Garmin is a very well-established brand in the golf GPS watch market and Golf Buddy is an emerging competitor that is making a big splash in this even bigger pool, with products that offer some top-of-the-range features at very competitive prices.
The Golf Buddy Aim W10 GPS watch brings the features of high-end golf like slope rating, green undulation, and casting to a smart device in a budget package, while the Garmin S40 GPS watch delivers great performance at a higher price point, but lacks some of the features of the W10 GPS golf watch.
Let’s look at these two side-by-side, feature for feature so you can decide which one of these would be the best overall option for your game and your lifestyle.
Are The W10 And Garmin S40 Golf GPS Watches Legal
As you may be aware, according to the amended PGA rules from 2016, golfers are allowed to wear and use Distance Measuring Devices that have slope and elevation functions in tournaments provided those features are not activated or used.
The amended rules allow for yardages and other basic functions to be used, but slope, elevation, and wind data are not allowed, and using this in a tournament would result in disqualification.
The S40 golf GPS watch does not have the slope function, but the W10 GPS watch does have slope-adjusted distances, so you would need to disable that if you want to play competitive events using this device.
The S40 GPS golf watch would be legal for tournament play and the W10 golf GPS watch would be usable without the slope feature active.
Golf Buddy Aim W10 Vs Garmin S40 – Battery Life
The Garmin S40 golf watch has a 15-hour battery life in golf mode, but realistically with the power it needs to run, the Garmin golf watch team themselves recommend charging the watch between rounds and you would be able to get two rounds of golf on a battery charge and this would be about 10 hours of battery life.
The Aim W10 GPS golf watch has the same rating in terms of battery life, rated at 10 hours in golf GPS mode and this would be two rounds similar to the Garmin S40. When it comes to battery life, the Aim W10 and Garmin S40 Garmin golf watch share the honors.
Golf Watch – Smart Features
The S40 Garmin golf watch and Aim W10 golf GPS watches both connect to smartphones via Bluetooth and so can deliver notifications from your phone to the watch during your round. For some, this may detract from the point of being on the course and NOT having the world on your wrist to interrupt you.
Email, phone calls, and message notifications would all come up on the phone screen as they come through, so any million-dollar deals can still be signed and sealed just before you tee off!
The AIW W10 golf watch does offer casting connectivity to the Golf Buddy app on your smartphone view Bluetooth which opens up a whole new world in terms of on-screen views and greater visibility on a larger full-color screen.
While some golfers may not want to use their smartphone while playing and they have bought a smart golf watch instead, the option to use your phone for full-color hi-res views of holes, yardages, layups, and doglegs may become too much to resist.
While both golf watches have full-color screens, they are small compared to the larger screen of a smartphone and other GPS watches like the S62 for example offer connection to the app to achieve the same kind of enhanced views.
The Aim W10 golf GPS watch has a pedometer but is focused more on the golf features than fitness tracking, while the S40 offers fitness profiles for running, swimming, and cycling as well as a pedometer and odometer.
So if you are looking for more than just a golf GPS watch, then the S40 golf watch would be a better option for you.
Golf Watches – On Course Features
The real meat of this is about how these two different devices perform where it matters and that’s on the golf course, so let’s look at the features that will your round easier.
Golf Buddy Aim W10 VS Garmin S40 – Pre-loaded Courses
Now we get to the fun part for your golf game! The Aim W10 golf GPS watch features 40 000 courses preloaded to the device and the S40 has 41 000. Not sure where the extra 1000 courses are, but with either of these watches, you will not have any issues with either device finding the course you are on.
Both of these golf GPS watches picks up courses quite fast and the W10 golf watch will only give you yardages once you’re on the tee and ready to play with a little vibration to tell you it’s prepared and those little extras that often make a difference on the golf course.
Both golf watches offer automatic updates on courses, the Aim W10 GPS watch does this via Bluetooth through the app, and the S40 does this by connecting your device to your computer, and then updates are installed via the USB connection.
Golf GPS Watch – Yardage Features
The two golf GPS watches are pretty similar in this category, but the Aim W10 has some additional features on the yardage display that make it more appealing.
Both golf watches will give you yardages to the front, back, and middle of the green and offer the manual pin placement function, allowing you to move the pin on the screen to its actual position and thus achieve more accurate yardage on approach.
