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  • Writer's pictureGolf on Costa del Sol

Minimi Laser Range Finder Review – Golf’s Smallest Laser Rangefinder

Updated: Feb 19


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Our friends at Holiday Golf based in Marbella sent us the new Caddytalk Minimi Laser range finder to try out. So we thought we would pit it against a selection of devices currently in use to find which is the best golf rangefinder on the market today. Designed in Korea, this new pocket sized device is the smallest golf laser range finder available on the market and gives the same accuracy and features of the current market leaders in a pocket sized package.

Having recently been launched in the Korean market it has been selling like hot cakes. Holiday Golf expects to sell 15,000 units this season such is the name this cracking palm sized gadget is making for itself.


In this review we compare the Minimi against my Garmin G80 Approach, a palm sized GPS device, JWs five year old (and due for upgrade) Bushnell Z6 Jolt and our old mate, Mark Lundon’s Inesis Telemetro Golf 900. Which will prove to be the best all round range finding device?


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The Minimi retails at 299 euros, The Garmin G80 between 400 and 500 euros, the latest Bushnell with the same features as the others retails for around 550 euros and the Inesis is available from Decathlon for around 150 euros.


I have used my G80 for the last 2 years. As well as GPS rangefinder it also has some clever radar tech which allows me to use it as a basic launch monitor. It gives me club head speed, ball speed, tempo, smash factor, carry and roll. Basic stuff but is a useful driving range companion and one which I use often. I chose the G80 because I have found it all but impossible to aim the laser devices due to my inability to hold it still enough. I don’t like wearing a watch so the G80 as a pocket sized device was perfect for me.


The Pros and cons of each device


Fits in the pocket versus sits in the buggy – which is easier to live with?

Range finders are surprisingly easy to lose. At his local club recently, one of my regular playing partners left his brand new Bushnell laser device on the 3rd tee. He went to the caddy master after the round to ask if it had been handed in. It had, along with a box full of others! The caddy master keeps them for 6 months waiting for the owners to claim them. More than half are never claimed. That’s a lot of broken hearted golfers.


John’s Bushnell resides in a carry case attached to his golf bag. Mark’s Inesis lives in the cup holder of the buggy meaning that each has to walk to and from the buggy in order to get the number.


The Garmin G80 is the same size as the Minimi and is a perfect fit for the pocket making it very easy to deploy and very difficult to lose!

Both the Garmin and the Minimi’s small size make them far more convenient to use, have less chance to be lost or stolen and less chance of being damaged.


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Which is easiest to aim?

No aiming required with the Garmin GPS device. A limiting factor for the accuracy is your ability to move the flag icon on the 4 inch screen to the correct part of the green. Getting a number for your next shot is as fast as pulling it out of your pocket, moving the flag icon to match the position of the pin on the green and hey presto you have the number. Very fast – and with practice it is accurate to 1 or 2 metres.


The Bushnell uses a red dot in the viewfinder to point at your target. It is bright, looks good but is the most difficult of the three laser range finders to aim. Both the Minimi and the Inesis use an opaque bullseye and cross hair in the viewfinder. It seems that if you can keep any part of the symbol on the target it will give a measurement. That coupled with the anti tremor systems made both the Minimi and the Inesis much easier to aim than the Bushnell.


Can the devices allow for slope?


The Inesis device, the Minimi and the Garmin G80 each have a function that gives the distance to the flag allowing for the elevation or depression to the target. The Minimi offers the most sophisticated of these as its “E” mode also allows you to take into account humidity.


All 3 worked extremely well , the two laser devices gave equal readings and the G80 was always within 1 or 2 metres.


The older Bushnell does not offer this facility.


The feel factor

The Garmin and the Bushnell both have a high quality feel – as you would imagine for 500 euro gadgets! The Minimi matches them both for feel and in my opinion looks better too. I showed the Minimi to our golfers in the 19th after the round. The reaction was extremely positive, all commented on how good it looks, its compact size and ease of use. The materials used in the Minimi have a softness and texture which makes it pleasant in the hand, the eye piece has a little padding. The Inesis felt “brittle” by comparison and felt like it would not be so robust if dropped or soaked. Only the Minimi offers resistance to water.


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Time taken to deploy


John has been using the Bushnell for 5 years and has a very efficient pre shot routine. From the moment he arrives at his ball, pings the flag with the Bushnell and reaches to select his club an average of 23 seconds have elapsed. We measured this during a competitive Stableford round at our home course, Los Lagos at Mijas Golf.


With the Minimi or Garmin in his pocket, the time taken to deploy either device and get the number to the pin was on average 7 seconds quicker. That does not sound like much, but for a group of four players over 18 holes the pocket sized devices have the potential to make the game 17 minutes faster! That’s more than a quarter of an hour extra you could spend in the bosom of your family or in the pub with your mates.


Charging and battery life

The Garmin and the Minimi both charge their internal batteries with a USB cable. The Garmin lasts three rounds before requiring an 8 hour recharge time. Over the last 3 years there have been a dozen times where I forgot to charge it, or left it at home. It’s not a whinge factor but it is another thing to have to remember.

The Minimi charges in 10 minutes, in the couple of weeks that we used it JW and I were able to charge it in the car whilst driving to the Golf course. Each charge lasts 2 rounds. Very easy, no inconvenience at all.


As yet Mark has not had to change the batteries on his Inesis device after 11 months of ownership – lets hope it does not leave him stranded. JW’s Bushnell uses a battery every two months. John keeps a spare in his golf bag although he has been caught out on a couple of occasions.


The Minimi is the winner when it comes to reliability of service.


Accuracy


All of the laser devices gave the same result. The Bushnell reads to 0.1m, the others read to the nearest metre. There is no need to measure to 10 centimetres of accuracy, even the folks that play on TV only take the yardage to the nearest metre!


The GPS device was usually within a metre or two. On a couple of occasions it does get caught out. For example, on the 16th Hole at Los Lagos, a short par three, the Garmin always reads 9m short. I really need to plug it in and get the updates!


One big advantage of the Garmin is its ability to give a layout of the hole on the screen meaning that I can see around doglegs. Whilst helpful, it only really comes into play on courses that are unfamiliar to me.


The laser devices are the most accurate.


Verdict


Technology has moved along since the Bushnell Z6 Jolt was launched, whilst it is a nice device it trails the others significantly. I have no doubt that the current top of the range Bushnell is also a cracking machine, however at 550 euros it is expensive. For JW, who is about to upgrade his old Bushnell the Minimi is a no brainer. It has more features and functionality than his old device. It speeds up play. It’s harder to lose and it’s half the cost.


I like my Garmin, it is not perfect. I often find myself double checking the reading it gives me against the laser devices of my paying partners. It is good but somehow I don’t give it all of my trust. I think I would benefit from having a Minimi in my pocket and save the Garmin for unfamiliar courses.


Mark is happy with his Inesis. At 150 euros it is amazing value, there is no arguing with that. Mark did appreciate the pocket size and the quality of the Minimi but is happy to stay with his Inesis until the end of its life draws nearer.


Overall, if you are in the market for a laser rangefinder then the Minimi makes a compelling argument. Its speed and ease of use set a new benchmark for laser devices. At its price point of 299 euros it too represents outstanding value for money.


It wins our vote as the best golf range finder of 2022.


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