The Approach S42 is Garmin’s newest mid-range GPS golf watch. It ties in with the Garmin Approach S40 and brings it up to date with the latest technologies to bring it in line with the flagship Approach S62.
The competition from smartwatches like the Apple Watch 6 and the Galaxy Watch 3, which can be equipped with golf apps, helps push specialists like Garmin – hence this device that really makes the most of the functions.
You don’t get the Wear OS from Google, nor the watchOS from Apple and all the additional apps that these watches offer. However, if you want a dedicated golf GPS watch and don’t want to spend top-end cash, this may be the watch for you.
With a battery life of 15 hours in GPS mode, a 1.2-inch color touchscreen display and over 42,000 golf courses registered on the wrist, the Approach S42 definitely justifies its price. You also get Garmin’s step counting smarts, so it works as a fitness track both on and off the course.
In contrast to a smartwatch with a golf app, the Approach S42 was specially developed for the course. The screen is designed for a bright, sunny day, for example. This means a clear color display that can be read even in direct sunlight.
The battery life is another standout feature here. Most watches with constant GPS use can be expected to drain quickly. However, because the Approach S42 specifically tracks your steps and shots, Garmin could last for 15 hours on a single charge, which should be more than enough for a day.
Garmin Approach S42 release date and price
- Now available in the US, UK and Australia
- Priced at $ 299.99 / £ 269.99 / AU $ 449
The Garmin Approach S42 was launched in the UK, USA and Australia in March 2021 and is available directly from the company with delivery times of between one and three days.
The price at the time of publication is £ 269.99 / $ 299.99 / AU $ 449. As is common with these types of watches, you can expect the price to go down with the introduction of a new model.
We would also expect this price to decrease during annual sales. For example, if you work for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you can do it for a great price.
Out of season, you may be better off too, with offers popping up when the weather becomes less golf friendly. It’s not a guarantee, but if you’re looking to save up and are in no rush to get it right now, you might want to wait and see how the price changes.
Garmin Approach S42 design
- 1.2 inch color touchscreen display
- Metal bezel and lightweight design
- Interchangeable quick release straps
The Garmin Approach S42 is an undeniably good looking golf GPS watch. In fact, it’s a great looking watch item.
The newer display style removes much of the bezel for most displays in the smallest form factor. As a result, the S42 offers a 1.2-inch color touchscreen display with a resolution of 240 x 240 pixels. That means a lot of detail, which is useful when you want to adjust the t-shirt with your finger on the green and every little movement counts for a meter.
Thanks to the transflective MIP (memory-in-pixel) display, this is clearly visible even in sunlight. While that’s a great feature, the fact that it stays this clear but doesn’t come at the expense of battery life is really smart. When GPS is activated, it is worth saving power on the screen.
The watch case measures 43.4 x 43.4 x 11.7 mm and there are two different strap sizes to choose from. The small / medium bracelet is suitable for wrist circumferences between 106 mm and 176 mm and is available in silver / white or rose gold / light sand.
The larger one-size-fits-all strap is suitable for wrists with a circumference of 125 to 202 mm and is only available in black / gunmetal.
The strap that came with the watch is a comfortable silicone unit with an easily adjustable size but interchangeable so you can change the style for on and off the track, or for your look that day.
The watch is water resistant up to five meters so you don’t have to worry about falling into the water features and (more realistically) you can play in the rain without thinking about it.
Built-in sensors include GPS, gyroscope, and accelerometer that let you track your steps, but also automatically count your shots during the game (more on that in a bit).
The Approach S42 uses Bluetooth to connect to a smartphone and works with both iOS and Android Garmin Golf App. This means that not only do you get a wealth of functions in the app, but you can also have smartphone notifications for texts, calls, calendar, weather and more on the watch without having to reach for your phone.
The clock comes pre-installed with over 42,000 courses, which means all you have to do is get there and the GPS will offer the local options so you can confirm where you are, which tee you’re playing, and then get started right away.
The watch is also compatible with other Garmin products such as the Approach Z82 laser rangefinder, so you can get data clearly to use with your app.
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