settings, holes, etc. by voice command, is built into the Callaway uPro, and they say it'll be activated by late 2009.
Summary: Not one of these units is perfect, but the Callaway uPro is the runaway winner. It's simple to use, highly customizable, deadly accurate, super-fast, and gorgeous to view. 2nd place goes to the SkyCaddie, even with its monochrome screen, pokey operation, and 20th Century technology. The Garmin comes in last, even though it's the most sophisticated, intelligent, beautiful, automated piece, made by people who really know GPS. The thing is just too dim to use outdoors.
Out of the Box Experience
The first thing that strikes you about the UPro is its small size. It slips comfortably in and out of the pocket and does not dig you in the thigh as you take your stance (unless you are one of the younger tour pros who seem to like to wear skin tight pants on the golf course, but then a credit card would pose problems for those guys).
Initial set up of the unit was straightforward: the "getting started" leaflet and the player's guide were easy to follow and for those who like a little more handholding, the website has a couple of interactive demos. Hooking the UPro up to the computer , registering and downloading courses was neither problematic not unacceptably slow over a broadband connection; the synchronization software seemed a little rough around the edges, but did it's job.
Navigating around the various modes and functions is easy and generally intuititive using either dedicated keys on the multi-function four way key.
One point to note here is a GPS is only as good as the maps it uses and at the time I purchased my UPro, my local course was not mapped. Calloway offer a guarantee that courses deemed eligible for mapping and registered as a local course will be mapped within 4 business days of registration. I have to admit that I was extremely skeptical about this claim as my local course is not hugely popular, although it was deemed eligible for mapping. I was delighted to find that on the fourth business day after registration; my course was mapped and available for download. The mapping appears to be accurate distance wise and the ability to get free basic mode maps and purchase individual pro mode maps is, for me, preferable to the more common subscription model.
Golfing from your Armchair
One major advantage the UPro has over the competition is the ability to run in preview mode away from the course. You can measure distances from point to point on the satellite maps of the course using the "any point" feature and use the flyover feature to give you an overall impression of the hole. These features allow the user gain familiarity with a course and develop a strategy for playing it; this feature is particularly useful if you are going to play a course which is completely new to you. These features form the heart of pro mode and they have a definite ability to draw "oohs and ahhs" from your golfing buddies, especially flyover mode which should have some cheesy muzak playing in the background as you fly over to complete the "watching on TV" effect.
Golfing on the Course
Oddly, I've found that pro mode is not that useful out on the course. Basic mode provides all the information that you typically need - at a glance - while playing (distance to the green and hazards) and the mark function, which allows you to measure the actual length of your shot, is only accessible from basic mode.
While swapping between basic and pro modes is easy, using advanced pro mode features, such as layup measurement, is a little time consuming and not that easy to do accurately due to the small size of the screen. The problems get a little worse in bright sunlight as, despite Calloway's claims to the contrary, it was impossible to get the satellite maps used in pro mode to display with enough contrast to allow you to easily distinguish features. This is not surprising as golf courses are shades of green on green. Basic mode displays, which are mostly black on white, display well in strong sunlight, so this is not an issue for basic mode.
Auto hole advance is another feature, common to both pro and basic modes, that doesn't quite live up to expectations on the course. If you happen to be close to an adjacent hole with your shot, UPro will happily change the hole it thinks you are playing, which can throw you for a loop. Auto advance with prompt is just plain annoying with its constant nagging about changing holes, so manual advance seems to be the only sure fire way of moving holes only when you want to. Manual hole advance is quicker and simpler to use in basic mode (one key stroke) than in Pro mode (3 key strokes via 2 menus)...another reason to stick with basic mode while playing.
Given that UPro has much the same price point as its high end rivals but has greater functional capability, the decision to buy it was a no-brainer which I do not regret. That having been said, the features currently unique to UPro, most of which come under the pro mode umbrella, are nice to haves which are not (currently) particularly easy to use while playing, even though they do add value to the product for pre-play use.