Pros: Nice looking, Good watch band, Easy to use on the course, Distance to greens and hazards, Accurate, Shot distance, Auto-advance, Start on any hole
Cons: iGolf had problems detecting device but WR62 comes pre-loaded with courses and is fully functional
I picked up the new WR62 GPS watch manufactured by Expresso Satellite Navigation (ESN) who is a relative newcomer to the golf gps market. I placed the order in April through TGW.com. The product delivery date was changed several times until it finally arrived today. Needless to say, ESN's knowledge or management of it's supply chain was less than stellar. Nevertheless, let's take a look at the product. I will conduct my review in stages with the first being it's packaging and overall appearance.
The product arrived well boxed and packaged. No issues here. There really isn't that much to this...a watch, a charging cable, and small booklet.
The watch is sharp looking and looks like a typical sports watch. The buttons are large and easily depressed...even with golf gloves on. The most "controversial" issue seemed to be ESN's choice to go with a designer-style watch band with metal clasp rather than the typical sports watch band. I'm glad they went with the watch band they did. We all know what happens to sports watch bands in a relatively short time frame (year +/-). They get brittle and start cracking where the band and buckle meet. There is a small button on the side of the clasp that releases the clasp and opens the band. You can see it in the photo that shoes the clasp and underside of the watch. My only concern here is the durability of the post used that inserts into the socket on the metal clasp. That's visible in the photo showing the open clasp. Only time will tell if the WR62 band and clasp are more (or at least as) durable than a typical sports watch band. The band is easily adjusted by removing the number of band segments needed to get a snug, but not too snug, fit. This fitting is a minor inconvenience and certainly does not require a jeweler to do this.
I was wondering how a charging cable could be attached to a watch and still maintain a high degree of water resistance. I don't know how other watch gps manufacturers do that, but ESN simply has a charging "clamp" that attaches to the watch and then plugs into a USB port on a computer. One side of the clamp has a pad while the other has an alignment tab and pins that fit into slots and contacts on the underside of the watch. I plan on checking to see if there is an AC adapter that is compatible. Maybe the ones we use for my kids' ipods? More on that later.
I hope to get this on the course later this week....Sunday at the latest. So far the ESN WR62 watch looks to be a great bargain at $179.00 but I'll reserve final judgement until I've tested it during a few rounds of golf.
First, register your device at golfesn.com. Use the product ID (serial) number which is on the white sticker on the bottom of the box. I'm guessing your number should read "WR62......". Do not throw out your watch box until you've registered or at least have written down the product ID (serial) number.
Then check to see what firmware you have. There are two versions: ESN.02 (v2) or ESN.03 (v3). Check for the firmware using your watch by clicking MENU > SETTINGS > ABOUT. You should see something like "Version ESN.03 Powered by iGolf". If you see ESN.02, then you have an issue and will need to upgrade to ESN.03. Call ESN at 866-691-1350 and they will give you the update software. Mine came with ESN.03 so I had no issues.
SINGLE COURSE DOWNLOADS:
I was informed by iGolf, that single course downloads will not be available for a 3-6 weeks [as of August 2]. The WR62 can hold 50 additional courses.
iGOLF CONNECTION PROBLEMS:
Also, I was not able to get iGolf to recognize my watch when trying to update my devices associated with my iGolf profile. The iGolf web site went into a never-ending "Detecting Device" mode where I eventually had to use Windows Task Manager to shut down my browser. I don't know if the detection problem was because I had an existing iGolf account that was associated with another device....which is surprising because I've never actually owned one even though I was looking at Bushnell products. Anyway, I contacted iGolf and a customer service person quickly added my WR62 to my profile. The WR62 information on my profile indicates that I have v2 of the software which is not true. I don't really know why that is. My iGolf connection issues are not resolved, but at the moment, it does not have any impact on me using my WR62. It's fully functional with current course information.
RE-MAPPING REQUEST & ESN CUSTOMER SERVICE:
One of my courses combined two existing fairways and added a completely new fairway in June/July. I talked with an ESN customer service person and he indicated he would submit a re-mapping request and that I would be notified when the new course information was ready. ESN Customer Service was very responsive and called me back in 5 minutes of leaving a message with their phone operator/receptionist. If iGolf handles course updates, I hope iGolf will be able to detect my WR62 when I try to connect. However, ESN customer service indicated that they would be able to get the updated course information to me when the re-mapping is complete. Again, good ESN customer service. I like being able to talk to a person, quickly, without endless phone menus or long wait times.
ON COURSE EVALUATION:
Finally got a chance to use the WR62 today [August 5]. In short, it worked flawlessly. I got to the course and selected "Play Golf" from the menu. It immediately searched for satellites (see photo below) and located a short list of courses for me to confirm with the most likely course listed at the top...which was the one I was at.
I started on hole 10 and it was easy to select the starting hole on the WR62. By the time I pulled the cover off my driver and teed my ball, the watch was ready. After that, I never touched the watch except when I wanted a look at hazards like creeks that crossed the fairway or fairway bunkers. It auto-advanced perfectly and seemed accurate. I didn't have a laser for comparison, but I stopped on my last hole to compare to a 100 yard fairway plaque. I suspect these may not always be that accurate either, but the WR62 and plaque were in reasonable agreement.
The watch bezel is 34mm and I placed a Klear Kare watch protector on it. It was a little expensive and was a bit of a PITA to put on, but it's tough and crystal clear. Check it out here: http://www.klearkare.com/watches.html .
NOTES ON BAND SIZING - A quick note about watch band sizing. It is pretty easy but be sure to take 3 or 4 attempts to dial-in the size. As you get closer to a good fit, each segment makes a big change in the watch fit. My watch fits snug so it does not move around when I golf but doesn't constrict my arm either. When I'm not golfing, the watch feels a little looser. ESN was right on the mark when they suggested a loose fitting when you're not playing golf. I suggest play a round with the watch feeling a little loose before deciding to remove that last segment. In my opinion, this is a superior watch band compared to regular sports band watches.
I haven't tested it's water resistance except rinsing it thoroughly in my kitchen sink after the round. No problems.
My round lasted 4hrs and 15 min. You can easily check battery life using the battery life indicator (see photo). It appears that I still have a lot of battery life remaining! I'll evaluate battery life more as I have an opportunity to play more rounds.
The WR62 has proven to be a hassle-free way to get information on greens AND hazards. It looks good and is easy to use. No fussing around.