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Nikon Coolshot Rangefinder Review | Can Nikon compete with Bushnell’s high end models?

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Nikon has found broad success in the optical market in general, so it’s no surprise that they make a good rangefinder as well. The Nikon Coolshot Pro is a sleek, compact unit priced to compete against the Bushnell X2.

And of course, the features themselves keep the device competitive with just about any other option on the market as well.

This tournament legal tracker includes enough sweet new pieces of technology to pretty much guarantee that your playing partners will constantly be begging you to give it a try. Today we will go over the features included here to see how this unit performs, and how it stacks up against the broader market in general. That in mind, read on for a review of the Nikon Coolshot Pro!

Features

Stabilize

Stability is the name of the game with this rangefinder. The “Stabilize” technology at work here is optimized to maintain the integrity both of your site line, and the laser beam itself that shoots out and takes the reading.

This feature sounds kind of vague but it’s actually extremely handy because it protects against the most unpredictable factor at work in every range finder: the user.

Yeah, sorry. But while these devices might be precision tuned instruments of accuracy, your shaky left hand is not.

When using your average rangefinder, you might need to take several readings, three, four, five, before you decide you’re getting an accurate number. Even then, it can sometimes be guesswork.

Basically, the Stabilized tech in this device works by protecting the unit against the vibration or shakiness of the human hand. It’s not a complete course correction, but it should improve accuracy by about 20%.

Naturally, when talking about getting a reading that will help you decide on your club, that’s a pretty big number.

Nikon Coolshot 20 Rangefinder

Locked On

The “Locked On,” feature works in beautiful harmony with the stabilizing technology. After getting a read, most rangefinders signify that they are locked on so you know you’ve gotten your final number.

The problem is that in certain cases you’re not so sure what you’ve locked onto. Maybe it’s the green. Maybe it’s a tree behind the green. Considering that the right number can mean the difference between a birdy or a double bogey, you’ll probably want to figure out what you’re dealing with.

The “Locked On,” feature in the Nikon helps correct this issue by bracketing the target subject with a green circle so you don’t need to doubt your locked onto the pin.

Waterproof/Fog Proof

If you’re the type of golfer that gets the gang together rain sleet or shine for the weekend loop (and if so, we salute you by the way) you are going to want a rangefinder that is as resilient as your own uncompromising morale.

But unfortunately, not all of the products out there are good at standing up against the elements.

Fortunately, durability won’t be a problem with the Nikon. The rangefinder is packaged in waterproof, fog proof casing that will keep the sensitive technology at work in this device safe from inclement weather.

And since this rangefinder isn’t exactly cheap you will be glad to have that extra little bit of insurance.

 

Slope Tech

The slope reading technology is going to be great for users that play on hilly courses. That pesky downhill par three with the big bunker in front of the green is a little bit more manageable if you can get a grasp of just how much slope you need to contend with.

A Word About the Rules

The Nikon Coolshoot Pro is, as we mentioned, capable of using slope reading technology. While this feature is a handy one to have on hand for practice rounds, and your standard weekend warrior outings, you do need to keep in mind that it’s also not allowed in competitive play with the slope feature activated.

When the slope reading feature is off a light ignites on the side of the device, at least in theory ensuring your playing companions will know if you’re trying to pull a fast one.

This is actually a pretty sweet feature because it ends up giving you the best of both worlds, but you do need to have some awareness of it if you’re going to keep your tournament play on the up and up.

How it Stands Up to the Rest of the Market

The closest, most relevant competitor against his device would probably be the Bushnell X2. Both in terms of pricing segmentation and performance-based features, these two units have a good deal in common.

Each feature durable housing, slope technology that can be turned on or off with the flip of a switch, and a strong accuracy rating.

What really distinguishes them from one another is the stabilizing feature we see here, especially as it pairs with the locking brackets. Though these factors might not seem enormous they do make the Nikon competitively user-friendly and accurate. Both prized features to look out for in any rangefinder.

What We Didn’t Love

In terms of performance-based problems, we didn’t take issue with very much. It’s an extremely reliable device that scores birdie or better with all of its new cutting-edge features.  With all the effort Nikon put into this unit, it was a surprise that they’re using a case with elastic sides.

The Case – what year is it?

These don’t fully protect the device from drops which is frustrating when you’re spending over $400 on the device to begin with.  Even sub-$200 off-brand rangefinder models have started using the full body zip case – so it can’t cost more than a few bucks for Nikon to add this in.

Cutting edge technology is pricey

The MSRP of the Coolshot Pro Stabilized comes in a just under $450.  This isn’t cheap – but these days nothing that works well is cheap.  You’re paying extra here for brand-new features – increased usability through the stabilization, incredibly clear lens from a top camera manufacturer, quick target acquisition and a solid brand name.

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Conclusion

The Nikon is in many ways comparable to the technology found in the Bushnell X2, but manages to nose its way ahead of the tech pack through a few key pieces of technology. The “Locked On”/”Stabilize” features in particular are a very simple but highly effective touch that most users will benefit immensely from.

Is this product right for you? If you’re in the premium rangefinder market, it’s really between this and the Bushnell X2.  The X2 has a better case, the durable aluminum body that gives it a great weight and the Bushnell suite of standard features (jolt, slope).  But here you get the stabilization and improved target acquisition time that comes with it.  It’s a tough call but I have the Coolshot in my bag right now…

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