Garmin S42 vs S60: Which Is the Best Pick for Golfers?

Deciding between the Garmin S42 and the S60 is a common dilemma for golf enthusiasts looking to enhance their game with smart technology. Both watches boast an impressive array of features designed to improve course management and tracking abilities, making it crucial to delve into the specifics to understand which one might suit your needs best.

The Garmin Approach S42 serves as a stylish, versatile option that appeals to golfers seeking both functionality on the course and everyday wearability. It offers a clear color touchscreen display, precise yardages, and a battery life that’s built to last through multiple rounds. On the other hand, the Garmin Approach S60 steps up as a more advanced tool with its larger screen size, extensive course maps, and additional swing analysis features that cater to serious golfers aiming for detailed performance insights.

I’ll break down their differences in terms of design aesthetics, usability, golf-related functionalities, and overall value so you can make an informed decision about which Garmin golf watch will be your ideal companion on the green. Whether you’re new to using tech in your golf game or looking for an upgrade from a previous model, understanding these key points is essential.

Design and Display

When it comes to the Garmin Approach S42 and S60, both are designed with golfers in mind. They boast stylish looks that wouldn’t be out of place on or off the course. The S42 features a 1.2-inch color touchscreen display with a resolution of 240 x 240 pixels which is easy to read even under direct sunlight. Its screen is encased in a durable metal bezel, giving it a sleek and sophisticated look.

The Approach S60 steps up its game with a slightly larger 1.3-inch display offering a resolution of 260 x 260 pixels for crisper visuals. This model also includes additional design elements like the ceramic bezel which not only adds an extra touch of class but also improves durability.

Now let’s talk about wearability because what’s on your wrist matters when you’re playing an intensive sport like golf. The silicone bands on both models ensure comfort throughout your round and they come in various colors to match personal preferences or attire.

On-screen graphics are another point where these devices differ significantly:

  • The S42 provides clear yardages to the front, back, and middle of greens along with hazards and doglegs.
  • The S60 goes further by adding full-color course maps that show precise layouts for thousands of courses worldwide.
Feature Garmin Approach S42 Garmin Approach S60
Display Size 1.2 inches 1.3 inches
Resolution 240 x 240 pixels 260 x 260 pixels
Bezel Material Metal Ceramic
Color Options Multiple Multiple
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Both watches have interchangeable straps so you can switch them out to suit different occasions – whether you’re hitting the links or heading into a business meeting after your round.

In terms of readability in various lighting conditions, both devices offer sunlight-readable displays ensuring that you won’t be squinting to see critical information during playtime. This means more focus on your swing and less fiddling with gadgets under the sun’s glare.

Given their distinct features and stylish designs, choosing between the Garmin Approach S42 and S60 will largely depend on personal preference for screen size, display quality, and specific functionalities related to course mapping capabilities.

Features and Functions

When comparing the Garmin S42 and S60, you’ll find that both watches cater to golf enthusiasts with a range of features. The Garmin Approach S42 boasts a high-resolution, sunlight-readable color touchscreen display that’s perfect for outdoor visibility. Preloaded with more than 41,000 courses worldwide, it offers golfers essential information like yardages to the front, middle and back of the green.

  • Garmin Approach S42:
    • Sunlight-readable color touchscreen
    • Preloaded with over 41,000 golf courses worldwide
    • Yardage distances
    • Green View feature for true shape and layout of the green
    • Smart notifications when paired with a smartphone

The Approach S60 steps up its game by adding enhanced features such as PlaysLike Distance which adjusts yardages to account for uphill and downhill shots. With its larger screen size and more sophisticated golfing analytics, it’s designed for those who take their game seriously.

  • Garmin Approach S60:
    • Larger display than S42
    • PlaysLike Distance feature
    • Full-color course maps
    • Touch Targeting to see distance to any point on hole
      SwingTempo measures relationship between upswing and downswing timing

Battery performance is another key factor in these devices. The Approach S42 promises up to 15 hours in GPS mode, meaning it can last multiple rounds on a single charge. Meanwhile, the S60 provides up to 10 hours in GPS mode with a full-color map view—a slight trade-off for its advanced graphics capabilities.

Feature Garmin Approach S42 Garmin Approach S60
Display Color touchscreen Larger color touchscreen
Preloaded Courses Over 41,000 Over 41,000
Battery Life (GPS Mode) Up to 15 hours Up to 10 hours
PlaysLike Distance Not available Available
Course Maps Basic Full-color

Both models support additional functionalities such as activity tracking and smart notifications. This means aside from providing valuable insights on the course they can count steps monitor sleep track calories burned throughout your day all while keeping you connected via Bluetooth technology.

