Review: Leupold GX-4i2 Rangefinder

The Best with Slope and USGA approved
The battle between the USGA and rangefinders has certainly been an interesting one.  Devices with anything other than line of sight yardage have been deemed non-conforming for tournament play.  Any device that includes slope, club selection suggestions or anything else can not be use during a competitive round.  While some might argue the value of that rule, there are still devices made that can do such things.  Until now they were all non-conforming, but the GX-4i2 conforms.  It is the best rangefinder with slope and USGA approved.
Before you start wondering how a rangefinder with slope can be USGA approved, I’ll jump right to the key.  Leupold’s second version of the Smart Key faceplate has now pleased the USGA so that the slope can be disabled when the yellow smart key faceplace is removed and the silver one installed.  When I talked with the Leupold execs. they explained the GX-4i is still non-conforming, but the GX-4i2 does conform.  The basic reason given by the USGA is that the old faceplate didn’t hold enough information on it, thus someone could cheat with the silver plate if they knew how to engage the slope features.  Now the faceplate hold all of the codes to enable slope.  To me it seems ridiculous because if someone is going to cheat with a rangerfinder, that really is the least of our worries because they still have to hit the ball, other methods of cheating seem way more crucial to the game, but I’m not part of the USGA so, it is what it is.

The Leupold GX-4i2 has 2 major changes in this new model.  I already mentioned the new Smart Key faceplate; Yellow is non-conforming, silver is conforming.  They now have more power, or more disabling power than the previous one.  The other new addition is the PinHunter technology is improved.  While I have been impressed by the previous PinHunter tech, the advances are impressive.  The one knock on laser rangefinders, especially Leupolds has been the shaky hand.  Because of the smaller size of the rangefinder and typical one-handed use, someone with shaky hands would often miss the pin or have trouble getting an accurate reading of their desired target.  PinHunter2 technology is legit good.  I could get really accurate readings even as I was shivering in the cold this spring.  I rarely shot twice and never a 3rd time because I got a correct reading on the first shot.  If there was ever a prism it beeped instantly.

Even with a shaky hand, got the exact distance to the flag.

The rest of the Leupold GX-4i2 hasn’t changed from previous models.  The size is the same, the OLED red display are the same, the 6x mag is the same, the crystal clear optics are the same, the prism lock beep is the same and all the slope features remain the same.  .  Just looking at it and using it for a short time probably wouldn’t make the new features stick out, but on the course, even just one round, the PinHunter2 was very noticeable.  While Leupolds have always been fast, this one is faster and more accurate.

One feature that has been included before is TGR (True Golf Range) which helps you figure out exactly what club you’ll need to hit for your skills and the adjusted yardage.  It can be set to account for your normal distances, plus altitude, temperature and slope.  It is pretty impressive to tune the rangefinder for your game.  It takes a little time setting things up, but I was pretty impressed by how accurate it was to what I needed for certain shots.  The only thing it can’t account for is wind.  I would see this feature extremely useful for a beginning golfer if they are honest when they put in their yardages during set up.

Leupold rangefinders have been my go to rangefinder for at least 6 years.  The GX-4i2 now allows me to have the best of both worlds.  I can install the yellow smart key faceplate and get all the bells and whistles during practice rounds, and then switch over to the silver faceplate and be USGA conforming for more competitive rounds.  Being conforming is one of the biggest selling points, but the new PinHunter2 technology is really good too for even the shakiest of hands.  Those two features make it the best rangefinder with slope + USGA approved

For more information:

Quick Hits
+USGA conforming w/ silver faceplate
+Full slope features w/ yellow faceplate
+Compact and rugged
+PinHunter2 technology is faster and more accurate
+Excellent OLED red display
+Prism lock

–Getting up there in cost