Garmin Approach S40 Review: Another GPS Watch Winner

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Garmin recently released their Approach S40 watch

to complete their extensive range of golf GPS watches. Priced at $ 299, it serves as a waypoint between some of their premium and budget releases.

I was given the opportunity to wear it a number of times, and as always, Garmin has done an excellent job of making an attractive watch that does everything you need on the golf course. Having a reliable GPS device is in my opinion a great idea for a golfer of every level, because it can help you make smarter strategic decisions about the course.

Characteristics that I liked

The Garmin Approach S40 is the most attractive golf watch they have released so far, and for some players perhaps the strongest feature. It has a streamlined modern design that makes it suitable to be worn off the track (it does have some smartwatch functionality). Moreover, the screen is crystal clear, so that all information is also visible in the brightest sunlight.

The Approach S40 is preloaded with more than 40,000 jobs, like many other Garmin watches. All you have to do is turn it on, lock the GPS and you are ready to go.

This watch nicely completes the Garmin Approach S line. If you don't want to hand out more money for the Approach S60

but want more functions than the Approach S20, it's a solid "in-between" choice.

The Approach S40 displays the front, middle, and rear walls for every green that has become standard on most GPS devices. Keeping track of your score is also very easy. A few functions that go beyond most GPS watches are:

Automatic shot detection: The Approach S40 detects when you make contact with the ball and displays the distance of your stroke at the top of the screen. I have found this feature very useful to see how far I reach every club on the course and also look for quirky tee shots
Distances to different points on the track: You can easily switch through the distances for doglegs, critical hazards such as bunkers and layup yardages.
Excellent battery life: You can expect a maximum of 15 hours of use, which will usually translate into approximately three laps before you have to charge it
Green View function: On your approach photos, you can adjust where the pin position is on the screen to view a more accurate distance

The watch is also integrated with the bullet tracking sensors from Garmin, the Approach CT10

that I discussed in this article. You can also connect to their TruSwing swing analyzer. Garmin has a very nice ecosystem of hardware for game improvement and apps that play well together.

One thing missing in the Approach S40 is swing-pace tracking, about which I have previously written as a valuable form of practice. I would say that this is my only disappointment in this version.

In general, the Garmin Approach S40 has a nice list of functions and I think you get a lot of value.

Where the S40 approach fits

If you are on the market for a golf GPS watch, I think that Garmin is at the top of your list. They now have options at multiple price levels and all their products are accurate and have great functionality.

priced at $ 299, the Approach S40

goes beyond some of the functions in the budget category, but does not give you everything the Approach S60 has. I still use the Approach S60 and find it the best GPS watch on the market. The ability to keep track of your swing pace and determine any location on the course with your finger are functions that are valuable to me. However, you pay anywhere from $ 50 to $ 100 more for those features, depending on the current price.

The Approach S20

is still an affordable choice of well under $ 200. Although not as attractive, it offers an excellent list of features such as a long battery life, automatic tracking of distances for distances , measurement of the swing pace and some functions of smartwatchs.

Long story short, between the Approach S20, S40 and S60 you now have a good / better / best scenario based on your budget level. I'm not sure if you can go wrong with one of them, because they offer a lot of value based on their relative characteristics.

You can buy the Garmin Approach S40 here


If you are interested in reading some other reviews that I have written on their current product line, you can view these articles:

Garmin Approach G80 Review: GPS & Launch Monitor Combined

Garmin approach CT10: another valuable bulkhead tracking system

Garmin Approach Z80: combination of GPS and range finder

Garmin Approach S60: the best golf GPS watch on the market at the moment

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