Garmin Z82 vs Bushnell Pro XE

Stepping into the high-end laser rangefinder market, we have these two superb products, the Garmin Approach Z82 and the Bushnell Pro XE golf laser rangefinders. Both are incredible devices bringing everything and more you’d expect from two of the game’s most formidable competitors.

Garmin Z82

Bushnell Pro XE

4.5 out of 5

4.8 out of 5

  • Slope Compensation

  • PinPointer Feature

  • Flag Lock Stabilization

  • 41,000 Preloaded Courses

  • Green View

  • Hazard View

  • Wind Speed/Direction

  • Tournament Legal

  • Accurate to within 1 foot

  • Slope with Elements Compensation

  • Slope On/Off Switch

  • Pin Seeker Technology

  • Visual Jolt Technology

  • Magnetic Cart Mount

  • Tournament Legal

  • Accurate to within 1 yard

The main differences between them revolve around the GPS and Bluetooth connectivity features the Garmin Approach Z82 laser range finder offers and a host of other additional golf features. At the same time, Bushnell’s accuracy and magnetic BITE system are just the tips of the appeal.

We will look at the standard features these devices share and the differences that separate them, and in the end, you can decide for yourself which one you prefer – either way, your golf game is going to change for the better!

Both devices are tournament legal as although they offer the slope and elevation features and the Bushnell Pro XE has the “Plays Like” feature, which considers barometric pressure and temperature, these features are easily toggled off and on with the touch of a button.

Not only that, but the Garmin Approach Z82 golf laser rangefinder has a ‘Tournament’ mode indicator light that shows your playing group that the features that would render it illegal under the revised golf rules governing the use of Distance Measuring Devices (DMD’s)  are disabled during play.

The Bushnell Pro XE laser rangefinder has a slide switch on the side that shows an illuminated red crescent when the slope mode is active – either way, there is no cheating with these devices.

bushnell pro xe uses laser range arc feature and slope switch technology

To be clear on the current rules regarding legal devices, the USGA amended its ruling in 2016 to allow DMD’s that had slope and elevation features to be used during tournaments, provided those features or modes could be deactivated.

Bushnell Pro XE vs Garmin Approach Z82 – Pricing

These are both premium products, and the price reflects that.

While you can, of course, get similar features for less money, after reading what these two beauties have to offer, you may not want to opt for the more economy-priced options!

Bushnell Pro XE vs Garmin Z82 Golf Laser Rangefinders – Accuracy & Range

Bushnell has been making superb quality optics for decades now, and that reputation is well known, while Garmin made their name for GPS devices and their accuracy, so with either of these, you will be accurate.

The Bushnell Pro XE has a range of 5-1300 yards and accuracy to 1 yard, so this certainly is a device you could utilize for other outdoor range-finding activities! The Garmin Approach Z82 ranges 450 yards and is accurate to within 10 inches!

garmin approach vs bushnell pro xe, both provide accurate distances with image stabilization

For most golfers, an accurate rangefinder has accuracy to 3-5 yards is more than enough, with only the scratch players or better-requiring pinpoint yardages. If you are not in the very low single figure bracket, either of these will do – and even if you are, you will not go wrong with the Bushnell Pro XE or the Garmin Approach Z82.

Z82 Vs XE – Pre-loaded Courses

Garmin golf GPS has pre-loaded more than 42 000 courses on current GPS watches, and the Garmin Approach Z82 comes equally well equipped. Garmin also provides lifetime free course updates once the rangefinder is connected to the app and can download course updates as they become available.

The Bushnell Pro XE golf GPS comes with 38 000 pre-loaded courses, and unless you are globetrotting, this will be more than enough to cover any course you might play, especially in the USA.

Remember that the Bushnell Pro XE laser rangefinder was launched in 2019, and the Approach Z82 was released in April 2020, so both would probably have more courses loaded to them now.

Either way, your rangefinder will know what course you are on!

Laser Rangefinder – Battery Life & Waterproofing

When it comes to laser rangefinders, some opt for fixed non-rechargeable batteries while others go for the rechargeable option. The Bushnell Pro XE has the lithium CR2 battery included, while the Garmin Approach Z82 has the rechargeable one and connects via USB.

playslike distance feature is helpful for blind shots with precise distances

The Garmin’s battery life would last around 15 hours, so about three rounds of golf, while the Bushnell Pro XE’s battery would last considerably longer, around 80-100 rounds of golf, before needing replacement.

Now, if you are the type of golfer that could forget to charge your device (and have done before), you will know the sheer frustration of realizing that your rangefinder is not going to survive the round.

So you are either frantically charging it in your car on the way or leaving it at home! If this is you, opt for the Bushnell Pro XE!

Both golf rangefinders are rated IXP7 waterproof, so if your cart ends up in the lake or your get caught in a passing storm, your rangefinders will emerge unscathed.

Garmin Approach Z82 Vs Bushnell Pro XE – What Do You See

The optical clarity of the Bushnell Pro XE laser rangefinder is genuinely exceptional, and if you ever wanted a reason why you’d want to spend more on a premium product, this is the reason. Aside from the other features, the view that displays distances is crystal clear, much clearer than earlier models.

Of course, with Bushnell’s pedigree of superior quality optics, this would be expected in a premium rangefinder from them, and they do not disappoint. The yardage numbers in the display are equally clear and bright red, and you get the green yardages to the standard front/middle/back as expected.

The Garmin Approach Z82 also has excellent optics using an OLED screen, but the most impressive feature is the 2D overlay you get on the hole. This stands out as it gives your distances to the front, back, and middle of the greens, as well as what you can expect to see on the hole.

