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Callaway iQ Laser Rangefinder - (REVIEW)


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GEAR REVIEW: Callaway iQ Laser Rangefinder

iQ closed.jpg

 

MOTIVATION TO REVIEW:

Previously I have used a dedicated GPS unit (Golflogix) and an app for my iPhone (Golfshot GPS). While both of the GPS solutions provided distance information that helped me play better, they both have faults (annual contract, battery consumption, slow satellite connection, and etc.) that motivated me to seek a comparison with a laser rangefinder. The immediacy of the laser measurement, the ability to pick seemingly unlimited targets, the self-contained nature of the unit, and the adjustment for elevation were all attractive components of the laser rangefinder that I hoped to explore.

 

iQ lens.jpg

iQ aim.jpg

 

COSMETICS AND FEEL

Ascetically, I find the Callaway iQ Laser Rangefinder quite pleasing. The unit is compact and easily fits comfortably in hand when in use. The buttons are simple to find while looking through the unit and depress with the appropriate amount of pressure. The battery is easy to install, even with the cover on. The cover of the unit fits snugly and is a great feature. The cover has an attached carabineer that can be easily attached to seemingly anything. You can see from the photo how it attached to my Clicgear. The lens cover fits snugly over the front lenses when not in use due to the presence of a well-placed magnet at the top of the unit. I would only make two suggestions for future models. First, I would like to see a cover for the eyepiece lens. This may be a personal preference, but I like to have all lenses covered when not in use. The second suggestion is to offer the cover in other colors, or perhaps in all black. Personally, I love the orange piping as it matches my cart, but the orange may be too bold for some.

 

GRADE: 23/25 (unless you are anti-orange, but that is really your issue)

 

USE ON THE COURSE

Looking nice and feeling great are not enough to shell out hard earned money for a golf gadget. Performance on the course is a must. Again, my expectation of the iQ is that will give me the ranges that I need for club selection and avoid the irritation that came with GPS use. Keep in mind as you read this that the Callaway iQ is the first laser that I have used on the course.

 

Ease of Use

I don't care how helpful something is, if it is not easy to use, I am not going to use it. The Callaway iQ is very easy to use, especially if you are only targeting the pin. You put the unit to your eye. Works great with and without glasses on. You press the button to turn on the unit and the targeting reticule. You site in your target and press the same button again. Instantly, you will see two distance readings: The top reading is linear distance and the lower right is distance adjusted for slope. Additionally, when there is a slope, the will display an up or down graphic.

iQ top.jpg

 

One of the advertised features of the Callaway iQ is the ability to work in various light conditions. This is amazing. The unit arrived at my house in the late afternoon. I immediately opened it up and went out to laze the neighborhood. Initially, the display was the standard black, but as it got a bit darker, the display lit up orange. Very easy to see and use. If you are on Dawn Patrol or have ever finished up that last hole in near dark, this feature is not to be overlooked. Also, although it started as a silly exercise, lazing the neighborhood was eye opening for me in terms of distance. Knowing that the palm tree is 115 yards from my porch should help me gauge distance better in the future. The other thing that was immediately apparent is that the Nikon lenses in the IQ are very nice.

 

On the Course

fog.jpg

On the course, the Callaway iQ was great under what I would consider less than ideal laser conditions. As you can see from the photo, it was a foggy morning when I got out to play. For the distances that mattered, the laser never missed a measurement. No lag in powering up. Immediate distances. I really liked the ability to shoot multiple targets by holding down the button. Not once did I shoot the pin and fail to get a measurement. The only time that the unit had difficulties was shooting yard markers for the second shot on the par fives. I could get total distance by shooting the flag, but the iQ struggled to hit some of the smaller targets. Again, it was foggy. I am curious to see how this plays out on a full sun round. Another weakness seems to be targeting flat objects like bunkers and water. It seems like the GPS units have an advantage here, but it may just be that I am a beginner with the laser and will get better at measuring with time.

iQ Cart.jpg

 

I know that the laser saved me at least one stroke on the course. According to the marker, I was about 85 yards out. The iQ said 103, and 106 with slope. In defense of the course, it was a blue flag, but it was not 15-20 yards back of center. I switched to the GW, rather than the SW I would have hit short. I am believer that using this unit will save me strokes.

 

Other uses: Practice

Neither one of my GPS options are worth a damn on the driving range. Here the laser is amazing. I need to know exact distances when I practice so I know what to club to pick on the course. After quickly using the laser to measure all of the flags (and other objects) on the course, I could practice with a better understanding of how far I was actually hitting.

 

My course also has three practice holes that you can rent to practice short game on. I went out with the laser and marked off 100 yards in 25-yard increments. Again, this is something that the GPS cannot do.

 

ON THE COURSE SCORE: 50/50

 

VALUE

The price of the iQ unit at the Callaway online shop is $429.95 with Amazom.com having the unit for $399.99. This is similar in pricing to the other companies offerings for laser rangefinders with slope. Keep in mind that this unit's color changing optics are not found in the other units. The usefulness of this feature will vary from player to player, but I personally was pleased when the reticule turned orange at dusk. This is a unit that will earn its price on the course as I can see one using it nearly every single shot. The only question in value may be one of longevity, but should there be a problem with the unit, I would expect Callaway's excellent customer service to take care of you.

 

VALUE SCORE: 24/25

 

SUMMARY

The Callaway iQ laser rangefinderis an amazing device. It seems impossible to me that someone could use the iQ on the course and not sing its praises. It is compact, simple to use, and works when you need it too. The laser vs. GPS debate has been done many times, both having their strengths and weaknesses. Is the iQ better than a $200 GPS or $30 iPhone App? Truly that is for you to decide. However, having used all three options, the Callaway iQ is the only rangefinder that I will be using on the course.

