The Bushnell Tour V2 and Leupold GX-1 and GX-2 are probably the most popular of the compact laser range finders. Anyone looking for a smaller unit that can be used with one hand is no doubt doing research on these models. So, we thought it would be helpful to compare them side-by-side.
The Tour V2 has a higher maximum range of 1,000 yards. The Leupold models top out at 750. Really, this comparison is meaningless on the golf course. Both top ranges are more than you’ll ever need.
When targeting a pin, we found the Leupolds performed consistently better over 200 yards than the Bushnell. At that point the V2 started to take longer to return readings. At 250 yards or more, the Leupolds clearly outperformed the Tour V2.
The Leupold GX models feature 6x magnification, while the Bushnell Tour V2 has 5x. While the difference isn’t huge when targeting flags, the 6x magnification of the Leupold is a noticeable improvement. The advantage of higher magnification is more apparent when shooting the edges of a bunker or water hazard.
We prefer the 6x magnification of the Leupolds, but others may find the 5x easier to manage. A common complaint about laser range finders is the need for a steady hand. For some, that’s an issue, and in that case the 5x magnification may actually be better, as it doesn’t require quite the same steadiness to lock onto the flagstick.
In this category, the Leupold GX-1 and GX-2 are way ahead of the Bushnell Tour V2. To be fair, the GX-1 and GX-2 are only about a year old at the time of this writing. The Tour V2, on the other hand, has been around since 2008, so it stands to reason it wouldn’t be as feature-packed as the Leupolds.
The devices from both manufacturers have a “pin-locating” feature – PinSeeker for the V2, PinHunter for the Leupolds.
In terms of features, that’s about all they have in common. The Leupolds have additional innovations that have no equivalents in the Tour V2.
Both the Leupold GX-1 and GX-2 have Fog Mode and Prism Lock features, and give you the choice of 7 different aiming reticles. The GX-2, in addition to compensating distances for slope like the Tour V2 Slope edition, also has what Leupold calls True Golf Range (TGR). Besides slope, TGR also factors in the impacts of altitude and air temperature on the ball’s flight path. Based on that information, the Leupold GX-2’s Club Selector feature recommends which iron or wedge to use for your next shot.
Just in the features offered, the Leupold devices are clearly ahead of the Tour V2.
Ease of Use
The Leupold GX-1 and GX-2 are, in our opinion, easier to use than the Tour V2 as far as getting distance readings. Leupold’s PinHunter feature is always enabled, regardless of whether you’re scanning down the fairway or targeting the pin. In the Tour V2, PinSeeker is a separate mode that must be turned on. We found that to be a bit clumsy, and prefer Leupold’s approach rather than having to switch back and forth between separate modes as with the Bushnell.
Leupold GX-2 Digital Golf Rangefinder
The Bushnell and Leupold devices differ in where they display measured distances. With the Tour V2, yardage is shown at the bottom of the display. That turns out to be a better position than with the Leupolds, where the distance appears at the top. The occasional problem with that is the black LCD numbers can be hard to read if there are dark trees in the background. With the yardage on the bottom as in the Tour V2, the background is usually lighter-colored grass, so the numbers are easier to read.
Despite that occasional annoyance with the Leupolds, we still think they are easier for getting distances. Besides, if there’s a dark background and the distance is hard to read, the unit can be pointed at the grass or sky once the distance reading is locked, making it easy to see. There’s no way to compensate for having to flip back and forth between PinSeeker and scan mode with the Bushnell Tour V2.
Both the Bushnell Tour V2 and Leupold GX-1 and GX-2 use 3-volt lithium “camera” type batteries. You’ll need to visit a store that carries them for replacements, and won’t likely find them at the corner convenience store.
While we haven’t experienced this, some Tour V2 owners complain about short battery life, while others have had no problems and go months without needing to replace the battery, even playing two or more rounds per week. We haven’t heard of the same issue with the Leupolds. If you’re comparison shopping and have these devices in mind, it might be a good idea to do a bit more research in this area.
Bushnell offers a two-year warranty on the Tour V2. The Leupold GX-1 and GX-2 are only covered for one year.
Let’s face it, laser range finders aren’t cheap. We expect to pay a not-so-insignificant price for these nifty devices, so the longer the warranty, the better. Two years beats one in anybody’s book, any day of the week.
Our Pick: The Leupold GX-1 and GX-2
No surprise here, as in our opinion, the advantage goes to the Leupold range finders in every category, except for battery and warranty. They have more features, are easier to use, and are better at acquiring target distances. So, if you’ve been comparing the Bushnell Tour V2 Standard edition with the Leupold GX-1, or the V2 Slope edition with the GX-2, we recommend going with the Leupolds.
What About Price?
There isn’t much price difference between the Tour V2 and Leupold devices, so that really shouldn’t be a factor in your decision. Last time we checked on Amazon, which almost always has the lowest prices online, the Leupolds were actually a bit less than the corresponding V2 editions.
We don’t mean to bash the Bushnell Tour V2 here. It’s a good unit that can certainly help you lower your scores. But given similar prices, we think the Leupold GX-1 and GX-2 are better values.