In case you missed it, we recently gave away a Nikon COOLSHOT 20i—the successor to the COOLSHOT 20, which was a best selling rangefinder on Amazon.
Nikon might not be the first brand that comes to mind when talking about laser rangefinders, but they’ve quietly been making some of best stuff out there during the past few years. And while I’ve already shared my review of their flagship model, the COOLSHOT PRO STABILIZED, it was about time that I talked about my experience with the COOLSHOT 20i.
Now, before I dive into the details, it’s important to note that the rangefinder market has really exploded over the past years. Consequently, the market has essentially split into 2 segments: the premium models and the value models. However, most “value” rangefinders feel cheap, don’t work as well as they advertised, and, sadly, often prove that old adage that “you get what you pay for.” Fortunately, consumers in the market for a value rangefinder no longer need to worry about cutting corners and paying for a substandard, poorly manufactured, and unreliable rangefinder that won’t last more than a couple years.
Case and point, the Nikon COOLSHOT 20i. Instead of slapping together a PRO STABILIZED without the STABILIZED Technology and masking it under some different paint, Nikon built an evolution of the COOLSHOT 20 that gives off a high quality feel and finish.
Just like the COOLSHOT PRO STABILIZED, the COOLSHOT 20i is built around Nikon’s world class lenses, ensuring that you have crystal clear optics. In addition, the COOLSHOT is packing plenty of refined technology, including Nikon’s ID (Incline/Decline) Technology feature that accounts for any slope changes and recommends the distance that the shot will play like, as opposed to it’s “true” distance (which on an uphill shot, will probably leave you short, and vice versa for a downhill shot).
Additionally, the COOLSHOT 20i also provides golfers with the ability to actively scan and get distances for multiple targets. By pushing and holding the the Power button, the COOLSHOT 20i will continuously measure the range for up to eight seconds, which is great for when you’re strategizing that next shot and need to know how far is the pin, how close is that water hazard in front of the green, and how much safe space do you have in between.
And to help make sure you’re actually getting the distance for the pin flag (or whatever you’re intended target might be, including the cart girl), the COOLSHOT 20i also comes with Nikon’s First Target Priority Mode feature, which displays the distance to the nearest target among the multiple results obtained.
This is a huge benefit (and confidence booster) when you’re shooting a pin flag that has nothing immediately behind it, but a bunch of trees 30-40 yards behind it, and now are provided with the mental reassurance that the COOLSHOT 20i is giving the distance for your target (and not the birdnest behind it).
My experience with the COOLSHOT 20i was that it provided me with everything I could really want from a rangefinder. As I mentioned, the optics were super clear, which made lining up at my target really easy. Distance readings were provided nearly instantaneously, which allowed me to check a few different spots (hazards, potential lay-up options, etc.) without holding up the rest of my playing group. Additionally, despite using the COOLSHOT 20i in colder weather (sub-45°), it never skipped a beat and, thanks to the textured exterior, always felt like a firm, stable grip on it, even while wearing gloves.
Perhaps most noticeable was how light the COOLSHOT 20i is. Even with all this great technology, Nikon was able to package it into a unit that weighs less than 5 ounces. As a result, the COOLSHOT 20i weighs less than a dozen golf balls, so I barely noticed when I decided to clip it to my bag and walk a few rounds.
In closing, rangefinders aren’t cheap. But if you’re going to spend some hard earned cash, make sure to pick one that does everything you want, works flawlessly, and isn’t plagued by reliability issues – and, if you’re lucky, is backed with a warranty.
After having the opportunity to test out Nikon’s offerings, the COOLSHOT 20i is, arguably, the best option for someone who wants to keep price low (under $250) and doesn’t need the newest “bell and whistle” option available. Add in Nikon’s 2-year warranty, and you’re provided with a piece a mind that your COOLSHOT 20i will always work as advertised.
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