 

OVERALL SCORE: 96/100

 

 

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

From the Callaway web site: http://www.callawayr...ucts/iqrefresh/

 

iQ WITH ACTIVE BRIGHTNESSS CONTROL AND SLOPE

The iQ Rangefinder with new LCD technology is our most advanced Laser Rangefinder for tour caddies and players. iQ's Active Brightness Control Viewfinder is designed to offer the advantages of both conventional LCD and LED display in order to provide better visibility and contrast in varying light conditions. Weighing less than 1/2 lb., the iQ fits in your pocket and is capable of ranging more than 1/2 mile. With iQ, know your carry distance to the target every time to speed up play and simplify club choice for any shot.

 

iQ calculates distance to the target based on incline or decline data as well as the actual distance to the target, taking the guesswork out of your club choice and speeding up play. Both distances are locked into the reticle by acquiring your distance and releasing the power button. iQ has a measurement range of 11-915yds.

 

• 6X Magnification

• Wider and Brighter field of view

• Fast, simple one-touch measurements

• Nikon's First Target Priority Mode

• .1 yard increment reading on LCD *

• Waterproof and Fogproof - filled with nitrogen gas, sealed with O-rings (except battery chamber)

• Superior Multi-coated Nikon optics

• Long Eye Relief for eyeglass-wearer easy viewing

• Focusing diopter

• Capable of distancing different targets in succession by keeping the button pressed for :20 secs

• Compact, lightweight design

• Includes 3 volt CR2 lithium battery

 

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Volvo Intorqueo

 

All the cool kids follow me on twitter: @golfspy_dave

 

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Nice review, buddy. I did not realize that the display changed from grey to orange, that's a REALLY cool feature. I know that the Leupold GX-3 and 4 are always red, which I love. Good shot in that picture...laying, what, 6? :lol:

 

Thanks for the vote of confidence... :rolleyes:

No lie, that is the rare animal called a GIR. I would have missed it too had I not used the laser because the yardage marker was about 10 yards off. Laser allowed me to actually hit the right club.

Volvo Intorqueo

 

All the cool kids follow me on twitter: @golfspy_dave

 

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Nice review, buddy. I did not realize that the display changed from grey to orange, that's a REALLY cool feature. I know that the Leupold GX-3 and 4 are always red, which I love. Good shot in that picture...laying, what, 6? :lol:

 

Thanks for the vote of confidence... :rolleyes:

No lie, that is the rare animal called a GIR. I would have missed it too had I not used the laser because the yardage marker was about 10 yards off. Laser allowed me to actually hit the right club.

Volvo Intorqueo

 

All the cool kids follow me on twitter: @golfspy_dave

 

If you are not a cool kid, following me on twitter will make you cool...

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Thanks for the vote of confidence... :rolleyes:

No lie, that is the rare animal called a GIR. I would have missed it too had I not used the laser because the yardage marker was about 10 yards off. Laser allowed me to actually hit the right club.

 

You know I'm joking. The real question is: did you make the putt? And what are you putting with these days?

 

Back on topic, what is the actual retail price for this laser? Is it priced comparably to the Bushnell's and Leupold's or a bit below?

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Nice work, Sactown. I definitely prefer rangefinders to GPS myself (although the new Bushnell is intriguing). Can't wait to see what's next.

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You know I'm joking. The real question is: did you make the putt? And what are you putting with these days?

 

Back on topic, what is the actual retail price for this laser? Is it priced comparably to the Bushnell's and Leupold's or a bit below?

Missed the bird, but made the 3 inch tap in par with the copper twisty Byron.

 

Retail on the laser is $429.99

Volvo Intorqueo

 

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Quick Update

Played a round at a different course last Sunday and once again I am impressed with the iQ laser. Two areas of note.

 

First, one of my playing partners uses an older model laser from a different company and after trying the iQ his response was "Wow, that's fast."

 

Second, for some reason, I decided to play a large portion of my second shots from the trees. I know that making a hard game harder is not ideal, but the iQ was a champ at picking out the flag even when the trees and other obstructions were in the field of view.

 

Will update this thread more with use, but so far I continue to be impressed with the unit.

Volvo Intorqueo

 

All the cool kids follow me on twitter: @golfspy_dave

 

If you are not a cool kid, following me on twitter will make you cool...

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  • 2 weeks later...
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Finished at dusk last Sunday.

The switch in the to the orange display was awesome and made finishing possible.

 

It did not keep my 2nd shot three wood in on the par 5 from finding the sand though... ;)

Volvo Intorqueo

 

All the cool kids follow me on twitter: @golfspy_dave

 

If you are not a cool kid, following me on twitter will make you cool...

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I'm currently testing the Leupold against my Bushnell, and I am VERY intrigued by the Callaway's ability to switch between the gray and orange displays. If this works well, as Sactown seems to indicate that it does, I would probably lean towards Callaway.

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For a prospective range finder buyer, Would you go with the Callaway model or another brand?

While I have been trying to contact Bushnell to get one of their new hybrid GPS/Laser rangefinders to test, I can't imagine that another laser-only unit would work better than the Callaway iQ. I would definitely give a buy recommendation to someone looking for a high quality laser.

Volvo Intorqueo

 

All the cool kids follow me on twitter: @golfspy_dave

 

If you are not a cool kid, following me on twitter will make you cool...

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