50 Words or Less
The Nikon COOLSHOT PRO STABILIZED provides super-fast, precise measurements including slope adjusted distance. Bright, clear images plus conforming competition mode.
The word Nikon always seems to conjure up the song Kodachrome by Paul Simon and his catchy lyric “I got a Nikon camera, I love to take photographs”. And yes, I grew up in a time when people used film. As a world leader in optics, it should come as no surprise that Nikon makes amazing sports optics including binoculars, scopes, and golf rangefinders. The Nikon COOLSHOT PRO STABILIZED is their top of the line laser rangefinder and, in a nutshell, is wicked good.
Setup & Ease of Use
Open the box, unscrew the black cap at the bottom of the unit, insert the included CR2 battery, and you’re ready to go. If you’ve ever used a laser rangefinder, operation is intuitive. The button closest to your eye turns on the unit and locks in your target. The Nikon COOLSHOT PRO STABILIZED comes pre-setup to provide slope-adjusted distance in yards. The typical user could never open the instruction manual and be perfectly satisfied. However, I’d recommend reading the two dozen small pages to learn about the options. Don’t be intimidated by the heft of the manual – it covers 16 languages.
Changing the settings of the Nikon COOLSHOT PRO STABILIZED is fairly straightforward once you get the cadence of using the two buttons. The MODE button switches between the four modes (F1 thru F4), while the PWR button moves through the options within each mode.
F1 is the measurement display mode. The default Golf Mode displays slope adjusted and actual distances. You can also choose actual distance only, actual distance plus height, or horizontal distance plus height. I’m sure there are golfers or caddies that prefer raw data, but I don’t see myself ever venturing away from Golf Mode.
F2 gives you the option to adjust the brightness of the display. Default is A, which automatically adjusts for the brightness of the surroundings. You can also manually set the brightness from 1 to 5, with 1 being darkest and 5 being brightest. To date, I’ve found the auto setting to provide the right amount of luminescence.
F3 simply switches between yards and meters.
F4 switches the Actual Distance Indicator on or off. This is the flashing green light on the front of the unit that gives visual confirmation that the unit is NOT using slope mode. This is important for competitive golf where rangefinders are permitted but only for actual distances.
Accuracy & Performance
Nikon states the accuracy inside 700 yards is +/- 0.75 yards, and I suspect it’s even better within the typical 50 – 250 yard range. I haven’t seen a hole or situation that would require this, but the COOLSHOT PRO STABILIZED can range up to 1200 yards. Distances are displayed to one decimal point, which I find mentally satisfying.
The speed of the COOLSHOT PRO STABILIZED is impressive – virtually instantaneous. Nikon calls this HYPER READ and clocks it at 0.3 seconds. And as the name suggests, Nikon utilizes an advanced optical stabilization system to reduce vibration that worked incredibly well when I tested in windy conditions which made holding steady all but impossible.
With 6x magnification and an extra large field of view, the red graphics that display the target lines and numerical data are crisp and easy to read. Locking on a target is noted by a green circle – no sound or vibration. There’s also a rear diopter ring to dial in focus for how you like to hold the unit to your eye.
With laser rangefinders that include slope selling from $200 to over $600, it’s not easy to assess value without looking closely at quality, features, and warranty. In the premium segment that runs in the $400 to $600 range, the Nikon COOLSHOT PRO STABILIZED at $449 is a solid value. In addition to the quality optics and excellent performance, the unit comes with a 5 year warranty and is fog and waterproof.
I realize reaching the end of this review that I missed stating one of my favorite aspects of the Nikon COOLSHOT PRO STABILIZED – the size. Compact and lightweight, the unit is great for walkers and those of us with medium size hands. The unit has a sturdy feel that suggests a long, useful life. I wasn’t looking to put a new rangefinder into use, but the Nikon COOLSHOT PRO STABILIZED is staying in my bag. Now all I have to do is get Paul’s song out of my head.