(Written by Golfspy_Dave)

A Screen Door on a Submarine?

There is nothing better than a classic burn, “You are about as useful as a screen door on a submarine.”  Burn!  To help those of you out there who don’t get it, a screen door would not be a useful addition to a submarine.  You see, submarines go under water, and a screen door would let that water inside of the boat.  And water in a boat, as you well know, leads to sinking.  As a result, screen doors are not typically found on submarines.

There is a point to the non sequitur above.  The point is that adding new features to something does not always equal improvement, especially if what you are improving is already an excellent product.  Case in point, the critically acclaimed Bushnell Tour V2 laser rangefinder.  The Tour V2 is an outstanding rangefinder.  In fact, most of the people that I talk to consider it to be the go to rangefinder in the Bushnell line.  But the V2 is also yesterday in the market, and yesterday just doesn’t sell, especially when talking about technology.  New and improved grabs dollars, provided the "improvements" are actually improvements.

Enter the Bushnell Tour V3 laser rangefinder.  Right away by the numbering, we can see that the V3 is one better than the V2.  Kidding aside, what does the change in the model number actually represent?  Are there new features?  Yes there are, but do they really make the V3 better than the V2?

Looks + Feel

Cosmetic improvements are immediately apparent when we compare the V2 to the V3.  The most obvious of these is the change in color scheme.  Gone is the utilitarian gray and black.  The Bushnell Tour V3 sports a much flashier red/black/white scheme.  Personally, I view this as an improvement, though in the area of aesthetics, you are always welcome to your own I-prefer-the-boring-one opinion.  If nothing else, this new color pattern does match the colors of the other recent Bushnell lasers, the Pro 1M and the Tour Z6.  It’s a nice marketing tool to let consumers know which lasers are Bushnell lasers.

Ignore the colors for a moment and look a little closer at the case geometries.  The case of the Tour V3 has been redesigned to improve the ergonomics of the unit, allowing it to fit more precisely into your hand during use.  The Tour V2 didn’t feel awkward by any stretch, but the Tour V3 definitely feels better, more comfortable.

Looks + Feel Score: 20/20 Points

Performance

Here are the Bushnell Tour V3 Specs:

  • PinSeeker Technology with JOLT Technology to zero-in on the flag
  • Accuracy within 1-yard
  • 5 yards - 1,000 yards ranging performance. 300+ yards to a flag
  • 5x Magnification
  • Ergonomic design provides a stable grip
  • Posi-Thread™ Battery Door
  • 3-Volt Battery and Premium Carry Case included
  • Rainproof Construction
  • 2 Year Warranty

Ease of Use

Quick and accurate.  Press a button to turn it on, press it again to measure.  I realize that all lasers work the same way these days, and that seemingly all of them could be classified as easy to use.  Some company will break this paradigm eventually though.

On the Course

OK, let’s take a look at the Tour V3‘s performance.  Is it really one better than the Tour V2?  Here are some of the specific details:

High Points for the Bushnell Tour V3:

  • It’s fast:  On and lasing in moments
  • Improved Case: Bushnell has gone away from the magnetic closure found on pervious cases and moved to a zipper + bungee closure.  It’s not a huge change, but I definitely trust the bungee to keep the case closed more than I did the magnet.  Plus, who wants magnets next to electronics.
  • Ranges Non-Flags: Shoot whatever you need, the Bushnell Tour V3 will give you the number.
  • Range:  The Tour V3 can pick up targets from a long way away.  No need for intermediate targeting with this one.
  • PinSeeker Technology: The Tour V3 had no issue picking up targets, even when there were other targets behind the flag.  PinSeeker Technology still works like a champ, and this year there is a little extra in the mix...

JOLT Technology

The Bushnell Tour V3’s JOLT Technology was something that really caught my eye when I first read about it.  The Tour V3 vibrates just a bit when you lock onto target.  Just a bit of bzzzzt.  To me, this was the potential screen door.  Is the JOLT Technology really necessary?  Could it actually detract from the usage of the unit?  While I don’t know if it is truly necessary, I do think that it enhances the use of the unit.  When you feel the short vibration, you know that you have the number.  I found myself warming more and more to the JOLT Technology, happily anticipating the buzz when I read distances.  It’s a cool extra that does separate the V3 from the V2.

Concerns with the Tour V3

The JOLT Technology is also the source my only bit of trepidation with the Tour V3.  It is totally possible to get a quick, accurate reading without the JOLT Technology triggering and buzzing your mitt.  My concern is that people could end up taking longer to read targets as they wait for the JOLT to fire.  On the whole, I think that lasers make for very quick range finding, leading to improved pace of play.  This could change though if one is taking more time by waiting for the JOLT.

Performance Score: 59/60

 

Value

The non-slope Bushnell Tour V3 comes in at just under $300, with the slope version adding about another hundred.  You can also add a bit of value and social consciousness to your purchase by going with the Patriot Pack.  Compared to the other lasers offered by Bushnell, and the other lasers in the market with similar features, this price point is excellent.  It’s not inexpensive, but it is definitely competitive.  Shave off another $25-$50 and the Tour V3 could likely be the dominant rangefinder in the 2013 market.

Value Score: 19/20 Points

 

Summary

The Bushnell Tour V3 laser rangefinder is the unit to beat in 2013.  The redesigned case is excellent, and the JOLT Technology adds a new layer to Bushnell’s already excellent PinSeeker technology.  I have a couple of other lasers that I will be testing over the next month or so and all I can say is that the Bushnell Tour V3 has set the bar for comparison very high.

Purchase a Bushnell Tour V3 Laser Rangefinder HERE

Overall Score: 98/100

 

Enter the Bushnell FaceBook Contest and Win a Tour V3

Head over to the Bushnell FaceBook page HERE to enter.  Ends May 15th, 2013.