A rangefinder is essential for playing golf. It will tremendously help you understand how far you hit with each golf club. In this article, we are going to discuss the comparison between Garmin Approach G8 vs G30, two handheld rangefinders with similar features and capabilities. Which model is better for the money?
Continue reading below to find out about:
- The design and dimensions of each golf rangefinder
- The display quality of each model
- The connectivity options on each device
- The distinctive golf features of each model
- The battery life of each model
- Which golf rangefinder that is generally more recommended
Let’s begin by comparing the design of Garmin Approach G8 vs G30. Although these two models belong to the same family, interestingly, they have very different shapes. Garmin Approach G8 is shaped like a smartphone, with a long and slender body, whereas Garmin Approach G30 is almost square with a shorter yet slightly thicker body. See also: Garmin Approach G6 Vs Garmin Approach G7.
Garmin Approach G8 measures 2.1 inches wide, 0.6 inches thick, and 4.4 inches tall. The weight is about 3.97 oz, which is definitely light. The slim, slender body makes it easy and comfortable to hold. It is also portable. Carrying it around the golf course is hassle-free.You can easily pocket it or attach it to a belt clip.Using a leather/nylon case that attaches to your belt is also recommended, as the included belt clip is rather flimsy.
For sure, Garmin Approach G8 is a good-looking device. The display screen is surrounded with a black frame, and there is the name of the brand above the display. Although the display screen also acts as a touchscreen for control, the unit has been equipped with two buttons, located just under the display. This combination allows for a quick, intuitive operation.
Garmin Approach G30, on the other hand, comes with a short and thick body. It is indeed compact and lightweight. It measures 2.1 inches wide, 0.8 inches thick, and 3.0 inches tall. Its weight is about 2.5 oz. One advantage of Garmin Approach G30 over Garmin Approach G8 is that it is even more lightweight. But the included belt clip is even flimsier, so you should just pocket it or use a leather or nylon case.
Unfortunately, the small shape of Garmin Approach G30 actually makes it uncomfortable to handle. You will need to bend your fingers down or rely on your thumb to grip it properly. The look of the unit is plain and simple. For control, it has a touchscreen plus a side button.
Both Garmin Approach G8 vs G30 rangefinders come with transflective color TFT touchscreens. Both are responsive enough to allow easy operation. You don’t need to press hard in order to enter your input. Both are also bright enough to allow easy reading in any lighting condition. You can read them just fine even when you are right under the sun on the golf course.
However, Garmin Approach G8 has a larger display screen and a higher resolution. It features a 3.0-inch touchscreen. The resolution is 240 x 400 pixels. The image quality is very good. The larger display enables you to see more part of the map and more information, and the higher resolution makes text and images sharper and more convenient to read.
On the other hand, the display of Garmin Approach G30 is smaller, and the resolution is noticeably lower. The diagonal of the display measures 2.3 inches. The resolution is 160 x 240 pixels. Due to the smaller size of the display, some text is displayed with a smaller font. This is inconvenient, especially for short-sighted people. Also, the text and images are not particularly sharp, so this unit won’t really please your eyes.
Garmin Approach G8 and Garmin Approach G30 have mostly similar connectivity features. Both of them support USB and Bluetooth. With either model, you can use a USB cable to connect the device to a computer in order to sync your statistics and scores to Garmin Connect. You can also use the USB connection to import map updates. The map updates are free, so it is a good idea to keep your device up to date from time to time.
You can use Bluetooth to connect either device to your smartphone. This also allows you to sync your stats and scoring. This is done through the Garmin Connect mobile app, which is available for iOS and Android. In addition, the Bluetooth connection also enables Smart Notification on the rangefinder. When connected to a smartphone, the rangefinder can show incoming notifications from text messages, emails, and alerts, so that you don’t need to check your smartphone from time to time.
The only difference between Garmin Approach G8 vs G30 in terms of connectivity is the built-in Wi-Fi, which is available on Garmin Approach G8 but not on Garmin Approach G30. Connecting Garmin Approach G8 to a Wi-Fi network will automatically download map updates. This is very simple and incredibly convenient. Meanwhile, Garmin Approach G30 can be updated only via USB, which is not as straightforward.
The next difference between Garmin Approach G8 vs G30 is the slope adjustment. This is only available on Garmin Approach G8, and not on Garmin Approach G30. As a note, the slope adjustment feature is actually prohibited in tournaments. The USGA only allows laser rangefinders that only measure distances to be used in tournaments. However, if you are just practicing to improve your skill, the slope adjustment feature is very useful.
A slope is an elevation change between two points. It is a very important factor to consider when you are trying to determine how far to hit the ball. A subtle change of elevation can significantly affect your distance.Depending on where your ball lands, a slope can make your distance longer or shorter.