What sets them apart is how they leverage technology for gameplay enhancement. While the S42 serves well for casual players looking for an edge in their game the premium features of the S60 appeal more towards seasoned golfers focused on detailed course analysis and shot precision.

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Finally each watch has unique companion advantages through the Garmin Golf app where users can compete in leaderboards receive automatic score uploads review stats even partake in virtual tournaments against other players around globe enhancing their digital experience off-course just as much as during play.

Battery Life

Let’s dive into one of the most critical aspects when comparing golf watches like the Garmin S42 and S60: battery life. It’s a feature that can make or break your experience on the course. When you’re out there trying to beat your personal best, the last thing you want is for your watch to run out of juice.

The Garmin Approach S42 boasts a battery life that’s pretty impressive for its class. You can expect up to 15 hours in GPS mode, which should be more than enough to last through a couple of rounds. If you’re using it as a regular watch, it’ll keep ticking for up to 10 days before needing a charge.

Switching over to the Garmin Approach S60, this device steps it up slightly with regards to staying power. In GPS mode, which is what matters most during play, the S60 will serve you well for up to 10 hours. However, if we talk about everyday usage outside of golfing activities, this watch stands strong with up to 10 days on a single charge as well.

Here’s how they stack up:

Feature Garmin Approach S42 Garmin Approach S60
GPS Mode Battery Life Up to 15 hours Up to 10 hours
Watch Mode Battery Life Up to 10 days Up to 10 days

It’s worth mentioning that actual battery life will vary based on several factors such as screen brightness settings and how frequently you interact with the device. To extend battery life between charges, both models offer adjustable settings so you can tweak things like display timeout and notification volume.

To sum it all up:

  • The Approach S42 shines brighter in terms of longevity while actively tracking your game.
  • The Approach S60 matches its counterpart in standard watch mode but falls short when utilizing GPS.
  • Both devices come equipped with modes and settings designed specifically for conserving power where possible.

Remember that consistent charging habits and mindful usage can help maintain optimum battery performance over time!

Price and Value for Money

When it comes to golf watches, Garmin is a heavyweight contender, known for quality and precision. The Garmin S42 and S60 are no exceptions, but their prices can make a golfer’s wallet hesitate. It’s essential to dive into the details to see which model gives you more bang for your buck.

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The Garmin Approach S42 typically falls into the mid-range price category of golf watches. You’re not breaking the bank with this one, yet it’s not exactly what I’d call cheap. On the other hand, the Approach S60 sits at a higher price point being an older yet more feature-rich model.

Here’s how they stack up in terms of cost:

Feature Garmin Approach S42 Garmin Approach S60
Retail Price (USD) $299 $399
Yearly Updates Free Free
Membership Fees None None

Now, let’s break down what each watch offers for its price tag. The S42 serves up a user-friendly interface with color graphics that are easy on the eyes during long rounds of play. It boasts:

  • A sunlight-readable display
  • Accurate distances to hazards and greens
  • A 15-hour battery life in GPS mode

With these features, intermediate players find great value without splurging too much cash.

Switching gears to the pricier S60, you’re paying for advanced capabilities like:

  • Full-color course maps
  • PlaysLike Distance feature
  • Touch targeting
  • Swing analysis tools

These bells and whistles cater to serious golfers looking to fine-tune their game meticulously.

So when weighing up cost against features, think about your needs on the course. If basic functionality will serve you well, then perhaps the savings with an S42 makes sense. But if you crave detailed course mapping alongside performance tracking tools and don’t mind spending extra dough — then maybe an S60 is calling your name loud and clear from the pro shop.


Wrapping up the Garmin S42 vs S60 debate, I’ve taken a thorough look at both devices. It’s clear that each has its strengths and caters to different golfer needs and preferences.

The Garmin Approach S42 boasts user-friendliness and an attractive design suitable for everyday wear. Its key features include:

  • High-resolution color touchscreen display
  • 15-hour battery life in GPS mode
  • More than 42,000 preloaded courses worldwide

For golfers who prefer simplicity with smartwatch capabilities, the S42 is a solid choice.

On the other hand, the Approach S60 steps up as a more advanced tool for serious golfers. Highlights of the S60 are:

  • Larger screen providing detailed course maps
  • Advanced swing metrics when paired with compatible sensors
  • Up to 10 hours of battery in GPS mode; extendable with watch mode

If you’re after extensive golfing features and don’t mind a slightly shorter battery life during play, then the S60 might be your ideal companion on the course.

To sum it up, both watches offer excellent functionality for improving your game. The decision hinges on what you value most: simplicity and style or advanced features for an in-depth analysis of your performance. Personally, I lean towards the device that fits my lifestyle seamlessly without skimping on essential golf features—the Garmin Approach S42 hits that sweet spot for me.

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