50 Words or Less
The Bushnell Pro X3 laser rangefinder adds home course elevation adjustment to their Elements feature for true “play as” yardage. High quality look and feel. Premium, user friendly features.
The number of brands offering laser rangefinders continues to grow, but there’s no denying Bushnell is still the most recognized name. To make sure that status remains unchanged, Bushnell continues to innovate. Does the new Pro X3, Bushnell’s latest and most advanced rangefinder to date, truly raise the bar? Only one way to find out – testing.
Setup & Ease of Use
As expected with today’s tech devices, getting started was simple. I fumbled a bit figuring out the battery compartment cap, but after removing the protective plastic disc, the Pro X3 was ready for action. The display came on instantaneously when the power button was depressed. Hitting the same button engaged the distance measurement. If you’ve ever used a laser rangefinder before, the Pro X3’s basic operation is intuitive.
The second button on top, labeled “MODE,” takes you to settings that allows you to adjust brightness (red only), units (Y/M), Bluetooth (on/off) and home elevation. The power button toggles between those settings, while the MODE button changes the options. Again, simple and intuitive. At this point, a glance at the Quick Start Guide was helpful for understanding all the numbers and symbols I was seeing in the display.
The home elevation setting is one of the features new to the Pro X3. This expands on the feature first seen in the Bushnell XE [review HERE]. Bushnell uses this elevation when adjusting yardage for barometric pressure. I’ll discuss the full suite of elements compensation in the next section, but, in short, this lets you know what distance to play relative to your home yardages.
You can also pair your Pro X3 with the Bushnell Golf App. I can see where adjusting settings might be easier via the phone app, but I’m the type of user who prefers to set up once and never revisit. Fortunately, you don’t have to utilize the app to enjoy the rangefinder.
Accuracy & Performance
The first thing that jumped out at me when comparing the Bushnell Pro X3 rangefinder with another high quality laser was the 7X magnification. It’s truly a marked step up from 6X. Not surprising, distances were consistent between the two rangefinders, and confirmed over multiple checks of varying yardages. Bushnell states the Pro X3 is accurate to within a yard with a flag at 600 yards.
The Pro X3 displays both the straight, line of sight distance and the “play as” distance. The “play as” distance compensates for the elements: temperature, pressure, and slope. Bushnell utilizes built in sensors for all three factors. If you need illustrations of how the elements affect distance, check out the User Manual on the Bushnell website.
Remember the home elevation setting I mentioned earlier? That’s utilized in the pressure adjustments. For me, normally playing in the low country of South Carolina, the ball is going to fly further if I play in the mountains – and Bushnell compensates appropriately. If you live in Denver and fly to Asheville, the adjustment may be marginal – but it’s still there. You get the idea. For rangefinders, this is real innovation.
The shiny, round “B” on the side of the Pro X3 unit is the toggle to change the display between red and black. I’m a big fan of red displays, and the 3 out of 4 brightness option was perfect for my vision across a large spectrum of ambient lighting conditions. Data displayed in the black setting were crisp. The option to satisfy user preference is a nice feature for a high end rangefinder.
At the top front edge of the Pro X3 is Bushnell’s latest method of engaging slope. Importantly, it also allows everyone to see if it’s on or off. The small side latch and sliding hood have a substantial, industrial feel. The red band with “slope” stated three times makes it crystal clear that slope technology is active.
I’ll close out this section with the BITE magnet located on the side of the Pro X3. It’s strong and makes the unit super easy to keep on the frame of a golf cart. BITE is not new to Bushnell, but it’s new to me – and I love it. Interestingly, all the Bushnell photos on their website, and mine above, show the unit with the eyepiece at the 1-2 o’clock position. But the User Manual has this statement: “Use caution to avoid direct sunlight into the eyepiece to prevent damage to the display/internal components. When using the BITE magnet to attach the device to a cart bar or frame, tilt the device so the eyepiece aims towards the ground, not toward the sun.”
While the suggested retail price of $599.99 puts the Bushnell Pro X3 is at the top end of laser rangefinders, the premium price aligns with the premium product. And for those of you who like a little mental justification consider this: the price is generally equal to that of a new premium driver. And then ponder how often you’ll use the driver versus the rangefinder each round.
If you want a Bushnell laser for half the price, consider the Tour V5 Shift [review HERE].
Please consider supporting Plugged In Golf sponsor PlayBetter by buying it HERE.
To answer the question posed in the intro, the Bushnell Pro X3 rangefinder does indeed raise the bar. Adding elevation compensation based on where you normally play is true innovation. With all the performance feature discussions, I now realize I didn’t mention that Bushnell added a visual flash to the red ring of JOLT – yet another improvement. Size wise, the unit is a bit on the larger side for my medium glove size hands. All in, the Bushnell Pro X3 has a solid, quality feel befitting a precision instrument that’s meant to last.