SkyCaddie LX5 GPS Watch Review

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The SkyCaddie LX5 GPS watch has the most beautiful display I’ve seen on a watch.  Impressive accuracy, as you’d expect from SkyCaddie.  Touch screen make for a wonderful user experience.

Introduction

Everyone knows that technology moves fast, but can we take a moment to appreciate the insane pace of progress in distance measuring devices?  Not that long ago, laser rangefinders were the size of lunchboxes, and now they fit in your pocket.  GPS devices used to be handheld bricks with clumsy black and white displays.  Today, SkyCaddie can put ten times more information on your wrist, with a gorgeous display to boot.  But where does the LX5 GPS watch stand in comparison to its contemporaries?  Let’s discuss.

Set Up & Ease of Use

The first thing I noticed about the SkyCaddie LX5 is the fact that it only has two buttons, which is a huge advantage for ease of use.  The top button powers it up.  Holding the lower button brings up the menu.  Everything else is done on the touchscreen.

From basic set up to fitness functions to on-course, I found everything in the SkyCaddie LX5 quickly and easily.  Despite being watch-sized, the touchscreen was precise and never frustrating to use.

I also want to give credit to SkyCaddie for the quality of the charger.  The LX5 charges through a USB port and attaches magnetically to the back of the watch.  The magnets are the perfect strength: strong enough to stay connected after a bump but weak enough to let go if you grab the watch without realizing it’s plugged in.

Finally, additional kudos to SkyCaddie for including two straps.  This is a little thing, but players with smaller wrists will appreciate having a strap sized for them.

Accuracy & Performance

I usually start with accuracy, but in this case I have to start with the display.  It’s absolutely gorgeous.  It’s bright, detailed, and easy to read.  This is easily the best display on any golf GPS watch that I’ve tested.  I had numerous playing partners notice it and ask, “What is that?  It looks great!”

Now let’s get to accuracy.  SkyCaddie made its name mapping courses “by hand,” and that level of precision is still present in the LX5.  From greens to bunkers to water hazards, I found every yardage to be excellent.  Equally impressive is the speed.  Whether walking or riding, the LX5 updates constantly so you’re never waiting for a yardage.

Where the LX5 separates itself is in how well it presents the yardages.  With many GPS watches, you know it’s 157 yards to a bunker, but you can’t tell which bunker.  The LX5 has HoleVue (above) where you can zoom and pan to know exact distances to specific hazards.  It also lists hazards and explains specifically which hazard and if the yardage is to that hazard or to carry it.  Finally, there’s IntelliGreen where you can see the width, depth, and contours of the green.  If there’s a watch that can better convey all this information, I haven’t seen it.

SkyCaddie states that the battery life of the LX5 is “up to two rounds.”  My experience was that a day in time mode cost 10-15% of the battery life and a slow round of golf drained nearly 60%.  So, yes, you can get two rounds on one battery, but you’ll need to play with some pace.  As a daily wear watch, it will need to be charged roughly once per week.

The main thing that separates the LX5 from other watches is the quality of the user experience.  It’s clear to me that this was designed by golfers for golfers.  All the features are easy to find and use.  The LX5 does smart things like asking if you’re done with a hole before advancing to the next.  Its scorekeeping system offers depth without requiring a lot of button pushes.  It’s simply a joy to use on the course.

Value

The SkyCaddie LX5 is a premium GPS golf watch and it has a price tag that reflects that.  For the basic version, you’ll pay $250, which includes a 3 year membership. Please consider supporting Plugged In Golf by buying it HERE.

The model seen here is the LX5 Ceramic Bezel.  For the superior aesthetics, you pay $300.

SkyCaddie membership typically costs $50 per year (less if you buy multiple years).  Without the membership, the LX5 only displays front, middle, and back yardages, turning a premium GPS watch into a basic one.

I’d normally complain loudly about the annual fee, but the fact that you get a three year membership with purchase largely negates my issue because, right or wrong, I look at most pieces of tech as having a fairly short lifespan.  At $300 or $350, the LX5 is significantly less expensive than its main competition, the Garmin S62 (review HERE) which costs $500.

