Garmin S4 has been in the golf GPS watch market for a while now. At a point of time, it was the most evolved golf watch in the market. Now that it has been succeeded by the S6 and finally S20, the specs of S4 golf watch seem incomplete in some respects. Currently it lies in the same price range as the latest Garmin Approach S20 which has the full arsenal. All the distances are handy here except hazards. Accuracy is spot-on and reflects Garmin’s brand reliability. The usability is a breeze. The big problem is that hazard distances are not provided even though layup and doglegs are given
- Consistently accurate yardages
- Distances to doglegs, layups
- Ability to input custom hazard points
- Pin positioning for distance to the pins
- Single-press Green View
- Smart notifications
- 30,000 preloaded courses and free updates
- No pre-mapped hazards
Garmin Approach S4 GPS watch is a very sporty watch with a clear interface. At debut it was the state-of-the-art wearable for golf. We loved the high contrast touchscreen dial of the watch. Its display is 1-inch in diameter. This screen entertains both negative and positive polarity. This is a high-resolution display (128 x 128) which can be easily read in the sunlight. It keeps the operation quite easy even with the gloves on.
The round dial of Garmin S4 has four buttons on the diagonal points of a cross on its face. Out of these, one is dedicated to the Green View functionality, which is a highly relevant feature.
The watch weighs only 58.4g and it seems imperceptible on your wrist. The strap is a perforated all through the length which brings relief to your wrist on the hot and humid days.
The GPS watch is charged using a regular USB charger connected to a wall charger.
The highlights of its functionality include:
The Garmin Approach S4 gives you instant access to the Green View via a button on the side. This view gives you the correct layout and contours of the green. So you will know where to aim no matter where you are standing relative to the course, even if you are standing behind it.
The distances to the front, middle and back of the greens are given. Distances to doglegs are also available. The distance to the center is displayed on the middle of the screen. The front and back distances lodge at the top or bottom of the center distance.
Whatever golfers’ opinion about the S4 be, they all concur on the fact that, this perhaps is one of the most accurate GPS watches in the market. And it tells the right distances consistently. Varied discrepancies in distances are more annoying than a consistent error which can be offset. Fortunately with S4, you don’t have to worry about either issue.
The major advantage of Green View and the reason why it was brought to the forefront in Garmin S4 GPS watch is the pin positioning functionality. You can manually position the pin on the greens by dragging it on the touchscreen with your finger. You will immediately get your distance. This helps you strategize better.
Although the Garmin Approach S4 does not give you hazard distances automatically, it allows you to save custom points. So you can input and save the hazards yourself. But since S20 now provides pre-mapped hazards, why would you want to go into the trouble?
The S4 can connect to your iPhone via Bluetooth and relay notifications received on the phone. This includes email and text notifications. You can even read the texts on your watch face. Tap the face to zoom in and scroll down to read the whole text.
Preloaded courses and updates:
Garmin has perhaps the most expansive library of golf course maps because of their wonderful legacy in golf GPS devices. The S4 boasts of 30,000 courses preloaded. The updates are free for your lifetime, so new courses and changes in existing courses will be reflected in the device.
Although seemingly a simple device, the S4 gives you other parameters. You have the shot distance measurement. It also has a digital scorecard for 1 player. Scorecard alerts you after every shot if you use it at the first hole. You can view and share your scorecard with other players. S4 calculates the Greens in regulation. Fairways hit and number of putts for the round are also displayed.
The reason Garmin Approach S4 GPS watch is still flying off the shelves is its usability. Usually packing touchscreen on a 1” diameter compromises the ease of use. But Garmin has kept the interface smart and intuitive by collaborating the buttons and the screen. The Bluetooth connectivity is quite smooth unless you move out of the Bluetooth range. In that case, the connection drops. You have to reconnect manually once you are back in the range. This can be annoying if you tend to leave your phone in the golf cart.
Like most Garmin devices, Garmin Connect enriches the user experience of S4 as well. It allows you to log your scores and progress over time. Many metrics give you progressive trends like average putts, average score by par, total fairways hit percentage etc. You can check you stats and also download and print them to flaunt them around.
The battery life of the Garmin S4 is 10 hours on GPS mode. It lasts through 6 weeks on watch mode. This was a huge achievement over the existing battery lives at the time of S4’s debut. The S20 can go up to 15 hours on one charge. The S4 watch is available in 3 colors. One is completely black with a black ring around the display. Another is black with small blue highlights and a lighter screen. For the sportier folks, there’s the white version.
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While the S2 is a simple gadget, the S4 upgraded itself in terms of usability, rather than golf information. Golfers who like to get only limited distance information but enjoy the touchscreen features will like the S4. Its other functions are also quite intuitive. We depend on our distance measurement devices for accuracy, and the S4 does not disappoint. It is a very comfortable wearable too. The screen’s response is fast but does not emulate the responsiveness of smartphones. Since S3 has the custom hazard mapping option, we wish the S4 had upgraded to show pre-mapped hazards. If this yardage is not important to you, Garmin Approach S4 is a nifty and stylish golf GPS watch to sport. Or else there’s always Garmin Approach S6 Golf GPS Watch.