The slope adjustment feature allows you to see the slope where you are hitting the ball, the elevation change, and the adjusted distance that you need to shoot for.Knowing the adjusted distance can help you determine the suitable club to use and how hard to swing. A rangefinder with slope capabilities will usually give you two readings, which are the actual distance to the hole and the adjusted distance.
If you are trying to improve your skill, Garmin Approach G8 is definitely a better choice. The slope adjustment feature can help you understand when to make longer or shorter shots to adapt to elevation changes. It is also a good way to familiarize yourself to the terrain of a golf course. However, if you are an experienced golfer and you think that slope adjustment is unnecessary, choosing Garmin Approach G30 can save you some money.
Garmin Approach G8 comes with Pin Pointer. This feature is essentially a compass that can show you the direction to the center of the green. It is useful when you can’t see the green from where you are standing, so it can help a lot when you are playing in a course that has blind shots. It is also particularly helpful when you are lost in the woods.
Nevertheless, the Pin Pointer feature of Garmin Approach G8 is not extremely accurate. It mostly only gives the general directions. When giving a direction, it may be off by 20 degrees or so. This is probably intentional, as the feature is designed only to prevent you from getting lost. People will only use the feature when they really have no idea about the location of the green, instead of abusing it to make precision shots.
Garmin Approach G30 does not have Pin Pointer. In most cases, this is not a big problem. But the rangefinder won’t be able to help you when you are lost in the woods or when you need to make a blind shot. Nevertheless, Garmin Approach G30 already has some features of Garmin Approach G8, such as yardages to doglegs/layups, custom locations, manual pin positioning, and touch targeting for showing the distance to any point in the map.
Both Garmin Approach G8 vs G30 are certainly able to measure your shot distances. However, Garmin Approach G8 is also able to track your records on various clubs and provide club suggestions, whereas Garmin Approach G30 merely measures your shot distances without being able to track your records or give club suggestions.
In order to begin measuring a shot distance on Garmin Approach G8, you just need to press one of the physical buttons. Afterwards, you can assign the distance to a specific club. The unit keeps those records and is able to calculate your average distance on every club.
Garmin Approach G8 is also able to provide a club suggestion when you are about to make a shot. The club suggestions are based on your recorded distances and averages across different clubs. Well, some of us may believe that an experienced golfer should have a better idea than a mere program when choosing the right golf club, but the club suggestions are often good.
Of course, this feature is considered illegal for tournaments by the USGA, but it is still handy if tournament plays aren’t your main concern. The club suggestions are very useful for beginners and casual players, as it is a quick and simple way to choose a club and it helps to keep the round times low.
Statistics and Scoring
Both Garmin Approach G8 and Garmin Approach G30 are able to track your statistics and scores. Each of them is able to track up to four players in a golf game. They support several scoring options, such as Match Play, Stroke Play, Skins, and Stableford. In addition, both models also have adjustable handicaps, so they are suitable for golfers of all skill levels.
Unfortunately, displaying the current stats and scores when playing is not so straightforward. You need to press multiple buttons and get through multiple screens in order to see what you need to see. The stats are relatively basic. There are the usual putts and fairways hits, but both of these two models don’t track penalty strokes or sand saves.
Later, you can evaluate your round history on the unit itself or on your computer. There are two ways to see your round history on a computer, either through the Scorecard Viewer app on the Garmin suite or through the Garmin Connect online platform if the data has been synced.
According to the specifications, Garmin Approach G8 and Garmin Approach G30 have similar battery life. They can last for about 15 hours per charge. But note that, if you activate the Bluetooth all the time, the battery life may be decreased by a few hours.
That is still enough for a round of golf or two. Just don’t forget to recharge your device the night before your golf game to make sure that you have a full battery for the following day.
However, these two models use different types of battery. Garmin Approach G8 is powered by a lithium polymer battery, whereas Garmin Approach G30 is powered by a lithium-ion battery. Is there any difference in usage caused by the different battery types? Not really.
A lithium polymer battery of the same power is usually thinner and sleeker than a lithium-ion battery. This is one reason why Garmin Approach G8 is slimmer than Garmin Approach G30. The specifications state that these models have similar battery life, so we can assume that they do have similar battery capacity.
Garmin Approach G8 vs G30
Between these two rangefinders, Garmin Approach G8 is more recommended. This model has a better, sleeker design and more features. It is easy and comfortable to hold, and the display is both larger and sharper. The built-in Wi-Fi allows for automatic map updates, very convenient. It has very useful features for beginners who want to improve their skill, such as the slope adjustment, PinPointer, and club suggestion.