Review: Izzo SWAMI 1500 GPS

Does the SWAMI really know all?

How much do you need your GPS to know?  There are GPS units that can show you pictures, some that you can touch the screen to pin-point your place on the hole, there are others that map the course by walking it, but for the most part, you need a GPS to tell you how far you are from the hole, and you want it done with some accuracy.

The SWAMI claims to know all, so does it?  I have to admit I was a bit skeptical because of the lack of buttons and user input, I wondered how well it would work.  But much to my surprise and delight it worked seamlessly, just as it claims.

So lets start from the beginning.  It is packaged in nice small box with charger, CD driver and manual, the SWAMI GPS unit and a belt clip.  After reading a little bit I was disappointed that I couldn’t connect it to my iMac to set it up.  This is a PC only GPS.  This was just a minor incontinence, I just took it to work to use on my PC laptop.  I loaded the disc as required and within seconds I was setting up the GPS.  IZZO claims to have 12,000 courses already mapped and ready for download.  But it just so happened that 3 out of the 5 that I would soon be playing were not mapped.  So I put in a request and within 3 days I got an email back saying they were mapped.  That is flat out amazing and awesome in my book. The unit itself only holds 10 courses so it is important that you plan ahead a little. It does cost $35/ year for unlimited courses, which isn’t too bad of a deal.  So year one is going to cost you $185, still making this about the cheapest GPS on the market.

Taking it to the course was the next big hurdle that I was curious if the SWAMI could clear.  It says that you don’t need to pick the course from a list, just turn the unit on and it will automatically find where you are located.  In about 45 seconds it did.  On my first round with the SWAMI, I had my uPro GPS and my Leupold Rangefinder for comparisons sake.  Throughout the day I would compare all three from the tee, from the fairway and even once and a while from the rough.  I was really impressed that the Swami kept up with the much more expensive units when it came to measurements.  It was never different more than three yards. Most of the time it was within one yard.  Which for me, and 99.9% of golfers is close enough.

What it offers, it does well, Front, back, and center can be measured with the push of a button (the FCB button), and distance on any hole can be found by scrolling arrow up and  arrow down.  There is no automatic hole advance, so just make sure you know what hole you are on, and make sure the SWAMI GPS is on the same one too.  I also never had a signal problem.  It picked up the satellite at about the same time it figured out what course you were on.  Power it up in the parking lot or on the first tee and in less than one minute you will be ready to play. (holding the ENT button a few seconds.)

It is light and compact so that you can wear it on your belt with a really solid well designed belt clip or, you can throw it in your pocket and it won’t bother you there either.  I didn’t drop it so I don’t know how durable it is, but the unit seemed solid.  The rechargeable batteries seemed to hold their charge forever.  I played 36 holes with it and it had barely lost a single bar of power.  The display while simple was easy to read in dark dusk condition and bright noon ones.  It is your simple black and white LCD display.

With the economy being tight, the SWAMI is the best entry level GPS and works almost perfectly.  With the awesome customer service and quick mapping you will be really happy with this unit.  It is so easy to use that even the least tech savvy person could use this unit to get accurate numbers to the green.

Yes, the IZZO SWAMI 1500 does know all the distances to the green and even which course you are playing.  It will not let you down.

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