As mentioned before, they also give you the distance to the layups, doglegs, and hazards as well as carry distance and as a golfer, you don’t need more than that.
The Aim W10 golf watch does give you yardage arcs which the S40 golf GPS watch doesn’t, and while you can use the S40’s feature to see any yardage on the course, the Aim W10’s yardage arcs provide a different perspective almost as the rangefinder apps do.
For many golfers, this looks a lot more like the scorecards of old and many may prefer this to the standard screen display of the S40 GPS watch. The S40 golf watch offers custom shot tracking which allows you to use the touch screen to get yardage to any point on the hole, while the W 10 golf watch only offers the yardage arcs.
This is a useful addition to your strategy play as it allows you to record and create a database of shots played on that hole for future reference and this can also be discussed with your coach after the round.
The Aim W10 golf GPS watch has a zoom feature, so you can get a closer perspective for more detail with a greater in-depth hole view using the arc lines. The S40 golf watch does not offer this feature.
One of the best innovations that evolved from the golf apps on your smartphone was the digital scorecard feature, which allows players to input their scores on each hole and have the device calculate the final scores for you.
This eliminates the frantic struggle for pencils or dealing with broken ones during the round, plus the digital scorecard has another benefit – it tracks your shots and gives you GIR and FIR stats at the end of the round.
While this may seem a little like work at first, you’ll wonder why you didn’t use it before once you used it.
Because the screens are small, entering scores is done using a slide that can sometimes slip past the actual score you’re trying to enter, and when the screen is a bit sticky, that can make things more challenging.
But, this doesn’t happen very often, and at the end of the round, you will be able to see your GIR/ FIR stats and then analyze where you lost shots and where improvements on that course would be needed when you play there again.
Depending on where you play, rain and water may be a consideration when buying a golf GPS watch, but both are well protected should you find yourself in an unexpected storm or decide to jump in the pond on the 18th after winning club champs!
The Garmin S40 golf watch has a very high waterproof rating of 5 atmospheres, equivalent to diving at 165 feet! So unless you’re playing Loch Ness and decide to go hunting for the monster, the S40 is very well protected against rain or submersion.
The Golf Buddy W10 golf GPS watch has an IP rating of 67, which is more than enough to protect it against heavy rains or water exposure, but it may not survive a swimming lesson!
Remember that due to the nature of GPS tracking devices , they will never be as accurate on exact distances as a laser rangefinder, so if you are looking at the accuracy of 1 yard or better, no golf GPS watch will deliver that.
The S40 and Aim W10 golf GPS watches will be more than sufficient for the average golfer since they don’t need pinpoint yardage. Most low and single handicap players will opt for rangefinders as their yardages need to be precise.
As a rule, golf GPS watches will be accurate to within 5-8 yards on the golf course and sometimes better depending on atmospheric conditions that may affect the satellites tracking and measuring consistency on the course.
Automatic Hole Progression And Shot Tracking
One of the biggest attractions of the Garmin S40 golf watch is the auto-shot tracking feature, as this allows you to track the distance you hit each shot and then analyze it for reference and future rounds played on the same course.
Using this feature, whether you are a beginner or advanced player, gives you a great way to review your shot performance on each hole, and the S40 golf watch also has the capacity to link to the Garmin GT-10, which would then allow you to track distances on all the shots you play for a more detailed analysis.
The Golf Buddy W10 golf GPS watch doesn’t offer this level of connectivity and is really about the fundamentals of yardage and on-course data rather than the extended features that the S40 GPS watch offers.
Style & Off Course Wear
While Garmin made its name in GPS devices, they have looked at ways to add value and some style to their devices, and they do this by offering downloadable face variations for the S40 golf watch.
With a variety of faces available, the S40 golf GPS watch lends itself to a more stylish look, so if you need to go out to dinner or a social engagement after the round, you can switch from a golf face to an elegant watch face and have a new watch when you leave the course.
The W10 has golf and time interfaces, so you don’t have that option for a more stylish look on your watch as you would with the S40 golf watch.
Both watches have the newer modern golf GPS watches type look, the round design, and large face, and this has evolved from square-faced devices like the Garmin S10 to a sleeker, more modern look closer to the devices you get with smartphones.
The S40 golf watch also has interchangeable straps that come off quite easily and quickly, so you can change them out as you need to.