Review: Bushnell 1600 Pro w/Slope Rangefinder

Size Does Matter
Size can be an important factor in so many different areas of life.  When it comes to golf size can be a factor too.  How small can our carts fold up? How much stuff can we fit in one bag?  How long of a driver can we swing?  How big can our putter head be?  The list of items that depend on size even in golf is long.  So what about a rangefinder, what is the right size?
Bushnell continues to lead the rangefinder market as it has for years now.  The Bushnell 1600 is its flagship model.  It has the highest zoom and longest optical distance detection of any unit on the market.  This model in some variation has been around for many years.  The greatest feature of this unit is the pin seeker technology.  This technology seems to focus all the laser power right on the pin every time.  I only had a couple of times I needed to double shoot the flag because it missed the pin the first time and picked up the background.  It is always a good idea to at least have a sense of how far it is, just in case it misses and gives you way too much yardage.  

While slope is not USGA approved for scoring rounds, it is a nice feature to have when playing recreational rounds on those extremely hilly courses.  Bushnell first displays the line of sight distance, and then below shows the calculations based on the plus or minus in grade and the adjusted distance.  I found these calculations to be spot on with how the holes played, but it seemed a little slow, almost like the rangefinder was calculating the difference. You have to release the pinseeker button and then it shows up.  I’m not saying it was really slow, but a second or so delay seemed common.  It is not a big deal, but at first I wasn’t sure if it was working properly.  Once I figured out how it worked, I found it very easy to get the line of sight reading and then the adjusted reading right below.

So what about the size?  There are two schools of thought on this one.  Some like the larger size that takes two hands to use properly.  They like the heft and size because it cancels out some of the shaky hands that some might have.  On the flip side there are those that don’t care for the bulk and weight and prefer something a little lighter and a little smaller, something that can be used in one hand.  (Bushnell does make a until for this too, the Bushnell Tour V2)  I’m going to leave this decision up to you.  In the glove box of my pushcart, the Bushnell 1600 fit fine, but pretty much filled up the whole thing.

A couple details were really nice and one was a little bit of a let down.  The fanny pack like case is an excellent feature for keeping the Bushnell 1600 rangefinder always at hand.  I strapped it around the top of my bag and never had to take it off for riding, pushing or carrying.  The waterproof shell and fog resistant optics were nice for some steamy, rainy rounds we had in Myrtle Beach.  The extendable eyepiece is really nice to give the user just a little extra space between the rangefinder and their face.  The only issue I had was the battery cover released all by itself more than one time during use.  While it is awesome how many hours and holes of use one can get with just a 9v battery, the sliding cover that keeps that battery in and connected popped open way too easily.  I want to be able to get at the battery without the use of a screwdriver, but I don’t want to look at the cover and have it pop off either.  I think there is some room for improvement here.  But over all this unit was solid and durable and stood up to the abuse of throwing it in the compartments of a riding cart, dropping it on the seat, tossing it in on the tee box (gently) and taking it in and out of the glove box of my push cart on for multiple rounds, it still looks and works like new.

Bushnell continues to lead the market with the Pro 1600 rangefinder, and probably will do so from some time, but they must be careful not to assume the other companies aren’t going to catch up.  This model hasn’t changed much in quite a few years, so it could be time for Bushnell to get the R&D department looking into something new and better to keep their top spot in the rangefinder market.

It might be big, but it delivers excellent results finding the pin and calculating slope, hole after hole with ease.

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