Conclusion

The SkyCaddie LX5 is the most impressive golf watch I’ve tested this year.  It has the best user experience, the best display, and its speed and accuracy are second to none.  As a daily wear watch, it includes useful features like a step counter and heart rate monitor.  If you’re looking for a premium GPS watch, you won’t go wrong with the LX5.

Buy the SkyCaddie LX5 HERE

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Matt Saternus

Founder, Editor In Chief at PluggedInGolf.com
Matt is the Founder and Editor in Chief of Plugged In Golf. He's worked in nearly every job in the golf industry from club fitting to instruction to writing and speaking. Matt lives in the northwest suburbs of Chicago with his wife and two daughters.

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14 Comments

  1. Edward Anthony Zanghi

    I have a Sky Caddie model that I still use, but have always been disappointed with. Since the get go, the best I could get was 15 holes of battery life, less if there was slow play. I would have to reboot the watch and sometimes I would get actually 40% life come back. Now when I reboot the watch 2 to 3 times before I play, and I may get a whole round in if play is fast. Sky Caddie new repaired, only sent me new charging cables, but that was never the solution. I paid an upgrade one time, but the replacement watch was even worse. By the time I got the attention of someone at Sky Caddie, the watch was out of warranty. Before I would buy another SkyCaddie watch, I would reach out to another LX5 user to get his review on the watch’s battery life, or pay the extra cash for a proven brand like Bushnell or Garmin GPS watches.

  2. Great review, I was wondering how it stacks up vs the Garmin s62. I have used a skycaddie for 7yrs and was considering this watch but from what I have read the Garmin s62 is the best golf smart watch out there. I would love your input on this, I understand the Garmin is almost double the price you have reviewed both if the price isn’t an issue which watch would you recommend?

    • Matt Saternus

      The Garmin S62 is great. I have a full review here: https://pluggedingolf.com/garmin-approach-s62-gps-golf-watch-review/

      The choice between the two comes down to what you value most. The display on the SkyCaddie is better, but the battery life is worse. The interface on the SkyCaddie is easier to navigate, but the Garmin has a couple neat features the the LX5 doesn’t. There’s not a bad choice between the two, just a matter of preferences.

      -Matt

    • Duane Pruett

      I have an older SkyCaddie. I have been nothing but happy with it. With this new version, there is no doubt in my mind that this would be a great investment.

  3. I’m sorry I’ll never buy a product like this with a subscription ever again. I know you say you see electronics as a short life 3 year lifespan acceptance.
    Not me.
    Still using my golf Buddy world GPS 5 years later, Zero subscription fees.
    I’m not going the route of the old sky caddie gouging for fees making guys toss their brick units worthless without service.
    In this day and age not one company making GPS or watches for golf, charges annual subscriptions… Well… Except sky caddie.

  4. Great review, I was wondering how it stacks up vs the Garmin s62. I have used a sky caddie for 7yrs and was considering this watch but from what I have read the Garmin s62 is the best golf smartwatch out there.

  5. indeed an informative post! Thanks for a great share. Your thoughts are Very well articulated and precise. Thanks for sharing it across.

  6. Hugh Powell

    I have had the LX 5 watch for less than 6 months and used it maybe 12 times and the screws on the back are already rusted. Never exposed to water and barely used. Very disappointed considering the cost.

  7. Sal Albanese

    Screws on back of watch rusting.. Sky Caddie replaced them.. Said they were stainless.. They also rusted.. Called back and they said there’s nothing they could do..They said go to Jewler.. No luck with Jewler.. Really?. That’s it.

  8. Does this watch have shot tracking/ able to upload your round and see your round’s shots/stats afterwards? Thanks!

  9. I have a 6 mo old LX5, after short playing time with the battery life, I called Skycaddie customer support. I was told you can only get one full round out of a charge, 1.5 rounds at best. All my playing buddies with other brands get 2-4 rounds out of their products. No one puts this in their reviews. Otherwise the LX5 works well, you just better remember to charge it the night before you play.

  10. Lee Wright

    The LX5 and the previous version have one fatal flaw: the band broke on both and it then becomes a pocket watch. Skycaddie replaced the older version, but the band on the replacement did the same thing. When the band broke on the LX5 after the first season of golf, their response was “out of warranty”. I won’t be buying another.

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