Then Garmin Approach Z82 also offers image stabilizers, so if your hands have a shake or you are cold or pumped with adrenaline, you will still get a clear, stable view through the viewfinder.

gps functionality on an accurate laser rangefinder with slope switch technology

It also provides distances to layups and doglegs and any hidden hazards that may lie in wait for the unsuspecting and ill-equipped golfer. Another great feature is the driver distance option.

Once activated, this will ask you to input your average driver distance – be honest here- and when you tee up on the hole, the rangefinder will display an arc across the view to show you where you could expect your ball to land.

This is a simple yet innovative feature as often you are not sure if your drive could end up in a hazard, and then you need to decide whether to go for it or not based on estimates.

With the driver feature, you can be confident before you swing whether the driver is the right club or whether you need to club down, take 3-wood or 4-iron and leave the big dog in the bag for this one!

Flag Lock And ‘Jolt’

Each brand has its version of ‘lock-on,’ and the Garmin Approach Z82 and Bushnell Pro XE are the same. Bushnell Pro XE has the “Jolt,” that slight vibration when the rangefinder locks onto the flag, and the Garmin has the same.

Each laser rangefinder offers both visual and vibrational confirmation that the flag distance is accurate, and no matter how many times you check the yardages, it will come back the same.

With some of the lower-end models, you often find that aiming and pointing at the flag may offer some inconsistent readings, but the accuracy on these devices is superb, and when that red ring shows up, you know you are locked on!

amazingly accurate distance for uphill and downhill shots using slope compensation

With these premium rangefinders, the acquisition of gps distance to the target is also rapid, almost instantaneous, and this level of response almost makes you feel like a Pro! Some may feel that the extra money spent may not be worth it, but like driving a Porsche over a Ford, it’s the little extra things that make the difference -and those are worth it!

Bushnell Pro XE vs Garmin Approach Z82 – Slope & Elevation Features

Both devices can utilize slope compensation technology and elevation, while the Bushnell Pro XE rangefinder takes this to another level by incorporating atmospheric data into the slope adjusted distances. Barometric pressure, temperature, and elevation are all factored into the yardage.

This is the ‘Elements’ factor, and the ‘E’ in XE relates to this unique feature; while the Garmin has this option, you can only access it when connected to the app, which we will look at later on.

Again, where you need super-accurate distances for your game, this will be appreciated by players at that level of skill as it covers all the possible factors to give you the most precise yardage possible.

The Garmin Approach Z82 has the “Plays Like” feature, which offers the slope function and elevation calculated yardages, but if you want more from both, then connect them to their respective apps, which opens up a whole new world!

The Garmin Approach Z82 golf laser rangefinder has the PinPointer feature, which will allow you to see the direction and distance to non-visible flags. If you happen to be in a position where the actual flag is not visible, the PinPointer feature will tell you where and how far it is – a great feature if you spend much time off the fairway!

The Bushnell BITE Magnet And Garmin Find

The challenge with golf rangefinders is keeping them safe and not having them fall out of their case or the bag and have some lucky golfer behind you pick it up and disappear with it – that would ruin your round.

Bushnell Rangefinders answer to that is the BITE magnet, a mighty magnet that clamps to anything steel, and many players find it helpful to have positioned on their clubs so that they can lift and look!

It can lock onto anything metal and stay there even during those slightly bumpy runs in the golf cart or uneven paths on the pushcart. Your Bushnell Pro XE golf rangefinder isn’t going ANYWHERE once the bite magnetic mount has bitten!

laser range arc feature on the garmin approach z82 and bushnell pro xe laser rangefinder for precise compensated distances

Garmin uses Garmin ‘Find’, which allows you to track the position of your Z82 if it falls off the bag or out of the case while dangling off the bag. You can backtrack your steps till you locate them.

Knowing that your golf laser rangefinder will be where you left it or can find it if it does go AWOL is great peace of mind for players who can focus on the game.

Z82 Vs. Bushnell Pro XE – Connect The Apps For More

With the Garmin Approach Z82 and the Bushnell Pro XE, the apps give you more features than the rangefinder does, taking these two devices’ experiences to the next level.

The Garmin Golf App

The Garmin Approach Z82 is one of the first laser rangefinders to incorporate GPS data through the viewfinder. Connecting to the app adds a great deal more detail to the view, like wind strength and direction, as well as everything else you need to know about the hole you are on.

But, to have these extras, you need to connect to the Garmin app on your phone, which is not a train smash at all for most players. When connected, you access a host of other features such as shot tracking, scorecard, and stats like shot distances and FIR/ GIR and putts per round.

The Bushnell App

Like the Garmin app, the Bushnell laser rangefinder golf app brings a lot more to the table, and using this gives you a gps display full-color detailed view of the hole and a 3D flyover like you see on TV. Imagine seeing the hole in 3D as you are standing on the tee!

This also gives you the complete hole layout and yardages, plus you also get course updates through wireless technology.

While you don’t NEED to use the app while playing as some golfers prefer not to have their phones with them, connecting to the respective apps adds another dimension to using these devices -so if you are going to spend the money, you may as well give this a go too!

Golf Laser Rangefinder Conclusion

While the Garmin Approach Z82 and Bushnell Pro XE are in the more costly range, there is no doubt that the quality, durability, and accuracy they offer are well worth the investment, making them 2 of the best golf rangefinders on the market. Once that will last you far into your golfing career at whatever level.

Suppose the superior optics and additional element data are your poison. In that case, the Bushnell will be your cup, or if you prefer more features and GPS assistance, then the Garmin Approach Z82 will be the choice, but truth be told, either of these will elevate your on-course experience beyond anything you have had before!

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